Exhibitions | A Century of Shoes

Posted in exhibitions by Caitlin Smits on April 30, 2016


From Fairfax House

A Century of Shoes celebrates the visual splendour and dramatic forms of a century of shoes from the opulent and extravagant Georgian era. From the fanciful footwear of the wealthiest to the functional mules of the down at heel, this new exhibition reveals the fashion and function of Georgian footwear.

For the wealthiest in society shoes were the ultimate fashion statement and accessory. Often luxurious and flamboyant in design, they showcased exquisite materials and craftsmanship which transformed them from being mere functional items into aesthetic objects of desire. Shoes, then as they do today, reflected the style, personality, gender and class of the individual who wore them. Spanning a century of fashion with over hundred shoes on display, A Century of Shoes: The Rise and Fall of the Georgian Heel celebrates the Georgians’ love affair with ‘heels’—charting the evolutions which took place in their design, the monumental shifts which took place in their manufacture and sale, and the crucial role they played amongst Britain’s shoe-obsessed elite as symbols of the wearer’s exquisite tastes and superior social rank.

New Book | Prinny’s Taylor: The Life and Times of Louis Bazalgette

Posted in books by Editor on April 30, 2016

Available from Wordery:

Charles Bazalgette, Prinny’s Taylor: The Life and Times of Louis Bazalgette (Tara Books, 2015), 380 pages, ISBN: 978-0987969200, $25.

510zVB7q4EL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_The excesses of George IV, his debts, and the huge sums that he expended on his wardrobe are legendary. It is, therefore, strange that the man who was the Prince’s tailor for over thirty-two years, and his principal tailor for over half of that time, should have been named, and then only in passing, in just two other books. Louis Bazalgette (1750–1830) has been a shadowy figure until now; the relationship between the two men was discreet and almost clandestine. This biography presents a detailed picture of an extraordinary man, of humble origins, whose influence on tailoring, and upon the Prince himself, must have been far-reaching. This fascinating story presents a new angle on Georgian and Regency life, as seen through the eyes of a little French tailor who by his own efforts became a wealthy propertied merchant. There is also a great deal of information on tailoring of the period. Some of Louis Bazalgette’s descendants also enter the story. His eldest son Joseph William Bazalgette, R.N, served with distinction during the Napoleonic Wars, and his grandson of the same name was a noted civil engineer. The author is Louis’s great-great-great-great-grandson.

Charles Bazalgette has worked in the IT industry in a variety of roles for over forty years. He lives near Salmo, a village in British Columbia, with his wife Trish. His interests are mainly in the past: research into family and social history as well as the restoration of old buildings, furniture, and clocks.

Brooks Travelling Fellowship for Architecture and Landscape Studies

Posted in fellowships by Editor on April 29, 2016

From the Society of Architectural Historians:

H. Allen Brooks Travelling Fellowship
Applications due by 3 October 2016

The Society of Architectural Historians is accepting applications for the 2016 H. Allen Brooks Travelling Fellowship. The prestigious fellowship of $50,000 will allow a recent graduate or emerging scholar to study by travel for one year. The fellowship is not for the purpose of doing research for a book or an advanced degree. Instead, the goals are to provide an opportunity for the recipient to see and experience architecture and landscapes firsthand, to think about his/her profession deeply, and to acquire knowledge useful for his/her future work and contribution to society.

The H. Allen Brooks Travelling Fellowship is open to a scholar who will earn a PhD or advanced terminal degree in the first half of 2016 (by June 30, 2016) or an emerging scholar who was awarded a PhD or advanced terminal degree in 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012 or 2011 in a field related to the history of the built environment. Such degrees include PhDs in the history, theory or criticism of architecture, landscape architecture, or urbanism; historic preservation; the practice of architecture, landscape architecture, and urban planning; or other fields of advanced study related to the history of the built environment including an MArch, MUP, MLA or a master’s in a historic preservation program. This is an international fellowship so candidates from any country may apply. All applicants must be current members of the Society of Architectural Historians.

