Punch’s Golden Age

Posted in books, reviews by Editor on December 31, 2010

The following feature drawn from David Wondrich’s new book on punch aired on NPR’s Morning Edition on 30 December 2010.

David Wondrich, Punch: The Delights (and Dangers) of the Flowing Bowl (London: Perigee, 2010), ISBN: 978-0399536168, $23.95.

. . . The punch cocktail has a long history that starts with British sailors (who drank a lot), says liquor historian David Wondrich. Sailors were entitled to 10 pints of beer per day — but when they sailed into the tropics, the beer spoiled, and that’s when they turned to punch.

“They made it with local ingredients in India and Indonesia in the early 1600s,” Wondrich tells NPR’s Linda Wertheimer. “They were 13,000 miles away from any source of English beer or wine, and they had nothing to drink. And English sailors . . .  respond very poorly to that.”

Wondrich, who is also a mixologist, has paid homage to what he calls “the monarch of mixed drinks”; his book, ‘Punch: The Delights (and Dangers) of the Flowing Bowl’, features 40 historical punch recipes for the ambitious drink mixer. . . .

But even for Dickens in the mid-1800s, punch was something of a throwback. “By his day,” Wondrich explains, “punch had gotten kind of old-fashioned. Queen Victoria was very opposed to the lax moral standards that the upper classes in particular had held to in her predecessor’s days. And she didn’t like their habit of getting grossly drunk on punch and champagne and wine.”

So punch was out of style — but that was part of the fun. “[Dickens] was a great antiquarian,” Wondrich says. “He liked to collect all the old customs and habits of old England.” So he’d invite his friends over, concoct a big bowl of punch, and then describe the punch-making process for his guests.

The Dickens punch in Wondrich’s book (see the recipe here) is taken from a detailed letter the novelist wrote to his friend’s sister — and it’s a “classic 18th-century brandy rum punch,” Wondrich says. “This is punch from its golden age.”  . . .

The full feature (including the audio version) is available at NPR’s website. In addition, Eileen Reynolds offers a charming discussion with the author for the online edition of The New Yorker (15 December 2010), while New York Magazine profiled Wondrich’s food and drink consumption for a week back in November for the feature “New York Diet.”

Welcoming in 2011

Posted in opinion pages, site information by Editor on December 24, 2010

Thanks so much to all of you for your ongoing support of Enfilade. The site has received over 81,000 hits since its founding in the summer of 2009. It now receives over 900 visits each month from return readers. I’m especially grateful for your submissions. It makes my job easier and the site better.

Here at the end of the year, let me also put in a plug for your financial support for the Historians of Eighteenth-Century Art & Architecture. Now is a good time to send in your HECAA membership dues for 2011 (just $20/$5 for graduate students). Please also consider making an additional donation to help fund the Dora Wiebenson Prize or the Mary Vidal Memorial Fund. Checks should be sent directly to Denise Baxter. Anyone interested in the eighteenth century is welcome as a HECAA member. So if you’re reading, consider joining.

I’m taking a few days off, but postings will resume the first week of January. All the best for what little remains of 2010 and warm wishes for the new year! -CH

Christmas Dressed Period Rooms in London

Posted in exhibitions, on site by Editor on December 23, 2010

From the Geffrye Museum:

Christmas Past: 400 Years Of Seasonal Traditions In English Homes
Geffrye Museum, London, 23 November 2010 — 5 January 2011

A parlour as envisioned from 1745 (sans Christmas decorations), London: Geffrye Museum. Photography Jonathan Greet. Click on the image for a panormic view.

Christmas Past offers visitors a fascinating insight into how Christmas has been celebrated in English middle-class homes from 1600 to the present day. Each year, authentic festive decorations transform the museum’s eleven period rooms, creating a vivid and evocative picture of how earlier generations of Londoners celebrated Christmas. The rooms provide the perfect setting for visitors to explore the origins of some of the rich and colourful traditions of Christmases past, from feasting, dancing and kissing under the mistletoe to playing parlour games, hanging up stockings, sending cards, decorating the tree and throwing cocktail parties.

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Visitors to the Geffrye can view our permanent display of eleven period rooms which span approximately 400 years from around 1600 to the present day. There is also a walled herb garden and a series of four period gardens, chronologically arranged to reflect the museum’s period rooms, which can be visited between 1 April and 31 October. To the front of the museum there is a large garden facing onto Kingsland Road, which is currently being refurbished. Additionally, there is a restored 18th-century almshouse, open to visitors on selected days, which has been taken back to its original condition and provides a glimpse into the lives of London’s poor and elderly in the 1780s and 1880s.

