Meissen Turns 300

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on June 30, 2010

Triumph of the Blue Swords: Meissen Porcelain for Aristocracy and Bourgeoisie, 1710-1815
Staatliche Kunstammlungen, Dresden, 8 May — 29 August 2010

Meissen beaker and cover, 1727 (Amsterdam: Rijkmuseum)

The exhibition presents a comprehensive overview of Meissen Porcelain art from the Baroque to the Biedermeier era. Meissener Porzellan (Meissen Porcelain) has never before been displayed in this context alongside works of art on loan from all around the world. The Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden are taking the anniversary of the invention of European porcelain as an opportunity to exhibit Meissen Porcelain for the first time in the building which August the Strong dedicated to the presentation of the royal porcelain treasures from the Far East and from Meissen – the Japanisches Palais.

In 1710 August the Strong established the first European porcelain manufactory in Meissen. Thereafter, Meissen Porcelain swiftly became an indispensable status symbol for the European aristocracy. Today, it continues to be the epitome of sophisticated table culture and luxurious room décor. In order to create an appropriate setting in which to indulge his ‘maladie de porcelaine’, the Elector planned to convert the Japanisches Palais into a Porcelain Palace. This project, however, was never completed.

The exhibition Triumph of the Blue Swords encompasses a total of around 800 porcelain items, including a large number of the holdings of the Dresden collection that are not normally on public display. They are complemented by a wide range of items on loan from museums and collections around the world in places as diverse as California, Moscow, New York, London, Paris, Prague and Budapest. The development and manufacture of porcelain, which has previously only been demonstrated with reference to a small number of specimens, will be presented in detail, drawing upon the latest research findings.

The exhibition focuses on the period up to 1815, during which Meissen developed the whole spectrum of possibilities that would thereafter be open to European porcelain. In these first hundred years, Meissen was the epitome of European porcelain art, long defying the competition from the newly founded manufactories and even managing to survive the crises of the Seven Years War and the Napoleonic Wars, right down to the present day. Until 1756 Meissen was the predominant manufactory in Europe; after that, the leading role was taken over by Sèvres, and Meissen had to reposition itself. Unlike previous presentations, this exhibition consciously integrates the concept of crisis and new beginnings.

The exhibition pays particular attention to the table service. For one thing because, as the most important product of the Meissen Manufactory, it has had a profound influence on table culture in general. For another, because it especially underlines the importance of Meissen Porcelain for diplomatic gifts. Among the items on display are two table services commissioned by the Prussian King Friedrich II: a service designed on a Prussian/musical theme with a green scale-pattern rim, and the set known as the “Möllendorff” service, which was a gift for the Prussian General Möllendorff. Both services are opulently displayed on a dinner table. The Meissen Manufactory was the first to produce a table service made of porcelain.

The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue published by E. A. Seemann Verlag Leipzig: Triumph of the Blue Swords: Meissen Porcelain for Aristocracy and Bourgeoisie 1710-1815 by Ulrich Pietsch and Claudia Banz (eds.)

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In Apollo Magazine, Louise Nicholson profiles two of the collectors who have offered loans for the exhibition, Kurt and Jutta Salfeld, whose porcelain birds are among the rarest of all Meissen production.

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Call for Papers: Mutiny and Maritime Radicalism

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on June 30, 2010

Mutiny and Maritime Radicalism in the Age of Revolution: A Global Survey
International Institute of Social History, Amsterdam, 17-18 June 2011

Proposals due by 1 September 2010

We announce a conference to be held June 17-18, 2011 at the International Institute of Social History in Amsterdam (NL). The conference will explore the transnational dimensions of mutiny and maritime radicalism during the great cycle of war and revolution beginning in the mid-1750s, progressing through the eras of the American, French, and Haitian Revolutions, into the period of the South American Wars for Liberation, and concluding with the revolutionary movements of the 1830s-40s.