Study Day | William Blake’s Printing Techniques

Posted in lectures (to attend) by Editor on April 28, 2016

William Blake Study Day
Gainsborough’s House, Sudbury, Suffolk, 6 May 2016

indexThis study day will comprise a morning lecture by Michael Phillips, who will discuss Blake’s ground-breaking print techniques, followed by lunch (for those attending the full day) and an afternoon demonstration of the full-scale reproduction of Blake’s wooden printing press that is currently located in the exhibition gallery at Gainsborough’s House. Attendees will have the rare opportunity to use the press to make a print from a choice of copper plates.

Michael Phillips, who will lead the day, was guest curator of three major exhibitions on Blake: at Tate Britain in 2000; Petit Palais in 2009; and most recently his acclaimed exhibition and catalogue, William Blake Apprentice & Master, at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, in 2014–15. Michael’s training as a printmaker and his research into Blake’s methods and materials over more than 25 years has enabled him to explore and replicate Blake’s graphic techniques used in producing the illuminated books and separate prints.

Tickets: £8 morning illustrated lecture, or £40 full day, including illustrated lecture, lunch and afternoon printmaking demonstration. To book your place please contact us at mail@gainsborough.org.

New Book | Commemorating the Seafarer

Posted in books by Editor on April 28, 2016

From Boydell & Brewer:

Barbara Tomlinson, Commemorating the Seafarer: Monuments, Memorials and Memory (Martlesham, Suffolk: Boydell Press, 2015), 273 pages, ISBN: 978-1843839705, $50.

4606.1.1000.1000.FFFFFF.0This book discusses memorials—stained glass windows, church, cemetery and public monuments—commemorating British seafarers, shipbuilders and victims of shipwreck from the sixteenth century to the present. Examples have been chosen mainly from Great Britain and Ireland with a few from wider afield. They include important works by major British artists as well as more modest productions by anonymous carvers. The book retells the dramatic stories behind them, illustrating significant social and cultural changes in Britain’s relationship to the sea. Memorials vividly illustrate the hazards of seagoing life and the impact these had both upon the family of the deceased and the general public. The book has a cultural historical focus. Each chapter includes case studies of both high status and popular memorials, showing how iconography such as the depiction of the wrecked ship was widely transmitted. The book covers both naval and commercial aspects of seafaring and includes memorials to naval officers, merchants, explorers, fishermen, leisure sailors, victims of shipwrecks and lifesavers, with around 100 illustrations of memorials. Published in association with the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich.

Barbara Tomlinson was Curator of Antiquities at Royal Museums Greenwich (part of which is the National Maritime Museum) for over thirty-five years and is Hon. Secretary of the Church Monuments Society.


1  Introduction
2  Shifting Loyalties: Naval Memorials, 1628–1763
3  The Age of Heroes: Naval Memorials, 1783–1815
4  Pax Britannica: Naval Memorials, 1815–1914
5  Stormy Weather: Conflict and Sacrifice in the Twentieth Century
6  Commerce and Philanthropy: Mercantile Commemoration
7  Lost at Sea: Maritime Accidents
8  Maritime Explorers: Drake to Shackleton
9  Inshore: Fishermen, Lifesavers and Leisure
10 Conclusion

Art History, April 2016

Posted in journal articles by Editor on April 27, 2016

The eighteenth century in the latest issue of Art History (the entire issue looks extraordinary). . .

Art History 39 (April 2016), special issue dedicated to Art and Technology in Early Modern Europe, edited by Richard Taws and Genevieve Warwick.

CeOiiK_WAAEiSMN• Genevieve Warwick and Richard Taws, “After Prometheus: Art and Technology in Early Modern Europe,” pp. 198–209.
• Etienne Jollet, “The Monument to Louis XIV at the Place Vendôme (1699) as a Technical Achievement: A Question of Interest,” pp. 318–39.
• Hanneke Grootenboer, “A Clock Picture as a Philosophical Experiment: The Tableau Mécanique in the Physics Cabinet of Bonnier de la Mosson,” pp. 340–55.
• Bryan J. Wolf, “Of Air Pumps and Teapots: Joseph Wright of Derby, John Singleton Copley and the Technology of Seeing,” pp. 356–75.
• Ann Bermingham, “Technologies of Illusion: De Loutherbourg’s Eidophusikon in Eighteenth-Century London,” pp. 376–99.
• Richard Taws, “Telegraphic Images in Post-Revolutionary France,” pp. 400–21.
• Barbara Maria Stafford, “Seizing Attention: Devices and Desires,” pp. 422–27.

