Dumfries House in Architectural Digest, February 2012

Posted in journal articles, on site by Editor on January 31, 2012

It’s a widely-shared sentiment, but I think Margaret Russell is doing a fantastic job as editor at Architectural Digest (Penelope Green’s New York Times coverage of the appointment is available here). This month’s issue of AD includes a fine feature, with lovely photos by Derry Moore, on Dumfries House (having just returned from Venice, I’m especially struck by the stunning Murano chandeliers!, original to the house). A Christie’s press release for the planned 2007 sale underscores just how fortunate we are to have the house and its contents still intact. The design team included Piers von Westenholz and David Mlinaric (along with the 2008 book on Mlinaric’s work from Frances Lincoln publishers, there’s an interesting interview with him at the V&A’s website) . -CH

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From Architectural Digest:

James Reginato, “Prince Charles Unveils Dumfries House,” Architectural Digest (February 2012): 58-69.

Scotland’s most dazzling historic country house opens its doors after a rejuvenation spearheaded by His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales

John and Robert Adam, Dumfries House, Ayrshire, Scotland, 1754-59 (Photo by Derry Moore for Architectural Digest)

Several years ago, a major drama unfolded in Great Britain when Dumfries House, one of the most significant and beautiful historic properties in the Commonwealth, teetered on the verge of sale and dispersal. The 18th-century Palladian villa in Ayrshire, Scotland, is a seminal work of renowned architect Robert Adam and his brothers, John and James; it contains a world-class collection of British Rococo furniture, including some 50 examples from a fledgling cabinetmaker named Thomas Chippendale. Ordered straight from the craftsman’s workshop in 1759 by the fifth Earl of Dumfries, who commissioned the house and took up residence there the following year, the furnishings now form part of a magnificent
ensemble that embodies, in the words of His Royal Highness
the Prince of Wales, “British craftsmanship at its best.”

Blue Drawing Room, Dumfries House (Photo by Derry Moore for Architectural Digest)

The fate of the mansion had begun to seesaw in 2005, when John Crichton-Stuart, the seventh Marquess of Bute (a celebrated Formula One driver whose family had inherited the Dumfries title in the early 19th century), felt the strain of balancing its ownership with that of Mount Stuart, the immense Victorian Gothic palace and grounds where he currently resides. Dumfries, exquisite and well looked after though it was, had not been lived in by the family for some 150 years, except for a near-40-year residency by the fifth marquess’s widow, from 1956 to 1993. It truly was a sleeping beauty.

Family Bedroom, Dumfries House (Photo by Derry Moore for Architectural Digest)

When a deal to sell the 2,000-acre property to the Scottish National Trust fell through, Lord Bute took the bold move of marketing it via an estate agency and hiring Christie’s to sell off its holdings. Experts at the auction house began documenting the contents of the mansion; a two-volume catalogue was produced, and sale dates were set for July 12 and 13, 2007.

Just weeks before the auction, however, Dumfries’s plight came to the attention of Prince Charles—a tireless, and rather fearless, advocate of British heritage. . . .

More of the online excerpt of the story and additional photos are available at Architectural Digest.com

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For bloggers and bloggers-to-be, there’s a useful video clip of Margaret Russell speaking in New York at Kravet’s Design BlogFest (18 May 2011). Her appearance underscores, I think, both how hard she’s working to breathe new life into AD and how much blogs have changed the design landscape.

UK’s National Oil Painting Collection Online at the BBC Website

Posted in resources by Editor on January 30, 2012

Your Paintings is a project to put the UK’s entire national collection of oil paintings on one website. It is a partnership between the BBC, the Public Catalogue Foundation and 3,000 collections around the United Kingdom including museums, universities, civic collections, the Arts Council and the National Trust.

The purpose of the project is to open up the UK’s 200,000-strong oil painting collection for learning, research and public enjoyment. To this end, over the last nine years the PCF has been making a photographic record of all oil paintings in public ownership in the United Kingdom. 80% of these paintings are in storage. And at least two thirds of these paintings have not been photographed before.

When complete at the end of 2012 the website will show 200,000 paintings by some 40,000 artists.

Discover the website – Over 100,000 paintings are already online

Reynolds at Auction?

