Exhibition | Ireland: Crossroads of Art and Design, 1690–1840

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on June 21, 2014

Looking ahead to next spring at the AIC:

Ireland: Crossroads of Art and Design, 1690–1840
Art Institute of Chicago, 17 March — 21 June 2015 (extended from June 7)

Curated by Christopher Monkhouse

John Kirkhoffer, Secretary Cabinet, 1732 (The Art Institute of Chicago).

John Kirkhoffer, Secretary Cabinet, 1732
(Art Institute of Chicago)

Ireland on a World Stage, 1690–1840 will present 300 objects drawn from public and private collections across North America to provide a richly layered overview of the Emerald Isle during its first ‘Golden Age’. The seeds of this exhibition were first planted by Desmond FitzGerald, the Knight of Glin, who in his 2007 book Irish Furniture outlined his vision for:

a major exhibition on Ireland’s decorative arts of the 18th century, which would include furniture [and] bring together the common threads of the different fields. It would give an overview of the shared patrimony with England and the Continent and show the high level of craftsmanship achieved in Ireland at that time. A show of this stature would waken up the world to a staggering array of art that was manufactured in Ireland during this period.

Surprisingly, such an exhibition has never before been undertaken on either side of the Atlantic. Ireland on a World Stage, 1690–1840 will expand on the Knight of Glin’s vision to also include paintings, sculpture, and architecture in addition
to bookbindings, ceramics, glass, furniture, metalwork, and

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Note (added 18 February 2015) — The original posting included the preliminary exhibition title Ireland on a World Stage, 1690–1840. The link has also been updated.

At Auction | The Contents of Bantry House

Posted in Art Market by Editor on June 21, 2014


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Press release from Edinburgh’s Lyon & Turnbull, as posted at Art Daily:

Lyon & Turnbull | The Contents of Bantry House (Sale #426)
Bantry House, County Cork, 21 October 2014

Lyon & Turnbull are to sell the contents of Bantry House, County Cork, one of the finest and best loved historic houses in the Republic of Ireland. The sale will take place the 21st of October, 2014 on the premises at Bantry House. Formerly the principal seat of the Earls of Bantry, the house was owned and run by the late Egerton Shelswell-White and his wife, latterly with the help of their eldest daughter Sophie, who has been General Manager since 2010.

“It is a wonderful house with an extraordinary history” says Mrs. Shelswell-White, whose husband’s family have lived in the house for over 300 years. “It has been a very difficult decision, but also an exciting and stimulating one. The funds from the sale will inject a new energy into the house and also into us, as a family. This decision will free us to make new plans and allow us to be open to different proposals and new ideas. I feel it will make it possible for Bantry House to have a future as a successful place, more in step with the times we live in.” She continued: “I feel certain that every single item will go to a good home and be treasured and looked after as we have tried to do. Many of the objects in the sale are of museum quality and need to be expertly cared for, a luxury we could only afford with great difficulty. The house and gardens will continue to be open to the public and we will continue to run and possibly expand our successful bed and breakfast business. We will be able to hold more weddings, concerts, exhibitions and other events, aiming to extend the season into the winter months, securing and creating jobs for those involved with the house. This season will be the last opportunity to see the house with its contents as it is now and has been for many years.”

Items in the sale include many paintings, furniture and books collected by the second Earl of Bantry, including some exquisite French tapestries that adorn the walls of several of the rooms. Produced in the workshops of Gobelins and Aubusson in the 18th century, one of the two Gobelins panels is said to have hung in the Palace of Versailles and there is a particularly beautiful rose-coloured set of Aubussons, which are said to have been made by order of Louis XV for Marie Antoinette on her marriage to the Dauphin of France.

Gavin Strang, Director of Lyon & Turnbull said “Lord Bantry’s collection has long been recognised as having great artistic and historical interest. As a young man, Viscount Berehaven, who later became the second Earl, travelled extensively in Europe; visiting countries as far distant as Russia and Poland, seeking out the pieces which were to form his remarkable collection of furniture, tapestries and other works of art that are included in the sale.”

Among the furniture in the sale is a Russian household shrine which contains 15th- and 16th-century icons and an impressive pair of William Kent style console tables. The paintings in the collection include a pair of portraits from the studio of Allan Ramsay of George III and Queen Charlotte, presented by King George to the First Earl of Bantry on his elevation to the peerage. Immediately prior to the sale the house and contents will be on view to the public on October the 17th, 18th 19th and 20th of October, with the sale on the 21st October 2014.