We know that not everyone is able to visit the Geffrye in person so we are always looking to create new ways for online visitors to experience the museum more fully. We have recently added panoramas of all the period rooms, gardens and almshouse rooms, which provide a highly detailed, immersive way to experience the museum. There is also our online Virtual Tour which offers a timeline through the museum and gardens and highlights significant objects and plants. You will also find short descriptions of all the rooms and gardens, adding context to the new visual material. . . .

Exhibition in Paris: Royal Spectacles

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on December 23, 2010

Description of the exhibition from the Académie de Paris website:

Dans l’atelier des Menus Plaisirs du roi: Spectacles, fêtes et cérémonies aux XVII et XVIIIe siècles
National Archives, hôtel de Soubise, Paris, 19 January — 24 April 2011

Curated by Pierre Jugie and Jérôme de La Gorce

Du 19 janvier au 24 avril 2011, une sélection de 130 œuvres graphiques, pour la plupart inédites, essentiellement issues du fonds de la Maison du roi (série O1) aux Archives nationales, introduit le visiteur dans les coulisses des fastueux spectacles, fêtes et cérémonies royales.

Les Archives nationales ne conservent pas seulement les sources manuscrites les plus riches, relatives aux fêtes, aux spectacles et aux cérémonies, organisés aux XVIIe et XVIIIe siècles à Paris et à la cour de France. Elles abritent aussi une exceptionnelle collection de plus de sept cent soixante dessins, constituée en 1752 par les Menus Plaisirs, département de la Maison du roi chargé de créer et de financer ces prestigieuses manifestations dans les résidences du souverain et dans les grands sanctuaires de la monarchie qu’étaient la basilique Saint-Denis et au cœur de la capitale, la cathédrale Notre-Dame.

Le service des Menus Plaisirs, chargé d’organiser et de financer les spectacles et les fêtes de la Cour, employait les meilleurs artistes et techniciens de son temps, pour imaginer et réaliser les décors, costumes, machines et accessoires susceptibles de provoquer l’émerveillement des spectateurs. Les Menus Plaisirs étaient également sollicités pour la mise en scène des grandes cérémonies de pompes funèbres, dont l’exubérance même invitait à la méditation sur la vanité des gloires humaines. Par-delà la magie des représentations, le visiteur pourra admirer la variété, la qualité graphique des dessins et estampes présentés et apprécier l’ingéniosité de leurs auteurs pour
créer l’illusion et susciter le rêve. Cette exposition s’ouvre à l’occasion du tricentenaire de la mort de Jean Berain (1640 – 1711), dessinateur du Cabinet du roi ayant largement mis son talent au service des Menus Plaisirs. Elle correspond également à la mise en ligne de l’intégralité des huit recueils constitués en 1752 par Antoine Angélique Levesque, garde magasin des Menus Plaisirs, pour y réunir quelque 800 dessins et estampes des meilleurs artistes des fêtes et spectacles royaux aux XVIIe et XVIIIe siècles : à côté de Deruet, Gissey, Berain, Sevin, Meissonnier et des frères Slodtz, les Italiens Torelli, Vigarani, Pizzoli, Algieri et Servandoni. La sélection présentée permet de goûter au merveilleux de l’opéra français, d’admirer les grandes fêtes versaillaises ou d’impressionnantes décorations, dans l’écrin d’époque que constituent les salons rocaille de l’hôtel de Soubise, siège des Archives nationales depuis 1808. C’est aux relations qu’entretiennent l’art et la politique que peut aussi nous sensibiliser l’exposition.

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A journée d’étude on the Menus Plaisirs is scheduled for 8 February 2011. A full list of accompanying events can be found at the National Archives website.

Exhibition: Napoleon and Europe

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on December 22, 2010

From the Bundeskunsthalle’s website:

Napoleon and Europe: Dream and Trauma (Traum und Trauma)
Art and Exhibition Hall of the Federal Republic of Germany, Bonn, 17 December 2010 — 25 April 2011
Musée de l’Armée, Paris, March — June 2012

The source of all great mistakes and thence of all the great suffering of our time was that Napoleon was
perceived either as a demigod or as a monster or, more often than not, as both at the same time.
Friedrich von Gentz, 1814

Exhibition catalogue, 368 pp, ISBN 9783791350882

During the nearly sixteen years of his reign, Napoleon Bonaparte (1769–1821), more than any other historical figure, redrew the very foundations of European history. and wrought changes that can be felt to this day – both positively and negatively. The exhibition, which has been panned and organised by the Art and Exhibition Hall of the Federal Republic of Germany, draws on a selection of high-calibre loans from all over Europe to present a comprehensive picture of Napoleon and his time. Painting and sculpture reached new heights of excellence in the Napoleonic era – both in the propaganda paintings by David, Gérard and Ingres and in the work of those who opposed the French emperor, among them Goya and the German Romanticists. Staying clear of well-worn clichés that paint Napoleon as a warmonger or a larger than life political genius, the exhibition aims to draw a more differentiated picture of the Napoleonic era between war, politics, administration, art theft and
cultural prosperity.

