Enfilade

New Book | The Agency of Display

Posted in books by Editor on October 23, 2018

The essays in this edited volume originated from the conference Collections, Displays and the Agency of Objects (Cambridge University, 20–22 September 2017), which was part of the project ‘Parerga and Paratexts – How Things Enter Language: Practices and Forms of Presentation in Goethe’s Collections’. From Sandstein Verlag:

Johannes Grave, Christiane Holm, Valérie Kobi, and Caroline van Eck, eds., The Agency of Display: Objects, Framings, and Parerga (Dresden: Sandstein Verlag, 2018), 192 pages, ISBN: 978-3954984169, 38€.

The display of artefacts always implies an external mediation that influences, and often codifies, the reception of the exhibits. Objects are manipulated, restored, appropriated, staged, in short displayed, through various representational strategies that include pedestals, labels, and showcases. These elements, which we could define as parerga, are often ignored because of their utilitarian function. Yet, they play an important role in the history of the artefacts and define the setting in which the objects can exert their agency. They not only shape their meaning, but also determine the effect that these artefacts have on their viewers. Framing devices create the conditions for interactions between the individual and the object to take place. This publication aims to explore the relation between artefacts and viewers as they are manifested in framing devices, and to develop a new theoretical framework for thinking about the power of objects on display.

C O N T E N T S

Acknowledgments

Johannes Grave, Christiane Holm, Valérie Kobi, and Caroline van Eck, The Agency of Display: Objects, Framings, and Parerga—Introductory Thoughts

1  Display Situations
• Ivan Gaskell, Display Displayed
• Elsie Van Kessel, The Street as Frame: Corpus Christi Processions in Lisbon prior to João V
• Hannah Williams, Staging Belief: Immersive Encounters and the Agency of Religious Art in Eighteenth-Century Paris
• Mechthild Fend, Order and Affect: The Museum of Dermatological Wax Moulages at the Hôpital Saint-Louis in Paris
• Cindy Kang, The Barnes Ensembles, Again

2  Parergonal Operations
• Dario Gamboni, Ready-Made Eye-Opener: Models, Functions, and Meanings of the Ironwork in Albert C. Barnes’s Displays
• Peter Schade The Reframing of Lazarus
• Diana Stört, Displaying Knowledge: Goethe’s Cabinets as Epistemic Furniture
• Angela Matyssek, Death by / Life by Wall Label
• Noémie Étienne, When Things Do Talk (in Storage): Materiality and Agency between Contact and Conflict Zones

Contributors
Picture Credits
Imprint

Exhibition | William Hunter and the Anatomy of the Modern Museum

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions, lectures (to attend) by Editor on October 19, 2018

Press release (12 September 2018) for the exhibition:

William Hunter and the Anatomy of the Modern Museum
The Hunterian, Glasgow, 28 September 2018 — 6 January 2019
Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, 14 February — 20 May 2019

Curated by Mungo Campbell with Nathan Flis and Lola Sánchez-Jáuregui

A major new exhibition at The Hunterian, University of Glasgow, will mark an important anniversary in the history of Scotland’s oldest public museum. William Hunter and the Anatomy of the Modern Museum opens on 28 September 2018 and marks the William Hunter Tercentenary—300 years since the birth of Hunterian founder, Dr William Hunter (1718–1783). The exhibition not only offers a critical examination of Hunter—a man of exceptional vision who saw no boundaries between art and science, but explores his life, character, and career as well as his research, collection, and links to Glasgow.

Rhetenor blue morpho butterfly (Morpho rhetenor Cramer), 1775, Suriname (Hunterian, University of Glasgow).

Hunter’s original Enlightenment collection is a rare example which has survived largely intact and these objects and artworks are the foundation of The Hunterian collections today. William Hunter and the Anatomy of the Modern Museum showcases this truly unique collection, encyclopaedic in nature and with its heart in the Scottish Enlightenment. The exhibition also offers a balanced account of the circumstances that made a collection like Hunter’s possible and examines the means by which it was amassed. Visitors will have the opportunity to see key items from Hunter’s collection, reunited for the first time in over 150 years and displayed to highlight the connections between them.

