New Book | Antique Sealed Bottles, 1640–1900

Posted in books by Editor on March 4, 2014

Happy Mardi Gras!

David Burton, Antique Sealed Bottles 1640–1900 and the Families that Owned Them (Antique Collectors’ Club, 2014), 1800 pages (3 volumes), ISBN: 978-1851497553, £250.

imageTime in a bottle; this is a collection that explores the unlocking of history through the identification of its unique seals, using crests and coats-of-arms as the ‘keys’ towards identifying the original owner. This three-volume collection examines the evolution of the sealed bottle from the 1640s to the late 1800s and provides a detailed description to accompany each entry, supported by numerous photographs, including the number of examples known, their condition, and the collections where the bottles and detached seals are held.

The laying down of wine to improve its quality and longevity related to the social history of the day, the design of the bottles, their evolution and manufacture, are a reflection of the individuals who ordered and used the bottles at home or in the private gentlemen’s clubs, much influenced by the historic events of the 17th through to the 20th centuries.

Wine consumption has a place in cultural history; these collected bottles existed at times of incredible upheaval and social change. From the early colonial settlements of the New World, into the slave markets of Richmond, VA, New Orleans, Charleston, SC, and Philadelphia, and with the plantation owners who amassed vast wealth and prestige as a result of this trade. In the taverns and coffee houses of London, alongside the bear baiting and cock fighting to be found across the River Thames in Southwark, in the cellars of the Oxford colleges and Inns of Court, these sealed bottles give much information on the early drinking habits of the aspiring and upwardly mobile, and the established aristocracy.


Volume One
Dated Sealed Bottles, 1650–1900

Volume Two
Undated Sealed Bottles, Seventeenth Century; Undated Sealed Bottles, 1700–1900; Crests and Coats of Arms, pre-1700 identified; Crests and Coats of Arms, pre-1700 unidentified; Crests and Coats of Arms, post-1700 identified; Crests and Coats of Arms, post-1700 unidentified

Volume Three
Chapter One: What is a Sealed Bottle? Chapter Two: Sealed Bottles from the Seventeenth Century; Chapter Three: Sealed Bottles from the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries; Chapter Four: Heraldry and Sealed Bottles; Chapter Five: Sealed Bottles from the West Country; Chapter Six: Sealed Bottles from Wales; Chapter Seven: Sealed Bottles associated with the American Colonies; Chapter Eight: Sealed Bottles in Major Public Collections; Chapter Nine: Building a Collection; Chapter Ten: Price Guide and Price Trends


Exhibition | Art and Appetite: American Painting

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on March 4, 2014

In comparison to the nineteenth century, the eighteenth-century offerings are slim, but it’s still hard to tell this story without the latter. Press release (11 December 2014) from the Amon Carter:

Art and Appetite: American Painting, Culture, and Cuisine
The Art Institute of Chicago, 12 November 2013 — 27 January 2014
Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Fort Worth, Texas, 22 February — 18 May 2014

Curated by Judith A. Barter

1_Sea Captains_Surinam

John Greenwood, Sea Captains Carousing in Surinam, ca.1752–58
(Saint Louis Art Museum)

◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊

This spring, the Amon Carter Museum of American Art invites visitors to feast their eyes on the rich tradition of food in American art with the opening of the exhibition Art and Appetite: American Painting, Culture, and Cuisine. Exploring the many meanings and interpretations of eating in America, Art and Appetite brings together 65 paintings from the 18th through the 20th centuries to demonstrate how depictions of food have allowed American artists to both celebrate and critique everything from trends in the national diet to the broader issues of society and politics. Featuring many iconic works by such noted artists as Edward Hopper, Norman Rockwell and Andy Warhol, the exhibition is on view from February 22 through May 18, 2014. Art and Appetite is organized by the Art Institute of Chicago; admission is free.


