Sotheby’s Institute of Art | European Decorative Arts, 1600–1900

Posted in opportunities by Editor on March 26, 2015

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From Sotheby’s Institute of Art:

Summer Study in London | European Decorative Arts: From Baroque to Art Nouveau
Sotheby’s Institute of Art, London, 26 May — 19 June 2015

Sotheby’s Institute of Art’s Summer Study programme offers intensive short courses in areas of art business, art history and finance. The programme is designed for undergraduates, career changers, study abroad participants and those interested in art and cultural history. This summer the Institute is offering a four-week intensive and immersive European Decorative Art course.

Beginning in the seventeenth century with the rise of the Baroque and culminating in Art Nouveau at the end of the nineteenth, this varied and exciting course provides a comprehensive understanding of key stylistic developments in Western European design and the decorative arts. The course focuses on furniture, ceramics, glass and metalwork, explored within the context of architecture and interiors and the broader historical and cultural forces that have influenced the production and consumption of decorative art objects. It seeks also to provide students with a basic knowledge of materials and techniques.

A diverse programme of lectures is complemented by visits to leading museums, galleries and historic houses. Students will make a private visit to Sotheby’s Warehouse, to see art objects consigned for sale and learn about the auction process, and will also have the opportunity to visit the Olympia International Art and Antiques Fair. The teaching approach is object-based and enables students to gain confidence in analyzing and identifying a wide range of art objects. Students are taught by a range of in-house tutors and visiting experts from the art world; the course is led by Jane Gardiner and Helena Pickup.  For a single course, the fee is £2,650.

Suggested Reading

Gere, C. and M. Whiteway. Nineteenth-Century Design from Pugin to Mackintosh. 1993.
Riley, N. (ed.). The Elements of Design. 2003.
Snodin, M. and J. Styles (eds.). Design and the Decorative Arts: Georgian Britain, 1714–1837. 2004.
Thornton, Peter. Seventeenth-Century Interior Decoration in England, France and Holland. 1981.

Display | The Curious Neoclassical Vision of Ennemond-Alexandre Petitot

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on March 25, 2015

Now on at the V&A:

The Curious Neoclassical Vision of Ennemond-Alexandre Petitot
Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 25 March — 6 December 2015

Curated by Sarah Grant

Ennemond-Alexandre Petitot, Suite de Vases (1 of 30 designs), etching by Benigno Bossi, 1770s (London: V&A)

Ennemond-Alexandre Petitot, Suite de Vases (1 of 30 designs), etching by Benigno Bossi, 1770s (London: V&A)

This display showcases 24 prints and drawings by French-born architect and designer, Ennemond-Alexandre Petitot (1727–1801) who was responsible for some of the most captivating and eccentric neoclassical ornamental designs ever produced.

Petitot received a classical training in Lyons, Paris and Rome and won the prestigious post of court architect to the Duke of Parma in 1753. He executed a diverse range of commissions for the ducal palace and other important interiors, bringing a distinctly French aesthetic to the architecture and gardens of Parma. In two famous suites of ornament prints published in the 1770s Petitot gave full reign to his imagination and ensured his legacy as one of the most original exponents of Neoclassicism. These prints and a number of Petitot’s drawings and works by other influential architects and designers form the focus of this display.

Display | Blue and White: British Printed Ceramics

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on March 25, 2015

Now on at the V&A:

Blue and White: British Printed Ceramics
Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 31 January 2015 — 3 January 2016

Plate, transfer-printed in enamel, 'Border' designed by Robert Dawson. Made by Josiah Wedgwood & Sons, Stoke-on-Trent, 2005 © Victoria and Albert Museum/WWRD United Kingdom Ltd/Robert Dawson

Plate, transfer-printed in enamel, ‘Border’ designed by Robert Dawson. Made by Josiah Wedgwood & Sons, Stoke-on-Trent, 2005 © Victoria and Albert Museum/WWRD United Kingdom Ltd/Robert Dawson

Blue-and-white printed ceramics are a pronounced British phenomenon with continued appeal for potters, artists and consumers. At its very best ceramic printing in blue results in a high-quality, technically precise and aesthetically pleasing decoration, enabling a rapid design response to society and culture.

This display features the wide variety of designs and decoration used in blue-and-white printed ceramics in Britain from the 1750s to present day, in both industrial and art production, demonstrating how these objects reflect British society, culture and interpret the wider world.

The display has been generously supported by The Headley Trust and includes loans from The Potteries Museum and Art Gallery, The Spode Museum Trust, The Wedgwood Museum and private collections.

