Shortlisted: Mrs. Delany!

Posted in books, exhibitions, Member News by Editor on December 16, 2010

Warm congratulations to Mark Laird and Alicia Weisberg-Roberts. Their edited exhibition catalogue, Mrs. Delany and Her Circle (Yale Center for British Art, 2009) has been shortlisted for CAA’s 2011 Alfred H. Barr, Jr., Award! HECAA’s collective fingers are crossed for you!

Also, addressing the eighteenth century, Molly Emma Aitken’s The Intelligence of Tradition in Rajput Court Painting (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2010) is on the shortlist for the 2011 Charles Rufus Morey Book Award.

The winners of both prizes, along with the recipients of ten other Awards for Distinction, will be announced in December and presented on Thursday, February 10, 6:00–7:30 PM, in the Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. The event is free and open to the public. The CAA Centennial Reception will follow
(ticket required).

Additional information from CAA News is available here»

Exhibition of Boxes at The Met

Posted in exhibitions, lectures (to attend) by Editor on December 16, 2010

Press release from The Met:

Thinking Outside the Box: European Cabinets, Caskets, and Cases from the Permanent Collection
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 7 December 2010 — 21 August 2011

Organized by Daniëlle O. Kisluk-Grosheide

James Cox, Nécessaire, ca. 1770–72. Case: moss agate, mounted in gold and set with diamonds, rubies, and emeralds; silver; Dial: white enamel, with frame pavé-set with paste jewels (NY: Metropolitan Museum of Art) Gift of Mrs. Florence Schlubach, 1957 (57.128a–o).

Thinking Outside the Box: European Cabinets, Caskets, and Cases from the Permanent Collection (1500–1900) will feature 100 works selected from the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Department of European Sculpture and Decorative Arts. The objects featured in this installation will range from strongboxes to travel cases and from containers for tea or tobacco to storage boxes for toiletries or silverware. These lidded pieces, some of which have not been on display for many years, are made in a large variety of shapes and sizes, and of many different materials, and were created by mostly unknown artists, craftsmen, and amateurs. Viewed together, these works reflect changes in social customs as well as the evolution of styles over four centuries. Many are precious works of art that were collected in their own right.

The objects in Thinking Outside the Box will be displayed according to the materials they are made of or embellished with, including tortoiseshell, carved or veneered wood, porcelain, hard stones and natural substances, embroidery, various metals, leather, enamel, pastiglia, and straw. Craftsmen ranging from silversmiths to furniture makers and from metalworkers to enamellers created the boxes, which are utilitarian in nature and were used either for the shipping of goods or the safekeeping of specific objects or ingredients. Boxes were also exchanged as presents—valuable snuffboxes mounted with diamonds and other precious stones often served as diplomatic gifts, and Italian white lead pastiglia caskets, scented with musk and civet, and thought to have aphrodisiacal qualities, were deemed suitable as bridal presents.

Although it is not always possible to determine what each object was originally meant to contain—such as the 16th–century Italian cases made of boiled, embossed, and tooled leather (cuir bouilli)—it has become clear that many of the elaborately wrought boxes played a role in the dressing rituals of the past. The desire to keep various beautifying implements together goes back to ancient Egypt and led to the creation of special chests. Since the 16th century, the daily grooming ritual known as the toilette (from the toile or cloth spread on the table during the various dressing activities) was taken very seriously and formed, in fact, a kind of semi-public ceremony. The importance of this custom was expressed in the creation of costly toilette services comprising numerous matching pieces, including a variety of boxes and caskets. Exquisite examples of necessaries, small travel cases containing objects deemed necessary for toilette, writing, or needlework or a combination of these three, will be on view. A particularly splendid example—the 18th–century English nécessaire by James Cox, made of moss agate mounted in gold and set with diamonds, rubies, and emeralds—not only includes dressing implements, but also a clock and automaton, and was probably intended for export to India.

These personal objects are fascinating not only for their shape and decoration but for the treasures and possible secrets they may contain.