The exhibition is held under the patronage of Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel and the President of the French Republic, Nicolas Sarkozy. The exhibition was planned by the Art and Exhibition Hall of the Federal Republic of Germany, Bonn, in cooperation with the Musée de l’Armée in Paris and will be shown in Paris from March to June 2012.

The exhibition is subdivided into the following thematic chapters, which are explained in a microsite NAPOLEON:

  • Generation Bonaparte
  • Fascination and Revulsion
  • Physical and Symbolic Birth
  • The Dream of a Great Empire
  • Blood and Sex: Europe, a Family Business
  • Space, Law, Religion: New Ways of Controlling Space and the Mind
  • Objects of Desire: Napoleon and the Appropriation of European Art and Heritage
  • The Empire of Symbols
  • Duels
  • Nations – Emotions
  • Symbolic and Physical Death
  • Projections: A ‘Divided’ Icon
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Additional information about the exhibition is available at ArtDaily. An article from The Wall Street Journal (12 November 2010) by J. S. Marcus addresses the show within the larger context of Bonn’s emergence as “a cultural hub.”

Reviewed: ‘Lustrous Images from the Enlightenment’

Posted in books, reviews by Editor on December 21, 2010

From Histara-les comptes rendus (a site useful, in particular, for reviews of European publications) . . .

William Eisler, Lustrous Images from the Enlightenment: The Medals of the Dassiers of Geneva (Milan: Skira, 2010), ISBN: 9788857205076, $60.

Reviewed by Jan Blanc, University of Geneva; posted 22 November 2010.

Ce livre, consacré aux artistes-médailleurs Jean Dassier (1676-1763) et à ses deux fils, Jacques-Antoine (1715-1759) et Antoine (1718-1780), représente sans nul doute une contribution essentielle à l’histoire des arts à Genève, au XVIIIe siècle, mais aussi, plus largement, à celle des arts européens, durant le Siècle des Lumières. Comme ne cessent de le souligner les auteurs de ce livre, William Eisler, assistant scientifique au Musée monétaire cantonal de Lausanne, et Matteo Campagnolo, conservateur du Cabinet de numismatique de Genève et chargé d’enseignement à l’Université de Genève, les Dassier ont construit une véritable carrière internationale qui, tout au long du XVIIIe siècle, les a amené à Genève, Paris, Amsterdam, Londres et Rome. L’édition bilingue (français et anglais) de cet ouvrage permettra, il faut l’espérer, une large diffusion et réception d’un ouvrage, qui s’ingénie, avec succès, à souligner la dimension européenne du travail des Dassier, et dont l’importance, de ce fait, dépasse, de loin, le strict cadre genevois des productions artistiques du XVIIIe siècle. . . .

The full review is available here»

In the December Issue of ‘Art History

Posted in journal articles by Editor on December 20, 2010

Rosalind P. Blakesley, “Pride and the Politics of Nationality in Russia’s Imperial Academy of Fine Arts, 1757-1807,” Art History 33 (December 2010): 800-35.

Abstract: In 1757, the Imperial Academy of Fine Arts was founded in St Petersburg to professionlize painting, sculpture, and architecture, and to further the careers of Russian artists in all three disciplines. While the Academy’s early chamipons relied on western European artists to galvanize local developments, they also harboured ambivalent attitudes towards foreign involvement in Russian artistic affairs. This article traces the resulting web of conflicting loyalties and aspirations which underpinned, but also complicated, Russia’s quest to create a body of art which it could call its own. It then attends to the ways in which the portraitists Dmitry Levitsky and Vladimir Borovikovsky both interacted with and set themselves apart from western European practice. Rethinking Russian painting in this way as a critical component of a European mainstream sheds light on the realization (or otherwise) of a national school of art.

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Though dealing mainly with the history of a Renaissance building in the nineteenth century, Allie Terry’s article on the Bargello in Florence may also be of interest to Enfilade readers. As she notes, the transition of power in the eighteenth century from the Grand Duchy of Tuscany to the House of Lorraine brought to a close the practice of torture at the site, though it remained a prison: “In 1782, Pietro Leopoldo I ordered a mass burning of all torture instruments in the Bargello courtyard” (841).

Allie Terry, “Criminals and Tourists: Prison History and Museum Politics at the Bargello in Florence,” Art History 33 (December 2010): 836-55.