Our central theme will be mutiny – its causes, frequency, forms, patterns, and outcomes – as we chart, link, and compare maritime insurrections in the Atlantic and beyond, on warships, merchant and fishing vessels, on privateers, slavers, convict ships, troop transports, hulks, galleys, and other vessels plying their trade on the seas. We will also concentrate on the mutineers themselves: their individual and collective biographies, social composition, self-organization, objectives, and ideas. We also include unrest in port cities, sites of international exchange between maritime and landed forms of resistance. Sailors did not live only on ships. They spent significant amounts of time in port, sometimes connecting shipboard unrest and radical movements on land in personal, political, and social ways. (more…)

Lecture: Edward Collier and Questions of Media

Posted in conferences (to attend) by Editor on June 29, 2010

As noted at Early Modern History, Dror Wahrman gives the Royal Historical Society’s Prothero Lecture Wednesday evening:

Dror Wahrman, “The Media Revolution in Early Modern England: An Artist’s Perspective”
Cruciform Lecture Theatre 2, University College London, 30 June 2010, 5:30 pm (reception, 6:30 – 8:30pm)

Painting by Edward Collier

Dror Wahrman is the Ruth N. Halls Professor of history and director of the Center for Eighteenth-Century Studies at Indiana University Bloomington. He is also professor of history at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. He has written and edited numerous articles and books including The Making of the Modern Self (Yale University Press, 2004), which received the Ben Snow Prize from the North American Conference on British Studies and the Louis Gottschalk Prize from the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies. Wahrman’s main research topics centre on the advent of modernity in Europe, and on what the term ‘modernity’ might mean. His work has explored key narratives that the modern West tells about itself—the emergence of class society, the rise of the middle class, and the emergence of the modern individual or self. His current projects include a book-length exploration of the little known painter Edward Collier and a co-authored book (with Jonathan Sheehan of the University of California-Berkeley) about chance, order, and providence in the transition from the early modern period to the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

Enquiries to Sue Carr, Executive Secretary, s.carr@ucl.ac.uk or tel. 020 7387 7532. A PDF file of the event flyer is available here.

Ruminations with a Recommendation or Two

Posted in opinion pages, resources by Editor on June 29, 2010

From the Editor

Summer is here, but I think we’re living in the late autumn of the print magazine. There’s been lots of talk in academic circles about the dubious future of paper-format journals, but it’s perhaps interesting to consider the migration to the digital realm from both sides of the periodical spectrum — not only from the the Ivory Tower of erudition but also from the populism of Main Street.

The point has been brought home to me over the past year on a number of occasions as I’ve first learned of the end of various design magazines from design blogs. An article in Sunday’s edition of The New York Times (20 June 2010) presents the next logical step. Claire Cain Miller explains the origins of a new online design magazine, Lonny: “Michelle Adams, 27, a former market assistant at Domino, and Patrick Cline, 34, a photographer and photo retoucher, were talking . . . in May 2009 after Condé Nast closed Domino, its sprightly home magazine. Over dinner at Chili’s, they mourned the loss of the magazine and other design magazines, like Blueprint and House & Garden, and joked that they should start their own.” So they did, and 600,000 readers later, theirs looks to me like the future.

A blog, of course, isn’t exactly the same thing as a digital magazine, but this relatively new format seems to be coming of age in its own right, and there are certainly loads of fine examples that facilitate an exchange of information that simply couldn’t have happened in any way even ten years ago. To underscore just two: I’m still a big fan of Courtney Barnes’s Style Court, and I’ve recently discovered a new favorite from Janet Blyberg, JCB. Janet was on the Attingham Program with me earlier this month (she supplies a terrific episodic account of the trip with amazing photographs). As an art historian and museum professional, she brings a smart sensibility to a wide range of topics — including lots of gems for dix-huitièmistes: postings, for instance, on Woodford Mansion in Philadelphia’s Fairmount Park and the house built by the botanist John Bartram (also in Philadelphia). The food postings are pretty terrific, too.

In the midst of this media migration from paper to the digital realm (reinforced by the likes of Scribd), things will surely be lost . . . and lots gained. It seems to me that one challenge for scholarly publications is finding a way not simply to mimic the older paper versions but to take advantage of the potential for entirely new features that just weren’t possible previously. The likes of Style Court and JCB might just be doing crucial, experimental work with important implications for even stuffy, scholarly publications. They definitely make the world a brighter place.

