Online Symposium | Kaleidoscope Conversations, Color and Meaning

Posted in conferences (to attend), online learning by Editor on June 15, 2021

From the symposium programme:

Kaleidoscope Conversations
Online, Masterpiece London Symposium, 16–17 June 2021, 5.00–6.30pm (BST)

Organized with Thomas Marks

Masterpiece is delighted to host a programme of digital debate and discussion co-organised by the Fair and Thomas Marks, editor of Apollo, to bring together preeminent museum curators and conservators with the leading figures in the art and antiques trade, with the aim of encouraging constructive discussion, networking, and the exchange of knowledge and practical advice.

Kaleidoscopic Conversations is the fifth in a series of events that Masterpiece launched in 2018—and which in the past twelve months have fully embraced the possibilities of digital discussion, with recent online events focusing on conservation and artistic materials. This June the spotlight is on the history of colour, and particularly how the colours and pigments of artistic materials—and how those have been harnessed in works of art—have borne specific meanings in different times and cultures.

Over two days, experts will discuss how the local significance of colours should be fundamental to how we interpret and appreciate a range of artistic fields and how best the history and science of colour can be communicated to as wide an audience as possible in museums and other contexts. How do we move beyond the aesthetic presentation of paintings or brightly coloured objects to discussion of what colours once meant? How can we perceive or reimagine colours that have changed or faded over time? How do museums allow us to see colours in the best possible light and provide an understanding of the role that colour plays in display? As ever at the Masterpiece Symposium, attendees will be invited to participate in the discussion during break-out sessions that will follow the panels—with the aim of stimulating vibrant debate.

“This event builds on our online programme, which has aimed to foster a better understanding of works of art through the exploration of materials,” says Philip Hewat-Jaboor, Chairman of Masterpiece London. “The fifth Masterpiece Symposium will continue this thread by looking at the often forgotten role that colour plays in works of art themselves, as well as in historical interiors, and how colour is reconceived and communicated in modern museum displays.”

Register for the Masterpiece Symposium here»

All times listed are BST

W E D N E S D A Y ,  1 6  J U N E  2 0 2 1

5.00  Introduction by Philip Hewat-Jaboor and Thomas Marks

5.05.  Panel Discussion: Vivid Histories
The inclusion of specific colours in paintings and works of art has rarely, if ever, been merely decorative. From the value historically associated with splendid raw materials, such as lapis lazuli or natural dyes for textiles, to the symbolic meanings that different hues have held in different times and places, colour contains and reflects meaning—even if that meaning may fade over time. From magnificent marbles to splendid stained glass, vibrant colours or their combinations have not only awed viewers but have historically also spoken to them of a wide spectrum of significance. This panel will explore: the fastness or fleeting nature of some of the meanings historically attached to colour; the relationship between colour and style; that between colour and power or status; the challenges of retrieving the historical significance of color; the role of heritage scientists in recovering the history of colour; and the role of art historians in telling its stories.
Renée Dreyfus | Distinguished Curator and Curator in Charge, Ancient Art and Interpretation, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco
Alexandra Loske | Curator, Royal Pavilion, Brighton
Georges Roque | Philosopher, art historian, and author of La cochenille, de la teinture à la peinture: Une histoire matérielle de la couleur
Matthew Winterbottom | Curator of Sculpture and Decorative Arts, The Ashmolean Museum, Oxford

6.00  Break-out Session: Bright Ideas
All symposium participants will be split into small discussion groups. In this 25-minute session, they will be invited to continue the conversation of the preceding panel, drawing on their own knowledge and experience to explore how the history of colour can and should still be integral to how we think about art—and why this might be more urgent that ever as we strive to understand objects in global and local contexts.

T H U R S D A Y ,  1 7  J U N E  2 0 2 1

5.00  Panel Discussion: The Chromatic Museum
In our memories, perhaps, museums sometimes exist in black and white—or in sepia tones. But working with colour—working in colour, even—is fundamental to museum installations and displays. And interpreting the historical meaning of colours is vital to how collections are communicated to the public. Richly coloured objects may be eye-catching, certainly, but how do curators and museum professionals translate that into significance for as broad an audience as possible? And how far do decisions made by curators and exhibition designers affect how we perceive and appreciate colour—or even reconstruct it—in the museum? This panel will explore: communicating the history of colour and its relationship to materials in the museum; lighting and colour; white cubes and wall colours; and how far new technologies can help in the understanding of colour.
Emerson Bowyer | Searle Associate Curator of European Painting and Sculpture, Art Institute of Chicago
Lisa O’Neill | Projects & Company Director, Centre Screen
Philippa Simpson | Director of Design, Estate and Public Programme at the Victoria & Albert Museum, London
Jennifer Sliwka | Deputy Director of the VCS project, Senior Research Fellow and Visiting Lecturer at King’s College London

5.55  Break-out Session: Widening the Spectrum
All symposium participants will be split into small discussion groups. In this 30-minute session, they will be invited to discuss how museums, academics, and the art market can work together to build a better understanding of displaying colour, and how such knowledge can be communicated to a wide public. What practical steps would further public engagement with the colourful history of art?

6.25  Closing Remarks by Philip Hewat-Jaboor

New Book | Nature’s Palette

Posted in books by Editor on June 15, 2021

From Princeton UP:

Patrick Baty, with contributions by Elaine Charwat, Peter Davidson, André Karliczek, and Giulia Simonini, Nature’s Palette: A Color Reference System from the Natural World (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2021), 288 pages, ISBN: 978-0691217048 $40.

