Study Day in Sydney To Celebrate Major Ceramics Gift

Posted in lectures (to attend), museums by Editor on October 18, 2012

To celebrate a major gift of maiolica and porcelain, the Art Gallery of New South Wales in Sydney is presenting a study day toward the end of this month. From the museums’ website:

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Renaissance and Rococo Ceramics Study Day: The Arts of Maiolica and Porcelain
Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 28 October 2012

Discover two of the most significant material innovations in the history of European decorative arts with this study day focused on the extraordinary Kenneth Reed Collection, in the European galleries. Comprising 16th- and 17th-century maiolica (tin-glazed earthenware) and 18th-century porcelain, the Reed Collection offers insight into Renaissance and rococo art and material culture.

Curator Richard Beresford and art historian Mark de Vitis outline the history of the two ceramic traditions, illustrated with examples from the Reed Collection, followed by a demonstration of materials and processes by noted Sydney ceramicist Bronwyn Kemp.

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From the press release (16 October 2012) . . .

Meissen (Germany), Parrots, 1745, hard-paste porcelain, 39 x 27 x 18 cm (on loan from Kenneth Reed) The group was originally modeled by Joseph Joachim Kändler in April 1745 for Augustus III’s consort Maria Josepha of Austria.

Kenneth Reed today announced his intention to bequeath to the Art Gallery of New South Wales his entire private collection of 200 pieces of rare and valuable 18th-century European porcelain valued at $5.4 million. Mr Reed also helped the Gallery acquire an important Italian renaissance maiolica masterpiece, Francesco Xanto Avelli’s Sack of Rome plate of 1530 with his generous donation of $550,000.

‘This most generous gift to the Gallery represents a significant addition to the Gallery’s European collection. Ken has been one of our most generous benefactors in the history of this Gallery’, said Michael Brand, director, Art Gallery of New South Wales.

Mr Reed, a Sydney-based retired lawyer, has been a collector of European paintings and decorative arts for more than 25 years. He says that he was inspired by visits as a child to the Art Gallery of New South Wales where his father used to take the family on Sunday afternoons.

The Gallery is to receive a spectacular group of parrots originally modelled at Meissen by Joseph Joachim Kändler for Augustus III’s consort, Maria Josepha of Austria, superlative examples of Vincennes and Sèvres porcelain, including a rare rose marbré tea service, a unique piece of experimental hard paste from the early 1760s, plus
exquisite Chelsea figures and wares from all periods of the factory’s

Sèvres, Bust of Louis XV, ca. 1762-63, hard-paste porcelain, 11 x 9 x 6 cm
(on loan from Kenneth Reed)

In the words of Richard Beresford, senior curator of European art, “This promised gift transforms the Gallery’s presentation of European art. We have never owned anything comparable in range and quality to this collection but now the Gallery will be able to show some of the highest quality 18th-century porcelain in the world. The Gallery has had neglected holdings of European decorative arts until now. The decision to show 16th-18th-century ceramics alongside paintings of the same period will add a new dimension to the Gallery’s collection display. The Gallery is now also better placed to respond to an expected rise in public interest in ceramic history.”

In 2010 Kenneth Reed announced a bequest to the Gallery which then consisted of 25 old master paintings, 25 pieces of 18th-century porcelain and 22 pieces of Italian maiolica from the 16th and 17th centuries. The addition to his bequest of this European porcelain brings the total value of the bequest to almost $13 million, ranking Mr Reed among the top benefactors in the Gallery’s history.

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