Lecture | Amelia Smith on the Art Collections at Longford Castle

Posted in lectures (to attend) by Editor on May 12, 2016

From the flyer for this evening’s lecture:

Amelia Smith, Art in the Archives: Insights into the
18th-Century Art Collections at Longford Castle, Wiltshire

Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre, Chippenham, 12 May 2016

Longford Castle, an Elizabethan country house situated near Salisbury in Wiltshire and owned by the Earls of Radnor, has been home to an art collection of national significance since the eighteenth century. The recent donation of the family papers to the Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre has enabled this important archive (reference 1946) to be studied for the first time. This talk will tell the story of the formation of the art collection, highlighting key documents from the archive, such as inventories, account books and letters, contextualising them alongside pictures from Longford itself.

Thursday, 12 May 2016, 7:00pm, at Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre. While the talk is free, it is essential to book a ticket in advance, from localstudies@wiltshire.gov.uk (or tel 01249 705500), to avoid disappointment. Tickets will be allocated on a first come, first served, basis.

Amelia Smith is writing a PhD on “Patronage, Acquisition and Display: Contextualising the Art Collections of Longford Castle during the Long Eighteenth Century,” a collaborative project between the National Gallery and Birkbeck, University of London. Her research draws upon the previously untapped archival material on Longford now housed at the Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre.

Exhibition | Turner and Color

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on May 12, 2016


J.M.W. Turner, Bonneville, Savoy with Mont Blanc, exhibited at the Royal Academy, 1803, oil on canvas, 92.1 x 123.2 cm (Dallas Museum of Art)

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Press release (via Art Daily) for the exhibition:

Turner et la couleur
Centre d’Art de l’Hôtel de Caumont, Aix-en-Provence, 4 May — 18 September 2016
Turner Contemporary, Margate, 8 October 2016 — 8 January 2017

Following the success of the exhibitions, Canaletto—Rome, London, Venice and The Collections of the Prince of Liechtenstein, the Hôtel de Caumont Centre d’Art in Aix-en-Provence presents a new exhibition, paying tribute to the work of Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775–1851), undoubtedly one of the most iconic English painters of the 19th century. The exhibition entitled Turner and Colour was organized in partnership with the Turner Contemporary of Margate (England) and benefits from the remarkable generosity of the Tate Gallery London, which provided over thirty of the masterpieces bequeathed by the artist to the British nation. With over 120 watercolours, gouaches and oils on display coming from some of the most prestigious English and international museums—the Royal Academy of London, the Ashmolean Museum of Oxford, and the Dallas Museum of Art, among others—this exhibition also provides the public with an opportunity to discover previously unseen works coming from private collections, as well as some ensembles of watercolours shown together for the first time.

With its emphasis on colour—the very essence of Turner’s creation—the exhibition invites visitors to rediscover the life and work of this great artist from a perspective that had gone unexplored in most of the major retrospectives devoted to the artist to date. In an exhibit organized by chronology, theme and geography, the public can follow the evolutions in Turner’s palette.

The first canvases and watercolours show how the young self-taught painter explored the work of the great colourists of the past, from Rembrandt to Poussin and from Titian to Claude Lorrain, before perfecting a uniquely personal technique thanks to his keen observation of natural phenomena and their endless chromatic variations, painted from life, in the open air.

One of the rooms of the exhibition space recreates the atmosphere of the artist’s studio, allowing the public to gain a greater insight into his way of working through the palettes, pigments and tools on display. Turner’s interest for scientific and philosophical theories on colour, from Newton to Goethe, is evident in this room, as well as his avant-gardist use of pigments and unusual techniques. While his bold experimentation resulted in harsh criticism from his contemporaries, it also earned him the admiration of some of the greatest art connoisseurs of the time.

