At Sotheby’s | Canaletto Drawing Sells for £2.6million

Posted in Art Market by Editor on July 8, 2017
Canaletto, The Coronation of the Doge on the Scala dei Giganti, ca. 1763–66; pen and brown ink and three shades of grey wash, heightened with touches of white over black chalk, within original brown ink framing lines, 39 × 55 cm. The drawing sold on 5 July 2017 for £2,633,750 / $3,404,385 / €2,999,591 (meeting the low end of its presale estimate of £2,500,000–3,500,000).

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Via Art Daily (6 July 2017) . . .

Old Master and British Works on Paper, L17040
Sotheby’s, London, 5 July 2017

A superbly preserved drawing ranking among the greatest ever made by Canaletto sold for a record £2,633,750 / $3,404,385 / €2,999,591 this week at Sotheby’s London [L17040, Lot #44 ]. The price eclipsed the previous record for a work on paper by the artist (£1.9 million achieved for Campo San Giacomo di Rialto, Venice, sold at Sotheby’s in London in July 2012).

Greg Rubinstein, Worldwide Head of Old Master Drawings at Sotheby’s, said: “The record price realised today for Canaletto’s superb drawing is a fitting testimony to its importance and its quality. Nothing like it has been seen at auction. A more total expression of the essence of Canaletto’s genius as a draughtsman than this extraordinary drawing, which transports us to the very heart of 18th-century Venice, in all its glory, wit and mystery, is hard to imagine. That it was loved and cherished for so long by one of the greatest families of English cognoscenti is the final piece in the jigsaw of elements that together make this by far the most important drawing by Canaletto to have come to the market in recent decades, and one of the most illuminating and enlightening, as well as one of the most visually exciting and satisfying, that he ever made.”

Both in scale and in compositional complexity, The Coronation of the Doge on the Scala dei Giganti is one of the most ambitious of all Canaletto’s drawings. It belongs to a highly original series of twelve depictions of the ceremonies and festivals of the Doges, the Feste Ducali, conceived in the first instance as drawings, but made specifically to be engraved. Though the artist’s drawings and paintings are often very accurate renderings of specific locations, images like these of actual historical events are relatively rare in his work. In this composition, the third in the series, the Doge is being crowned at the top of the Scala dei Giganti, the grand, ceremonial staircase that forms the focus of the courtyard of the Doge’s Palace. The principal subject, though, is Venice, her life and her people.



Call for Articles | The Unique Copy: Extra-Illustration

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on July 8, 2017

First page of text in an illustrated edition of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, 1908 (Folger Digital Image 81266), exhibited in the Folger’s 2010 exhibition Extending the Book: the Art of Extra-Illustration.

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Along with next year’s workshop on extra-illustration, the organizers are editing a special issue of Wolfenbütteler Notizen zur Buchgeschichte on the subject and welcome proposals (depending upon the subject, there may also still be room in the workshop schedule; contact the organizers for details). From the Call for Articles:

The Unique Copy: Extra-Illustration, Word and Image, and Print Culture
Special Issue of the Journal Wolfenbütteler Notizen zur Buchgeschichte

Edited by Christina Ionescu and Sandro Jung

Proposals due by 15 August 2017; if accepted, final articles due by 15 June 2018

Dr Christina Ionescu and Dr Sandro Jung invite proposals for a special issue of the journal Wolfenbütteler Notizen zur Buchgeschichte on the subject of extra-illustration. Contributors wishing to submit an article to this special issue should plan ahead to meet a firm deadline of June 15, 2018. The issue is scheduled to be published in 2019 and it will be the first of this journal to be made available in both print and digital formats.

Is extra-illustration an ornamental art or does it add layers of significance and nuance to the accompanying text? How does it shed light on authorship, the act of reading, book history, and print culture? How does text-image interaction manifest itself in the extra-illustrated book-object? Is extra- illustration the equivalent of grangerising or are there other means of materially expanding the text? Is it a creative act or a form of customised reproduction or reuse of print matter? Who are the artists, readers, collectors, publishers, and curators who are responsible for the creation of extra- illustrated objects?

