Enfilade

Lecture | John Chu on Philip Mercier

Posted in lectures (to attend) by Editor on May 16, 2017

From the Paul Mellon Centre:

John Chu, ‘Newly Invented Original Paintings’:
Philip Mercier and the Origins of the British Fancy Picture
Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, London, 13 June 2017

Philip Mercier, Portrait of Margaret (Peg) Woffington, oil on canvas (London: The Garrick Club).

The Huguenot painter Philip Mercier (1689–1760) was at the vanguard of one of the most intriguing of eighteenth-century British art forms: the fancy picture. Playful in tone and fluttering in execution, Mercier’s fancies typically depict a non-too-serious world of modern men, women and children living a life of fashion, pleasure and the senses. Though manifestly trivial in theme and decorative by design, these are often nonetheless rather imposing works of art, presenting their life-scale characters close to the viewer so as to evoke a palpable sense of presence. Mercier’s role in adapting Continental prototypes of this kind of picture for the diversifying and growing British art market has long been recognised. This talk offers an enhanced version of this origin story, setting the imagery of this first wave of fancies in the context of extraordinary expansion in the British consumption of fine and modish goods of all kinds. It also takes a close look at how, as a maker of novel luxuries, Mercier both profited by and fell victim to the very world of fleeting fashions that he took as his primary subject, exposing the tribulations that lurked beneath the surface of the British fancy picture during its light-hearted beginnings.

John Chu is Assistant Curator of Pictures and Sculpture for the National Trust and has taught at the Courtauld Institute of Art and the University of Reading. He has published on the art of Thomas Gainsborough, Joshua Reynolds, and French artists working in eighteenth-century Britain, as well as on various dimensions of the National Trust’s picture collections. He read English literature at the University of Cambridge before pursuing postgraduate studies in the history of art at the Courtauld. Having specialised in eighteenth-century British and French art during his masters’ degree, he gained his doctorate in 2015 for ‘The Fortunes of Fancy Painting in Eighteenth-Century England’. He is currently writing a book on the same subject with a Postdoctoral Fellowship from the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art.

The Fellows Lunch Series is a series of free lunchtime research talks given by recipients of Paul Mellon Centre Fellowships. All are welcome but please book a ticket in advance. Tuesday, 13 June 2017, 12:30–2:00pm.

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SAH 2017, Glasgow

Posted in conferences (to attend) by Editor on May 16, 2017

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A selection of offerings at this year’s SAH conference relevant to the eighteenth century:

2017 Society of Architectural Historians Conference
Glasgow, 7–11 June 2017

The Society of Architectural Historians will host its 70th Annual International Conference in Glasgow, Scotland, June 7–11, 2017. This is the first time that SAH has met outside North America in over 40 years. Meeting in Scotland’s largest city, world renowned for its outstanding architectural heritage, reflects the increasingly international scope of the Society and its conference. Architectural historians, art historians, architects, museum professionals and preservationists from around the world will convene to share new research on the history of the built environment. The Glasgow conference will include 36 paper sessions, eight roundtables, an introductory address and plenary talk, architecture tours, the SAH Glasgow Seminar, and more.

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Piranesi at 300
Thursday, 8 June, 8:30–10:40am
Chairs: Heather Hyde Minor (University of Notre Dame) and John Pinto (Princeton University)
1. Dirk De Meyer (Ghent University), Lauding the Republic: Piranesi, Sallust, the Romans and the French
2. Eleonora Pistis (Columbia University), Scipione Maffei, Piranesi, and the Construction of Etruscan Magnificence
3. John Stamper (University of Notre Dame), Piranesi’s Roman Bridges: Engineering to Art
4. Elizabeth Petcu (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität), ‘Nature, the great renewer’: Piranesi Visualizes Architectural Imitation
5. Victor Plahte Tschudi (The Oslo School of Architecture and Design), Rediscovering Piranesi in the Twentieth Century

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Chinese Architecture and Gardens in a Global Context
Thursday, 8 June, 8:30–10:40am
Chair: Tracy Miller (Vanderbilt University)
1. Zhu Xu (The University of Hong Kong), From Monastic Cells to Corridors: Historical Significance of Sixth–Seventh-Century Changes in the Chinese Buddhist Monastery
2. Lizhi Zhang (Tsinghua University), Hindu Features in the Vernacular Architecture of Southeast China
3. Lianming Wang (Heidelberg University), Hybrid Spaces Reconsidered: Knowledge, Identity and Publicity in Eighteenth-Century Jesuit Gardens in Beijing
4. Yiping Dong (Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University), Historical Study on Modern Textile Mills in Yangtze Delta
5. Mark Hinchman (University of Nebraska), Modern Chinese Association Buildings: Exit Nation, Enter Ethnicity

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EAHN Roundtable: Architectural History and Open Access in Europe
Thursday, 8 June, 1:15–2:45
Chair: Maarten Delbeke (ETH Zürich)
After the successful roundtable Architectural History Online at the SAH 2016 annual conference, the EAHN plans to discuss the possibilities and challenges of digital publishing and open access policies in the European context. The requirements of national funding agencies, as well as the financial support they offer, play a different role than in the U.S. The panel, consisting of journal editors and others active in the field, also will address questions of how journals deal with the proliferation of online publications, how they negotiate between the academic world and architecture culture writ large, and how they deal with the handling and sustainability of digital data.
1. Caroline Edwards (Open Library of Humanities, UK)
2. Irina Davidovici (ETH Zürich, bauforschungonline
3. Juliette Hueber (InVisu/National Center for Scientific Research France
4. Françoise Gouzi (Université Toulouse)
5. Eduard Fuehr (Brandenburg Technical University at Cottbus)

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Discovering Georgian Glasgow: Allan Dreghorn’s City
Saturday, 10 June, 1:00–4:30
Tour led by Anthony Lewis (Glasgow Museums)
Allan Dreghorn (1706–1764) made his mark on Georgian Glasgow as an architect, builder, developer, and entrepreneur. This tour will include both a walking tour in central Glasgow to understand his influence on the layout and buildings of the Merchant City, including the extant St Andrews in the Square Church, and the Tontine Heads, the sculptural keystones from Dreghorn’s Tontine Hotel (no longer standing), available for viewing in the garden of the Provand’s Lordship Museum. This tour will also visit Pollok House, Glasgow’s grand Georgian seat of the Maxwell and Jardine families, with its associations with both Dreghorn and the Adam family.

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Edinburgh: The New Town and William Playfair
Sunday, 11 June, 11:00–7:30
Tour led by John Lowrey (University of Edinburgh)
This tour will explore Edinburgh’s 18th- and 19th-century development, with a special focus on the planned New Town (part of the World Heritage Site, begun in the 1770s and celebrating its 250th anniversary in 2017) and the work of William Playfair, Edinburgh’s leading 19th-century architect. The day will begin with an exclusive focused session at Edinburgh University Library, where Playfair’s archive is housed. The group will be given special access to Playfair’s drawings and, guided by the tour leader, the University’s archive team, and expert historian colleagues, will consider Playfair’s career in context. After lunch, the tour will walk to the New Town and will see key sites and buildings, including Calton Hill (the epitome of Edinburgh’s tag as ‘Athens of the North’), St. Andrew’s Square, and Charlotte Square. At the end of the day, participants will join those from the other two Edinburgh tours for a drinks reception in the University of Edinburgh’s historic New College.

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