State Music Room at Stowe House To Be Restored

Posted in on site, the 18th century in the news by Editor on April 30, 2011

Press release from Sue Bond Public Relations:

Through World Monuments Fund (WMF), The Paul Mellon Estate has announced a pledge of $250,000 towards the restoration of the State Music Room at Stowe House, the magnificent Grade I listed Neo-Classical palace set in 400 acres of landscaped park in Buckinghamshire. The funding means that the work will begin this year and should be completed by 2012-13.

WMF Britain’s Chief Executive Dr Jonathan Foyle said “The generous gift of The Paul Mellon Estate, along with donations from our members, trusts and foundations and others who responded to our recent Music Room Challenge, will allow one of the principal rooms of Stowe to be restored for everyone to enjoy. This magnificent response brings WMF’s £10 million fundraising challenge for Stowe to within £410,000 of its target – wonderfully positive news in these economically challenged times.” Completion of the State Music
Room will allow the core of historic spaces at Stowe to be presented as they
were at the turn of the 19th century, following the recent restoration of the
Marble Saloon and the Large Library.

World Monuments Fund Britain (WMF) included Stowe in its 2002 Watch List of endangered sites and began to support the project by substantially funding the restoration of the astonishing Marble Saloon with its 57-foot-high dome which was completed in 2005. One of the largest and most spectacular spaces to be found in any British country house, the Saloon is an oval version of the Pantheon in Rome. WMF in partnership with Stowe House Preservation Trust (SHPT) has undertaken the daunting challenge of restoring this great mansion with its 400 rooms and 1/6 mile-wide façade.

Situated between the Marble Saloon and the Large Library, the State Music Room is one of the finest late 18th century spaces in Britain, showcasing Italian artistry in the heart of England. Whilst begun in 1676, it was only after a century of ceaseless building and landscape gardening that Richard Grenville-Temple (1711-79), 2nd Earl Temple to some, largely completed
Stowe House, including the south front, the Temple Room and the Music
Room in the 1770s. (more…)

This Month’s ‘Burlington Magazine’

Posted in books, exhibitions, journal articles, site information by Editor on April 29, 2011

This month’s issue of The Burlington Magazine is devoted to British Art with the following eighteenth-century offerings:

The Burlington Magazine 153 (April 2011)

  • Richard Hewlings, “Nicholas Hawksmoor in Chester,” pp. 224-28.
  • Hugh Belsey, “Reading the Caricature Groups of Thomas Patch,” pp. 229-31.
  • Malcolm Warner, Review of British Paintings in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1575-1875, Katharine Baetjer, p. 257.
  • Brian Allen, Review of James Barry, 1741-1806: History Painter, ed. Tom Dunne and William Pressly, pp. 258-59.
  • Timothy Wilcox, Review of Constable, Jonathan Clarkson, pp. 259-60.
  • Giles Waterfield, Review of The English Virtuoso: Art, Medicine, and Antiquarianism in the Age of Empiricism, Craig Hanson, pp. 266-67.
  • Alex Kidson, Review of the exhibition Georgian Faces: Portrait of a County, pp. 274-75.

Conference in Paris: Art and Sociability in the Eighteenth Century

Posted in conferences (to attend) by jfmit18th on April 28, 2011

If you will be in Paris for the summer, do not miss Art et Sociabilité au 18e siècle. The full conference program is now available online. –JF

Art et Sociabilité au 18e siècle
Institut national d’histoire de l’art, Paris, 23-25 June 2011

Over the past two decades, sociabilité has become a useful and hotly debated concept for discussing the social, political and cultural changes during the eighteenth century. The works of Daniel Roche, Dena Goodman, Daniel Gordon, Antoine Lilti, and others have demonstrated that sociabilité can be fruitfully approached from the perspectives of sociology, philosophy and anthropology. In the eighteenth century, the Encyclopédie defined the term as “This inclination we have to do to others all the good that we can, to reconcile our happiness with that of others, and always to subordinate our personal advantage to the overall and communal advantage” (Louis de Jaucourt, 1751-1765) – that is, it was an abstract concept that explained the desire humankind had to participate in society.  At the time, it was intricately linked to the social practice of commerce, broadly defined as any reciprocal communication or exchange. The emerging public sphere of the period, constituted by spaces such as academies, literary salons, and Masonic lodges,
was the stage on which such exchanges were enacted.