Fellowships and Grants from the Paul Mellon Centre Announced

Posted in Member News by Editor on June 28, 2010

Fellowship and Grants pertaining to eighteenth-century projects as announced in the June 2010 issue of The Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art Newsletter:


Mark Laird to prepare his book The Environment of English Gardening, 1650-1800

Sam Smiles to prepare his book Turner’s Last Paintings: The Artist in Old Age and the Idea of Late Style

David Solkin to prepare his book Art in Britain 1660-1837


Adriano Aymonino to prepare his book A Mirror of  the Enlightenment: The Patronage, Collections and Cultural World of the 1st Duke and Duchess of Northumberland in Georgian Britain

Madhuri Desai to prepare her book Resurrecting Banaras: Urban Space, Architecture and Colonial Mediation (1781-1936)

Kate Grandjouan to prepare her book Close Encounters: French Identities in English Graphic Satire c.1730-1799

Helen McCormack to prepare a series of articles on A Collector of  the Fine Arts in Eighteenth-Century Britain: Dr William Hunter (1718-1783)


English Heritage grant towards a one day symposium, 1 December 2010, Robert Adam Furniture: Designs for Kenwood and Osterley

University of Kent grant towards a one day conference, 5 November 2010, The Visual and the Verbal in the Eighteenth Century


Alena Artamonova for research in the United Kingdom on ‘Sir Thomas Lawrence and the British portrait tradition’

Zirwat Chowdhury to conduct research in the United Kingdom on ‘Anglo-Indian Encounters: British Art and Architecture, 1780-1836’

Renate Dohmen for research in the United Kingdom on ‘Painting with Colour and Light: The Art of the Amateur Artist in British India: Madras, Bombay and the “Hindoo Patriot”’

Sibylle Erle for research in the United Kingdom on ‘Seeing the Face Read: the Role of the Silhouette in Johann Caspar Lavater’s Physiognomy

Polina Ermakova for research in the United Kingdom on ‘Laurence Sterne’s A Sentimental Journey through France and Italy. Poetics of the Novel and the Visual Culture of the Enlightenment’

Meredith Gamer for research in the United Kingdom on her ‘Criminal and Martyr: Art and Religion in Britain’s Early Modern Eighteenth Century’

Yvonne Gaspar for research in the United Kingdom on ‘Richard Bradley (1688?-1732): English Botany in Transition’

Ann Gunn for research in the United Kingdom on ‘The Prints of Paul Sandby (1731-1809): A Catalogue Raisonné’

Clare Haynes for research in the United Kingdom on ‘Idol or Ornament? Art in the Church of England 1660-1830’

Katherine Isard for research in the United Kingdom on ‘Architectural Commonplaces; Books, Reading and Building Practice in the Early Modern Period’

Eleonora Pistis for research in the United Kingdom on ‘Architectural Culture in Early Eighteenth-Century Oxford’

Banmali Tandan for research in the United Kingdom on ‘British Architecture in Calcutta during the Georgian Age’

Tatyana Tyutvinova for research in the United Kingdom on ‘British Drawings of the 18th to the early 20th century from the Pushkin State Fine Arts Museum Collection’

Ricci Exhibition to Mark His 350th Birthday

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on June 27, 2010

Sebastiano Ricci: Il trionfo dell’invenzione nel Settecento veneziano
Fondazione Giorgio Cini, Venice, 24 April — 11 July 2010

This exhibition is the principal event in the programme of celebrations for the 350th anniversary of the birth of Sebastiano Ricci, promoted by the Veneto Region and the Giorgio Cini Foundation through a specially created regional committee. On show will be paintings, sculptures and drawings connected to the problematic issue of the bozzetto (models for sculptures, and painted sketches and drawings for larger works). The exhibition will, thus, provide an opportunity to explore an original aspect of the multifaceted talent of the artist from Belluno. Specialist studies agree in attributing a key role to Sebastiano Ricci as a precursor and modern interpreter of the Rococo in Italy and the rest of Europe. In fact, thanks to his wide-ranging activities in European courts and centres of culture, he was able to develop his skills and an accomplished virtuoso language that catered to
changes in taste in the early 18th century.