A large section of the exhibition is devoted to the artist’s travels throughout Europe and illustrates the variety and lyricism of his golden sunsets, his seascapes in hues of blue, and the remarkable landscapes that are typical of his oeuvre. If Venice proved to be an ideal subject, thanks to the luminous reflections of the water in the lagoon, Provence was no less fascinating for the artist. Attracted by the warm light and the blue skies of the region, he immortalized his landscapes in an ensemble of watercolours and sketches which find, deservedly so, an important place in this exhibition in Aix-en-Provence.

From the delicate tones that colour the sketches executed during his travels to the powerful hues that fill some of the most famous of his later canvases, colour in Turner’s work reveals, from room to room of the exhibition space, the public and private face of this controversial artist, who was at once a mysterious figure and an adventure-loving explorer. The public will be struck by the qualities of this prodigious colourist and talented connoisseur of the visual and emotional effects of colour, to the extent that Claude Monet once described him as knowing “how to paint with his eyes open.” The major impact of his oeuvre on later generations of artists cannot be contested and indeed would have an influence, some decades later, on the Impressionist movement.

Focusing on the painter’s widespread travels, part of the exhibition however is also devoted to the time Turner spent in Margate, on the Kent coast in England. Towards the end of his life, Turner would spend much time in this small coastal village, attracted by the unique quality of its light. In Margate, Turner created some of his most beautiful pictorial experiments, and it is here that the exhibition can be seen from 8 October 2016 to 8 January 2017 at the Turner Contemporary.

Key figures of the exhibition
• 133 items exhibited, including 19 oil paintings, 99 watercolours and works on paper, 1 portrait, and 1 caricature of Turner, as well as archives, books, and painting materials once belonging to the artist
• 36 works lent by the Tate Gallery, London

Exhibition | Yinka Shonibare MBE

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on May 12, 2016


Yinka Shonibare MBE, The British Library. Courtesy the artist and Stephen Friedman Gallery, London, Co-commissioned by HOUSE 2014 and Brighton Festival, Photographer: Jonathan Bassett. 

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Now on view at Turner Contemporary:

Yinka Shonibare MBE
Turner Contemporary, Margate, 22 March — 30 October 2016

As part of the 14-18 NOW programme of World War 1 Centenary Art commissions, Turner Contemporary’s Sunley Gallery is transformed by two major works by leading contemporary artist Yinka Shonibare MBE. Coinciding with the gallery’s fifth anniversary, Shonibare’s powerful work explores themes of conflict, empire and migration in the centenary year of The Battle of the Somme, poignantly shown at Turner Contemporary against the dramatic backdrop of the North Sea.

Co-commissioned by Turner Contemporary and 14-18 NOW, Shonibare’s newest sculptural work End of Empire explores how alliances forged in the First World War changed British society forever, and continue to affect us today. The new work features two figures dressed in the artist’s signature bright and patterned fabrics; their globe-heads highlighting the countries involved in the First World War. Seated on a Victorian see-saw, the entire work slowly pivots in the gallery space, offering a metaphor for dialogue, balance and conflict, while symbolising the possibility of compromise and resolution between two opposing forces.

Presented alongside this new commission is Shonibare’s The British Library, a colourful work, celebrating and questioning how immigration has contributed to the British culture that we live in today. Shelves of books covered in colourful wax fabric fill the Sunley Gallery, their spines bearing the names of immigrants who have enriched British society. From T.S. Eliot and Hans Holbein to Zaha Hadid, The British Library reminds us that the displacement of communities by global war has consequences that inform our lives and attitudes today.

Accompanying the exhibition, Shonibare discussed his exhibition and artistic practice in conversation broadcaster and journalist Kirsty Lang, with writer and broadcaster Barnaby Phillips, and SOAS Lecturer in International Relations Dr Meera Sabaratnam at Turner Contemporary on Tuesday 22 March at 6.30pm. End of Empire is co-commissioned by 14-18 NOW and Turner Contemporary The British Library was a HOUSE 2014 and Brighton Festival co-commission.

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