More than 400 items will be on display including: fossils; anatomical specimens and preparations; paintings, drawings and prints; rare books and manuscripts; ethnographical objects; rocks and mineral specimens; coins and medals; shells, corals, beetles, butterflies and examples of taxidermy. The majority come from The Hunterian, and Archives and Special Collections at the University of Glasgow Library, where Hunter’s collection of books and manuscripts is kept.

Key loans include a life size écorché figure from the Royal Academy of Arts in London and Johan Zoffany’s painting William Hunter Lecturing that shows William Hunter delivering an anatomy class, on loan from the Royal College of Physicians in London.

Important conservation work has been carried out on a number of items from Hunter’s collection including paintings, frames, sculptures, textiles, books, works on paper and objects of decorative art.

Ferdinand Verbiest, Kunyu Quantu 坤輿全圖 (A Map of the Whole World),1674, woodblock print on paper laid down on cloth, in four parts (Hunterian, University of Glasgow).

Must see items include:
• Four of Hunter’s plaster cast models, now fully restored, which were used in preparation for his great publication Anatomia Uteri Humani Gravidi Tabulis Illustrate (Anatomy of the Gravid Uterus Exhibited in Figures, 1774). A selection of related drawings, prints, and proofs are included, many of which have not been on display before. The casts show the various stages of the pregnant human womb in progressive states of dissection in graphic and stunning naturalistic detail.
• Our unique 17th-century Chinese map of the world, displayed in its entirety for the first time.
• Hunter’s complete collection of 88 gold Roman coins, issued by every Roman Emperor from 27BCE to 491CE. The Hunterian is one of only three places in the world where such a complete series can be seen.
• Hunter’s will — on loan from the National Archives of Scotland and on public display for the first time.
• The life-size écorché figure on loan from the Royal Academy of Arts in London.
• An exceptional and fully restored 18th-century Maori cloak from New Zealand made of flax and feathers.
• The Hunterian Psalter — usually housed in Archives and Special Collections at the University of Glasgow Library, this lavishly illuminated bound English manuscript is dated to 1170 and is considered the greatest treasure of William Hunter’s library.

William Hunter and the Anatomy of the Modern Museum also reveals the contribution made by Hunter to the development of modern museums as we know them today, exploring the interplay between the arts and sciences in the pursuit of knowledge over the course of the 18th century.

Jean-Siméon Chardin, A Lady Taking Tea, 1735, oil on canvas (Hunterian Art Gallery, University of Glasgow).

The exhibition and publication William Hunter and the Anatomy of the Modern Museum are the result of a five-year collaborative research project between The Hunterian and the Yale Center for British Art and showcase new research undertaken by an international team of scholars. The lead curator is Mungo Campbell, Deputy Director of The Hunterian; and the organizing curator at the Yale Center for British Art is Nathan Flis, Head of Exhibitions and Publications, and Assistant Curator of Seventeenth-Century Paintings. They are assisted by Lola Sanchez-Jauregui, William Hunter Tercentenary Curator at The Hunterian. A fully illustrated exhibition catalogue will be published by The Hunterian and the Center in association with Yale University Press.

Running in parallel with William Hunter and the Anatomy of the Modern Museum are two exhibitions offering 21st-century responses to Hunter’s collections, life, and work. Strange Foreign Bodies and Rosengarten showcase the work of leading contemporary artists and writers including Claire Barclay, Christine Borland, Anne Bevan, and Janice Galloway.

Strange Foreign Bodies is a group exhibition of films, prints, and sculptural works by artists including Claire Barclay, Christine Borland, Sarah Browne, Alex Impey, and Phillip Warnell. Taking William Hunter’s Tercentenary as its point of departure, the exhibition offers a 21st-century perspective on Hunter’s Enlightenment project, with processes of mutation, metamorphosis, and technological transformation central to many of the works. We encounter the story of a woman who has turned into an octopus, the philosophical reflections of a heart transplant patient, and the simulated breathing of an animatronic medical mannequin. These ‘strange foreign bodies’ reflect the complexity of all human embodiment today.