Display | The Lost Art of Writing

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on March 25, 2015

The last weeks for this display at the V&A:

The Lost Art of Writing
Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 6 September 2013 — 4 May 2015

Inkstand, Sheffield plate, ca. 1810 (London: V&A)

Inkstand, Sheffield plate, ca. 1810 (London: V&A)

“Beautiful Writing pleases everyone, it makes one sought after,” explained the French writer Père Gregoire Martin in 1761.

Having a fine writing hand was not only a useful skill but the sign of an educated and genteel person

This small display in the Metalware gallery explores some of the objects used in writing, from a medieval penner to an ingenious 18th-century globe inkstand and a pen rest designed by the architect Alfred Waterhouse. These objects, made to serve the art of writing, have been displaced by the new virtual world of icons and toolbars.

Symposium | Robert Adam and His Brothers

Posted in conferences (to attend) by Editor on March 24, 2015

From the conference programme and The Georgian Group:

Robert Adam and His Brothers
Burlington House, Piccadilly, London, 23–24 September 2015

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Adam Staircase Compartment of the 1770s, Mansfield Street, London, (Chris Redgrave, English Heritage)

The Adam style revolution transformed British architecture in the latter half of the eighteenth century. The brothers’ unique and inventive approach to design, based on a modern reinterpretation of the art of antiquity, found widespread popularity and was to have a lasting impact on European and American architecture. The movement and surface variety inherent in their buildings, combined with the lightness and informality of their interiors, set new standards of elegance and were widely imitated.

This two-day Georgian Group symposium, led by the architectural historians Colin Thom of UCL and Georgian Group Journal editor Dr Geoffrey Tyack, will highlight new research and findings on Robert Adam and his brothers across all aspects of their life and work, including architecture, interior decoration, the use of colour, the influence of classical sources, drawing office procedure, the art market, town-planning and building speculation. The symposium will offer interpretations by a mix of established scholars and a younger generation of historians and doctoral students, one of the main objectives being to stimulate further study on the Adams.

The Symposium papers will form the basis of a monograph to be published by Historic England in association with The Georgian Group. £100 per person for both days, or £60 for a single day. Buffet lunch included on both days. Book online or print and mail this form, with full payment, to: The Georgian Group, 6 Fitzroy Square, London W1T 5DX. Please make cheques payable to The Georgian Group. For further information, telephone 020 7529 8920.

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W E D N E S D A Y ,  2 3  S E P T E M B E R  2 0 1 5

9.30  Registration and coffee

9.50  Opening address and welcome by Geoffrey Tyack and Colin Thom

10:00  Session 1: Scotland
• Alistair Rowan (University College, Cork), Johnie, the Eldest Adam Brother
• Simon Green (Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland), John, Robert and James Adam Build a House in Ayrshire
• Anthony Lewis (Curator of Scottish History, Glasgow Museums), The Adam Brothers and Their Building Tradesmen in Scotland

11:30  Tea and coffee

12:00  Session 2: Italy
• Jonathan Yarker (Lowell Libson Ltd, Art Dealers), ‘Antique Mad’: The Adam Brothers, Their Collection of Antiquities and the Roman Art Market in the Eighteenth Century
• Maria Celeste Cola (Department of Art History, Sapienza Università di Roma) Travelling to Naples: Drawings and Views by Robert Adam

1:00  Lunch

2:00  Session 3: Interior Design and the Adam Style: Antique and Etruscan
• Adriano Aymonino (Lecture in Art History, University of Buckingham), Robert Adam and the birth of the ‘true style of antique decoration’: the interiors at Kedleston Hall and their antiquarian sources
• John Wilton-Ely (Emeritus Professor in the History of Art, University of Hull) Piranesi and the Etruscan Style of Robert Adam: a Stylistic Revolution

3:15  Tea and coffee

3:45  Session 4: Interior Design and the Adam Style: Adam’s Painters and Chinoiserie
Flaminia Conti (MA in History of Art, Sapienza Università di Roma), Reinvoking the Antique in Interior Design: The Work of Giovanni Battista Cipriani in the Houses of Robert Adam
• Katherine McHale (PhD candidate, School of Art History, University of St Andrews) Adam and the Academicians: The Contributions of Leading Italian Artists
• David Pullins (PhD candidate, Harvard University), Robert Adam’s Neoclassical Chinoiseries