A gorgeous expanded edition of Werner’s Nomenclature of Colours, a landmark reference book on color and its origins in nature.

First published in 1814, Werner’s Nomenclature of Colours is a taxonomically organized guide to color in the natural world. Compiled by German geologist Abraham Gottlob Werner, the book was expanded and enhanced in 1821 by Patrick Syme, who added color swatches and further color descriptions, bringing the total number of classified hues to 110. The resulting resource has been invaluable not only to artists and designers but also to zoologists, botanists, mineralogists, anatomists, and explorers, including Charles Darwin on the famous voyage of the Beagle.

Nature’s Palette makes this remarkable volume available to today’s readers, and is now fully enhanced with new illustrations of all the animals, plants, and minerals Werner referenced alongside each color swatch. Readers can see ’tile red’ in a piece of porcelain jasper, the breast of a cock bullfinch, or a Shrubby Pimpernel. They can admire ‘Berlin blue’ on a piece of sapphire, the Hepatica flower, or the wing feathers of a jay. Interspersed throughout the book are lavish feature pages displaying cases of taxidermy, eggs, shells, feathers, minerals, and butterflies, with individual specimens cross-referenced to the core catalog.

Featuring contributions by leading natural history experts along with more than 1,000 color illustrations and eight gatefolds, Nature’s Palette is the ideal illustrated reference volume for visual artists, naturalists, and anyone who is captivated by color.

Patrick Baty is the author of The Anatomy of Colour and the owner of Papers and Paints, a specialist paint business in London. Elaine Charwat is a doctoral researcher at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History. Peter Davidson is senior curator of minerals at National Museums Scotland. André Karliczek is a member of the German Optical Museum and part of cultur3D, a project that models cultural assets in 3D. Giulia Simonini is a conservator, paleographer, and art historian.


A Colour Reference System From the Natural World

Introduction — Patrick Baty, The Origins, Development, and Influence of Werner’s Nomenclature of Colours

Whites, Greys, and Blacks
1  Peter Davidson, Werner’s Mineralogical System and How His Nomenclature of Colours Became Syme’s Colour Standard

Blues and Purples
2  Elaine Charwat, Colours in Zoology: Subjectivity or Systematic?

3  Giulia Simonini, Syme’s Colour Chart in Botany: Origin and Impact

Yellows and Oranges
4  André Karliczek, One for All? Werner’s Nomenclature of Colours as a General Standard of Colour and Its Particular Use in Medicine

Reds and Browns

Reference for the Contemporary Printer, Artist, and Decorator
Sources of Illustrations

Online Talk | Sarah Coffin on Fêtes and Feasts

Posted in lectures (to attend), online learning by Editor on June 15, 2021

From The Royal Oak Foundation:

Sarah Coffin | Fêtes and Feasts: Diplomatic Dining and the Noble Table, 1660–1830
Online, The Royal Oak Foundation, Wednesday, 16 June 2021, 6.00pm (EDT)

Martin van Meytens, Banquet at the Wedding of Joseph II to Isabella of Parma, 10 October 1760, detail, 1763, oil on canvas (Vienna: Schönbrunn Palace).

What do Italian architects, English, French, and German diplomats and noblemen, and French chefs all have in common? Between the 17th century and 1830, they served up fantastical ‘table architecture’ to honor their noble and royal guests. These tables showcased lavish temples, beautiful arrangements of food, specially created sugar and porcelain sculptures, silver and gilded display pieces, and even table fireworks.

Marriages, diplomatic visits, and treaty signings turned these meals into theatrical extravaganzas, in which the chef played the role of master of ceremonies, organizing all the details including musical entertainment to accompany the cuisine. When James II of England acceded to the throne in 1685, he sent Lord Castlemayne to Rome as Ambassador to the Vatican where he arranged an elaborate banquet in honor of the Pope.

While Italy and France led the way in culinary fashion, English visitors and diplomats were often the beneficiaries and sometimes the hosts. Chef Antonin Câreme’s splendid dinner for the Treaty of Versailles attended by Alexander I of Russia, Tallyrand and others led to the chef briefly being lured to England by George IV for a State Dinner for Tsar Alexander in 1816, who tempted the chef to then travel to Russia.

Sarah Coffin, will recount some of these amazing meals and illustrate the elaborate table settings and accoutrements devised to impress guests from the top echelons of European society and royalty. She will provide first-hand accounts by observers, as well as show prints and paintings that show the masterpieces that were created for the pleasures of the table.

Sarah D. Coffin is an independent decorative arts and design historian, curator, consultant, and lecturer who has extensively researched and explored the interaction of culinary design and history. Previously she was Senior Curator and Head of the Product Design and Decorative Arts Department at Cooper Hewitt for over 14 years, retiring in 2018. Her tenure at Cooper Hewitt included her curation of the exhibition Feeding Desire: Design and Tools of the Table, 1500–2005. Other exhibitions for Cooper-Hewitt included the blockbuster exhibition Set in Style: The Jewelry of Van Cleef & Arpels (2011); Rococo: The Continuing Curve, 1730–2008; and The Jazz Age: American Style in the 1920s, which she co-curated and co-authored the exhibition catalog. Most recently she co-authored the exhibition catalogue for a show on Art Nouveau architect and designer Hector Guimard, opening in 2022 at Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum in New York, and then The Driehaus Museum, Chicago.

Watch live on Wednesday, June 16 at 6.00pm (EDT), or rent the recording for 4 days. $15 Royal Oak members; $20 non-members.

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