John Singleton Copley, Portrait of Mrs. Ezekiel Goldthwait (Elizabeth Lewis), 1771 (Boston: Museum of Fine Arts)

Art and Appetite takes a different approach to the subject of food in American art, contextualizing works to rediscover the meanings they held for their makers and their audiences. Despite the prevalence of works about food, research has rarely focused on the cultural significance of the objects depicted in these paintings, nor has it addressed how these images embodied changing ideals throughout the nation’s history. Thematically and chronologically organized, Art and Appetite breaks with the traditional histories of the genre to explore how these works illuminate American attitudes about patriotism and politics, identity and gender, progress and history, and production and consumption. The exhibition examines 250 years of American art, from the agricultural bounty of the “new world” to Victorian-era excess, debates over temperance, the rise of restaurants and café culture, the changes wrought by 20th-century mass production, and much more.

From the earliest years of the newly established United States, American artists such as Raphaelle Peale used still-life painting to express cultural, political and social values, elevating the genre to a significant aesthetic language. Later, in the antebellum era, depictions of food highlighted abundance, increasing wealth and changing social roles, while elegant decanters of wine and spirits in still-life paintings by John F. Francis reflect the prevalence of drinking and the mid-century debates over temperance. During the Gilded Age, despite the implications of the term, American artists moved away from excess and eschewed high Victorian opulence in favor of painting the simple meal. Many artists, such as William Harnett and De Scott Evans, also used images of food to serve up biting political commentary that addressed the social and economic transformations of the 1880s and 1890s.

In the 20th century new ways of eating and socializing began to change depictions of food in art. Restaurant dining—still novel in the United States in the late 19th century—became a common subject in the works of William Glackens, John Sloan and others. Café and cocktail culture, described in the work of Stuart Davis and Gerald Murphy, became increasingly important even as Prohibition banned the consumption of alcohol. Modern artists employed food in their radically new explorations of pictorial form, all the while challenging national ideals of family and home. Finally, during the 1950s and 1960s, Pop artists, among them Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein, addressed the ways in which mass production and consumption dramatically altered the American experience of food. Hamburgers, fries and cakes were depicted as objects of mass-produced foodstuffs without human referent. Artists employed new means to explore the visual power of advertising, the standardization of factory-produced meals and the commercialization of American appetites.

Today, as professional and home chefs increasingly turn toward local, organic food and American society ponders its history as a fast-food nation, this exhibition offers visitors the chance to look at depictions of American food and culture with new meaning and fresh eyes.

Art and Appetite: American Painting, Culture, and Cuisine was organized by the Art Institute of Chicago. It is supported in part by generous contributions from Central Market, the Fort Worth Promotion and Development Fund, and the Ben E. Keith Foundation.

Also, see the online cookbook from The Art Institute of Chicago.

◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊

From Yale UP:

Judith A. Barter, ed., with essays by Judith A. Barter, Annelise K. Madsen, Sarah Kelly Oehler, and Ellen E. Roberts, Art and Appetite: American Painting, Culture, and Cuisine (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2013), 248 pages, ISBN: 978-0300196238, $50.

9780300196238Food has always been an important source of knowledge about culture and society. Art and Appetite takes a fascinating new look at depictions of food in American art, demonstrating that artistic representations of edibles offer thoughtful reflection on the cultural, political, economic, and social moments in which they were created. Artists used food as prism through which they could celebrate and critique their society, expressing ideas relating to politics, race, class, and gender.  With a focus that ranges from Colonial still lifes of the 18th century through the Pop artists of the 20th century, this lively publication investigates the many interpretations of eating in America.

Art and Appetite features still-life and trompe l’oeil painting, sculpture, and other works by such celebrated artists as John Singleton Copley, Raphaelle Peale, Lilly Martin Spencer, William Michael Harnett, William Merritt Chase, Elizabeth Paxton, Norman Bel Geddes, Stuart Davis, Edward Hopper, Alice Neel, Wayne Thiebaud, and Roy Lichtenstein, among others. Essays by leading experts address topics including the horticultural and botanical underpinnings of still-life painting, the history of alcohol consumption in the United States, the cultural history of Thanksgiving, and the commercialization of food in the world of Pop art. In addition to the images and essays, this book includes a selection of vintage recipes for all-American dishes.

Judith A. Barter is the Field-McCormick Chair and Curator, Department of American Art, at the Art Institute of Chicago.

%d bloggers like this: