New Book | Country Church Monuments

Posted in books by Editor on October 31, 2022

From Penguin Books:

C. B. Newham, Country Church Monuments (London: Particular Books, 2022), 728 pages, ISBN: 978-0241488331, £40.

A landmark illustrated history of rural church monuments, the forgotten national treasures of England and Wales

Deep in the countryside, away from metropolitan abbeys and cathedrals, thousands of funerary monuments are hidden in parish churches. These artworks—medieval brasses and elegant marble effigies, stone tomb chests, and grand mausoleums—are of great historical and cultural significance, but have, due to their relative inaccessibility, faded from accounts of our art history.

Over twenty-five years, C. B. Newham has visited and photographed more than eight thousand rural churches, cataloguing the monumental sculptures encountered on his quest. In Country Church Monuments, he presents 365 of the very best, each accompanied by detailed photographs, biographies of both the deceased and their sculptors, and a wealth of contextual material. Many of these works commemorate famous historical figures, from scheming Tudor courtier Richard Rich to Victorian prime minister William Ewart Gladstone. But more moving are the countless others—minor aristocrats, small-time industrialists, much-loved mothers, fathers, and children—who, if not for their memorials, would wholly be lost to time. As Newham blows the dust off these artworks and breathes life into the stories they tell, a new aesthetic history of rural England and Wales emerges. Country Church Monuments is a poignant record of the art we make at the borders of life and death, of our ceaseless human striving for eternity.

C. B. Newham lives in Yorkshire, England. A fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, he is Director of The Digital Atlas of England, a complete photographic record of English’s parish churches.

Exhibition | Archive of the World: Spanish America, 1500–1800

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on October 30, 2022

The exhibition closes at LACMA this weekend, but the catalogue remains available, and a version of the show will open at Nashville’s Frist Art Museum this time next year.

Archive of the World: Art and Imagination in Spanish America, 1500–1800
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 12 June — 30 October 2022
Frist Art Museum, Nashville, 20 October 2023 — 28 January 2024

Curated by Ilona Katzew

Archive of the World: Art and Imagination in Spanish America, 1500–1800 is the first exhibition of LACMA’s notable holdings of Spanish American art. Following the arrival of the Spaniards in the Americas in the 15th century, the region developed complex artistic traditions that drew on Indigenous, European, Asian, and African art. The Spanish conquest of the Philippines in 1565 inaugurated a commercial route that connected Asia, Europe, and the Americas. Private homes and civic and ecclesiastic institutions in Spanish America were filled with imported and locally made objects. Many local objects also traveled across the globe, attesting to their wide appeal. This confluence of riches signaled the status of the Americas as a major emporium—what one author described as “the archive of the world.” Featuring approximately 90 works, including several recent acquisitions, the exhibition emphasizes the creative power of Spanish America.

Following its presentation at LACMA, Archive of the World: Art and Imagination in Spanish America, 1500–1800 will be on view at the Frist Art Museum, Nashville, from 20 October 2023 through 28 January 2024.

The press release is available as a PDF file here»

Ilona Katzew, ed., Archive of the World: Art and Imagination in Spanish America, 1500–1800, Highlights from LACMA’s Collection (New York: DelMonico Books, 2022), 391 pages, ISBN: ‎978-1636810201, $85. With contributions by Ilona Katzew, Pablo F. Amador Marrero, Rafael Barrientos Martínez, Patricia Díaz Cayeros, Carlos F. Duarte, Clarissa M. Esguerra, Cristina Esteras Martín, Alejandra Mayela Flores Enríquez, Aaron M. Hyman, Rachel Kaplan, Paula Mues Orts, Jeanette Favrot Peterson, Elena Phipps, JoAnna M. Reyes, Maya Stanfield-Mazzi, Edward J. Sullivan, and Luis Eduardo Wuffarden. Designed by Lorraine Wild and Xiaoqing Wang, Green Dragon Office.

The Burlington Magazine, September 2022

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions, journal articles, reviews by Editor on October 30, 2022

The eighteenth century in the September issue of The Burlington . . .

The Burlington Magazine 164 (September 2022)


• “A Practical Guide to Restitution,” p. 835.


• Rahul Kulka, “Counter-Reformation Ambers: Friedrich Schmidt’s Workshop in Kretinga, Lithuania,” pp. 839–53.
On the basis of a unique signed and dated domestic altarpiece it has been possible to attribute a significant body of work to the amber workshop of Friedrich Schmiddt, who worked in Kretinga in the seventeenth century. They include a reliquary of St Casimir given in 1678 with other works in amber to Grand Duke Cosimo III of Tuscany by the Bishop-Elect of Vilnius, Mikolajus Steponas Pacas.

• Aurora Laurenti, “Nicolas Pineau as a Designer of Ornament Prints,” pp. 864–73.
Although designs by the woodcarver Nicolas Pineau in publication by Jean Mariette and Jacques-François Blondel played a significant role in the creation and dissemination of the Rococo style in the first half of the eighteenth century, they have never been studied in detail and their sequence and chronology have remained uncertain.