Since the publication of Thomas Crow’s Painters and Public Life in Eighteenth-Century Paris, art historians have taken an interest in the role of artists in the public sphere. These studies tend to take a monographic approach that is more interested in reconstructing the history of an individual artist, salonnière, or collector rather than the role that artworks played in larger systems of practice and exchange. This symposium will examine sociabilité in the eighteenth-century art world through the theme of social practice. By investigating the social practices of artists, amateurs, critics, salonniers and others we seek to uncover the larger networks of social exchange created by the commerce of material objects through collection practices, the art market and the display of art, and by the commerce of ideas through writing and conversation. To what extent did social practices in the public sphere influence artistic production and the material, economic, and verbal exchanges that took place around that production?

Lecture: The Figure of the Amateur in the Eighteenth Century

Posted in lectures (to attend) by Editor on April 27, 2011

From Le Blog de L’APAHAU:

Charlotte Guichard, La figure de l’amateur au XVIIIe siècle
Centre allemand d’histoire de l’art, Paris, 28 April 2011

Jean-Baptiste Greuze, "Portrait of Claude-Henri Watelet," ca. 1765 ( Louvre)

Traditionnellement associé au collectionneur ou relégué au rang de simple dilettante, l’amateur est en réalité au XVIIIe siècle une figure centrale dans la constitution des savoirs artistiques. A distance de la conception kantienne, le langage du goût renvoie alors à des opérations cognitives dans le monde des amateurs. Non pas désintéressés, mais passionnément liés aux objets, à leur matérialité et à leur ordonnancement, les savoirs de l’amateur sont des savoirs du geste, articulés à un faire et à une praxis. La conférence présentera la spécificité de cette figure et son rôle dans la formation du discours de l’histoire de l’art, à travers l’exemple des « Rymbranesques », ces gravures d’artistes amateurs qui furent un des lieux où se construisit la grandeur de Rembrandt et son intégration dans le canon artistique.

Study Tour of Scotland / Conference on Edinburgh Cast Collection

Posted in conferences (to attend), on site by Editor on April 27, 2011

This study tour sounds appealing enough on its own, but I was especially struck by the timing: it’s organized in conjunction with the EAHN/Docomomo conference. So often it seems that academic conferences could do a better job exploring the host area’s resources, and yet schedules tend to hold little room for excursions. This seems like an interesting solution. Also, as noted on the itinerary, there is at the same time a conference on the Edinburgh Cast Collection. -CH

EAHN Architectural Study Tour of Scotland
8-11 September 2011

Registration due by 1 June 2011

Princes Street Gardens, Edinburgh (Photo by James Denham, Wikimedia Commons)

Join the European Architectural History Network for an architectural study tour of Scotland from 8-11 September 2011. Tour highlights include Edinburgh, Glasgow, and five centuries of Scottish architecture, ranging from a selection of castles through postwar mass housing. The tour will be led by local scholars and will be accompanied by a coordinator from the EAHN. The tour fee of 96 euros includes guides and tour bus transportation; it does not include hotels, meals, or international transportation. For complete information and registration details, please consult the schedule.

◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊

Cast Collection, Edinburgh College of Art

Also in September, the Edinburgh College of Art and the University of Edinburgh will host a conference on the Edinburgh Cast Collection. Founded in 1798, this is the second oldest educational collection in the UK, with donations by Lord Elgin, Canova, Thorvaldsen. The conference will be a major academic event with a section on Architecture and Cityscape. Details will be available in June.

New Title: ‘Maria Spilsbury’

Posted in books by Editor on April 26, 2011

Charlotte Yeldham, Maria Spilsbury Taylor (1776-1820): Artist and Evangelical (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2010), 230 pages, ISBN: 9780754669913, $124.95.

Maria Spilsbury Taylor (1776-1820) lived and worked in London and Ireland and was patronized by the Prince Regent. A painter of portraits, genre scenes, biblical subjects and large crowd compositions – an unusual feature in women’s art of this period – she is represented in major museums and art galleries as well as in numerous private collections. Her work, hitherto considered on a purely decorative level, merits closer attention.

For the first time, this volume argues the relevance of Spilsbury’s religious background, and in particular her evangelical and Moravian connections, to the interpretation of her art and examines her pervasive, and often inovert references to the Bible, hymnody and religious writing. The art that emerges is distinctly Protestant and evangelical, offering a vivid illustration of the mood of patriotic, Protestant fervour that characterized the quarter century succeeding the French revolution. This focus may be situated in the general context of increasing interest in the religious faith of historical actors – men and women – in the eighteenth century, and in the related contexts of growing acknowledgement of a religious aspect to “enlightenment” art, as well as investigations into Protestant culture in Ireland. The book is extensively illustrated and contains a list of all of Spilsbury’s known works.