Abstract: Focusing on the Bargello, this essay interrogates the use of violence as an aesthetic frame for tourists to Florence and examines the architectural transformation of the prison through attention to the cultural agenda of the nineteenth-century Risorgimento and its manipulation of the material culture of the city. The replacement of a historical blemish, such as the corporeal violence associated with the Bargello prison, with a new historical monument, the Bargello museum, in the nineteenth century effectively drew on the power of the place to project both backward into the past and forward into the future. By transforming the site in a cultural institution that still retained its architectural shell, the museum displayed its institutional past to expose its foreignness to the present moment and initiated the creation of a new meta-narrative of Italian judicial, and cultural, history.

Call for Papers: The Real and the Fake

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on December 19, 2010

Seventh Annual Art History Symposium: The Real & The Fake
California State University, Sacramento, 16 April 2011

Proposals due by 25 January 2011

Keynote speaker: Erkki Huhtamo (Professor of Media History and Theory at the University of California Los Angeles). Huhtamo has lectured worldwide and published extensively on media archaeology and the media arts. His new book on the history of the moving panorama and the diorama, Illusions in Motion: A Media Archaeology of the Moving Panorama, is forthcoming from the University of California Press.

The Real & the Fake, the theme of the 2011 symposium, is inspired in part by the concurrent new media exhibition, The Aesthetics of the Fake, which will be on view in the University Library Gallery from March 31 to June 4, 2011. While the exhibition looks at contemporary artists’ use of virtual 3D computer graphics for avant-garde purposes, the art history symposium seeks a wider range of papers that would position this fundamental dialectic of art in any time, place, and culture and in a variety of artistic media. Among the many topics that would make an exciting day-long conversation on this theme are Renaissance scientific perspective/illusionism; Realism and social truths; alternative and subjective realities of Magic Realism, Surrealism, and abstraction; truths and paradoxes of avant-gardes; the problematics of optical illusion/mimesis; tradition, authenticity and tourist art; commercial animation, advertising, Second Life, and hyperreality. Non-Western, comparative, and transcultural considerations are welcome, as are papers on architecture. Please send a 300-word proposal for a 25-minute lecture and a one-paragraph professional biography as an email attachment to Elaine O’Brien, eobrien@csus.edu.

Call for Papers: Midwest Conference on British Studies

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on December 18, 2010

Midwest Conference on British Studies 57th Annual Meeting
Indiana State University, Terre Haute, 4-6 November 2011

Proposals due by 15 April 2011

The Midwest Conference on British Studies is proud to announce that its fifty-seventh annual meeting will be hosted by Indiana State University in Terre Haute, Indiana. The MWCBS seeks papers from scholars in all fields of British Studies, broadly defined to include those who study England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, and Britain’s empire. We welcome scholars from the broad spectrum of disciplines, including but not limited to history, literature, political science, gender studies and art history. Proposals for complete sessions are preferred, although proposals for individual papers will be considered. Especially welcome are roundtables and panels that:

  • offer cross-disciplinary perspectives on topics in British Studies
  • discuss collaborative or innovative learning techniques in the British Studies classroom
  • situate the arts, letters, and sciences in a British cultural context
  • examine representations of British and imperial/Commonwealth national identities
  • consider Anglo-American relations, past and present
  • examine new trends in British Studies
  • assess a major work or body of work by a scholar

The MWCBS welcomes papers presented by advanced graduate students and will award the Walter L. Arnstein Prize at its plenary luncheon for the best graduate student paper(s) given at the conference. (more…)

At The Walpole Library: ‘Illustrious Heads’

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on December 17, 2010

From the website of Yale University Library:

Illustrious Heads: Portrait Prints as History
The Lewis Walpole Library, Farmington, CT, 22 November 2010 — 29 July 2011

Curated by Cynthia Roman

Engraved “heads,” or portrait prints, in close alliance with literary history and biography, carried substantial power as expressions of political and social preoccupations in eighteenth-century England. Published for both book illustration and independent issue, with and without text, portrait prints recorded and articulated a national past that was conceived as the “portraiture” of illustrious historical persons—a visual and literary representation of a sequence of notable individuals—rather than as a narrative representation of a series of significant political, diplomatic, or military events. Additionally, straight portraits—and increasingly caricatures—of contemporary persons played a vital role in negotiating topical political and social issues and documenting the surrounding discourse for posterity. The prints selected for this exhibition suggest the variety of portrait and caricature publications and present some of the diverse ways in which they were considered as repositories of history,
biography, and anecdote. The exhibition also explores the engagement of
eighteenth-century audiences with questions of sitter classification,
authenticity, provenance, and scarcity.

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