• Alison Wright, Review of the exhibition Gold (British Library, 2022), pp. 910–12.

• Philippe Bordes, Review of the exhibition Le Voyage en Italie de Louis Gauffier (Montpellier, 2022) and the catalogue raisonné by Anna Ottani Cavina and Emilia Calbi, Louis Gauffier: Un pittore francese in Italia (Silvana Editoriale, 2022), pp. 915–18.

• Ariane Varela Braga, Review of Dario Gamboni, Jessica Richardson, and Gerhard Wolf, The Aesthetics of Marble: From Late Antiquity to the Present (Hirmer, 2021), p. 934.

• Celia Curnow, Review of J.V.G. Mallet and Elisa Sani, eds., Maiolica in Italy and Beyond: Papers of a Symposium held at Oxford in Celebration of Timothy Wilson’s Catalogue of Maiolica in the Ashmolean Museum (Ashmolean Museum, 2021), pp. 937–38.

• François Marandet, Review of Delphine Bastet, Les Mays de Notre-Dame de Paris, 1630–1707 (Arthena, 2021), pp. 938–40.

• John Bold, Review of Christina Strunck, Britain and the Continent 1660–1727: Political Crisis and Conflict Resolution in Mural Paintings at Windsor, Chelsea, Chatsworth, Hampton Court and Greenwich (De Gruyter, 2021), pp. 940–41.

• Mark Stocker, Review of Matthew Potter, Representing the Past in the Art of the Long Nineteenth Century: Historicism, Postmodernism, and Internationalism (Routledge, 2021), pp. 941–42.

• Yuriko Jackall, Review of Alan Hollinghurst and Xavier F. Salomon, Fragonard’s Progress of Love (Frick Collection, 2022), pp. 945–46.


• Tim Knox, Obituary for John Harris (1931–2022), pp. 950–52.

NGA Acquires 2-Volume Illustrated Book by Giorgio Fossati

Posted in museums by Editor on October 29, 2022

From the NGA press release (14 October 2022) . . .

Giorgio Fossati, Raccolta di Varie Favole delineate ed incise in rame, 1744, six volumes in two, with three etched headpieces and 216 etchings printed in colors, bound in full contemporary Venetian vellum, each book 30 × 21 cm (National Gallery of Art, Washington, 2021.29.1).

Giorgio Fossati (1705–1785), born in Switzerland but active in Italy, was an architect, writer, stage designer, draftsman, and printmaker. The National Gallery of Art has acquired Raccolta di Varie Favole delineate ed incise in rame (1744), a book that was issued in six parts and bound in two volumes featuring letterpress text and 216 full-page illustrations. The first major work by Fossati to enter the National Gallery’s collection, these volumes feature their original 18th-century Venetian vellum binding boards and illustrations inked and printed in a different color, including hues of red, blue, and green.

Fossati’s etchings depicting the fables of Aesop and Jean de La Fontaine targeted an international audience with text written in Italian as well as French—the cosmopolitan language of the 18th century. Some of Fossati’s images reference earlier printed works, including Albrecht Dürer’s woodcut The Rhinoceros (1515).

New Acquisitions at The Huntington

Posted in museums by Editor on October 28, 2022

From the press release (15 September 2022) . . .

The Huntington acquires large-scale Jacobean portrait and a rare early 19th-century portrait of a young Black man, among other works.

Unknown artist, British, 19th century, Portrait of a Young Black Man, 1800–20, oil on canvas, 9 × 7 inches (The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens).

The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens in San Marino, California has acquired a group of art works to add to its well-regarded British collections, including a large-scale, meticulously painted Jacobean portrait of a noblewoman, probably by Robert Peake the Elder (ca. 1551–1619), and a rare British painting of a Black man made around 1800. The acquisitions were funded by The Huntington’s Art Collectors’ Council. Among other purchased works were a set of drawings relating to the girl depicted in The Huntington’s iconic painting Pinkie by Thomas Lawrence; a modernist pastel by C.R.W. Nevinson; and a vase by Christopher Dresser, one of Britain’s most important designers of the late 19th century. The two paintings will go on view in the Huntington Art Gallery on 15 February 2023, with the opening of the related special exhibition The Hilton Als Series: Njideka Akunyili Crosby.

“These new acquisitions offer important depth and nuance to the interpretation of our signature British art collections of paintings, works on paper, and decorative art,” said Christina Nielsen, the Hannah and Russel Kully Director of the Art Museum at The Huntington. “I’m delighted that we will debut these two centuries-old portraits in a gallery where Njideka Akunyili Crosby’s intimate contemporary portraits of Nigerian children will be across the room. Akunyili Crosby’s work evokes tropes of Western portraiture and should provide fascinating context to the two older paintings.”