Conference | Making Britain Modern

Posted in conferences (to attend) by Editor on April 27, 2016

From The Courtauld:

Conference in Celebration of Professor David H. Solkin: Making Britain Modern
The Courtauld Institute of Art, Somerset House, London, 2 July 2016

Organized by Katie Scott


Thomas Rowlandson, The Exhibition Stare-Case, Somerset House, Watercolor and pen and ink on medium, slightly textured, cream wove paper, ca. 1800 (Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection)

This conference will celebrate the scholarship of Professor David H. Solkin and his outstanding contribution to the study of British art. Convening a younger generation of academics and curators whose work has been marked by David Solkin’s teaching and writing, the day will encapsulate the diverse ways in which his call for a trenchant social history of eighteenth-century British art has been answered.

The title Making Britain Modern alludes to David Solkin’s profound and wide-ranging engagement with the years between the Glorious Revolution and the death of George IV, a period in which the nation’s visual culture was transformed by broader ‘modernising’ processes of commercialisation, industrialisation and overseas expansion. Through extensive original research, acute dialectic analysis and incisive argumentation, Solkin’s historiography has advocated enquiry that is sensitive to the impact of broader social and political change on the era’s artists and artworks, and its public and commercial institutions. Thanks to an important corpus of monographs, essays, and ground-breaking exhibition catalogues, David Solkin has taught a whole generation of researchers how rigorous scholarship can be used to conjure a vivid impression of this transformational moment in British art and to restore the social significance of forgotten paintings, revising the standard account of such eminences as Richard Wilson, Joshua Reynolds, William Hogarth, Joseph Wright of Derby, and J.M.W. Turner in the process.

Making Britain Modern will offer a series of presentations on subjects and questions that are also themes current in David’s work. Dian Kriz takes up the issue of the portrayal of heroic masculinity as repurposed for contemporary colonial Jamaica. Violence is also a theme for Meredith Gamer and Joseph Monteyne, as spectacle of execution in the case of the former and as Gillray’s practice of etching in the case of the latter. In counterpoint, Matthew Hargraves considers narratives of modern sentiment in religious painting, while John Chu explores Constable’s sketches of the polite and leisured in commercial society. Questions of invention and experimentation in the context of industrialisation are raised by Richard Johns through a consideration of Wedgwood’s jasperware. Finally, Kate Grandjouan broaches the remaking of national identity in the context of British ascendency in Europe. The programme will open with a conversation between Martin Myrone and David Solkin, which explores the themes of his writing and the range of his contribution. A pop-up exhibition of works in the Courtauld Gallery, curated by Mark Hallett, will provide an opportunity to inspect important examples of the kinds of British drawings, watercolours, and prints which have been subjects of David Solkin’s research and teaching, but also allude to his long-standing activities as a collector. Sarah Monks will offer a summation of the day and consider what it conveys about his on-going impact to British art studies.


9.00  Registration

9.25  Welcome by Alixe Bovey (The Courtauld Institute of Art)

9.30  Martin Myrone (Tate Britain) in conversation with David Solkin

10.00  Meredith Gamer (Columbia University): The ‘Fine Art’ of Execution in Eighteenth-Century Britain

10.30  Kate Grandjouan (independent scholar): French Disruption: Alterity and the Satirical Print

11.00  Tea / coffee break

11.30  Matthew Hargraves (Yale Center for British Art): Devotions in Doncaster: Francis Hayman’s Good Samaritan

12.00  Richard Johns (University of York): The Trials of Josiah Wedgwood

12.30  Discussion and questions

13.00  Lunch break and pop-up exhibition in Prints and Drawings’ Room at The Courtauld Gallery curated by Mark Hallett

15.00  Joseph Monteyne (University of British Columbia): The Eye Under Attack: James Gillray’s Violent Ground of the Image

15.30  Dian Kriz (Brown University): A Military Artist Takes on the Indies: Abraham James and the Colonial Display of Martial Masculinity

