Enfilade

Exhibition | Vicereines of Ireland

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on May 9, 2021

Opening at the end of this month in the State Apartment Galleries at Dublin Castle:

Vicereines of Ireland: Portraits of Forgotten Women
Dublin Castle, 31 May – 5 September 2021 (dates subject to Covid-19 restrictions)

Curated by Myles Campbell

Joshua Reyolds, Frances Molesworth, later Marchioness Camden, 1777, oil on canvas, 56 × 45 inches (San Marino: The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens).

Fabrics shimmer, flowers blossom, and pearls glint in the painted world of the vicereines of Ireland. But who were the women behind these genteel portraits? Discover their untold story in this landmark exhibition.

As the wives of Ireland’s viceroys, the vicereines were once the fashionable figureheads of social and cultural life at Dublin Castle. Often sympathetic but sometimes apathetic, their attitudes and activities offer fresh insights into the workings of the British administration in Ireland. Campaigns to develop hospitals, relieve poverty, promote Irish fashions, and, in some cases, mitigate what they described as the injustices of British rule in Ireland, are just some of their overlooked initiatives. Featuring works by masters such as Sir Joshua Reynolds, Thomas Gainsborough, John Singer Sargent, and Sir John Lavery, together with intimate personal objects, this exhibition shines a light on these activities to create new and illuminating portraits of forgotten women.

The exhibition is curated by Dr Myles Campbell, Research and Interpretation Officer, Dublin Castle. Lending institutions include the National Gallery of Ireland, National Trust, Royal Collection Trust, Trinity College Dublin, and Chatsworth House.

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From the Irish Academic Press:

Myles Campbell, ed., Vicereines of Ireland: Portraits of Forgotten Women (Dublin: Irish Academic Press, 2021), 328 pages, ISBN: 978-1788551335, €35 / $45.

By exploring previously unknown or rarely seen artworks by prominent Irish and British artists of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, Vicereines of Ireland tells the untold story of the women who were the faces of the British administration in Ireland. Featuring essays by leading scholars and based on original sources, including diaries and letters, this beautifully illustrated book brings together text and image to create new and illuminating portraits of forgotten women.

Myles Campbell is now Research and Interpretation Officer (Curator) for the Office of Public Works at Dublin Castle, where he has curated several exhibitions. In 2017 he was co-editor of Making Majesty: The Throne Room at Dublin Castle, A Cultural History (Irish Academic Press), research for which earned him the inaugural George B. Clarke Prize.

C O N T E N T S

Foreword by Mary Heffernan, OPW
Editor’s Introduction

1  ‘The Goverment of the Familie’: The First Duchess of Ormonde’s Understanding of the Role of Vicereine ~ Naomi McAreavey
2  ‘That Caballing Humour, which has Very Ill Effects’: Frances Talbot, Jacobite Duchess of Tyrconnell and Vicereine of Ireland ~ Frances Nolan
3  ‘She Made Charity and Benevolence Fashionable’: Mary, Marchioness of Buckingham, Vicereine of Ireland ~ Janice Morris
4  ‘An Admirable Vice-Queen’: The Duchess of Rutland in Ireland, 1784–87 ~ Rachel Wilson
5  ‘A Subject for History’: Maria, Marchioness of Normanby as Vicereine of Ireland, 1835–39 ~ Myles Campbell
6  Lacing Together the Union: How Theresa, Marchioness of Londonderry’s Unionist Endeavours were at the Heart of her Viceregal Tenure in Ireland, 1886–89 ~ Neil Watt
7  ‘One of the Sincerest Democrats of her Caste’: Lady Ishbel Aberdeen’s Crusade against Tuberculosis in Ireland ~ Éimear O’Connor

Online Talk | Alec Cobbe, Birds, Bugs and Butterflies

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions, lectures (to attend), online learning by Editor on May 9, 2021

Tomorrow, from The Decorative Arts Trust:

Recounting the Life of the ‘Peacock’ Worcester Service (1763)
Alec Cobbe, joined with Leslie Fitzpatrick
Online, Monday, 10 May 2021, 1.00pm (ET)

Join us as we learn about some incredible ceramics from Ireland with artist, designer, and collector Alec Cobbe. Alec will share an illustrated talk about the creation, dispersal, and recovery of the ‘Peacock’ Worcester service of 1763, the largest mid-18th-century service recorded from any British porcelain manufacturer. Thomas and Lady Betty Cobbe of Newbridge House, County Dublin, acquired the service after becoming acquainted with Dr. Wall’s porcelain factory in Worcester as they traveled from Dublin to Bath.

