Study Day | Fame and Friendship: Pope, Roubiliac and the Portrait Bust

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on May 31, 2014

The exhibition Fame and Friendship: Pope, Roubiliac and the Portrait Bust (recently closed at YCBA) opens June 18 at Waddesdon Manor in Buckinghamshire (where it will be on display until 26 October 2014). In connection, Malcolm Baker will lead a special interest day on Thursday, 10 July.

From Waddesdon Manor:

Study Day | Fame and Friendship: Pope, Roubiliac and the Portrait Bust
Waddesdon Manor and Stowe Landscape Gardens, 10 July 2014

roubiliac_2014Led by Professor Malcolm Baker, the curator of the exhibition, this day will begin with an in-depth look at Fame and Friendship: Pope, Roubiliac and the Portrait Bust, followed by lunch in the Manor Restaurant. In the afternoon, participants will travel to nearby Stowe Landscape Gardens to see the famous Temple of British Worthies and to explore the central role of the sculpture portrait bust in the creation and celebration of fame and friendship. The day will end with tea at Stowe. The price of your ticket (£70) includes coach travel from Waddesdon to Stowe and return to your car at Waddesdon; normal admissions charges apply to both Waddesdon and Stowe.

Malcolm Baker is Distinguished Professor of the History of Art, University of California, Riverside, and Honorary Senior Research Fellow at the Victoria and Albert Museum.

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In addition to The Marble Index: Roubiliac and Sculptural Portraiture in Eighteenth-Century Britain, Malcolm Baker’s major publication related to the exhibition and due out later this year from Yale University Press, a more tightly focused catalogue will be published by Paul Holberton:

Malcolm Baker, Fame and Friendship: Pope, Roubiliac and the Portrait Bust (London: Paul Holberton Publishing, 2014), 128 pages, ISBN: 978-0954731052, £15 / $25.

9780954731052_p0_v1_s600No literary figure of the eighteenth century was more esteemed than the poet Alexander Pope, and his sculpted portraits exemplify the celebration of literary fame at a period when authorship was being newly conceived and the portrait bust was enjoying new popularity. Accompanying an exhibition at Waddesdon Manor (The Rothschild Collection), this publication explores the convergence between authorship, portraiture, and the sculpted image in particular, by bringing together a wide range of works that foreground Pope’s celebrity status.

Pope took great pains over how he was represented and carefully fashioned his public persona through images, published letters and the printed editions of his works. Alongside some of the most celebrated painted portraits of the poet will be a selection of the printed texts which Pope planned with meticulous care. The publication focuses on eight versions of the same portrait bust by the leading sculptor of the period, Louis François Roubiliac.

The marble bust had long been seen as a form appropriate for the celebration of literary fame and Pope’s bust in part imitates those of classical authors whose works he both translated and consciously imitated in his own poems. More than any other sculptor, Roubiliac reworked the conventions of the bust, transforming it into a genre that was considered worthy of close and sustained attention. Nowhere is this seen more tellingly than in his compelling and intense portraits of Pope. Based on a vividly modelled clay original, the variant marble versions were carved with arresting virtuosity, recalling Pope’s own phrase, “Marble, soften’d into Life.” At the same time, the image was reproduced by both the sculptor himself and by others, in a variety of materials.

Multiplied and reproduced throughout the eighteenth century, Pope’s bust was the most familiar and visible sign of his authorial fame. At the same time, it was also used as a way of articulating friendship—a constant theme in Pope’s verse—and all the early versions of Roubiliac’s bust were probably executed for Pope’s closest friends. By bringing together the eight versions thought to have been executed by Roubiliac and his studio, and a number of other copies in marble, plaster and ceramic, this publication will offer the opportunity to explore not only the complex relationship between these various versions but the hitherto little understood processes of sculptural production and replication in eighteenth-century Britain.