Robert Peake the Elder, Portrait of a Lady, traditionally identified as Eleanor Wortley, Lady Lee, 1615, oil on canvas, 82 × 47 inches.

Robert Peake the Elder, Portrait of a Lady, traditionally identified as Eleanor Wortley, Lady Lee, 1615, oil on canvas, 82 × 47 inches (The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens).

The expertly rendered full-length portrait of a noblewoman from Jacobean England (1603–25) was probably painted by Robert Peake the Elder (ca. 1551–1619). The sitter had been identified as Eleanor Wortley, Lady Lee, from Oxfordshire, based on clues from a record written in the 18th century. However, that theory is now in question, as other evidence indicates the painting was probably made in 1615, when Wortley was still married to Sir Henry Lee and not yet widowed—but this sitter is in mourning clothes.

The woman in the painting stands between two red curtains on a precious imported carpet. She is richly dressed, styled in a black satin gown with a white silk lining, diamond encrusted jewels, strings of pearls, and expensive lace at the neck and wrists. An embroidered petticoat edged with a silver thread fringe is visible at the bottom of the skirt. In her left hand, she holds a white handkerchief bordered with Flemish lace. Her jewelry is particularly fine and includes a crown of pearls in the style typically worn by a countess. There are also jewels in her hair, a bejeweled gold chain inset with pearls and rubies around her neck, and heavy ropes of pearls on her wrists.

Robert Peake the Elder was active in the latter part of Queen Elizabeth I’s reign and for most of King James I’s. The portrait probably dates to the late years of Peake’s career, when he specialized in the full-length ‘costume pieces’ that were unique to England at the time.

“This is our first example of the kind of painting that anticipated the grand manner formula of full-length portraits of nobles dressed in lavish clothing, which influenced such artists as Anthony van Dyck and later Joshua Reynolds and Thomas Gainsborough, all of whom are already beautifully represented in our collections,” said Melinda McCurdy, curator of British art at The Huntington. “This impressive acquisition allows us to broaden the story that we can tell about British art in our galleries.”

Unknown artist, British, Portrait of a Young Black Man, 1800–20, oil on canvas, 9 × 7 inches.

“In this mysterious portrait, a young Black man stares out at us with a captivating face, his brow slightly furrowed and his gaze direct and calm,” McCurdy said. “Dressed in a frock coat, waistcoat, and red neckerchief, he has a presence that is dignified and self-possessed, and we wonder, ‘Who is this person?’”

The sitter’s name and identity are not known. He is possibly British; by 1800, there were about 15,000 people of African or Afro Caribbean descent living in England. During the period, there were some prominent figures of African descent in British society, such as the abolitionist and grocer Ignatius Sancho (1729–1780), whose portrait was painted by Thomas Gainsborough in 1768. The sitter was possibly a servant or, given his dress, a sailor, since the style of his coat and red neckcloth are consistent with sailor attire of the period.

“While a bit of mystery surrounds it, this portrait is an exceptional addition to our collection of British portraiture,” McCurdy said. “Single-figure British portraits of Anglo African sitters from the early 19th century are exceedingly rare. The portrait also adds a new historical lens through which we can view the works of other artists in our collection, including Joshua Reynolds, who was active in the English abolitionist movement. Perhaps most strikingly, the painting serves as a historical counterpart to our already iconic Kehinde Wiley painting, A Portrait of a Young Gentleman.”

Mary Clementina Barrett, Cinnamon Hill Great House, Home of Samuel and Mary Barrett, ca. 1830, graphite on embossed Bristol board, 9 × 14 inches; Retreat Sea House, St. Ann’s, Jamaica, 30 January 1830, graphite on paper, 9 × 14 inches; and Slave Houses on the Barrett Plantation, Jamaica, ca. 1830, graphite on embossed Turnbull’s superfine board, 9 × 14 inches.

Mary Clementina Barrett, Slave Houses on the Barrett Plantation, Jamaica, ca. 1830, graphite on embossed Turnbull’s superfine board, 9 × 14 inches (The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens).

The Huntington also acquired three drawings by Mary Clementina Barrett (1803–1831), the wife of Samuel Barrett Moulton Barrett, who is the brother of Sarah Goodin Barrett Moulton, better known to Huntington audiences by her nickname, ‘Pinkie’. Had she lived beyond childhood, Pinkie would have been Mary Barrett’s sister-in-law. The drawings depict Cinnamon Hill Estate, the Barrett family’s Jamaican sugar plantation where Pinkie grew up. Two of the drawings focus on the owners’ residences: Cinnamon Hill Great House and Retreat Sea House. A third drawing shows the buildings that housed the enslaved people of the estate. Together, the drawings present a visceral reminder of the system of human bondage that underpinned the wealth of many British families.