In his study of the history, symptoms, and cure of a fatal disease caused by the unrestrained desire to possess printed works, Thomas Frognall Dibdin (1776–1847) observes that “[a] passion for a book which has any peculiarity about it,” as a result of grangerising by means of collected prints, transcriptions, or various cutouts, “or which is remarkable for its size, beauty, and condition—is indicative of a rage for unique copies, and is unquestionably a strong prevailing symptom of the Bibliomania.” Extra-illustration as a practice did not emerge during bibliomaniac Dibdin’s birth century, which witnessed the publication of James Granger’s Biographical History of England (1769) and a widespread rage for unique copies of books, nor has it been extinguished in our digital era by modern technology. Whether it manifests materially as a published work that is supplemented verbally (with interleaved or pasted autograph letters, handwritten notes, or print matter either directly or tangentially linked to its content), or visually (with additional drawings, prints, maps, watercolours, photographs, or other forms of artwork that are similarly connected to a variable degree of closeness to the text), an extra-illustrated copy is important not only for its uniqueness as an original artefact and its commercial value as a desired commodity. As emblematic of an artistic, bibliographic, and cultural practice, it sheds light on its creator, the context of its production, and the reception of a text. As a form of personalised book design, it is moreover significant as a means of creative expression, an outlet of reader empowerment, and an archival repository of historical or cultural insight. Some of the popular targets of extra-illustration through time have been the Bible, biographies, historical treatises, topographical surveys, travel narratives, and popular plays.

A plethora of monographs and special journal issues dealing with book illustration from various theoretical and (inter)disciplinary perspectives have been published in recent years, but the subfield of extra-illustration remains largely unstudied. It is important to note, however, the contribution to the field by Luisa Calè, Lucy Peltz, and Stuart Sillars, who have proposed useful and in-depth reflections on extra-illustration and grangerising as a practice. To address this gap in current scholarship, we invite papers that engage with extra-illustration through the conceptual lenses of book history, print and visual culture studies, and word and image theory. Contributions that focus on original artwork contained in extra-illustrated copies from the perspective of word and image studies are of particular interest to the co-editors, as are studies of extra-illustration as a link between text, book-object, and context, as approached through the prism of the book arts and reception theory. Other possibilities include contributions investigating extra-illustration diachronically or cross-culturally, and case studies dealing with a special copy, a collection of extra-illustrated books, or an individual collector, publisher, curator, or artist responsible for the creation of such unique artefacts.

Possible themes include but are not limited to:
• grangerising as a biblio-cultural practice
• grangerising as a form of material repurposing in relation to print culture
• grangerising as a fashionable and biblioclastic pastime
• grangerising as an act of authorship
• the Grangerite, bookscrapping, and collecting practices
• illustrative responses to the text in the form of unique infra-textual images
• marginal illustration and text-image interaction
• extra-illustration as interactive and engaged reading
• extra-illustration as emblematic of institutional/curatorial collecting practices
• extra-illustration as personalised book design
• extra-illustration as a window into history and intellectual thought
• extra-illustration as a book customisation response to mass production
• digital imports of extra-illustration as a means of expression

500-word abstracts, along with the author’s contact information and bio- bibliographical note, should be sent to the organisers (cionescu@mta.ca / prof.s.jung@gmail.com) by 15 August 2017.





Call for Papers | Home Comforts

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on July 8, 2017

From the website for the project Comfort in the Country House: Physical and Emotional Comfort in the Country House, England and Sweden, c. 1680–1820:

Home Comforts: The Physical and Emotional Meanings of Home in Europe, 1650–1900
Manchester Metropolitan University, 5–6 October 2017

Proposals due by 10 July 2017

Speakers include Hannah Barker (University of Manchester), Johanna Ilmakunnas (University of Turku), and Eleanor John (Geffrye Museum)

Home is widely recognised as a place of emotional attachment, often expressed and articulated through material objects which lie at the heart of attempts to uncover what made a house into a home. One important aspect of this is the notion of comfort, both in a physical and emotional sense; yet comfort is a relative term, its fulfilment dependent upon a wide range of economic, social, cultural, environmental and psychological factors—from wealth to the weather, and from family to fashion. This conference aims to explore the wide range of ways in which ideas and ideals of comfort were expressed in and through the home; how these changed over time and space, and whether it is possible to identify a European conceptualisation of home and comfort. We welcome papers on any aspect of home and comfort in Europe from the early modern period to the present day, but we especially look for contributions that seek to address the following:
• Furnishing the home: easy chairs, bedrooms, textiles, etc.
• Emotions and comfort in the home/family
• Changing technologies of domestic comfort
• Ideal homes: design, comfort and convenience
• National or European: comparative perspectives on home and comfort
• Comfort and domestic service
• Souvenirs and heirlooms: the comforts of memory
• Comfort and cleanliness

If you would like to present a paper, please send a title and 200 word abstract to Professor Jon Stobart: j.stobart@mmu.ac.uk by 10 July 2017.

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