New Book | A Deadly Art: European Crossbows, 1250–1850

Posted in books by Editor on March 19, 2014


Johann Gottfried Hänisch the Elder (German, Dresden, 1696–1778), Small Crossbow (Bolzenschnepper), probably for a Woman or a Child, 1738 (Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2011.429), catalogue entry #15. Read more here»

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Distributed by Yale UP:

Dirk Breiding, A Deadly Art: European Crossbows, 1250–1850 (New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2014), 160 pages, ISBN: 978-0300197044, $25.

9780300197044The advent of the crossbow more than 2,500 years ago effected dramatic changes for hunters and warriors. For centuries, it was among the most powerful and widely used handheld weapons, and its popularity endures to this day. A Deadly Art presents a lively, accessible survey of the crossbow’s “golden age,” along with detailed descriptions of twenty-four remarkable examples.

Beginning in the middle ages, the European aristocracy’s enthusiasm for the crossbow heralded shooting competitions and pageants that featured elaborately decorated weapons bearing elegant embellishments of rare materials and prized artistry. In addition to being highly functional, these weapons were magnificent works of art.

Dirk Breiding is J. J. Medveckis Curator of Arms and Armor at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Exhibition | Grand Collecting: Richard Wilson and the Ford Collection

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on March 19, 2014

One more to add to the list of exhibitions of work by Richard Wilson, on this the 300th anniversary of his birth. The exhibition as described at ArtFund:

Grand Collecting: Richard Wilson and Masterworks from the Ford Collection
Gainsborough’s House, Sudbury, Suffolk, 11 January — 31 May 2014


Richard Wilson, Syon House from Richmond Gardens, Evening, 1761 (?)
(Gainsborough’s House)

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The Ford Collection originated in the 18th century thanks to Benjamin Booth, who amassed the largest set of works by Royal Academician Richard Wilson, held at the time. Booth’s grandson Richard Ford, an author, traveller and connoisseur, continued collecting into the 19th century, and in later years Richard’s great grandson Sir Brinsley Ford strengthened the existing areas of work as well as introducing his own interests.

At the centre of the collection are works by Richard Wilson, one of the leading figures in British landscape painting, whose influence was felt across Europe. Along with artists including Thomas Gainsborough he created the country’s ‘landscape tradition’, with John Hoppner proclaiming: ‘We recollect no painter, who, with so much originality of manner, united such truth and grandeur of expression’.

The works in this exhibition, predominantly collected by Booth, show the breadth of his expression from early drawings in Rome to paintings in the 1770s. Other featured artists include renowned English painter, John Frederick Lewis.

2014 marks 300 years since the birth of Richard Wilson and the beginning of the Georgian age. In celebration, Gainsborough’s House is displaying the 1714 Sudbury Map, hand drawn map on vellum using iron gall ink and various shades of watercolour. It was created by Cornelius Brewer, whose signature can be seen with the inscription and it contains the earliest image of Gainsborough’s House.

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