Posted in Art Market by Editor on January 29, 2012

On 11 December 2011 (Sale 131), Grogan and Company Fine Art Auctioneers and Appraisers sold a portrait of Captain Benjamin Davies by Joshua Reynolds, along with an unattributed portrait of the captain’s wife, Elisabeth Viscount Davies, for $8470 (surpassing the estimate of $3000-5000). With the paintings having been handed down within the family from generation to generation, this was the first time they were offered on the open market. The following description comes from ArtDaily:

Sir Joshua Reynolds, Portrait of Captain Benjamin Davies
with unattributed Portrait of Elisabeth Viscount Davies, 1761-72

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Benjamin Davies was born in 1728 in Bristol, England and immigrated to New York in 1750. His seafaring career began with a voyage to China, as an apprentice to Captain William Sedgwick, Commander of the London East India Company Service. He also accompanied Captain George Jackson to India before taking passage to New York in 1850 aboard the Neptune. In 1753 he married Elizabeth Viscount, a recent widow of Dutch descent. The next 13 years was spent in the seafaring trade with many partners, much of which is documented in his Diaries, currently located in the Colgate papers at Yale University Library.

In 1765, when the Stamp Act was to be established in the Colonies, Davies took command of the ship Hope and sailed to England with his wife Elisabeth to secure items for his mercantile business. While there, he had a pendant portrait made of his wife with the ship Hope in the background to match the earlier portrait he commissioned from Sir Joshua Reynolds. The Beekman Mercantile Papers at the New York Historical Society contains references to Benjamin Davies making multiple voyages as Captain of the ship Hope between England and American between 1765-1771. . . .

The full article at ArtDaily is available here»

Call for Papers: Undergraduate Symposium on the Body

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on January 29, 2012

The Body in Visual Culture: An Undergraduate Student Symposium
University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, 4 May 2012

Proposals due by 1 April 2012

Keynote Speaker: Gregory Williams, Assistant Professor of Art History at Boston University and author of Permission to Laugh: Humor and Politics in Contemporary German Art (University of Chicago Press, 2012)

Bodies function as indicators of identity. A toned and muscular body indicates a laborer, or someone who is concerned with their health whereas a frail or emaciated body may indicate trauma or an eating disorder. An obese body could indicate sloth or illness, although historically it has been a sign of wealth and even beauty. A body plastered in tattoos could designate gall, a passionate form of expression, one who loves art, or one who has lost a lot of bets. Based on cultural “standards,” some bodies, such as those of women and minorities, have at times indicated inferiority, while others, such as those of Aryan men, have stood for superiority. However, the practice of identifying someone by their body is nothing more than assumption, which is rarely accurate in comparison to the way one defines their own identity. Throughout history, this disparity has resulted in detrimental action in society including stereotyping, discrimination, oppression, and in extreme cases, genocide.

The College of Visual and Performing Arts (CVPA) Art History Club at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth seeks proposals for an undergraduate student symposium on the topic of the body in visual culture. We are interested in projects that address the role of the sexuality, oppression, gender, identity in the representation of the body as well as the transformation of the body at the hands of technology. (more…)

Kark Kirk to Head up Getty Publications

Posted in books by Editor on January 28, 2012

Press release (25 January 2012) from the Getty:

The J. Paul Getty Trust announced today the appointment of Kara Kirk as publisher of Getty Publications, effective April 13. Kirk, who was chosen after an international search, most recently served for six years as associate publisher at The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York, where she worked on all aspects of the publications process, from editorial development to distribution and sales. In addition, she managed a variety of new media projects and worked as part of a museum-wide team to develop a strategic plan for MoMA’s digital publishing initiatives.

Prior to moving to New York, Kirk served as the Getty’s general manager of publications from 2002–2006. Previously, she was the director of publications and graphic design at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. She holds an MLA from Stanford University and a BA from Pomona College.

As publisher, Kara will work to ensure that the Getty is a leader in art publishing in both print and new media. “Our goal is to create a list that reflects the Getty’s current activities and aspirations, one that builds on a record of excellence to achieve real eminence,” said Deborah Marrow, director of the Getty Foundation, who oversees the work of Getty Publications. “We are delighted that Kara will be the one to guide us on this path.”

“I am delighted to be returning to the Getty and to have the chance to work with such a stellar team.  It is an interesting moment to be a publisher and I look forward to addressing the many challenges and opportunities afforded by the changing terrain to insure that the Getty continues to make valuable and lasting contributions to art history publishing.

Exhibition: Shakespeare on Canvas at YCBA

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on January 27, 2012

From YCBA:

‘While these visions did appear’: Shakespeare on Canvas
Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, 3 January — 3 June 2012

Curated by Eleanor Hughes and Christina Smylitopoulos

Johann Heinrich Ramberg, "Olivia, Maria, and Malvolio, from 'Twelfth Night', Act III, Scene iv," 1789, oil on canvas (Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Fund)

“While these visions did appear,” a selection of Shakespearian subjects drawn from the Center’s permanent collection of paintings, forms part of Yale’s university-wide celebration of the works of William Shakespeare (1564–1616). This display focuses primarily on depictions of Shakespeare’s comedies, but also draws on comedic elements from the tragedies and histories, and encourages consideration of the multifaceted ways—verbal and visual—in which Shakespeare’s plays have inspired painters and audiences alike.

Artists and patrons in the eighteenth century responded to and encouraged the assertion of Shakespeare as Britain’s foremost national playwright. Through the remarkable efforts of David Garrick, the actor and Drury Lane theater manager, the plays flourished on the stage, while the promotion of the playwright as the “immortal bard” was seized as an opportunity to foster a British school of history painting.

Combining commerce and connoisseurship, entrepreneurial publishers like John “Alderman” Boydell and James Woodmason commissioned works such as a scene from Twelfth Night by Johann Heinrich Ramberg, and Francis Wheatley’s scene from The Two Gentlemen of Verona, respectively, creating what amounted to a new genre: the Shakespearean conversation piece. Strategies of representation included the depiction of famous actors and actresses in favored roles, such as Benjamin van der Gucht’s portrait of actor Henry Woodward in the role of Petruchio in David Garrick’s adaptation of The Taming of the Shrew, and James Northcote’s portrait of the child actor William Henry West Betty in the role of Hamlet. Other compositions, destined to be illustrations for new print editions of Shakespeare’s plays, depict characters in pivotal dramatic moments, such as Phillippe-Jacques de Loutherbourg’s portrait of Falstaff from Henry IV. (more…)

Session on Cosmopolitanism and Nationalism at AAH 2012

Posted in conferences (to attend) by Editor on January 26, 2012

A former Enfilade intern, Freya Gowrley, is organizing a session at this year’s AAH meeting at the Open University in Milton Keynes (29-31 March) with Viccy Coltman. The session, on ‘Conflicting Art Histories’, has its own website with presentation abstracts. The site raises an interesting question of how one might maximize the effectiveness of a conference session generally, along with the possibility that it might sometimes mean venturing beyond (or at least supplementing) the normal conference parameters of communication . . . -CH

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Call for Papers: Le Salon de l’Académie Royale de Peinture et Sculpture

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on January 22, 2012

From Fabula:

The Salon of the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture: Archaeology of an Institution
National Museum of Fine Arts, Quebec, 13-15 September 2012

Proposals due by 15 March 2012

International Symposium by Centre Interuniversitaire d’étude sur la République des lettres (CIERL), under the direction of Dr Isabelle Pichet

The historiography of the Salon of the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture in Paris is often bereft of a key part of its history: how the Salon itself became an art institution. Originally integrated into the fêtes de l’Académie, over time the Salon came to be best known in the form of a temporary, independent, and recurrent exhibition. This event developed little by little, reimagining itself through and eventually blossoming as the popular biennal exhibition. The unique character of the Salon was established through the regular repetition of the exhibition cycle, a sequence that helped to root the event’s particular characteristics in the minds of the public and in the regard of other institutions. In creating this rhythm within Parisians’ horizon of expectation, the Salon provided a habitus for their audience; moreover, the Salon inspired curiosity and desire in the provinces and nations that sought to imitate it.

