Enfilade

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»

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