Enfilade

Exhibition | Sacred Stitches: Ecclesiastical Textiles at Waddesdon Manor

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on July 9, 2013

Paul Holberton published the catalogue for this exhibition now on view at Waddesdon Manor:

Sacred Stitches: Ecclesiastical Textiles in the Rothschild Collection at Waddesdon Manor
Waddesdon Manor, Buckinghamshire, 27 March – 27 October 2013

Curated by Rachel Boak

Sacred Stitches CVRSacred Stitches accompanies an exhibition that assembles together for the first time fragments of opulent and unique ecclesiastical textiles drawn from the stored collections at Waddesdon Manor, the astonishing Renaissance-style château that is one of the rare survivors of the splendour of the ‘goût Rothschild’. Dating from c. 1400 to the late 1700s, the textiles were acquired by several members of the Rothschild family, the greatest collectors of the 19th century, who sought the highest quality of workmanship with a keen sense of historical importance.

Although it might seem strange for a Jewish family to collect objects associated with the Christian Church, the textiles were prized for their technical and artistic brilliance. Parts of altar frontals, vestments and other church furnishings, they survive as fragments, cushions, banners, hangings and furniture upholstery, as their original purposes were altered to suit tastes and interior styles of the late 1800s. Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild used them in the Bachelors’ Wing at Waddesdon, the first part of the house to be completed in 1880. His sister, Alice, also had an eye for the finest ecclesiastical embroideries, displayed as decorative hangings in her own house nearby. A passionate collector of costume and textiles, Ferdinand and Alice’s niece, Baroness Edmond de Rothschild, shared their interest and added to the collection.

Dress fabric, now a chalice veil, ca. 1745-50, (Rothschild Collection at Waddesdon Manor, acc. #523). Photo by Mike Fear.

Dress fabric, now a chalice veil, ca. 1745-50, (Rothschild Collection at Waddesdon Manor, acc. #523). Photo by Mike Fear.

Rachel Boak, Curator at Waddesdon Manor, first considers the changing manufacture and style of vestments and furnishings for the Church in the Medieval and early Renaissance period, as well as the impact of the Reformation and the French Revolution, when many vestments and textile furnishings became redundant, were destroyed and their precious metal threads melted down. Her main focus, however, is the collecting habits of Ferdinand, Alice and Baroness Edmond in the context of 19th-century Britain, where George IV’s historicizing coronation of 1821, at which guests wore Tudor-style dress, had brought about a renewed interest in Medieval and Renaissance collecting, design and costume, and the Oxford Movement in 1833 meant a revival of vestments associated with the celebration of the Eucharist.

Each Waddesdon object – its iconography, manufacture and history – is considered individually, illustrated with beautiful new photography that captures all the detail, texture and intricate stitching.

Rachel Boak, Sacred Stitches: Ecclesiastical Textiles in the Rothschild Collection at Waddesdon Manor (London: Paul Holberton, 2013), 80 pages, ISBN: 978-0954731038, £15.

Display at Waddesdon | A Selection of Lace

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on July 9, 2013

Now on view at Waddesdon:

Costume at Waddesdon: A Selection of Lace
Waddesdon Manor, 27 March – 27 October 2013

Curated by Rachel Boak

607A selection of lace acquired by Baroness Edmond de Rothschild (1853–1935) is displayed outside the Family Room and shows eighteenth-century lappets, part of a fashionable woman’s headdress. Baroness Edmond collected the exquisite French, Brussels and Venetian lace now at Waddesdon, along with the popular buttons, on long-term display.

A sample from the collection is available here»

Display and New Catalogue | Printed Books and Bookbindings

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on July 9, 2013

Now on view at Waddesdon Manor:

Group_bA Celebration of Books and Bindings
Waddesdon Manor, Buckinghamshire, 10 July — 27 October 2013

To mark the publication this year of Giles Barber’s magisterial catalogue of the French 18th-century books and bindings at Waddesdon, a number of highlights of the collection will be on display in the Morning Room at the Manor. The books were collected by Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild towards the end of his life, partly to complement the collections of 18th-century paintings and decorative arts, but also as works of art in their own right thanks to their intricately decorated gold-stamped bindings. The Waddesdon collection is one of the finest in the world, and the publication of the catalogue marks the first time which many of these treasures have been revealed in public.

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Press release from Waddesdon Manor:

Giles Barber, Catalogue of Printed Books and Bookbindings: The James A. de Rothschild Bequest at Waddesdon Manor (London: The Rothschild Foundation, 2013), 1162 pages, ISBN: 978-0954731083, £300.