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Sunday at the Met Lecture Series—Thinking Outside the Box
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 27 February 2011

Boxes, caskets, cabinets, and chests played an important role in everyday life in Europe and were frequently much more than simple receptacles. This program, presented in conjunction with the installation Thinking Outside the Box: European Cabinets, Caskets, and Cases from the Permanent Collection (1500–1900), explores how the objects’ form and decoration reflected changes in different social customs and manners as well as the latest stylistic developments in Europe. It concludes with music performed on cabinet organs, hidden keyboards, and not-so-ancient voice boxes. Free with Museum admission, in the Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium.

  • 2:oo  Danielle O. Kisluk-Grosheide (curator, Department of European Sculpture and Decorative Arts, MMA), Thinking Outside the Box: Placing European Cabinets, Caskets, and Cases in Context
  • 2:45  Charles Truman (art historian and independent scholar, London), The Eighteenth-Century Gold Box: The Ultimate Fashion Accessory and a Microcosm of All the Arts
  • 3:30  ARTEK, Gwendolyn Toth (director and keyboards), Jukeboxes of Old: Music from Past Centuries

Exhibition: Porcelain from Augustus the Strong’s Japanese Palace

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on December 15, 2010

From the Philadelphia Museum of Art:

A Royal Passion: Meissen and Asian Porcelain from Augustus the Strong’s Japanese Palace
Philadelphia Museum of Art, 18 December 2010 — 3 April 2011

Curated by Donna Corbin

"Figure of a Goat," ca. 1733, original modeled by Johann Joachim Kändler, hard-paste porcelain, 21 3/4 x 28 x 13 3/4 inches (Philadelphia Museum of Art)

In 1717, Augustus II, Elector of Saxony and King of Poland, known as “Augustus the Strong,” acquired a small palace on the right bank of the Elbe River in Dresden. He later enlarged the building and created what was essentially a “porcelain palace.” What became known as the Japanese Palace housed Augustus’s extensive collection of Asian ceramics—which numbered some 20,000 pieces—along with the products of the porcelain factory founded by his official decree in Meissen, near Dresden, in 1710. Within a decade, and after much experimentation, the Meissen factory became the first commercially viable European factory to produce a type of high-fired porcelain that closely resembled much-coveted Chinese and Japanese wares. In the scheme for the interior of the palace, the rooms on the second floor were reserved for the Meissen porcelain. The most spectacular display was a large gallery exhibiting a menagerie of life-size and near-life-size birds and animals made in porcelain. Orders and delivery began in 1730 for the projected 292 figures depicting thirty-two different birds and 296 figures representing thirty-seven other animals of domestic, exotic, and fantastic origin. Creation of the figures continued until 1736, some three years after Augustus’s death. While never completed, the project remains one of the outstanding artistic achievements of the eighteenth century. A Royal Passion, which celebrates the 300th anniversary of the founding of the Meissen factory, features nineteen pieces of porcelain from the Japanese Palace collection and highlights a pair of goats from the Museum’s permanent collection that was originally intended for Augustus’s porcelain menagerie.

ICON Conservation Award Goes to Hanbury Hall

Posted in the 18th century in the news by Editor on December 14, 2010

As noted by Emile de Bruijn at Treasure Hunt, ICON (The Institute of Conservation) presented the 2010 Pilgrim Trust Award for Conservation to Hanbury Hall for its care of Sir James Thornhill’s staircase wall paintings (ca. 1710). In addition to the official statement from ICON included below, additional information and photographs are available here»

Sir James Thornhill, Painted Walls of the Staircase at Hanbury Hall, ca. 1710 ©NTPL/John Hammond

Winner: Hanbury Hall staircase wall paintings of c.1710 by Sir James Thornhill – The Perry Lithgow Partnership.
A 10-year conservation project at the National Trust’s Hanbury Hall has re-established the unity of this historic painted space, enabling the trompe l’oeil effects to be appreciated as Thornhill intended, and adding considerably to our understanding of English Baroque wall painting techniques. It was a bold move to let the public view the paintings via scaffolding, thus creating an excellent model for public access.