Rosengarten is a unique installation that brings together the sculpture of Anne Bevan and the words of Janice Galloway, two of Scotland’s foremost artists in their fields. Inspired by obstetric implements and important historic medical collections, Rosengarten looks at the tools of birthing and powerfully reflects the human and tender emotions of mother and baby that run parallel to the hard and frequently interventive experiences associated with modern childbirth.

William Hunter and the Anatomy of the Modern Museum is at the Hunterian Art Gallery from 28 September 2018 until 6 January 2019 then at the Yale Center for British Art (Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, USA) from 14 February until 20 May 2019. The project has been generously supported by The Royal Society of Edinburgh, the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, Museums Galleries Scotland, and the Rev. Dr Donald McKellar Leitch Urie Bequest. Strange Foreign Bodies, also at the Hunterian Art Gallery, runs from 28 September 2018 until 13 January 2019. Rosengarten is now open at the Hunterian Art Gallery and runs until 20 January 2019. Purchased with funds from the National Collecting Scheme for Scotland and a grant from the Art Fund. Admission to all three exhibitions is free.

S E L E C T E D  P R O G R A M M I N G

3 October 2018 — Mungo Campbell (The Hunterian), William Hunter and the Anatomy of the Modern Museum: Curator’s Introduction

10 October 2018 — Christine Whyte (Lecturer in Global History, University of Glasgow), A Triangular Trade of Medical Knowledge: William Hunter, Enslaved Women, and Scottish Medical Expertise

William Hunter and Assistants, Anatomical Specimens: Arteries of the Intestine, 1746–83, portion of human gut with mesentery, turpentine and glass jar; portion of human gut and glass jar; portion of human gut with mesentery, turpentine and glass jar (Hunterian, University of Glasgow).

17 October 2018 — Paul Rea (Senior Lecturer in Human Life Sciences, University of Glasgow), Anatomy in the Digital Age

24 October 2018 — Dominic Paterson (The Hunterian), Strange Foreign Bodies

31 October 2018 — Jeanne Robinson (The Hunterian), ‘Mr Termite’: An Agent of Entomology and the Empire in 18th-Century Sierra Leone

7 November 2018 — Alicia Hughes (University of Glasgow), Title to be confirmed

14 November 2018  — Anne Dulau Beveridge (The Hunterian), The Curious Collector: What William Hunter’s Portraits Tell Us about the Man

21 November 2018 — Maggie Reilly (The Hunterian), Title to be confirmed

28 November 2018 — Michelle Craig (Leverhulme Trust Doctoral Scholar, University of Glasgow), The Curious Collector: Provenance in William Hunter’s Library

5 December 2018 — Matthew Sangster (Lecturer in 18th-Century Literature and Material Culture, University of Glasgow), Conceptions of Knowledge in William Hunter’s Library

12 December 2018 — Jesper Ericsson (The Hunterian), Title to be confirmed

19 December 2018 — Frances Osis (University of Glasgow), Title to be confirmed

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The catalogue is published by the Yale Center for British Art:

Edited by Mungo Campbell and Nathan Flis, with the assistance of María Dolores Sánchez-Jáuregui, William Hunter and the Anatomy of the Modern Museum (New Haven: Yale Center for British Art in association with The Hunterian, 2018), 440 pages, ISBN: 978-0300236651, $65.

Accompanying a groundbreaking exhibition, this publication is the first in 150 years to assess the contribution made by Hunter, the Scottish-born obstetrician, anatomist, and collector, to the development of the modern museum as a public institution. Essays examine how Hunter gathered his collection to be used as a source of knowledge and instruction, encompassing outstanding paintings and works on paper, coins and medals, and anatomical and zoological specimens. Hunter also possessed ethnographic artifacts from Spain, the Middle East, China, and the South Pacific, and was an avid collector of medieval manuscripts and incunabula; these were all located within one of the most important ‘working’ libraries of eighteenth-century London.