A new catalogue of Printed Books and Bookbindings marks the completion of the important Waddesdon Catalogue Series, and the final publication of eminent author and book specialist, Giles Barber. The James A. de Rothschild Bequest: Printed Books and Bookbindings, published by the Rothschild Foundation, 2013, presents a scholarly analysis of Waddesdon’s outstanding collection of largely 18th-century French books. These were collected by Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild towards the end of his life, partly to complement the collections of 18th-century paintings and decorative arts, but also as works of art in their own right thanks to their intricately decorated gold-stamped bindings. The Waddesdon collection is one of the finest of its kind in the world, and the publication of the catalogue allows many of these treasures to be revealed to public for the first time. A monumental work in two volumes, the first offers a series of essays, which chart the history of bookbinding, from the materials and techniques used, the histories of the binders themselves, the role of the patron and collector and the fluctuations of the market. One unique feature is the photographic index of every tool used on each book in the catalogue. All the books have been scanned and the individual tools isolated reprographically and reproduced at actual size. As many as 50 separate tools could be used in the creation of a prestigious binding, and being able to identify each one precisely allows comparisons with books in other collections and attributions to particular workshops to be made more accurately than ever before.

The Books and Bookbindings catalogue is also the final publication in the thirteen-volume Waddesdon Catalogue series, which covers the James A. de Rothschild Collection at the Manor as bequeathed to the National Trust. Waddesdon holds one of the most significant collections of 18th-century works of art in the world, comparable with similar holdings in the V&A, the Louvre, the Metropolitan Museum and the Wallace Collection. The impetus to create the catalogue series arose when, on the death of James de Rothschild, the house was bequeathed to the National Trust and the need to make the collections accessible to the public and scholars became pressing. James’s widow, Dorothy, who took over the management of the house and ran Waddesdon until her death in 1988, set up a Catalogue Committee, headed initially by Anthony Blunt, then Director of the Courtauld Institute of Art. He was succeeded as General Editor of the series by Geoffrey de Bellaigue, later Director of the Royal Collection. The first volume, Paintings, by Ellis Waterhouse, appeared in 1967, and over the ensuing half century all the major subject areas of the Collections have been covered, each catalogue written by an eminent specialist in the field. The result is an exemplar in art publishing, with many of the titles, in which world-class objects benefit from exhaustive expert research, setting the standard in their fields.

This tradition of inviting eminent specialists to write the catalogues was especially true of Giles Barber, an internationally acknowledged expert with an unique encyclopaedic knowledge of the French bookbinders’ art. Barber’s career encompassed the Bodleian and the Taylor Institution at Oxford alongside independent writing and research, and included this last extensive catalogue for Waddesdon. Very sadly, Giles died unexpectantly in 2012, leaving the overseeing of the final editorial stages to the former Keeper of the Collections at Waddesdon, Rosamund Griffin, a role she has carried out on almost all the previous catalogues.

Call for Papers | Artistic Practices in Southern Asian Art

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on July 9, 2013

Artistic Practices in Southern Asian Art in the Long Eighteenth Century
College Art Association, Chicago, 12-15 February 2014

Proposals due by 15 July 2013

Session sponsored by the American Council of Southern Asian Art (ACSAA)
Panel Chair: Yuthika Sharma, Postdoctoral Fellow, Max Planck Institute of Human Development, Berlin

The eighteenth century in South Asia was an era of transition that saw the gradual decentralization of the Mughal State, the rise of autonomous regional polities as economic hubs and consolidation of the English East India Company as an administrative power. The artistic culture of this period underwent a fundamental change with increasing diversification of the patronage base, the rise of the domestic art market and the consolidation of regional identities. With the Mughal court no longer a dominant venue of artistic production, artists cut across of divides of genres and styles and acquired greater mobility. The rise of collecting, in turn, also indexed a demand for historical paintings and manuscripts contributing to a burgeoning market for copies. Taking a longue durée span between the closing years of the 17th century to the opening decades of the 19th century, we invite papers to consider a range of complexities that signal important shifts within artistic practice in this period. How can we think about in this period differently, reaching beyond conventional art historical categories or regional paradigms of analysis? How did the mobility of artists, ideas, and the rise of new media and print culture create new modes of visual expression? How did artists invent new visual vocabularies to address their cross-cultural contexts? What were the private and public channels through which artworks circulated? What was the role of copies in this period? This panel asks how the art of this transition era can bear upon the present methodologies of art historical analysis and how they can further inform questions about the nature of modernity in this period. While the term modern is taken here as a research problematic, this panel is concerned with explicit and implicit expressions of newness in artistic practices that can enrich new perspectives within South Asian art history.

Please send an abstract (300 words) and a brief one page CV by July 15, 2013 with the subject heading CAA-ACSAA Long 18th Century to: yuthika.sharma@gmail.com.