The 2010 Georgian Group Architectural Awards

Posted in the 18th century in the news by Editor on December 13, 2010

As noted at the Georgian Group’s website:

The 2010 Architectural Awards were presented by Baroness Andrews OBE, Chairman of English Heritage, on 3 November. The judges were Dr John Martin Robinson (architectural historian and historic buildings consultant); Lady Nutting OBE (Chairman of the Georgian Group); Professor David Watkin (Emeritus Professor of the History of Architecture, University of Cambridge); Charles Brooking (architectural historian and founder of The Brooking Collection); Charles Cator (Deputy Chairman, Christie’s International); and Crispin Holborow (Director of Country Property, Savills).

Our Architectural Awards, sponsored by international estate agents Savills, recognise exemplary conservation and restoration projects in the United Kingdom and reward those who have shown the vision and commitment to restore Georgian buildings and landscapes. Awards are also given for high-quality new buildings in Georgian contexts and new architecture in the Classical tradition.

T HE  2 0 1 0  W I N N E R S



Restoration of a Georgian Country House

  • Winner: Buckland House, Faringdon, Oxon (Edmonts of Swindon for Summerstone Assco SA) — 1757 by John Wood the Younger. Conservation of stonework and comprehensive restoration of interiors.
  • Commended: Sandridge Park, Stoke Gabriel, Devon (Watson Bertram & Fell for Mark and Rosemary Yallop) — 1805 by John Nash. Restoration since 2006 including rebuilding part of the house removed in the 1950s, removal of a 1980s glass pitched roof and 1980s garage, filling in of indoor swimming pool and re-creation of 1805 conservatory (lost in 1930s) using contemporary engraving.

Commended: 810 Tottenham High Road, London, 1715

Restoration of a Georgian Building in an Urban Setting

  • Winner: Buckingham Palace, Quadrangle (Martin Ashley Architects for Royal Household) — conservation of the east elevation of the quadrangle, including pediment containing Edward Baily’s 1827 Nine Muses tympanum sculpture, designed for the end gable of Nash’s south range and reused within Blore’s east range when that was added in 1847. Removal of paint and cement mortar, piecing in of new Caen stone.
  • Winner: Lancaster House, London SW1 (Feilden & Mawson/Triton Building Restoration for Foreign & Commonwealth Office) — 1825. Façade cleaning, stone repair and redecoration, new lead weatherings and replacement wooden garden gates reusing original ironmongery.
  • Commended: 42 King Street, Thorne, Doncaster, Yorks (Russell Light for South Yorkshire Building Preservation Trust) — 1747 merchants’ house, in state of collapse when acquired by trust in 2005. Refenestration, removal of cement render, reroofing, repair of surviving interior fitting and replacement where lost.
  • Commended: 810 Tottenham High Road, London N15 (Butler & Hegarty for Haringay Building Preservation Trust) — 1715, part of earliest pair of Georgian townhouses in London (No808 was restored 2002/3 and received a Georgian Group award). Derelict and building at risk for 25 years. Stabilised, shops in front yard removed, street elevation and roof fully restored and reinstated.
  • Commended: 55-57 Westgate Road, Newcastle-upon-Tyne (GWK Architects for Newcastle Arts Centre) — 1750 townhouse. Reinstatement of lost stone façade at ground floor level, lost dormers and sash windows, reroofing and interior refurbishment.

Reuse of a Georgian Building

  • Winner: Dandridge’s Mill, East Hanney, Oxfordshire (LAPD for Hallidays Developments) — 1820s silk mill, derelict by 2007 when bought by current owners and now converted to apartments. Mill pond reused to generate hydro-electricity for the development, by means of an Archimedes Screw.

Restoration of a Georgian Church

  • Winner: St Alkmund, Shrewsbury (Arrol & Snell for Church of England) — Multi-phase church, nave and chancel 1790s by John Carline in Gothic idiom. Extensive repair and restoration of cast iron traceried windows and boundary railings, all cast at Coalbrookdale; restoration of 1790s east window by Francis Eginton; new slate roof; and repair of fixtures such as Carline’s altar table.