Pinkie was born in Jamaica, where she spent the first nine years of her life on her family’s plantation before being sent to school in England, where she died of an infection two years later in 1795. “The tragic circumstances of this girl’s short life, immortalized in Thomas Lawrence’s famed 1794 portrait, have kept Pinkie’s family history in the background,” McCurdy said. “These drawings bring that story to light.”

Mary Barrett would have received training in draftsmanship, considered an essential part of a wealthy young woman’s education, and her drawings reveal her mastery of the pencil. The views are taken from a wide vantage point, capturing incidents in the life of the plantation. Rendered in fine, precise strokes, Barrett’s drawings are full of incidental details, valuable for what they show of plantation life as well as for what they leave out. Two of the scenes include the residences of the estate’s enslaved people and all three present images of the people themselves, but Barrett does not depict the back-breaking labor of the sugar cane fields that made her family’s position in British society possible.

“These three drawings are essential to building a fuller understanding of The Huntington’s collections. We plan to use them in installations illuminating the history of the British Empire; in educational programming; and in traditional and online publications that foster diversity, equity, and inclusion at the institution,” Nielsen said. “As stewards of the greatest assembly of 18th-century grand manner portraits outside of the United Kingdom, we must reckon with the real lives of the people represented on our walls. These portraits are reflective of the age in which they were produced—in all its complexity—and that is the most important story we can tell.”

Christopher Richard Wynne Nevinson, From an Office Window, 1916, pastel on paper, 12 × 9 inches.

A soft geometry characterizes the newly acquired 1916 pastel by British modernist C.R.W. Nevinson (1889–1946). Depicting the rooftops of London from the vantage point of an office window, the painting features a strong, refracted composition of zigzags populated by glowing windows, puffs of smoke, and telephone wires. The atmospheric effect of smog over the city, perhaps at dusk or dawn, is rendered in a soft grisaille (a technique using gray tones). A thin window frame, just slightly askew, sets off the whole picture through its angular borders. Nevinson is most famous for his pictures of war. Witnessing the carnage of trench warfare during World War I, Nevinson returned from the front to exhibit his controversial pictures of war, including soldiers facedown in the mud or convalescing on stretchers. From an Office Window comes from this formative period in the artist’s career, when he also focused on the atmosphere of the city and, in particular, London’s smoke and smog. Several years after making this picture, Nevinson helped to form the Brighter London Society, which advocated for the beautification of the city and the improvement of such conditions as air quality. “From an Office Window is particularly relevant today, given our own increasing awareness of the climate crisis,” McCurdy said.

The Huntington holds another urban Nevinson drawing, Bar in Marseilles (1921). From an Office Window may have been a study for a 1917 oil-on-canvas version of the same composition, which was also translated to a mezzotint in 1918.

Christopher Dresser (designer), Basket Vase, 1892–96, glazed earthenware, 9 inches high.

Christopher Dresser was one of Britain’s most important independent designers of the late 19th century. The rare ‘basket’-style vase, designed by Dresser and produced by Ault Pottery, bears a variety of international influences characteristic of Dresser’s imaginative, deeply historical, and improvisational style. The vase’s luscious deep green and yellow glaze is inspired by traditional Chinese and Japanese pottery, and is typical of Dresser’s finer pieces. The form—with its pouch-like, curving shape tapering to a thin handle—is reminiscent of Japanese bronze vessels and woven moon baskets used for ikebana, or flower arranging.

Dresser worked for a variety of manufacturing firms during his long and influential career. Early on, he trained as a botanist, often incorporating his knowledge of flowers and plants into his wallpaper, textile, ceramic, furniture, and metal designs. He also drew inspiration from ancient cultures, taking cues from ancient Peruvian pottery and Persian, Egyptian, and Moroccan objects, as well as Asian styles that influenced his cutting-edge, modernist designs. He was a proponent of the Anglo Japanese style, writing and lecturing widely on the topic, and he played a significant role in introducing the style to middle-class audiences in Britain and the United States.

“Although The Huntington’s collection is strong in British Arts and Crafts and aesthetic movement material, it astonishingly did not include works by Dresser, who was among the most prolific designers of his era,” McCurdy said. “This vase adds to our substantial collection of works by such contemporaneous designers as William Morris and Walter Crane.” It also connects with the Japanese influences that are visible in The Huntington’s American works by Louis Comfort Tiffany, the Herter Brothers, and Greene and Greene.

UK Export Ban Placed on The Cricketers by Benjamin West

Posted in Art Market by Editor on October 27, 2022
Benjamin West, The Cricketers, 1763, oil on canvas, 99 × 125 cm. The sitters are traditionally identified as the brothers Andrew and James Allen, of Pennsylvania; Ralph Wormeley, of Virginia; and Ralph Izard and Arthur Middleton, of South Carolina. Provenance: By descent in the family of Andrew Allen, acquired in 2021 by the current owner. Two versions of the painting exist, the first of which (this one) was the centerpiece of the 2018 exhibition Loyalties in Revolutionary Times at Freeman’s auction house in Philadelphia. A 25-page guide by Roland Arkell accompanied the show. The second version, dated 1764, is reproduced in Maurie Dee McInnis, ed., In Pursuit of Refinement: Charlestonians Abroad, 1740–1860 (Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1999), pp. 100–103.