Catalogue edited by Giuseppe Pavanello ISBN: 9788831706377, $65

The main section of the exhibition will be dedicated to the art of the bozzetto and the modelletto (an initial small version of a proposed large work for presentation to patrons), in which Sebastiano Ricci was not only a supreme master, but also an ingenious innovator. Sebastiano’s letter to Giacomo Tassi of 14 November 1731 is usually considered to mark the starting point for a reversal of values that saw the aesthetic preeminence of the work of art pass from its “finished” version, conceived for public display, to the bozzetto, the preliminary work usually destined to remain in the studio. Sebastiano’s last sentence in the letter addressed to his patron – “moreover, this small work is the original and the altarpiece is the copy” – ushered in a view that was eventually so successful that it even influenced most 20th-century critics.

The exhibition will also provide the opportunity for comparisons with the bozzetti of other major artists in the Venetian school. These artists include Antonio Pellegrini, the young Giambattista Tiepolo, Gaspare Diziani, Giambattista Pittoni and Jacopo Amigoni. There will also be a special focus on Ricci’s graphic works, now mainly kept in the Drawing and Prints Cabinet of the Accademia, Venice, and in the royal collections of Windsor Castle. Ricci’s swirling exploratory graphic technique lends itself to precise comparisons with his own modelletti and with the work of the sculptor Giovanni Maria Morlaiter. In fact, the exhibition will also include some terracotta models and bozzetti from the workshop “remainders” of Giovanni Maria Morlaiter – Sebastiano Ricci’s alter ego in sculpture – now in storage in the Ca’ Rezzonico Museum of Eighteenth-Century Venetian Art, Venice.

Call for Papers: Writing Irish Art History

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on June 27, 2010

Writing Irish Art History
Trinity Irish Art Research Centre at Trinity College Dublin, 20 November 2010

Proposals due by 19 July 2010

The aim of this student-led research day is to highlight current scholarship on the historiography of Irish art, architecture and material culture. Keynote presentations will be given by Professor Tom Dunne, U.C.C., and Dr. Roisin Kennedy, U.C.D. The event is hosted and supported by TRIARC, the Irish Art Research Centre, University of Dublin, Trinity College, Ireland

We welcome proposals from researchers working in a broad range of areas, including painting, sculpture, architecture, material culture, design, film, literature, cultural geography and print cultures. Please send proposals of 250 words (for 15-minute papers) to writingirisharthistory@gmail.com or to Caroline McGee and Niamh NicGhabhann, TRIARC – Trinity Irish Art Research Centre, Department of History of Art and Architecture, Provost’s House Stables, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin 2.

Jean Barbault Exhibition in Strasbourg

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on June 26, 2010

Jean Barbault: Le théâtre de la vie italienne / The Theater of Italian Life
Strasbourg, Musée des Beaux-Arts, 22 May — 22 August 2010

Catalogue by Pierre Rosenberg et al. (ISBN: 9782351250815)

This year the Musée des Beaux-Arts, Strasbourg will present an exhibition focused around the painter Jean Barbault (Val-d’Oise, 1718 — Rome, 1762). This seemed an opportune moment to spotlight such an enticing artist since the museum acquired one of his masterpieces just a few short months ago. The exhibition thus unveils a complete, eloquent panorama of his work. Barbault is renowned for whimsical figures painted with virtuosity and refined color as well as canvases treating “Mascarades” organized by residents at the Academy of France in Rome. He also signed landscapes of ruins and considered himself a “painter of History.” As an added feature the exhibition is showing a series representing his French contemporaries working in Rome at the same period, including Fragonard, who, like him were deeply attracted to Ancient (fascinating) and modern (picturesque) Rome and dazzled by Italian light.

Last year the Musée des Beaux-Arts further enriched its collection (thanks to a purchase made possible by the City of Strasbourg and by the Fonds Régional d’Acquisition des Musées / Regional Fund for Museum Acquisitions) with a major painting entitled Neapolitan Shepard and Buffalo Cow Leaving the Grotto by Jean Barbault. This is one of the mid-18th century’s most attractive works of French (and Italian) painting. Its subject matter and spiritual treatment personify the very essence of the Age of Enlightenment. The painting is a masterpiece done in Italy circa 1750 by an artist who largely remains in the shadows despite exhibitions previously shown at the Museums of Beauvais, Angers and Valence, 1974-1975.