Commended: Queen Anne’s Summerhouse, Old Warden Park, Bedfordshire, 1712

Restoration of a Georgian Garden or Landscape (includes garden buildings)

  • Winner: Valentines Park, Ilford (Richard Griffiths Architects for London Borough of Redbridge) — Restoration of Rococo garden built by Robert Surman, deputy cashier to South Sea Company. Rescue of octagonal dovecote, silted-up Long Water, shell grotto, garden walls and flint alcove seat, all on verge of being lost.
  • Commended: Chillington Hall, Codsall Wood, Staffs – the Dovecote (Horsley Huber Architects for Mr and Mrs John Giffard) — 1730 brick octagonal dovecote, centrepiece of service courtyard. Ruinous condition. Reinstatement of lost oak roof, cupola and windows.
  • Commended: Lytham House, Lancs – the Privy (By and for Heritage Trust for the North-West) — Early C19, brick in Gothic style. Partly collapsed and at risk by 2008, conservatively repaired and rebuilt inside and out with project used to teach traditional building skills.
  • Commended: Queen Anne’s Summerhouse, Old Warden Park, Beds (The Whitworth Co-Partnership for The Landmark Trust) — 1712 rubbed-brick folly on Shuttleworth Estate. Converted to Landmark Trust letting property. Comprehensive restoration using traditional methods.

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The photos used above are all drawn from The Georgian Group Blog. Information about the Georgian Group awards for new buildings projects in the classical tradition can be found here»

Goya’s ‘Los Caprichos’ at The Taft in Cincinnati

Posted in exhibitions, lectures (to attend) by Editor on December 12, 2010

From The Taft’s website:

Francisco Goya: Los Caprichos
The Taft Museum of Art, Cincinnati, 4 December 2010 — 30 January 2011

Francisco José de Goya, "And So Was His Grandfather." ("Caprichos, no. 39: Asta su abuelo."), 1796–1797, aquatint, 1799.

For those who feel a secret empathy with Scrooge and the Grinch, the Taft offers an antidote to Yuletide’s good cheer this winter. The full set of Francisco Goya’s 80 haunting images from Los Caprichos (“The Whims” or “The Fantasies,” published in 1799) confront human hypocrisy, pretense, fear, and irrationality, picturing them in every conceivable form. Goya’s singularly original visions of monsters, specters, corpses, and other bitter or callous beings enact challenges to authority of all kinds, including that of the church and state. Los Caprichos are likely the great Spanish artist’s most influential works and continue to inspire artists to this day. As both prints and images, they are decades ahead of their time. In them, Goya pioneered astonishingly innovative etching techniques, visual forms, and artistic themes, anticipating the later movements known as Realism, Post-Impressionism, Symbolism, and Surrealism. The etchings on view are from an early first edition, one of four sets acquired directly from Goya, and belong now to an American private collector. The exhibition is organized by Landau Traveling Exhibitions. Goya (1746–1826) is one of the world’s greatest artists, as famous for portraits that seemingly penetrate his sitters’ souls as he is for portrayals of the brutality of
the Napoleonic Wars in Spain (1808–14). The Taft Museum of Art owns an
important oil portrait by Goya, Queen Maria Luisa of Spain, of about 1800.

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Edited by Janis Tomlinson (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2002), ISBN: 9780300094930, $75

Janis Tomlinson, “The Changing Face of Women in Goya’s Art”
The Taft Museum of Art, Cincinnati, 27 January 2011

Throughout his career, the Spanish artist Francisco Goya (1746-1828) explored the wide-ranging roles of women in Spanish society–from good mothers to prostitutes, seductive sirens to victims of war. Dr. Janis Tomlinson will explore the changing face of women in Goya’s paintings and prints, with special emphasis on their portrayal in the etchings of Los Caprichos. Tomlinson is director of University Museums at the University of Delaware and has written and spoken extensively on Goya.

Reviewed: ‘The Intimate Portrait’

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions, reviews by Editor on December 11, 2010

Recently added to caa.reviews:

Stephen Lloyd and Kim Sloan, The Intimate Portrait: Drawings, Miniatures, and Pastels from Ramsay to Lawrence, exhibition catalogue (Edinburgh and London: National Galleries of Scotland and British Museum, 2009). 272 pages, ISBN: 9781844543984, £25.