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Press release (14 October 2022) from Gov.UK’s Department for Culture, Media & Sport:

Worth £1.2million, The Cricketers by Benjamin West—famed for The Death of Nelson—shows the evolution of cricket from a rustic to noble sport during the 18th century.

The Cricketers (Ralph Izard and Friends) by Benjamin West (1738–1820) is at risk of leaving the United Kingdom unless a buyer can be found. The Cricketers shows five wealthy American men playing cricket, possibly at Kew, while visiting the UK to study in the 1700s. The painting is regarded as one of the most important works depicting early cricket and shows that by the 1750s the sport had evolved from the rustic game played in the 1720s to one taken up by the aristocracy.

West is best known for his work The Death of Nelson (1806), which shows the great British naval hero Lord Nelson on the deck of his ship, Victory, at the Battle of Trafalgar.

Arts Minister Stuart Andrew said: “Cricket is enjoyed by millions of people across the world and this fascinating painting tells the story of the rise of the sport during the 18th century. It is a wonderful and rare depiction of the early development of one of our most loved games. I hope a buyer comes forward to save the work for the nation so we can give it another innings in the UK.”

The Minister’s decision follows the advice of the Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art and Objects of Cultural Interest. The Committee noted that the painting came at a crucial period of the development of cricket as an elite sport and that it was a rare depiction of an early game of cricket. The Committee also suggested that identifying the background to the painting, would be an interesting research avenue and would add to its historical importance.

Committee Member Professor Mark Hallett said: “Together with its interest as a sporting painting, West’s picture is notable for being a rare group portrait of young colonial Americans in England. This kind of work, known as a ‘conversation piece’, was more commonly commissioned by British aristocrats to mark their Grand Tour through Italy. Here, however, the format is repurposed to fit the needs of a group of wealthy American friends who were studying in Britain in the early 1760s.”

The Cricketers powerfully demonstrates the extent to which these men were happy to identify themselves with what was often described as the ‘mother country’; some twelve years later, however, their world and their allegiances were to be thrown into flux by the American Revolution. West’s picture, made in his mid-twenties and one of the very first he produced on arriving in London in 1763, also illustrates the developing talents of an artist who was to enjoy great fame later in his career, and who became the second President of the Royal Academy of Arts in 1792.

The Committee made its recommendation on the grounds that the painting is of outstanding significance to the study of Britain’s relationship to America in the 18th century.

The decision on the export licence application for the painting will be deferred for a period ending on 13th April 2023 inclusive. At the end of the first deferral period owners will have a consideration period of 15 business days to consider any offer(s) to purchase the painting at the recommended price of £1,215,000. The second deferral period will commence following the signing of an Option Agreement and will last for three months.

Online Talk | Lelia Packer on 18th-Century Venice

Posted in lectures (to attend), online learning by Editor on October 26, 2022

After Canaletto, Venice: The Molo from the Bacino di San Marco, ca. 1740–60, oil on canvas, 52 × 70 cm
(London: The Wallace Collection, P514).

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From The Wallace Collection:

Lelia Packer | Meet the Expert: Experiencing and ​Painting Venice in the 18th Century
Online, Thursday, 17 November 2022, 13.00 (GMT)

The Wallace Collection holds an impressive collection of vedute, or topographical views, of Venice by Canaletto and Guardi, and by artists working in Canaletto’s circle. In this talk, Dr. Lelia Packer discusses a selection of these works in order to explore Venice as a major tourist destination during the 18th century. What did visitors come to see? What did they do during their visit? And, most importantly, how was the city recorded in paint for them? This talk will be hosted online through Zoom and YouTube. Please click here to register for Zoom.

Lelia Packer is Curator of Dutch, Italian, Spanish, German, and Pre-1600 Paintings at The Wallace Collection.

Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco Acquire Work by Canaletto

Posted in museums by Editor on October 26, 2022

Canaletto, Venice, the Grand Canal Looking East with Santa Maria della Salute, ca. 1750, oil on canvas, 133 × 165 cm
(Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco)

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From the press release (20 October 2022) . . .

The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco are delighted to announce the acquisition of Venice, the Grand Canal Looking East with Santa Maria della Salute, a preeminent work by Giovanni Antonio Canal, called Canaletto (1697–1768), considered the greatest Venetian view painter of the eighteenth century. The acquisition was made possible by a generous donation from the San Francisco philanthropist Diane B. Wilsey. Originally commissioned in 1750 by William Holbech for Farnborough Hall in England, the painting has been continuously held in private collections, including most recently that of Ann and Gordon Getty. The painting will now take its place as one of the public treasures of San Francisco as part of the European Paintings collection at the Legion of Honor, widely known for its exceptional quality.