16.00  Discussion and questions

16.30  Tea / coffee break

17.00  John Chu (National Trust; The Courtauld Institute of Art): Drawn Indoors: John Constable’s Idle Works

17.30  Sarah Monks (University of East Anglia): Summation and Discussion

18.00  Reception

Exhibition | Netherlandish Drawings, 15th to 18th Centuries

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on April 25, 2016


Now on view at the GNM in Nuremberg:

Netherlandish Drawings: Newly Discovered Works from the Germanisches Nationalmuseum
Niederländische Zeichnungen: Neu entdeckte Werke aus dem Germanischen Nationalmuseum

Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Nuremberg, 18 February — 22 May 2016

Since the Renaissance, drawing has been particularly valued—not just because of its relevance to the creative process in all the arts, but also as an insight into an artist’s inspiration. In his Schilder-Boeck (Book of Painters) of 1604, the Dutch biographer Carel van Mander also describes it admiringly as the “father of painting.”

The prominent role of graphic art is also reflected in the GNM’s holdings of Netherlandish drawings of the 15th to 18th century, which are now being shown for the first time in a special exhibition. Featuring around 90 selected works, the exhibition traces an arc from pieces from the workshop of Jan van Eyck through to the decorative designs of Jacob de Wit. The diversity of techniques and themes so typical of the Flemish and Dutch masters is revealed in depictions of landscapes, figure studies, genre scenes, allegories or religious subjects. The exhibition also looks at the various functions of draughtsmanship: from the first sketched idea through to independent works produced for the art market.

The GNM’s Department of Prints and Drawings includes around 150 drawings by Netherlandish artists from the 15th to the 18th century. The geographical term ‘Netherlandish’ refers to both the northern provinces of Holland and the Flemish areas in present-day Belgium. With a few exceptions, these drawings, from the hand of both prominent and not so prominent masters, have remained unpublished and therefore unknown to art historical research.

The museum’s founder, Freiherr Hans von und zu Aufseß, owned Netherlandish drawings, e.g. a sheet signed and dated by Bartholomeus Spranger. However, most of the holdings were acquired through individual purchases between 1866 and 1939. The Netherlandish collection also grew in 1940 and 1982 as a result of bequests from two private collectors.

In addition to a couple of early works, the holdings contain many 17th-century drawings from the Dutch Golden Age. The pictorial genres include landscapes, figures, genre scenes, allegories and religious and mythological subjects. A few 18th-century technical drawings of Netherlandic origin from the ‘Historical Sheets’ are worthy of note as items specific to the collection. The functional relationships between the drawings are diverse, and not always obvious—studies, sketched ideas, drafts for specific paintings, printed graphics etc. can be found alongside independent works produced for the art market.

The goal is to created a printed catalogue describing and depicting the Department of Prints and Drawings’ Netherlandish drawings in accordance with scientific standards and thus open them up for further research. This work is focusing on collecting and evaluating the technical findings, stylistic peculiarities and possible functions of the drawings, particularly in view of the discussion about issues of dating and attribution. The results of the research project are presented in this special exhibition, from February 18 to May 22, 2016.

◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊

Claudia Valter, with contributions by Frank Matthias Kammel and Thomas Ketelsen, Die Niederländischen Zeichnungen 1400–1800 im Germanischen Nationalmuseum (Nuremberg, 2016), 280 pages, ISBN: 978-3936688979, 60€.

publikation165_bildDie Graphische Sammlung des Germanischen Nationalmuseums bewahrt rund 130 niederländische Zeichnungen des 15. bis einschließlich 18. Jahrhunderts, die durch Ankäufe, Schenkungen und Vermächtnisse in den Jahren 1858 bis 1982 erworben wurden. Hierzu zählen Werke von Jan Breughel d.J., Philips Koninck oder Bartholomeus Spranger, aber auch Arbeiten von weniger bekannten und anonymen Meistern. In dem vorliegenden Bestandskatalog sind die niederländischen Zeichnungen nun erstmals in ihrer Gesamtheit wissenschaftlich bearbeitet, mit Provenienzangaben sowie den technischen und bibliographischen Daten dokumentiert und farbig abgebildet. Den Katalog ergänzen Textbeiträge zur Sammlungsgeschichte niederländischer Kunst am Germanischen Nationalmuseum sowie zu den Funktionen niederländischer Zeichnungen.