C O N T E N T S

Amy Meyers and Steph Scholten, Directors’ Foreword
Mungo Campbell and Nathan Flis, Acknowledgments
Contributors’ Biographies
Seren Nolan, William Hunter: A Chronology

Part I  Physician, Anatomist, Collector
• Mungo Campbell, William Hunter and the Anatomy of the Modern Museum: An Introduction
• Nathan Flis, Skeletons in Hunter’s Closet: James Douglas and the Fashioning of William Hunter
• Craig Ashley Hanson, A Motto for a Museum: William Hunter’s Inheritance from Richard Mead
• Matthew Sangster, Conceptions of Knowledge in William Hunter’s Library
• Meredith Gamer, Scalpel to Burin: A Material History of William Hunter’s Anatomy of the Human Gravid Uterus
• Dominik Hünniger, ‘Extolled by Foreigners’: William Hunter’s Collection and the Development of Science and Medicine in Eighteenth-Century Europe
• Nicholas Thomas, ‘A Great Collection of Curiosities from the South Sea Islands’: William Hunter’s Ethnography
• María Dolores Sánchez-Jáuregui, Anatomical Jars and Butterflies: Curating Knowledge in William Hunter’s Museum

Part II  Catalogue of the Exhibition
• Mungo Campbell, Portraits and Papers
• Mungo Campbell, Pedagogy and Professional Practice
• Peter Black, Anatomical Illustration and the Practice of Anatomy
• Maggie Reilly and Stuart McDonald, Anatomical Preparations
• Mungo Campbell, The Anatomy of the Human Gravid Uterus
• Peter Black and Anne Dulau Beveridge, Pictures
• Michelle Craig, The Library
• Donal Bateson, Coins and Medals
• Mungo Campbell, Pacific and Other ‘Curiosities’
• Maggie Reilly and Jeanne Robinson, Shells, Corals, Birds, Insects, and Other Preserved Animals
• John Faithfull and Neil Clark, Ores and Fossils

Appendices
1  Letter from William Hunter to William Cullen, 2–20 April 1765
2  Sale Catalogue of William Hunter’s Personal Effects, 1783

Selected Bibliography
Index
Photography Credits

 

New Book | Local Antiquities, Local Identities

Posted in books by Editor on October 17, 2018

From Manchester UP:

Kathleen Christian and Bianca de Divitiis, eds., Local Antiquities, Local Identities: Art, Literature, and Antiquarianism in Europe, c. 1400–1700 (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2018), 352 pages, ISBN: 978-1526117045, £80.

This collection investigates the wide array of local antiquarian practices that developed across Europe in the early modern era. Breaking new ground, it explores local concepts of antiquity in a period that has been defined as a uniform ‘Renaissance’. Contributors take a novel approach to the revival of the antique in different parts of Italy, as well as examining other, less widely studied antiquarian traditions in France, the Netherlands, Spain, Portugal, Britain and Poland. They consider how real or fictive ruins, inscriptions and literary works were used to demonstrate a particular idea of local origins, to rewrite history or to vaunt civic pride. In doing so, they tackle such varied subjects as municipal antiquities collections in Southern Italy and France, the antiquarian response to the pagan, Christian and Islamic past on the Iberian Peninsula, and Netherlandish interest in megalithic ruins thought to be traces of a prehistoric race of Giants.

Kathleen Christian is Senior Lecturer in Art History at The Open University. Bianca de Divitiis is Associate Professor in the History of Modern Art at the University of Naples Federico II.