Contents: Introduction; Family background; A Moravian childhood; Early career; Themes 1798–1813; Exhibition and marriage; Ireland 1813/14 to 1820; Reputation; List of works; Bibliography; Index.

Charlotte Yeldham is an independent scholar based in the UK.

Women’s Studies Group Annual Workshop in London

Posted in Calls for Papers, conferences (to attend) by Editor on April 25, 2011

From the Women’s Studies Group website:

Annual Workshop of the Women’s Studies Group 1558-1837
University College London, 25 June 2011

We are delighted to announce that Dr Ann B. (Rusty) Shteir will be the guest  speaker at our annual workshop on Saturday 25 June. The topic is ‘Myths of Flora: Representing, Repudiating, Recuperating the Goddess of Flowers’. Dr Shteir is Professor of Women’s Studies and Humanities, York University, Toronto. Her book Cultivating Women, Cultivating Science: Flora’s Daughters and Botany in England, 1760 to 1860 was awarded the Joan Kelly Memorial Prize for Women’s History, American Historical Association, 1996. She will introduce eighteenth-century Flora mythologies as depicted in mythology textbooks and other visual and textual forms and discuss the different interpretive methods for analysing the Flora Story.

Delegates are invited to bring presentations in the following subjects:
Women and Science
Women and Botany
Women’s Writing in the Long Eighteenth Century

Full details are now available on our website.  All are welcome – please forward this message to your friends and colleagues.  We recommend early registration as places will be limited.

New Title: Eighteenth-Century Royal Monuments

Posted in books by Editor on April 24, 2011

Charlotte Chastel-Rousseau, ed., Reading the Royal Monument in Eighteenth-Century Europe (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2011), 232 pages, ISBN: 9780754655756, $99.95.

Reading the Royal Monument in Eighteenth-Century Europe is the first in-depth study of the major role played by royal monuments in the public space of expanding cities across eighteenth-century Europe. Using the royal public statues as the basis for its examination of modern European cities, the book considers the development of urban landscapes from the creation of capital cities to the last embers of the Ancien Régime and at how the royal politics of the arts affected the cityscapes of the time. The focus of the book thereby intersects across a spectrum of disciplines, including the social and architectural history of cities, the politics of urban planning, the history of monumental sculpture, and the material culture of the eighteenth century.

  • Charlotte Chastel-Rousseau, Introduction
  • Etienne Jollet, The king and others: multiple figures in French royal monuments of the modern era
  • Daniel Rabreau, Statues of Louis XV: illustrating the monarch’s character in public squares whilst renewing urban art
  • Godehard Janzing, ‘Levez-vous, citoyens!’ Military reforms and the fate of the pedestal slaves in 18th-century France
  • Miguel Figueira de Faria, 6 June, the king’s birthday present: an insight into the history of royal monuments in Portugal at the end of the ancien régime
  • Basile Baudez, The monument to Peter the Great by Falconet: a place royale by the Neva?
  • Johan Cederlund, Two royal monuments in Stockholm
  • David Bindman, King of the new republic: Houdon’s equestrian monument to George Washington
  • Alexander Grönert, Independence in the imperial realm: political iconography and urbanism in 18th-century Palermo
  • Charlotte Chastel-Rousseau, Originals or replicas? Royal equestrian monuments in 18th-century Great Britain and Ireland,
  • Philip McEvansoneya, Royal monuments and civic ritual in 18th-century Dublin

Charlotte Chastel-Rousseau received a PhD in history of art from the Université Paris I- Panthéon- Sorbonne on “Royal monuments and public space in Great-Britain and Ireland, 1714-1820” in 2005. After ten years spent in England, in Oxford, London, and Leeds, she now lives in Paris and works in the Musée du Louvre for the art-historical programmes in the auditorium. She has mainly written on eighteenth-century British and French monumental sculpture and town-planning and is currently particularly interested in the circulation of artistic models and ideas in a European cultural space from the Renaissance to the eighteenth century.

‘Paris: Life & Luxury’ Opens at the Getty

Posted in exhibitions, lectures (to attend) by Editor on April 23, 2011

The Getty exhibition on life in an eighteenth-century Parisian townhouse opens next week. The image list is available here. Programming includes the following, as noted in the Press Kit:

Paris: Life & Luxury
J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, 26 April — 7 August 2011
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, 18 September — 10 December 2011

Curated by Charissa Bremer-David with Peter Björn Kerber

Evoking the elegant, prosperous world of Rococo Paris, this major, international loan exhibition brings to life activities that took place inside a Parisian town house over the course of a typical day—from dressing and letter writing to dining, music, and other evening entertainments. Paris: Life and Luxury unites prime examples of the extraordinary creative virtuosity of the period’s great artists and craftsmen, including furniture, fashion, silver, paintings, sculpture, musical instruments, clocks, and books. Rarely shown together, these objects literally and figuratively open up, allowing their functions and the parts they played in the fine art of eighteenth-century Parisian living to be understood by contemporary visitors.