Exhibition | Royal Spectacle at the French Court

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on May 31, 2014


C.-N. Cochin père, after C.-N. Cochin fils, Décoration du Bal Masqué donné par le Roy, plate 7 of Recueil des Festes, Feux d’Artifice, et Pompes Funèbres (Paris: Ballard, 1756). National Trust / Waddesdon Manor, 3176. Photo by Mike Fear. Depiction of the ball given by Louis XV in February 1745, on the occasion of the marriage of the Dauphin to Marie Thérèse Raphaëlle of Spain. Click here for a higher resolution image.

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From Waddesdon Manor:

Royal Spectacle: Ceremonial and Festivities at the French Court
Waddesdon Manor, Buckinghamshire, 26 March — 26 October 2014

Curated by Selma Schwartz and Rachel Jacobs

This exhibition marks the publication of the Catalogue of Printed Books and Bookbinding: The James A. de Rothschild Bequest at Waddesdon Manor (2013), highlighting illustrated books published on the occasion of court festivities, celebrations and spectacles. Lavishly illustrated books, with engravings of the largest format, document the many extravagant festivities and ceremonies staged for the French court during the 17th and 18th centuries to mark the life cycle of births, marriages and deaths. Fanciful theatrical stage settings are the backdrop for richly costumed processions, equestrian tournaments, theatre performances, church ceremonies and spectacular firework displays. The books themselves are often bound in exquisite bindings intended for the royal family and aristocracy. While focusing on France, the exhibition also includes some comparative material from other European courts.

Tours of the exhibition with one of the curators will take place on Friday 30 May, 11 July and 26 September. For more information on how to book, please click here.

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Note (added 18 June 2014) — A 45-page, illustrated checklist with details on the 58 exhibited works is available for download as a PDF file at the Waddesdon website.

Call for Papers | Exhibiting Art for Sale: The Commercial Gallery Space

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on May 31, 2014

As posted at H-ArtHist (click the link for the German version). . . 

Exhibiting Art for Sale: The Commercial Gallery Space from the 18th Century to the Present
Technische Universität Berlin, 29 November 2014

Proposals due by 10 July 2014

Those who exhibit art for sale will carefully consider the manner in which the objects are presented. Many such concepts are based on the evocation of a historic context: dealers in old master paintings, for instance, tend to show their selection in period frames and with furniture which stems from the same epoch as the exhibits. Galleries of contemporary art, on the other hand, often present their shows in so-called white cubes, futuristic spaces that avoid all periodization, thus suggesting the timeless appeal of the art they offer for sale. Other galleries again choose to dramatize their setting with unexpected, contrasting combinations of objects originating from different periods and a variety of regions.

The commercial gallery thus provides a space where the significance of art is set in complex relation to its market value. This rarely considered subject will be explored by the 3rd Workshop of the Forum Art and Market, TU Berlin. By investigating the strategies of cooperating and competing agents, this conference not only aims to reveal modes of presentation typical for specific periods; it also seeks to address the changing concepts of selling exhibitions as a reflection of the art market’s history from the 18th century to the present day.

Proposals for contributions may for instance address the following aspects:
• the presentations of objects and the design of selling exhibitions (frames and bases, lighting, furniture, wall colours and covering, arrangement of exhibits, the size of spaces and their succession, show cases, shop windows, etc.) in art galleries, auction houses, academies, art fairs, museums and exhibition spaces managed by art associations
• the (changing) purposes of exhibitions in the art trade (such as providing information, education and pleasure, adding value, enabling pricing and sales) and the visitors they address
• the marketing and reception of such presentations in word and image (catalogues, advertisements, published reviews, artists’ notes, correspondence, etc.), also in comparison with non-commercial art exhibitions

Conference languages are German and English. Please send proposals (maximum 2000 characters), and a brief curriculum by 10 July 2014 to: exhibitingartforsale@gmail.com. Additional information on the conference cycle of the Forum Art and Market and its annual workshops may be found here.

Convenors: Dorothee Wimmer, Johannes Nathan, and Bénédicte Savoy, assisted by Lukas Fuchsgruber

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