T H U R S D A Y ,  2 4  S E P T E M B E R  2 0 1 5

9:30  Tea and coffee

10:00  Session 5: Interior Design and the Adam Style: Light, Colour, and Theatre
Richard Ireland (Conservator, historic paint and plaster), The Adam Brothers at Kenwood: Reconsidering
• Conor Lucey (Irish Research Council Elevate Postdoctoral Fellow, Trinity College Dublin), From Developed Surfaces to Misapprehended Plans: Robert Adam’s Interiors for Headfort House
• Miranda Hausberg (PhD candidate, University of Pennsylvania), Robert Adam’s Scenographic Interior

11:15  Tea and coffee

11:45  Session 6: Later Adam: Metropolitan Speculation, Villas, Castle Style and Picturesque
• Colin Thom (Senior Historian, Survey of London, UCL Bartlett School of Architecture), Portland Place: A Reassessment
• Sue Berry (Sussex Archaeological Society, former Associate Lecturer, Sussex University), Robert Adam’s Seaside Villa in Brighton
• Marrikka Trotter (PhD Candidate, Harvard University), Temporal Sublime: Robert Adam’s Castle Style and Picturesque Landscapes

1:00  Lunch

2:00  Session 7: Adam Drawings and Plans
• Stephen Astley (Curator of Drawings, Sir John Soane’s Museum), The Adam Office and Adam Drawings
• David King (Emeritus Professor, Economics, University of Stirling), The Ingenious Mr Adam

3:00  Session 8: The Adam Legacy
• Eileen Harris (historian and author), The Parent Style or the Original Sin? The Adam Revival in America

New Book | Four Centuries of Quilts

Posted in books by Editor on March 23, 2015

From Yale UP:

Linda Baumgarten and Kimberly Smith Ivey, with a foreword by Ronald Hurst, Four Centuries of Quilts: The Colonial Williamsburg Collection (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2014), 356 pages, ISBN: 978-0300207361, $75.

9780300207361Quilts are among the most utilitarian of art objects, yet the best among them possess a formal beauty that rivals anything made on canvas. This landmark book, drawn from the world-renowned collection of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, highlights the splendor and craft of quilts with more than 300 superb color images and details. Fascinating essays by two noted scholars trace the evolution of quilting styles and trends as they relate to the social, political, and economic issues of their time.

The collection includes quilts made by diverse religious and cultural groups over 400 years and across continents, from the Mediterranean, England, France, America, and Polynesia. The earliest quilts were made in India and the Mediterranean for export to the west and date to the late 16th century. Examples from 18th- to 20th-century America, many made by Amish and African-American quilters, reflect the multicultural nature of American society and include boldly colored and patterned worsteds and brilliant pieced and appliquéd works of art.

Grand in scope and handsomely produced, Four Centuries of Quilts: The Colonial Williamsburg Collection is sure to be one of the most useful and beloved references on quilts and quilting for years to come.

Linda Baumgarten is curator of textiles and costumes, Kimberly Smith Ivey is curator of textiles and historic interiors, and Ronald Hurst is the Carlisle H. Humelsine Chief Curator and vice president of collections, conservation, and museums, all at Colonial Williamsburg.

Call for Papers | Reconsidering the Rococo: 18th to 21st Centuries

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on March 22, 2015

From H-ArtHist:

Reconsidering the Rococo: 18th to 21st Centuries / Penser le Rococo (XVIIIe–XXIe Siècle)
University of Lausanne, 5–6 November 2015

Proposals due by 30 June 2015

This symposium will be held alongside Agents and Agency of Rocaille Ornament (Les acteurs de la rocaille) organised at the Institut national d’histoire de l’art in Paris from 1st to 3rd October 2015.

Despite the scepticism or irony which it provokes, the notion of the Rococo occupies a central position within the historiography of 18th-century art. It structures our understanding of this epoch and determines the way in which we see it. This symposium, planned as an answer to the stimulating research of the last twenty years on the Rococo, aims at an epistemological reflection on a protean notion which was progressively defined as a style during the 19th century.

The Rococo—which is often associated with the supposed frivolity of the 18th century—is regularly described as a capricious, sensual, anti-vitruvian artistic phenomenon without any coherent theoretical grounding. Alternately presented as progressive—even transgressive—or retrograde, profane or religious, the Rococo is always a place of contradictions. In order to avoid its moral, political and cultural connotations, some art historians attempt to define it only by its formal aspects. In the history of styles, the Rococo is often set against Neoclassicism and entertains an unclear relationship with the Baroque. Is it fundamentally different from the latter? Might it be the Baroque’s last phase, its fulfilment or its decline? Its origin is also the object of vivid debate: while it is generally agreed that the Rococo first appeared in France, some authors have stated that it only reached its full development in Germany.

