New Book | Heritage

Posted in books by Editor on January 18, 2023

Available from Blackwell’s:

James Stourton, Heritage: A History of How We Conserve Our Past (London: Apollo, 2022), 496 pages, ISBN: ‎978-1838933166, £40.

Book coverHeritage is all around us: millions belong to its organisations, tens of thousands volunteer for it, and politicians pay lip service to it. When the Victorians began to employ the term in something approaching the modern sense, they applied it to cathedrals, castles, villages, and certain landscapes. Since then a multiplicity of heritage labels have arisen, cultural and commercial, tangible and intangible—for just as every era has its notion of heritage, so does every social group, and every generation. In Heritage, James Stourton focuses on elements of our cultural and natural environment that have been deliberately preserved: the British countryside and national parks, buildings such as Blenheim Palace and Tattersall Castle, and the works of art inside them. He charts two heroic periods of conservation—the 1880s and the 1960s—and considers whether threats of wealth, rampant development, and complacency are similar in the present day. Heritage is both a story of crisis and profound change in public perception, and one of hope and regeneration.

James Stourton is a British art historian, a former Chairman of Sotheby’s UK, and the author of Great Houses of London, British Embassies, and the authorized biography of Kenneth Clark. Stourton frequently lectures for Cambridge University History of Art Faculty, Sotheby’s Institute of Education, and The Art Fund. In addition, he is a senior fellow of the Institute of Historical Research, and he sits on the Heritage Memorial Fund, a government panel that decides what constitutes heritage and thus what should be saved for the nation.



1  The First Threats
2  The Search for Arcadia
3  Assembling a National Collection
4  The Exodus of Paintings
5  Brave New World
6  Birmingham and Anti-Heritage
7  The Backlash: The Heroic Period of Conservation
8  Rescuing a City: York
9  The Sack of Bath
10  The Archaeologists
11  Beyond the Town
12  The Fall and Rise of Country Houses
13  The Enthusiasts: Canals and Railways
14  Regeneration: Mills, Housing, and Power Stations
15  Regeneration: Cities, Docklands, and Basins
16  Liverpool Story
17  Margate Sands
18  The Heritage Industry and the Lottery
19  Churches
20  Museums
21  Heritage: An Unfinished History

Select Bibliography

Dulwich Loans over 50 Paintings to Strawberry Hill

Posted in museums, on site by Editor on January 18, 2023

From the press release, via Art Daily and Richmond.gov.uk:

Interior view of Strawberry Hill House

The Tribune, Strawberry Hill House, with loans from Dulwich Picture Gallery (Photo by Matt Chung).

Over fifty Old Master paintings on long-term loan from Dulwich Picture Gallery—and a further eight works from a private English collection—have just gone on display at Strawberry Hill House, helping to recreate the atmosphere of how the house would have appeared over 250 years ago.

As part of an ambitious project—through acquisitions and loan agreements, including the partnership with Dulwich Picture Gallery—Strawberry Hill House, the remarkable former home of the writer, antiquarian, and politician, Horace Walpole (1717–1797) is endeavouring to return some of the 6000 objects from the collection that Walpole amassed during his lifetime and, where possible, to recreate the original atmosphere of the house, when the rooms were filled with fantastic works of art.

In 1842, following Walpole’s death, the contents of the house were dispersed in a famous auction, known as the Great Sale. Since then, it has been a long-held desire of the Strawberry Hill Trust to bring as many pieces possible back to the historic villa in Twickenham. Indeed, its efforts have recently seen the acquisitions of an extraordinary portrait of Catherine de Medici and a celebrated Chinese ceramic fish tub with a macabre past. This appetite to acquire original objects and to display contemporaneous artworks has helped to create an atmosphere that would be familiar to Walpole were he alive today.

Interior view of Strawberry Hill House.

Detail of the Tribune, Strawberry Hill House, with loans from Dulwich Picture Gallery (Photo by Matt Chung).

The relationship between Strawberry Hill House and Dulwich Picture Gallery began in 2011 with the long-term loan of the portrait of Dorothy, Viscountess Townshend, ca. 1718 by Charles Jervas. Dorothy Walpole (1628–1726) was the sister of Sir Robert Walpole, Horace’s father. This portrait of his great aunt now hangs in its original position in the Great Parlour, where Walpole displayed portraits of both his family and some of his closest friends.

Among the paintings from the latest loan is a set of twenty-six British monarchs, assembled by the founder of Dulwich College, Edward Alleyn. These include Henry VIII, ca. 1618; Queen Anne Boleyn, ca. 1618; and Queen Mary, ca. 1618. These royal portraits have been hung in the Holbein Chamber, reflecting Walpole’s passion for history and its protagonists, which also influenced the overall arrangement of the artworks throughout the house. As an antiquarian and writer possessed of a vivid imagination, Walpole had a deep interest in royal and historical figures, evident throughout his collection, as well as in the designs of the house itself. The ceiling in the Holbein Chamber is a copy of the Queen’s Dressing Room in Windsor Castle, while the one in the Library is decorated with heraldic emblems, mythical beasts, coats of arms, and images of mounted crusaders, all reflecting Walpole’s various interests in the medieval period.

Dr Silvia Davoli, Strawberry Hill House Curator says: “Our collaboration with Dulwich Picture Gallery offers us the unique opportunity to borrow a substantial number of paintings that are very similar in style, period, and schools to those once collected by Horace Walpole; and it is thanks to these artworks that the rooms of Strawberry Hill finally appear to us in all their glory, much as they did in Walpole’s time.”

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