Odes on a Cat Drowned in a Goldfish Bowl

Posted in Art Market by Caitlin Smits on April 24, 2016
catwilliamblake01-768x1007.jpgWilliam Blake, illustration for “Ode on the Death of a Favourite Cat,” in ‘The Poems of Thomas Gray (1797-98), watercolor with pen and black ink and graphite on paper with inlaid letterpress page (New Haven: Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection)

◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊

Taking as a point of departure a painting at auction this week at Bonhams, Allison Meier highlights for Hyperallergic  readers some of the artistic responses to Horace Walpole’s cat, which drowned in 1747, including William Blake’s extraordinary watercolors.


Attributed to Martin Ferdinand Quadal (Nietschitz 1736–1811 St. Petersburg), Ode on the Death of a Favourite Cat Drowned in a Tub of Goldfishes (Estimate: £1000–1500 / US$1400–2200)

Allison Meier, “18th-Century Odes to a Cat that Drowned in a Goldfish Bowl,” Hyperallergic (8 April 2016).

A cat that fell into a goldfish bowl in 1747 and subsequently drowned from her pyrrhic hunt inspired an unlikely series of artworks in the 18th century. Selima, as the unfortunate feline was called, was the companion of art historian and author Horace Walpole, and like any eccentric aristocrat worth his earldom, he asked friend and poet Thomas Gray to pen a tribute. Gray went beyond a simple epitaph and scribed a whole mock elegy for the cat, called “Ode on the Death of a Favourite Cat Drowned in a Tub of Goldfishes.” . . .

The painting is included in Bonhams Old Master Sale this Wednesday (27 April 2016, Auction 23252, Lot 200).



New Book | Poetical Dust: Poets’ Corner and the Making of Britain

Posted in books by Editor on April 23, 2016

Happy Bard Day!—on the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare (died on 23 April 1616). Global programming details are available at Shakespeare400. From Penn Press:

Thomas A. Prendergast, Poetical Dust: Poets’ Corner and the Making of Britain (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2015), 256 pages, ISBN: 978-0812247503 (cloth), ISBN: 978-0812291902 (ebook), $60 / £39.

15436In the South Transept of Westminster Abbey in London, the bodies of more than seventy men and women, primarily writers, poets, and playwrights, are interred, with many more memorialized. From the time of the reburial of Geoffrey Chaucer in 1556, the space has become a sanctuary where some of the most revered figures of English letters are celebrated and remembered. Poets’ Corner is now an attraction visited by thousands of tourists each year, but for much of its history it was also the staging ground for an ongoing debate on the nature of British cultural identity and the place of poetry in the larger political landscape.

Thomas Prendergast’s Poetical Dust offers a provocative, far-reaching, and witty analysis of Poets’ Corner. Covering nearly a thousand years of political and literary history, the book examines the chaotic, sometimes fitful process through which Britain has consecrated its poetry and poets. Whether exploring the several burials of Chaucer, the politicking of Alexander Pope, or the absence of William Shakespeare, Prendergast asks us to consider how these relics attest to the vexed, melancholy ties between the literary corpse and corpus. His thoughtful, sophisticated discussion reveals Poets’ Corner to be not simply a centuries-old destination for pilgrims and tourists alike but a monument to literary fame and the inevitable decay of the bodies it has both rejected and celebrated.

Thomas Prendergast is Professor of English at The College of Wooster and author of Chaucer’s Dead Body: From Corpse to Corpus.

C  O N T E N T S


1  Westminster Abbey and the Incorporation of Poets’ Corner
2  Melancholia, Monumental Resistance, and the Invention of Poets’ Corner
3  Love, Literary Publicity, and the Naming of Poets’ Corner
4  Absence and the Public Poetics of Regret
5  Poetic Exhumation and the Anxiety of Absence
Coda: Necromancy and the American Poets’ Corner

Poets’ Corner Graveplan
Poets’ Corner Alphabetical Burial and Monument List
Chronological List of Stones and Monuments in the South Transept


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