This symposium therefore favours a critical approach to this notion, urging contributors to reconsider how it emerged, how it was formed and diffused. What were the first manifestations of the Rococo, on what preconceived ideas was it founded, and how did it become a formal and aesthetic canon? Which sources did it draw upon? What ideas and categories have been used to structure it? How were the boundaries of the Rococo established? The different objects which have been brought together through this classification can be linked to many discourses of their time, notably those concerning the inventio and the caprice. However, those same objects also caused many reactions: a large proportion of these, from the 18th century on, were negative, as is exemplified in famous texts by Abbé Le Blanc and Cochin. How have art historians interpreted these discourses? What simplifications, anachronisms, projections or prejudices does this attempt to describe 18th-century art reflect? How has the context in which interpreters have written about the Rococo oriented the formulation of narratives during the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries? How have the ideas upon which their work is founded inflected the production of imitations of 18th-century objects? How have these revivals, in turn, acted upon our understanding of the Rococo?

These questions—as well as many other similar ones—can be used as a framework for the presentations. As the reader will have understood by now, this symposium will not attempt to define the characteristics of a style, nor to determine an essence of the Rococo but to reflect on the manner in which a notion has been—and continues to be—perceived. Proposals of up to 300 words—to which a brief resumé and a list of publications should be joined— can be sent to carl.magnusson@unil.ch and paulinart@yahoo.fr until 30th June 2015. Travel and lodging expenses will be covered by the University of Lausanne.

Scientific Organisers
Carl Magnusson (University of Lausanne)
Marie-Pauline Martin (University of Aix-Marseille, CNRS TELEMME UMR 7303)

Scientific Committee
Jan Blanc (University of Geneva)
Frédéric Dassas (Musée du Louvre, Department of Decorative Arts)
Michaël Decrossas (Institut national d’histoire de l’art, Paris)
Peter Fuhring (Custodia Foundation, Paris)
Christian Michel (University of Lausanne)


Call for Articles | Tales from the Crypt: Museum Storage and Meaning

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on March 21, 2015

From H-ArtHist:

Collected Essays | Tales from the Crypt: Museum Storage and Meaning
Abstracts due by 15 May 2015 / Final papers due by 15 October 2015

Museums are about display. But are they really? In spite of recent curatorial attempts to exhibit ‘visible storage’, prevailing debates in the history of museums and collecting are mainly centred around questions of exhibiting, display and spectatorship. This kind of discourse, however, distorts the museum in many ways: it ignores the fact that museums do not just consist of exhibition halls but of vast hidden spaces; it leaves millions of objects out of our museum histories; and lastly, it presents the museum as an organized and stable space, in which only museological ‘results’ are visible not the intermediate stage of their coming into being. Display seems to be about the structured, purposeful, strategic gathering of things according to a system, the features of which are clearly defined. What remains out of sight is the fact that the majority of museum objects lie in storage. As a result, not only a vast physical but also important epistemological and semantic aspect of museums and their collections are eliminated from our discussions. The binary between ‘display’ and ‘backstage’ of museums has previously evoked the assumption that the exhibition area functions as a kind of theatre with objects ‘perform’ on stage, while in the back they are processed from their existence as a mere ‘thing’ to a proper artefact. But there is much more to say about museum storage. Backstage areas of museums are not simply areas where potential display objects are kept. They perform functions and fulfill intentions that, when studied, reveal deep purposes of the museum that go well beyond a mere history of display. A history of storage is a thus history of things that are not shown, but also not written about. The understanding of museums and the intellectual histories they encode undergoes a radical shift when we consider what a museum shows alongside the (usually much larger) range of things it stores. These issues may and will be discussed very differently in various parts of the world, which is what this volume intends to address.

Seeking a variety of historical contributions (e.g. with specific case studies), theoretical and philosophical intervention as well as reflections on practical issues, we wish to explore these ‘tales from the crypt’ along the lines of the following themes:
• Storage and canonization
• The politics of collecting
• Power and censorship
• The economic and epistemic value of museum objects
• Ethics and moral aspects of preservation
• Disposal, sale, and de-accessioning
• The (scholarly) uses, necessities and functions of storage
• Curated and un-curated storage
• Visible storage, off-side storage, deep storage, ‘non-museological’ storage
• The politics of displayability
• Storage, the archive and data mining
• Architecture, real estate and the physical spaces of storage
• Issues of access to storage
• Economic aspects of storage
• Storage and digitization

The volume will partly present the results of a workshop (Victoria & Albert Museum, October 2014), organized under the aegis of the India-Europe Advanced Research Network on Museum History that invited a small group of scholars to respond to museum storage—concept and practice—in India and Europe. It is this cross-cultural approach that we wish to take with the volume. We therefore welcome contributions addressing a broad variety of material and theories across all continents. A report of the IEARN workshop can be found here.