“We extend our deepest gratitude to Diane B. Wilsey for her generous gift of this breathtaking work to the city of San Francisco, and unmatched support of the Fine Arts Museums over many years, including funding our beloved free Saturdays program for Bay Area residents,” states Thomas P. Campbell, director and CEO of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. “The first major painting by Canaletto to enter the Fine Arts Museums’ collections, Venice, the Grand Canal Looking East with Santa Maria della Salute, builds on the Legion of Honor’s robust holdings of eighteenth-century Italian art.”

“With the Legion of Honor Centenary approaching in 2024, I wanted to give a gift to the museum, to the residents of San Francisco, and to our visitors from around the world, that matched the magnitude of this moment. It is an honor to help the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco in its acquisitions of serious and important works of art that continue to elevate and distinguish its collection,” says Diane Wilsey.

Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, The Empire of Flora, ca. 1743, oil on canvas (Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, Gift of the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, 61.44.19).

“Christie’s is thrilled to have facilitated this pre-auction private sale that will benefit the public twice, by funding the arts and sciences through the Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation, and by ensuring that a Canaletto masterpiece will inspire and amaze visitors to the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco for generations to come,” commented Bonnie Brennan, President of Christie’s Americas, “On behalf of Christie’s I want to congratulate Diane B. Wilsey and the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco for making this wonderful acquisition for the good of all a reality.”

Venice, the Grand Canal looking East with Santa Maria della Salute joins an exquisite group of eighteenth-century Italian pictures, including the Empire of Flora by Canaletto’s Venetian compatriot Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, architectural capricci by his Roman rival Panini, and further works by his Guardi and Pietro Longhi held in the Legion of Honor’s collection. The painting also joins a closely related view, painted a century and a half later depicting the Grand Canal and church of the Salute, a 1908 masterpiece by Claude Monet.

Claude Monet, The Grand Canal, Venice, 1908, oil on canvas (Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, 1960.29).

“Acquiring a masterpiece by Canaletto has long been a priority for our collections. Venice, the Grand Canal looking East with Santa Maria della Salute represents a cornerstone acquisition for the kickoff of our Gift of Art Campaign to celebrate the Legion of Honor’s Centenary. Thanks to Mrs. Wilsey’s remarkable generosity, this masterpiece returns to San Francisco where it will be featured prominently as a highlight in our galleries,” says Melissa Buron, Director of Curatorial Affairs.

Bathed in late afternoon light, Canaletto’s composition looks eastward, down the Grand Canal, past the stately church of Santa Maria della Salute and the customs house on the Punta della Dogana. Sailboats and gondolas dot the placid water, and Venetians of various social classes mingle in the foreground. On the horizon, the bell towers of San Giorgio dei Greci, the Piazza San Marco, and San Pietro di Castelo float like buoys, while half the canvas is given over to a radiant sky, its clouds tinted pink by the approaching sunset.

“Depicting one of the most famous views in Venice, this is among the most important pictures by the artist to come onto the market in the last twenty years. Taking as its principal subject the church of Santa Maria della Salute, built in an act of civic piety following the 1629–31 outbreak of plague in Venice, the painting offers contemporary audiences a symbol of hope and resilience as we emerge from our own pandemic,” adds Emily Beeny, Curator in Charge of European Painting at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco

Canaletto left Venice in 1746, to spend nearly a decade in England, where he had developed a loyal clientele among the British gentlemen who had visited his Venetian workshop during their grand tours of Italy. Once such client was William Holbech (c. 1699–1771), the owner of a country house in Warwickshire called Farnborough Hall. Having acquired two earlier Venetian views by Canaletto (today in the Städtliche Kunstsammlungen, Augsburg; and the National Gallery of Canada, Ottowa), he commissioned this painting and its pendant, a view of the Bacino di San Marco from the Piazzetta (today in the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne), from the artist in 1749 or 1750. These four works were likely installed, along with a group of Roman view paintings by Canaletto’s Roman counterpart, Giovanni Paolo Panini, in the dining room at Farnborough Hall in the fall of 1750, and there they remained for nearly two hundred years. Ann and Gordon Getty acquired this picture in 1987, making it the centerpiece of their legendary San Francisco collection, which contained no fewer than four Venetian view paintings by Canaletto, as well as examples by his contemporaries and rivals Francesco Guardi and Bernardo Bellotto.