C O N T E N T S

Kathleen Christian and Bianca de Divitiis, Introduction
1  Richard Schofield, A Local Renaissance: Florentine Quattrocento Palaces and all’antica Styles
2  Francesco Benelli, The Arch of Trajan in Ancona and Civic Identity in the Italian Quattrocento from Ciriaco d’Ancona to the Death of Matthias Corvinus
3  Kathleen Christian, Roma Caput Mundi: Rome’s Local Antiquities as Symbol and Source
4  Bianca de Divitiis, A Local Sense of the Past: Spolia, Re-Use, and all’antica Building in Southern Italy, 1400–1600
5  Oren Margolis, The Gaulish Past of Milan and the French Invasion of Italy
6  William Stenhouse, Reusing and Redisplaying Antiquities in Early Modern France
7  Fernando Marías, Local Antiquities in Spain: From Tarragona to Córdoba
8  Katrina Olds, Local Antiquaries and the Expansive Sense of the Past: A Case Study from Counter-Reformation Spain
9  João Figueiredo, Luís de Camões’s The Lusiads and the Paradoxes of Expansion
10  Edward Wouk, Semini and His Progeny: The Construction of Antwerp’s Antique Past
11  Krista De Jonge, Resurrecting Belgica Romana: Peter Ernst von Mansfeld’s Garden of Antiquities in Clausen, Luxemburg, 1563–90
12  Konrad Ottenheym, On Romans, Batavians, and Giants: The Quest for the True Origin of Architecture in the Dutch Republic
13  Barbara Arciszewska, The Role of Ancient Remains in the Sarmatian Culture of Early Modern Poland
14  Jenna Schultz, Inventing England: English Identity and the Scottish ‘Other’, 1586–1625
Index

New Book | Painter of Pedigree: Thomas Weaver of Shrewsbury

Posted in books by Editor on October 16, 2018

Published by Unicorn and distributed in the US and Canada by The University of Chicago Press:

Lawrence Trevelyan Weaver, Painter of Pedigree: Thomas Weaver of Shrewsbury, Animal Artist of the Agricultural Revolution (London: Unicorn Publishing Group, 2018), 300 pages, ISBN: 978-1910787670, $45.

Thomas Weaver of Shrewsbury (1775–1844) is known for his wonderful paintings of animals—prize bulls, pedigreed sheep, and thoroughbred stallions—set against the backdrop of the ever-changing English landscape as the Industrial Revolution gathered steam. Traveling from country house to country house, Weaver with his journeys mapped the networks of kinship, patronage, and aspiration that undergirded the social life of the landed families and gentry of Georgian England.

Drawing on a previously unexamined collection of Weaver’s papers and pictures, including personal and professional correspondence, diaries, contemporary newspaper cuttings, verse, and portraits of his family, Painter of Pedigree brings to life the work of an animal artist in the age of agricultural improvement, revealing the art, artistry, and artifice that went into portraying and promoting these new breeds.

Exhibition | It’s Alive! Frankenstein at 200

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on October 6, 2018

From the press release (6 September) for the exhibition:

It’s Alive! Frankenstein at 200
The Morgan Library & Museum, New York, 12 October 2018 — 27 January 2019

Curated by John Bidwell and Elizabeth Denlinger

A classic of world literature, a masterpiece of horror, and a forerunner of science fiction, Frankenstein by Mary Shelley is the subject of a new exhibition at the Morgan. Organized in collaboration with the New York Public Library, It’s Alive! Frankenstein at 200 traces the origins and impact of the novel whose monster has become both a meme and a metaphor for forbidden science, unintended consequences, and ghastly combinations of the human and the inhuman. Portions of the original manuscript will be on display along with historic scientific instruments and iconic artwork such as Henry Fuseli’s Nightmare and the definitive portrait of Mary Shelley. The story’s astonishingly versatile role in art and culture over the course of two hundred years helps explain why the monster permeates the popular imagination to this day.

Joseph Wright, The Alchymist, in Search of the Philosopher’s Stone, Discovers Phosphorus, and Prays for the Successful Conclusion of his Operation, as was the Custom of the Ancient Chymical Astrologers, 1795, oil on canvas (Derby Museums Trust; photography by Richard Tailby).

Co-curated by John Bidwell, the Astor Curator and Department Head of the Morgan’s Printed Books and Bindings Department, and Elizabeth Denlinger, Curator of the Carl H. Pforzheimer Collection of Shelley and His Circle at The New York Public Library, this exhibition presents a diverse array of books, manuscripts, posters, prints, and paintings illustrating the long cultural tradition that shaped and was shaped by Mary Shelley’s myth. A large number of these works come from both the Morgan and the New York Public Library’s collections.

