Lecture | Nina Dubin on Painting ‘The Papered Century’

Posted in lectures (to attend) by Editor on March 29, 2014

From The Newberry:

Nina Dubin | Love, Trust, Risk: Painting ‘The Papered Century’
The Newberry Library, Chicago, 19 April 2014

The eighteenth-century vogue for pictures of women perusing love letters not only marked the age’s affection for epistolarity, it also emblematized the “papered century,” named for the period’s unprecedented proliferation of monetary notes and credit instruments. Dwelling upon the fragility of paper promises, epistolary pictures vivify the precariousness of trust and the romanticization of risk on the eve of modernity.

Saturday, April 19, 2:00–4:00pm

The Newberry Library Eighteenth-Century seminar is designed to foster research and inquiry across the scholarly disciplines in eighteenth-century studies. It aims to provide a methodologically diverse forum for work that engages our ongoing discussions and debates along this historical and critical terrain. Attendance at all events is free and open to the public but in order to receive the pre-circulated paper, participants must register online in advance via this link. A reception follows each presentation. It is also the custom of the seminar to gather at a restaurant in the Newberry neighborhood to continue our conversation. If you would like to join us for dinner after any session, please email Lisa Freeman at lfreeman@uic.edu.

Timothy Campbell, University of Chicago
Lisa A. Freeman, University of Illinois at Chicago
John Shanahan, DePaul University
Helen Thompson, Northwestern University

Additions to The Art World in Britain 1660 to 1735

Posted in resources by Editor on March 29, 2014

Richard Stephens, the editor for The Art World in Britain 1660 to 1735, and his team continue to expand what is already an extraordinary resource. From the most recent update (25 March 2014). . .


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11,000 auction records have been published, bringing the total now online to 87,000 lots. Here are the main additions:

Three great collections

The library of Edward, 2nd Earl of Oxford (1689-1741) was ‘the most choice and magnificent that were ever collected in this Kingdom’. His bound prints and illustrated books were sold by his widow in 1746 over 22 nights. The sale catalogue is the longest & most detailed of its kind from this period, by some way.

The South Sea Bubble triggered one of the greatest picture sales of the early 18th century, when the heavily-indebted Henry, 1st Duke of Portland (1682-1726) sold his paintings in 1722. One copy of the catalogue survives, in the Frick library. Its manuscript annotations, which list every buyer and price fetched, provide an invaluable snapshot of the major collectors and dealers of that moment.

The collection of old master drawings belonging to the Roman connoisseur Padre Resta was “the finest without doubt in Europe” according to John Talman. Resta sold almost 4000 sheets to the Whig Lord Chancellor, Baron Somers (1651-1716), which were auctioned in London in 1717.

Sales of artists, architects & a composer

Auction catalogues offer a window onto the careers, households and intellectual worlds of the vendors. In this update are the posthumous catalogues of architects Nicholas Hawksmoor (1740), William Kent (1749), Sir Christopher Wren (1749), and Leonard Wooddeson (1733); the painters John Robinson (1746), Louis Goupy (1748), Thomas Morland (1748), Joseph Vanhaecken (1751) and John Ellys (1760); the engraver John Dunstall (1693); and the composer George Frederick Handel (1760).

Auctioneer’s copies

The Frick’s Portland annotations are probably based on information from the auctioneer’s office, given their completeness & the fact that the prices include the post-sale fee (by contrast, the Houlditch transcript of the Portland sale gives the hammer price only). Another catalogue published now – the heavily-annotated catalogue of the 1719 sale of the contents of the Duke of Ormonde’s London house – appears to be the only auctioneer’s working copy surviving from any sale before the foundation of Christie’s.

This update of sale catalogues has been funded very generously by Lowell Libson Ltd. The editor is also very grateful to Ashley Baynton-Williams, Shana Fung, Peter Moore, Kate Papworth, William Schupbach and Jacob Simon for their contributions of data, images and corrections.

A full list of sources published is available here»

New Book | The Profession of Sculpture in the Paris ‘Académie’

Posted in books by Editor on March 29, 2014

SVEC 2014.02 from the Voltaire Foundation:

Tomas Macsotay, The Profession of Sculpture in the Paris ‘Académie’, SVEC (Oxford: Oxford University Studies in the Enlightenment, 2014), 360 pages, ISBN-13: 978-0729410793, £70 / €84 / $116.

macsotay-bookcover1The profession of sculpture was transformed during the eighteenth century as the creation and appreciation of art became increasingly associated with social interaction. Central to this transformation was the esteemed yet controversial body, the Académie royale de peinture et de sculpture. In this richly illustrated book, Tomas Macsotay focuses on the sculptor’s life at the Académie, analysing the protocols that dictated the production of academic art. Arguing that these procedures were modelled on the artist’s study journey to Rome, Macsotay discusses the close links between working practices introduced at the Académie and new notions of academic community and personal sensibility. He explores the bodily form of the morceau de réception on which the election of new members depended, and how this shaped the development of academic ideas and practices. Macsotay also reconsiders the early revolutionary years, where outside events exacerbated tensions between personal autonomy and institutional authority.

The Profession of Sculpture in the Paris Académie underscores the moral and aesthetic divide separating modern interpretations of sculpture based on notions of the individual artistic persona, and eighteenth-century notions of sociable production. The result is a book which takes sculpture outside the national arena, and re-focuses attention on its more subjective role, a narrative of intimate life in a modern world.

Tomas Macsotay is a research fellow at the Universitat Autònoma, Barcelona. He is currently researching the visual culture of Spanish academies and sculpture in transnational Rome, and has previously published articles on the history of eighteenth-century French, Dutch, and British art. Macsotay’s 2008 thesis The Human Figure as Method: Study, Sculpture and Sculptors in the Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture (1720–1765) was awarded the 2009 Prix Marianne Roland Michel.


1. The impossible originality of Falconet’s Milon
2. Sculptors’ morceaux between style and method
3. From shop floor to academic gallery
4. Guidance and autonomy: the role of Rome
5. Vleughels’s drawing sculptors
6. The order of figures: inert and moving
Epilogue. Of lions and cats: sociability and sculpture

Macsotay offers a peak at the book’s argument with this posting at the Voltaire Foundation’s blog, “Sculptors in the Paris Académie’s mould, and how to (mis)understand them,” (17 February 2014).

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