Reviewed by Robin Nicholson, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts; posted 1 December 2010.

The 2008 exhibition that this catalogue accompanied was instigated by the British Museum’s acquisition of an important drawing by Sir Thomas Lawrence, “Mary Hamilton” (1789). Cover-girl of the catalogue and an astonishing tour-de-force by the gifted nineteen-year-old artist, this work reminded authors Stephen Lloyd and Kim Sloan of just how ubiquitous miniatures and portrait drawings were in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries—particularly at the Royal Academy—and how central they were to the contemporary debates on the purpose and significance of portraiture. As Lloyd (of the Scottish National Portrait Gallery) and Sloan (of the British Museum) admit, this publication only begins to address some of the pressing issues of the genre. Their goal is “to open up the discourse . . . looking at them as physical objects as well as symbolic ones, asking how and why they were made, commissioned, whether for pleasure or as gifts, where they were kept or hung or worn—displayed, encased or bejeweled” (9). Although it can be deemed only a partial success, the catalogue is nonetheless a beautiful, erudite, and informative publication. . . .

For the full review, click here» (CAA membership required)

Call for Articles: Exoticism and Cosmopolitanism

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on December 11, 2010

Special Issue of Eighteenth-Century Fiction on Exoticism and Cosmopolitanism
Submissions due by 10 January 2011

Eighteenth-Century Fiction invites submissions to a special issue on exoticism and cosmopolitanism in the long eighteenth century (24:3, Spring 2012). Possible topics may include but are not confined to “tropicopolitanism,” or the relationship between cosmopolitan and colonial/postcolonial identities; the politics of cosmopolitan displays of exoticism in material and performance culture; the use of the “exotic” to mark the boundaries of the cosmopolis; the role of cosmopolitanism and exoticism as dual cultural forces in the shaping of national identities. We welcome articles that treat the topic in areas outside imaginative prose fiction. Electronic manuscripts (5,000-8,000 words) should reach the ECF office by 10 January 2011. Choose “Submit Article” at http://digitalcommons.mcmaster.ca/ecf/

La rédaction sollicite des articles pour un numéro spécial consacré à l’exotisme et le cosmopolitisme au xviiie siècle (parution: printemps 2012). Ce numéro est ouvert à la discussion de toute sorte de représentation de l’exotisme et du cosmopoli-tisme et ne se limite pas à ses représentations dans la fiction narrative. Parmis les sujets possibles: le « tropicopolitisme », ou le rapport entre identités cosmopolites et coloniales/postcoloniales; la politique de manifestations cosmopo-lites de l’exotisme dans la culture matérielle ou dans la performativité; l’emploi de l’« exotique » pour marquer les bornes du « cosmopole »; la fonction du cosmopolitisme et de l’exotisme en tant que forces culturelles dans la formation de l’identité nationale. Les manuscrits (5000-8000 mots) doivent parvenir à la rédaction avant le 1oem janvier 2011 (par courriel: ecf@mcmaster.ca).

Exhibition: Furniture of John Shearer

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on December 10, 2010

From the DAR Museum:

‘A True North Britain’: The Furniture of John Shearer, 1790-1820
Daughters of the American Revolution Museum, Washington, D.C., 8 October 2010 — 26 February 2011

Curated by Elizabeth Davison

The exquisitely detailed furniture of craftsman John Shearer is showcased in the DAR Museum exhibition ‘A True North Britain’: The Furniture of John Shearer, 1790-1820, which runs from October 8, 2010, through February 26, 2011. Noted not only for its form but also for the politically charged symbols inlaid in many pieces, the furniture helps to explore early America’s cultural ties to Great Britain during the most contentious period in the two nations’ shared history.

John Shearer worked in northern Virginia and western Maryland in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. He left behind no paper trail, choosing instead to inscribe his biography and his politics directly on his furniture. While other early craftsmen were inlaying
their work with eagles to symbolize a new American government,
Shearer glorified Great Britain and its Royal Navy.