The exhibit – and its catalog – gives an overview of his painted work. Barbault settled in Rome in 1747, remaining in this fascinating city and fully integrating himself into Italian life until his death. He was an original artist, the author of characters in typical Italian costume and exotic figures for Mascarade, who also undertook the register of ruins. Despite a rather dramatic existence, he considered himself an artist-in-full. Besides an extraordinary collection of engravings by the Italian Piranesi, the exhibition also exposes the unique milieu of residents at the Academy of France in Rome. Barbault was the contemporary of Jean-Honoré Fragonard and belonged to an exciting generation, between Boucher and David, Rocaille and Neo-Classicism.

Catalogue: Pierre Rosenberg et al., Jean Barbault: Le théâtre de la vie italienne (Strasbourg: Editions des Musées de la Ville de Strasbourg, 2010), 160 pages (ISBN: 9782351250815), $53.50, available at artbooks.com.

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Didier Rykner’s review of the exhibition for La Tribune de l’Art (5 June 2010) can be found here»

Forthcoming in ‘Studies in Eighteenth-Century Culture’

Posted in journal articles by Editor on June 26, 2010

A selection of articles of in the forthcoming issue of Studies in Eighteenth-Century Culture 40 (Spring 2011), edited by Lisa Forman Cody and Mark Ledbury:

  • Shelley King, “Portrait of a Marriage: John and Amelia Opie and the Sister Arts”
  • Mary Sheriff, “The King, the Trickster, and the Gorgon: On the Illusions of Rococo Art” (2009 Clifford Lecture)
  • Josephine Touma, “From the Playhouse to the Page: Some Visual Sources for Watteau’s Theatrical Universe”

Pre-order yours through the Johns Hopkins University Press (800.748.1784).

Announcing a New Series from Ashgate Publishing

Posted in books, Calls for Papers by Editor on June 25, 2010

The Histories of Material Culture and Collecting, 1700–1950
Series Editor: Michael Yonan, University of Missouri

The Histories of Material Culture and Collecting, 1700–1950, provides a forum for the broad study of object acquisition and collecting practices in their global dimensions from the eighteenth through the mid-twentieth centuries. The series seeks to illuminate the intersections between material culture studies, art history, and the history of collecting. HMCC takes as its starting point the idea that objects both contributed to the formation of knowledge in the past and likewise contribute to our understanding of the past today. The human relationship to objects has proven a rich field of scholarly inquiry, with much recent scholarship either anthropological or sociological rather than art historical in perspective. Underpinning this series is the idea that the physical nature of objects contributes substantially to their social meanings, and therefore that the visual, tactile, and sensual dimensions of objects are critical to their interpretation. HMCC therefore seeks to bridge anthropology and art history, sociology and aesthetics. It encompasses the following areas of concern:

  1. Material culture in its broadest dimension, including the high arts of painting and sculpture, the decorative arts (furniture, ceramics, metalwork, etc.), and everyday objects of all kinds.
  2. Collecting practices, be they institutionalized activities associated with museums, governmental authorities, and religious entities, or collecting done by individuals and social groups.
  3. The role of objects in defining self, community, and difference in an increasingly international and globalized world, with cross-cultural exchange and travel the central modes of object transfer.
  4. Objects as constitutive of historical narratives, be they devised by historical figures seeking to understand their past or in the form of modern scholarly narratives.

The series publishes interdisciplinary and comparative research on objects that addresses one or more of these perspectives and includes monographs, thematic studies, and edited volumes of essays.

Proposals should take the form of either:

  • a preliminary letter of inquiry, briefly describing the project; or
  • a formal prospectus including: abstract, brief statement of your critical methodology, table of contents, sample chapter, estimated word count, estimate of the number and type of illustrations to be included, and a c.v.

Please send a copy of either type of proposal to the series editor and to the publisher:

Professor Michael Yonan, yonanm@missouri.edu

Meredith Norwich, Commissioning Editor, mnorwich@ashgate.com

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