Blogging, Now and Then (250 Years Ago)
Thursday, April 28, 7:00 pm
Long before the Internet, Europeans exchanged information in ways that anticipated blogging. The key element of their information system was the anecdote, a term that meant nearly the opposite then from what it means today. Robert Darnton (Carl H. Pforzheimer University Professor and Director of the Harvard University Library at Harvard University) explains how anecdotes became a staple in the daily diet of news consumed by readers in 18th-century France and England.

Street Songs and Sedition in 18th-Century Paris: A Cabaret-Lecture
Saturday, April 30, 7:30 pm
In 18th-century Paris, most information traveled through oral systems of communication, and the most powerful means of transmission was song. Parisians composed new verses to old tunes nearly every day. The songs provided a running commentary on current events. In this presentation, Parisian cabaret artist Hélène Delavault sings historical songs and, with Robert Darnton (Carl H. Pforzheimer University Professor and Director of the Harvard University Library, Harvard University), explains their complex meanings.

Representing Interiors in French 18th-Century Portraits
Sunday, May 22, 3:00 pm
Xavier Salmon, Director of Patrimony and the Collections at the Château of Fontainebleau, explores the development and significance of domestic portraiture in 18th-century France. During this period, painters were careful to provide indications of the profession or social standing of their sitters, and the genre developed to showcase the subjects in domestic settings.


Life and Luxury in 18th-Century Paris
Saturday, July 16, 10:30 am—3:30 pm
Join this focused course exploring the domestic activities of the 18th-century French elite. Educators Noelle Valentino and Christine Spier, together with one of the exhibition’s curators, examine how decorative arts relate to the daily rituals of the period. Course fee: $35; $25 students.

Culinary Workshop: Taste of Paris
Thursday, June 16, 10:30 am – 2:00 pm; repeats June 17
Travel to an 18th century Parisian town house in the exhibition Paris: Life and Luxury and discover the prevailing culinary and artistic tastes of the prosperous world of Rococo Paris. Then prepare and enjoy a class meal inspired by period foods and recipes. Course fee $75. Open to 20 participants.

A R T I S T – A T – W O R K – D E M O N S T R A T I O N 

Paris Fashion
Sunday, May 1, 15, & 29, and June 5 & 19, 1:00—3:00 pm
Join historic costume designer Maxwell Barr as he explores fashion in the prosperous world of 18th-century Paris. Barr demonstrates the extraordinary craftsmanship and virtuosity of the textiles and designs used to create period clothing. (more…)

Eighteenth-Century Easter Bunny at Winterthur

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on April 22, 2011

From ArtDaily:

Eighteenth-Century Drawing of an Easter Rabbit
Winterthur Museum, 21 April — 8 May 2011

Attributed to Johann Conrad Gilbert, "Easter Rabbit," second half of the eighteenth century (Winterthur Museum)

Winterthur Museum recently acquired one of the earliest known American depictions of the Easter Bunny, which was sold at Pook & Pook auction house in Downingtown, Pennsylvania. Together with the Christmas tree, the custom of the Easter rabbit and colored eggs was brought to America by immigrants from southwestern Germany in the 1700s, and has become a favorite American tradition. This delightful image is attributed to schoolmaster Johann Conrad Gilbert (1734–1812), who emigrated from Germany in 1757 and ultimately settled in Berks County, Pennsylvania. He likely made the drawing as a gift for one of his students. A similar drawing, also attributed to Gilbert, is in the collection of
Colonial Williamsburg.

These drawings are examples of a Pennsylvania German tradition of decorated manuscripts known as fraktur, which include birth and baptismal certificates, family records, writing samples, and bookplates. Lisa Minardi, a fraktur expert and assistant curator of the museum’s current exhibition, Paint, Pattern & People: Furniture of Southeastern Pennsylvania, 1725–1850, notes, “The Easter rabbit drawing is one of the rarest of all fraktur, with only two examples known, and is a major addition to Winterthur ’s collection.” “This important acquisition allows Winterthur to document the Germanic beginnings of a beloved American tradition,” adds J. Thomas Savage, Winterthur ’s director of museum affairs.

The full article at ArtDaily is available here»

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