At Auction | From the Collections of the Dukes of Northumberland

Posted in Art Market by Editor on June 21, 2014


From Sotheby’s (click to view the very grand 3-minute preview). . .

Spanning 2000 years of art history and formed over several centuries, the collection of the Dukes of Northumberland, from Syon House and their primary residence Alwnick Castle, is one of the great British collections. Henry Wyndham, Mario Tavella and Andrew Fletcher present a selection of the 73 lots from this remarkable collection to be sold at Sotheby’s in 2014.

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Property from the Collections of the Dukes of Northumberland 

Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts
8 July 2014, London

Old Master Drawings
9 July 2014, London

9 July 2014, London

Old Master and British Paintings
9 July 2014, London

English Literature and History
15 July 2014, London

Indian and South East Asian
1 October 2014, New York

Arts of the Islamic World
8 October 2014, London

Travel, Atlases and Natural History
4 November 2014, London

Clive Aslet writes about the family for Sotheby’s Magazine (30 May 2014).

Lecture | Nancy Hills on Historical Dress

Posted in lectures (to attend) by Editor on June 21, 2014

This recap (along with a link to the video of the lecture, included below) comes from the newsletter of the Society of Antiquaries of London, Salon Issue 321 (2 June 2014). The video usefully provides a sense of the kind of scholarship the Janet Arnold Award aims to support. -CH

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Nancy Hills | Historical Dress: a Project Inspired by Janet Arnold
Society of Antiquaries of London, 27 May 2014

Advance publicity for the meeting simply said that Nancy Hills, a Janet Arnold Award recipient, would talk about ‘Historical Dress: a project inspired by Janet Arnold’. It transpired that Nancy Hills is Professor of Costume Design at Utah State University and a leading designer of authentic period costume for theatres and opera houses all over the United States. Her Janet Arnold-inspired project involved studying historic clothing in the collections of Hereford Museum and the National Trust (at Berrington Hall, near Leominster, Herefordshire, and Snowshill Manor, in Gloucestershire). Nancy made drawings and measurements that she then used to make new patterns enabling the historic garments to be re-created using modern materials but as close as possible to the original fabrics.

The garments in these three collections span the period from the late 1780s—when cotton was the coming fabric, taking over in popularity from silk, and when full skirts with extravagant gathers were fashionable—to the stripped back Utility dresses of the 1940s, made to conform to the government’s Controlled Commodity 1941 (CC41) austerity regulations, which went so far as to dictate the maximum number of buttons that could be used on each garment.

Despite, or perhaps because of, the simplicity of this garment, the speaker admitted that the Utility dress. . . was marginally her favourite in the collection, and most members of the audience agreed—indeed, historians of this period now say that initial hostility towards cheap, price-controlled Utility clothing was whipped up by retailers fearful for their profits: the public, by contrast, came to like the hard-wearing, good-quality and surprisingly stylish CC41 products.

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Grant | Janet Arnold Award for the History of Western Dress

Posted in fellowships by Editor on June 21, 2014

From the Society of Antiquaries of London:

Janet Arnold Award
In Support of Research into the History of Western Dress

Applications due by 15 January 2015

Janet Arnold (1932–98) was an artist, teacher and fashion designer. Her practical skills, together with a passion for accuracy, made her a powerful advocate for the study of historical dress as a serious discipline. The use of archival material and visual and literary records are important, but as she demonstrated in her own work, a real comprehension of historical dress depends on the close examination and understanding of surviving garments, both whole and fragmentary.

These grants are to further in-depth study of the history of Western dress. Applicants must be able to demonstrate that they wish to pursue a particular piece of original research based on items of dress or their remains with a view to eventually disseminate the results through publication, display, cataloguing, teaching or through practical use in conservation or realistic reproduction. The award may be used for travel, accommodation and incidental expenses such as purchase of photographs. The usual amount of awards is between £350 and £2,000 awarded on an annual basis.

• This is not an grant for students.
• Grants will not be awarded for the salaries of those holding current appointments, but the cost of additional staff (e.g., a temporary research assistant for new projects) may be considered in exceptional cases, but only for named individuals.
• Grants will not be awarded to pay overheads.
• Grants will not be awarded for research that is part of work for a degree.

Additional information is available here»

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