This conference seeks to define and better understand the trajectory followed by the Salon from its emergence in the late 17th century to its full maturity in the second half of the 18th century. This symposium aims also to identify the diverse parameters and conditions that contributed to the development and helped to affirm the singularity of the Salon. This call for papers solicits proposals that will increase our understanding of the foundations and limits that shaped the form and content of the Salon as well as help us to survey the influence and impact of these exhibitions on various aspects of French and European society. As a multidisciplinary event, this conference is a laboratory and reflection on current research and scholarly approaches that consider the Salon and its place in the “art worlds,” as well as literature, philosophy, politics, and history.

New, unpublished papers shall not exceed the twenty minutes allocated to each participant. Proposals for papers (title and abstract of 250 words, institutional affiliation) should be sent to the committee before March 15, 2012 at the following address: colloque.salon@lit.ulaval.ca

Plenary lecture by Dr. Kim de Beaumont, Adjunct professor at Hunter College, Art Historian specialist of Gabriel de Saint-Aubin

Curatorial Fellowship at the Indianapolis Museum of Art

Posted in fellowships, graduate students, opportunities by Editor on January 21, 2012

Allen Whitehill Clowes Curatorial Fellowship
Indianapolis Museum of Art, 2012-2013

Applications due by 30 March 2012

The Indianapolis Museum of Art is pleased to announce a nine-month curatorial fellowship. The fellowship supports scholarly research related to the Clowes Collection at the IMA and provides curatorial training in the field of European painting and sculpture. The Clowes Fellow is fully integrated into the curatorial division of the Museum and has duties comparable to those of an assistant curator, ranging from collection research and management to exhibition development and the preparation of interpretive materials and programs.

To be eligible for the fellowship, the applicant must be enrolled in a graduate course of study leading to an advanced degree in the history of art or a related discipline, or be a recent degree recipient (within the last two years). Applicants must demonstrate scholarly excellence and promise, as well as a strong interest in the museum profession. U.S. citizenship is not required.

The Clowes Fellow will receive a stipend of $18,000 and an educational travel allowance of $2,000. Housing is provided in a scholar’s residence on the grounds of the museum. The nine-month fellowship period will begin September 4, 2012. The appointment is renewable. (more…)

New Resource for the History of Paper

Posted in resources, teaching resources by Editor on January 20, 2012

Though especially concerned with issues of book production, this research and the resulting website have implications for all early modern print culture. Aimed at a wide range of audiences — “from the complete novice to the paper-conservation scientist” — the site might be especially helpful for teaching purposes..CH

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From a UICB press release (17 January 2012) . . .

Tim Barrett of the University of Iowa Center for the Book Launches Paper History Website

Research by a University of Iowa led team reveals new information about why paper made hundreds of years ago often holds up better over time than more modern paper. Led by Timothy Barrett, director of papermaking facilities at the UI Center for the Book, the team analyzed 1,578 historical papers made between the 14th and the 19th centuries. Barrett and his colleagues devised methods to determine their chemical composition without requiring a sample to be destroyed in the process, which had limited past research. The results of this three-year project show that the oldest papers were often in the best condition, in part, Barrett says, due to high levels of gelatin and calcium.

“This is news to many of us in the fields of papermaking history and rare book and art conservation,” says Barrett. “The research results will impact the manufacture of modern paper intended for archival applications, and the care and conservation of historical works on paper.”

Barrett says one possible explanation for the higher quality of the paper in the older samples is that papermakers at the time were attempting to compete with parchment, a tough enduring material normally made from animal skins. In doing so, they made their papers thick and white and dipped the finished sheets into a dilute warm gelatin solution to toughen it. . . .

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From the project website, Paper through Time . . .

This website is designed for use by a wide range of visitors, from the complete novice to the paper-conservation scientist. Newcomers to the site may want to begin with the PROJECT OVERVIEW & AUTHORS and CONCLUSIONS sections for a quick sense of our research and what we learned. Those unfamiliar with papermaking history and technique may wish to start with European Papermaking Techniques 1300-1800 (under BACKGROUND) for an introduction to the craft. Visitors with a strong interest in papermaking history, materials and processes, paper permanence, paper science, and paper conservation are advised to begin at the top of the menu to the left and click on each tab, reading as interest and time permit. The site will be updated regularly. Suggestions for changes are welcome via email messages . . .

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