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Over the past 40 years, Diane B. Wilsey has established herself as one of greatest benefactors in San Francisco history. A leader, trustee, and long standing supporter of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, she raised over $200 million for a building for the new de Young museum, has donated key works of art and supported numerous exhibitions at the museums. Beginning in 2019, she generously underwrites the museums’ Free Saturday program, providing free general admission to the de Young and Legion of Honor for Bay Area residents every Saturday throughout the year. Her support extends to other major cultural organizations such as SFOpera, whose Center for Opera bears her name, SF Ballet, UCSF, the renovation of San Francisco’s Grace Cathedral to the SF Zoo, and further to the SFSPCA, The Shanti Project, ICA Christo Rey Academy, Tenderloin housing programs, innumerable hospitals and schools, and the City of San Francisco’s Pandemic recovery efforts. San Francisco Mayor London Breed honored her during Women’s History Month as one of four ‘Women in Philanthropy: the Givers and the Doers’.

New Book | Ars Critica Numaria: Joseph Eckhel (1737–1789)

Posted in books by Editor on October 25, 2022

From the Austrian Acadmey of Sciences Press:

Bernhard Woytek and Daniela Williams, eds., Ars Critica Numaria: Joseph Eckhel (1737–1789) and the Transformation of Ancient Numismatics (Vienna: Austrian Academy of Sciences Press, 2022), 683 pages, ISBN: 978-3700187745 (print edition), 240€ / ISBN: 978-3700191841 (free digital edition).

This richly illustrated volume explores the life and work of the Austrian classical scholar Joseph Eckhel, a crucial figure in the transformation of numismatic studies into a modern discipline. Eckhel has been celebrated widely as the ‘father of numismatics’ since the 19th century; still, this is the first book in the history of scholarship entirely dedicated to him. It contains twenty-one essays by an interdisciplinary group of international authors examining various aspects of Eckhel’s biography and scholarly activities: his Jesuit background, his formative study trip to Italy in 1773, his work as director of the imperial collection of ancient coins and professor of numismatics at the university of Vienna (from 1774), and his most important publications on ancient coins as well as on gems and cameos, notably his eight-volume opus magnum Doctrina numorum veterum (Vienna, 1792–98). Finally, Ars Critica Numaria considers Eckhel’s impact on contemporaries and later generations, with special regard to his role in the development of numismatic methodology in the Enlightenment and beyond.

The book is available as a free, open access pdf file here»


Abbreviations and Bibliographical Conventions

Setting the Scene
Joseph Eckhel: Biographical Data
Eckhel’s Publications Printed during his Lifetime
• Bernhard Woytek, Ars critica numaria and the Study of Ancient Coins in the 18th Century: A Short Introduction

Eckhel in Context
• Karl Vocelka, Enlightened Scientific Research and Collecting: Vienna in the Second Half of the 18th Century
• Volker Heenes, Eckhel’s Approach to Ancient Coinage in the Context of 18th-Century Research on Ancient Art (Montfaucon, Caylus, Winckelmann)
• Jean Guillemain, Eckhel et la tradition jésuite. Les activités numismatiques dans la Compagnie de Jésus, du laboratoire lyonnais à la Doctrina numorum veterum. Avec un catalogue des collections, enseignements et ouvrages numismatiques des jésuites (1579–1816)
• Martin Gierl, Umgemünzte Aufklärung. Die Numismatik im 18. Jahrhundert bis Eckhel
• Martin Mulsow, Wie ordnet man die Antike? Das Programm einer Gesamtverzeichnung antiker Münzen von Lazius bis Eckhel
• Fritz Mitthof, Die Analyse eines siebenbürgischen Schatzfundes durch Abbé Eder im Jahr 1803: Goldstatere der bosporanischen Herrscher Pharnakes II. und Asandros in Vergesellschaftung mit solchen des Lysimachos-Typs

Eckhel’s Works
• Daniela Williams, From Collection to System: Eckhel in Italy (1772–1773) and the Numi veteres anecdoti (1775)
• Peter Franz Mittag, Eckhels numismatisches Lehrbuch. Die Kurzgefaßten Anfangsgründe zur alten Numismatik und ihre Ü bersetzungen
• Gabriella Tassinari, Joseph Eckhel e le gemme, antiche e ‘moderne’
• Bernhard Woytek, The Genesis of Eckhel’s Doctrina numorum veterum and Georg Zoëga’s Numismatic Papers
• Andrew Burnett, Scientia rei numariae Ars critica numariaDoctrina numorum veterum: What Are the Models?
• John Cunnally, Eckhel vs. Goltzius. The Reception of Renaissance Numismatics in the Doctrina
• Maria Cristina Molinari, De numis urbium Italicarum ex aere gravi. Joseph Eckhel’s Treatise in the Context of the Studies of Giovan Battista Passeri, Cardinal de Zelada, and Cardinal Borgia
• Kay Ehling, „Eckhels fürtreffliches Werk“ – Goethe liest die Doctrina numorum veterum