Abstracts (max. 300 words) for papers (max. 8000 words) should be sent to mirjam.brusius@history.ox.ac.uk and kavising@gmail.com by May 15, 2015. Authors will be notified in June. The deadline for final papers will be October 15, 2015.

Concept by Mirjam Brusius and Kavita Singh for the Research Group on Museums and History, March 2014 and 2015

New Book | A Natural History of English Gardening, 1650–1800

Posted in books by Editor on March 19, 2015

Scheduled for June publication, from Yale UP:

Mark Laird, A Natural History of English Gardening, 1650–1800 (London: The Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, 2015), 464 pages, ISBN: 978-0300196368, $75.

9780300196368Winner of the 2013 David R. Coffin Publication Grant, given by the Foundation for Landscape Studies.

Inspired by the pioneering naturalist Gilbert White, who viewed natural history as the common study of cultural and natural communities, Mark Laird unearths forgotten historical data to reveal the complex visual cultures of early modern gardening. Ranging from climate studies to the study of a butterfly’s life cycle, this original and fascinating book examines the scientific quest for order in nature as an offshoot of ordering the garden and field. Laird follows a broad series of chronological events—from the Little Ice Age winter of 1683 to the drought summer of the volcanic 1783—to probe the nature of gardening and husbandry, the role of amateurs in scientific disciplines, and the contribution of women as gardener-naturalists. Illustrated by a stunning wealth of visual and literary materials—paintings, engravings, poetry, essays, and letters, as well as prosaic household accounts and nursery bills—Laird fundamentally transforms our understanding of the English landscape garden as a powerful cultural expression.

Mark Laird is a historic landscape consultant and garden conservator and teaches landscape history at the Graduate School of Design, Harvard University. Previous books include The Flowering of the Landscape Garden: English Pleasure Grounds, 1720–1800 and Mrs. Delany and Her Circle.

New Book | George Hadfield: Architect of the Federal City

Posted in books by Editor on March 18, 2015

From Ashgate:

Julia King, George Hadfield: Architect of the Federal City (Farnham: Ashgate, 2014), 282 pages, ISBN: 978-1472412744, $120.

9781472412744_p0_v1_s600During his lifetime, the work of architect George Hadfield (1763–1826) was highly regarded, both in England and the United States. Since his death, however, Hadfield’s contributions to architecture have slowly faded from view, and few of his buildings survive. In order to reassess Hadfield’s career and work, this book draws upon a wide selection of written and visual sources to reconstruct his life and legacy. After a general introduction, the book outline Hadfield’s early years and looks in detail at the extant major buildings in Washington, D.C. that he worked on: the Capitol, Arlington House, and Old City Hall. Hadfield’s contributions to the Capitol and other Federal buildings are fully researched and assessed for the first time, and Arlington House is  shown to have been much more influential than has been appreciated hitherto. New material is presented on City Hall, another major and unjustly neglected contribution to the architecture of Washington. The complicated interlocking circles of his family and friends, his fellow architects, and his patrons and clients, including the transatlantic connections, are also explored, revealing much about the course of his career and
American architecture in general.

Subsequent chapters and the catalogue explore the other projects that Hadfield was involved with, ranging from office buildings, jails, theatres, factories, and banks to a mausoleum and monuments. The book ends with a reassessment of Hadfield’s qualities and influence, arguing that these were greater than is often acknowledged. By offering explanations as to why his work was particularly admired by contemporaries, it is concluded that Hadfield’s architectural style has been influential from his own times to the present and has been disseminated throughout the United States.

Julia King has taught at universities in Great Britain and America. She has worked on projects in conservation, historic preservation, archives, and architectural history on both sides of the Atlantic, writing and lecturing widely on art and architectural history in both countries.

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1  Family and Early Life
2  Education, Training, and Early Career
3  The US Capitol
4  Federal Buildings
5  Houses in America
6  City Hall
7  Life in Washington, Public and Commercial Buildings
8  Mausoleum and Monuments
9  Legacy
10  Conclusion

Catalogue Raisonné
Select Bibliography