This lecture features scholarship that is part of a recent publication and exhibition Birds, Bugs and Butterflies: Lady Betty Cobbe’s ‘Peacock’ Worcester Porcelain composed by Alec and shown at Dublin Castle (October 2019 to February 2020).

After his presentation, Alec will be joined in conversation with Leslie Fitzpatrick, who previously served as the Samuel and M. Patricia Grober Associate Curator of European Decorative Arts at the Art Institute of Chicago.

This program is dedicated in memory of Christopher Monkhouse, a recipient of the Decorative Trust’s Award of Merit, whose extraordinary 2015 exhibition and publication Ireland: Crossroads of Art and Design, 1690–1840 continue to serve as a testament to the incredible material culture of Ireland.

Participants will receive an email with the event link after registering. If you have any questions about this or other programs, please email carrie@decorativeartstrust.org.

Registration is available here (pay what you can)

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From Boydell and Brewer:

Alec Cobbe, Birds, Bugs and Butterflies: Lady Betty Cobbe’s ‘Peacock’ China: A Biography of an Irish Service of Worcester Porcelain (London: Boydel Press, 2019), 143 pages, ISBN: 9781783274727, £45 / $80.

A major contribution to our knowledge of the Worcester porcelain factory in its early years, based on a single large and elaborate dinner service commissioned by an Irish family.

2020 Winner of the American Ceramic Circle Book Award

The early years of the famous Worcester porcelain factory established by Dr Wall have always been a little mysterious, owing to the destruction of the records of the business for this period. Alec Cobbe’s discovery of family papers listing the purchases over a period of years of a particularly beautiful and ornate table set have enabled him to give a vivid glimpse of how the factory interacted with its customers. He is able to describe the commissioning of perhaps the largest service of first period Worcester porcelain on record by Thomas and Lady Betty Cobbe for Newbridge House Co. Dublin. It was bought in stages from 1763 as the family travelled from Dublin to Bath each year, stopping at Worcester en route, as other Irish gentry did. The Cobbe service, uniquely in the context of British porcelain, was accompanied by a full set of Irish silver and steel cutlery fitted with Worcester porcelain handles matching the service. The various pieces of porcelain and their historical context are described as well as their painted decoration, and the sources for it. The later history of the service is outlined and its gradual dispersal in the nineteenth century, culminating in a final sale of the remaining pieces lot by lot in a Christie’s sale in 1920. This book celebrates Cobbe’s reassembly of more than 160 pieces of the original service over a period of more than thirty years and their return to Newbridge following their exhibition in the State Apartments at Dublin Castle. Overall, the book gives an important insight into Irish social life and patronage in the mid-eighteenth century.

Alec Cobbe was born in Ireland and still resides in Newbridge House, Co. Dublin, where his ancestors have lived since it was built in the middle of the eighteenth century. He practises as an artist and designer. As a passionate collector, he added to his family’s historic collections and assembled the world’s largest group of composer-owned keyboard instruments.

C O N T E N T S

Foreword
Preface and Acknowledgements

Beginnings
‘Snuff for Dr Walls’: The Cobbes in Worcester and London
Plans for Collecting and Entertaining
The Peacock Service and Its Cutlery
The Decoration of the Original Peacock Service
The Service through Later Centuries, Sale, and Reassembly

Appendices
I. Transcripts from Worcester and Cobbe archives, accounts, and inventories
II. Hypothetical tally of the original Peacock Service
III. Transcript of Christie’s 1920 sale catalogue
IV. Known destinations of Cobbe pieces
V. A note on the nomenclature of Worcester porcelain pieces
VI. Inventory of Worcester blue-scale porcelain from the original service and re-assembled pieces in Lady Betty’s pattern of birds, insects, and butterflies