Eckhel’s Position in the ‘République des Médailles’
• François de Callataÿ, ‘The Father of the Father’: The Decisive Role of Erasmus Frölich (1700–1758) in Viennese Numismatics and Beyond
• Daniela Haarmann, Eckhel und seine Kollegen im k. k. Münzkabinett. Ein wissenssoziologischer Versuch
• Federica Missere Fontana, Viaggiatori instancabili: Sestini critico di Eckhel
• Christian E. Dekesel – Yvette M. M. Dekesel-de Ruyck (with contributions by Bernhard Woytek), The Unholy Relationship between a Numismatic Scholar and a Wheeler Dealer: Joseph Eckhel, Pieter van Damme and the Peculiar Recueil des médailles des Rois
• Jonathan Kagan, Eckhel and Britain: A Slow Courtship

By Way of Conclusion
• Bernhard Woytek, Systems, Coin Hoards, Dies and Provenances: Eckhel and the Evolution of Numismatic Method

Index of Persons
Contributors to this Volume

Williamsburg Acquires Its Earliest Piece of American Silver

Posted in museums by Editor on October 25, 2022

Press release (17 October 2022) from Colonial Williamsburg:

Caudle Cup, John Hull and Robert Sanderson, and marked by Jeremiah Dummer, silver, Boston, ca. 1670, broad, baluster-shaped body with a lightly everted rim, a low base and a pair of cast handles applied to opposite sides (Colonial Williamsburg, 2022-74).

A 17th-century caudle cup that belonged to the Puritan congregation of the First Church of Christ in Farmington, Connecticut, and was used there as a vessel for sacramental wine, was recently acquired by The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation making it the earliest piece of American silver in its famed collection. The cup, wrought around 1670 in Boston, was fashioned by the first silversmiths making goods in what is now the United States.

“Colonial Williamsburg’s curators have worked diligently and with notable successes over the last decade to assemble a collection of American-made silver worthy of the institution’s other decorative arts holdings,” said Ronald Hurst, senior vice president for education and historic resources. “The acquisition of this particularly early and well-preserved cup provides us with an excellent starting point for the story of American silversmithing over the next century and half.”

Although perfectly shaped to serve caudle—a hot, sweet, often alcoholic porridge—this so-called ‘caudle cup’ was used as a treasured part of the church’s ecclesiastical service. The cup’s stable, low body with its two handles (or ‘ears’) made it easy to pass from one congregant to another. Clearly popular, five others that are nearly identical to this earliest example, were acquired by the church before 1720.

Adding to the distinctiveness of this cup, struck into one side of it near the rim is the mark of Robert Sanderson, Sr. (ca. 1608–1693), a London-trained goldsmith who emigrated to America in 1639. On the bottom is the mark of his partner John Hull (1624–1683), a British-born tradesman who arrived in Boston in 1635. Also stamped into the cup is the mark of Jeremiah Dummer (1645–1718), the first native-born American silversmith, apprenticed to Hull in 1659. Interestingly, Dummer’s mark was struck over Sanderson’s, while Hull’s mark was struck over Dummer’s. Exactly what this means is unclear, but it likely has to do with Dummer’s transition from journeyman to master, and the opening of his own silversmithing business. The caudle cup is the only known piece to carry the marks of all three artisans. Sometime after the marks of Hull over Dummer were made, the church’s initials ‘F’ and ‘C’ (the ownership mark of ‘Farmington Church’) were engraved on the bottom of the cup flanking the center point.

The trio of Hull, Sanderson, and Dummer are also important in the world of numismatics as they were responsible for the birth of American money. John Hull was appointed Mintmaster of the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1652 and was assisted by his partner Sanderson as well as his apprentice/journeyman Dummer. Operating from 1652 until 1682, Hull & Sanderson’s mint produced the famed Oak Tree and Pine Tree coinage, among other types, in their shop in Boston’s North End. Furthermore, when Massachusetts authorized the first issue of American paper money in 1690, it was Jeremiah Dummer who engraved the printing plates.

“Considering the rarity and significance of Hull & Sanderson’s work, I’d long wanted to see an example of their hollowware come to Colonial Williamsburg, but wasn’t sure it would be possible,” said Erik Goldstein, the Foundation’s senior curator of mechanical arts and numismatics and interim curator of metals. “This caudle cup, which ties the silversmithing partners to their famed apprentice Jeremiah Dummer and has an impeccable provenance back to the time it was wrought, is almost too much to ask for. It will be in very good company with our comprehensive, 94-piece collection of Hull & Sanderson’s silver coins, gifted to the Foundation by the Lasser Family.”

Around 1907, Farmington Church (as it is also known) decided their centuries-old silver should be housed elsewhere for safe keeping. Stored in a bank vault until 1964, the caudle cups were loaned to the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford, approximately 10 miles from Farmington. In the early 2000s, the congregation decided to sell the group in order to advance the church’s mission; the proceeds from the 2005 sale went to structural renovation and the construction of a new building.

The caudle cup was purchased with funds from The Joseph H. and June S. Hennage Fund. American silver aficionados, Mr. and Mrs. Hennage would have been delighted to know that funds from their bequest to The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation were used for this important acquisition.

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