Shearer was from Edinburgh, Scotland. Like many from this region, he identified with the Kingdom of Great Britain, formed by the 1707 Treaty of Union which unified Scotland and England. Shearer touts his loyalty by signing two desks on view in this exhibition with the slogan, “A True North Britain.” On another desk, he cheers Napoleon’s downfall and Britain’s victory in the Peninsular War by depicting a crowned lion rampant (rearing on hind legs, paws raised) from the Scottish and English royal coats of arms along with the inscription “Victory Be Thine.”

Shearer documented the Royal Navy’s exploits almost like a political cartoonist. Although fine furniture was an unusual medium for these messages, 52 of his pieces survive, showing that his pro-British sentiments did not deter demand for the simple but unconventionally embellished furniture. As America formed a national identity, its cultural and political diversity included many who retained a strong sense of loyalty to Great Britain.

Not all Shearer’s messages were meant to be seen, however. Shearer, following the age-old tradition of artist retaliating against problematic patron, hid a note inside one desk accusing his customer, a slave holder and trader, of being “the Greatest Scoundrel in Loudoun County.” This unique piece is among 20 on display in “A True North Britain.” Independent scholar Elizabeth Davison is the guest curator for this exhibition. Her book, a catalog raisonne of Shearer’s work, will be published this winter. Her expertise informs this exhibition, exploring the work of one eccentric artist to show how a diversity of cultures and loyalty was built into the foundations of our country.

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Elizabeth Davison, The Furniture of John Shearer, 1790-1820: A True North Britain in the Southern Backcountry (Altamira Press, 2011), 256 pages, ISBN: 978-0759119543, $90.

Conference on Cofinement

Posted in conferences (to attend) by Editor on December 9, 2010

Rethinking the Foucauldian emphasis on discipline and punishment. From the Early Modern History blog (which, unfortunately, is soon coming to an end) . . .

The Disease Within: Confinement in Europe, 1400-1800
Oxford Brookes University, Oxford, 4-5 May 2011

This two-day conference will bring together leading scholars from medical history, early modern social history and architectural history to exchange and debate ideas regarding the relationship between health and architecture in institutions of confinement. Two central themes will be explored: the effect of confinement on the health of those within the institutions and debates about the potential effects of unhealthy bodies of the poor, sick, criminal and dangerous inmates on wider towns and cities. Despite the best attempts by authorities, inhabitants and their diseases continued to pose a risk to communities’ health and morality from behind closed doors and beyond high walls.

The study of early modern Europe’s institution building has been overshadowed by debates regarding discipline and punishment. Only recently has a revisionist history of these sites been undertaken. The speakers at the conference have been
at the forefront of this important work. As yet, there has been little or no attempt
to consider confinement as a broad public health policy, encompassing a wide
variety of institutions, across a broad time period.

Plenary Speaker: Dr Kevin Siena (Trent University and Oxford Brookes
International Research Fellow 2010-11)

Other speakers include:
•Dr Patricia Allerston (National Galleries of Scotland)
•Dr Jonathan Andrews (University of Newcastle)
•Prof Anne Digby (Oxford Brookes University)
•Prof Guy Geltner (University of Amsterdam)
•Prof Vanessa Harding (Birkbeck College, University of London)
•Prof John Henderson (Birkbeck College, University of London)
•Prof Tim Hitchcock (University of Hertfordshire)
•Dr Peter Jones (Oxford Brookes University)
•Dr Peter Kirby (University of Manchester)
•Dr Laura McGough (University of Ghana)
•Dr Tim McHugh (Oxford Brookes University)
•Dr Alysa Levene (Oxford Brookes University)
•Dr Fabrizio Nevola (University of Bath)
•Prof Carole Rawcliffe (University of East Anglia)
•Dr Jane Stevens Crawshaw (Oxford Brookes University)
•Dr Sethina Watson (University of York)
Organiser: Dr. Jane Stevens-Crawshaw, jane.stevens-crawshaw@brookes.ac.uk

Please register via the conference website.

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