Only eighteen years old when she embarked on the novel, Shelley invented the archetype of the mad scientist who dares to flout the laws of nature. She created an iconic monster who spoke out against injustice and begged for sympathy while performing acts of shocking violence. The monster’s fame can be attributed to the novel’s theatrical and film adaptations. Comic books, film posters, publicity stills, and movie memorabilia reveal a different side to the story of Frankenstein, as reinterpreted in spinoffs, sequels, mashups, and parodies.

“The Morgan is in an excellent position to tell the rich story of Mary Shelley’s life and of Frankenstein’s evolution in popular culture,” said director of the museum, Colin B. Bailey. “Pierpont Morgan was fascinated by the creative process, and one of the artifacts he acquired was a first edition Frankenstein annotated by the author. The collection of works by the Shelleys, both at the Morgan and the New York Public Library, has only grown since then. We are very pleased to collaborate with the NYPL in presenting the full version of this extraordinary tale and how it lives on in the most resilient and timely of ways.”

A copiously illustrated companion volume, It’s Alive! A Visual History of Frankenstein, provides a vivid account of the artistic and literary legacy of the novel along with detailed descriptions of the highlights in the exhibition, while a new online curriculum offers high school teachers resources for the classroom.

The exhibition occupies two galleries: one documenting the life of Mary Shelley and the composition of her book, the other showing how the story evolved in the theater, cinema, and popular culture.

The Influence of the Gothic Style and Enlightenment Science

Benoît Pecheux, plate no. 4 in Giovanni Aldini, Essai théorique et expérimental sur le galvanisme (Paris: De l’imprimerie de Fournier Fils, 1804 / The Morgan Library & Museum, purchased on the Gordon N. Ray Fund, 2016; PML 196238).

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus sprang from both a passion for Gothic style that pervaded British culture long before the author’s birth in 1797 and the influence of the discoveries of European Enlightenment science. Audiences loved the supernatural in all its formulations—ghosts, graveyards, mysterious strangers, secret warnings, lost wills, hidden pictures, and more. While novels were the primary vehicle for the Gothic, it was also popular with artists of paintings and prints, which were sometimes satirical—the Gothic was parodied as soon as it was taken seriously. The exhibition opens with the greatest horror painting of the eighteenth century, The Nightmare, painted in 1781 by the Swiss immigrant artist Henry Fuseli. Mary Shelley knew about this iconic image and may have used it in writing the climactic scene in Frankenstein.

Shelley was also influenced by the scientific endeavors of the time. She had been born into an age of scientific and technological discovery in Britain, when institutions like the Royal Society began fostering exploration and experimentation. Across Britain spread a thriving circuit of lectures and science demonstrations for the public. A few of these experiments have become part of the Frankenstein legend. While writing the novel, Shelley had been reading Humphry Davy’s Elements of Chemical Philosophy, and she knew about anatomical dissections, contemporary debates about the origins of life, and electrical experiments on corpses. She lends this fascination to Victor Frankenstein, who makes a monster from corpses in his “workshop of filthy creation.”

Mary Shelley’s Life and Conception of Frankenstein

Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus (London: Printed for Lackington, Hughes, Harding, Mavor & Jones, 1818). This specific copy, purchased by Pierpont Morgan in 1910, is part of The Carl H. Pforzheimer Collection of Shelley and His Circle at The Morgan Library & Museum.

Mary Shelley grew up in a radical and intellectual milieu, the daughter of writers famous in their own time, the feminist theorist Mary Wollstonecraft and the novelist and philosopher William Godwin. After her mother died in childbirth, her father married Mary Jane Clairmont, who had children of her own, and the teenaged Mary Godwin escaped a tense family atmosphere by making long visit to friends in Scotland. When she returned in 1814, she met the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, already married and a father. They soon fell in love and eloped to Europe, the most decisive act of all their lives.

It was on a trip to Lake Geneva in 1816 accompanied by P.B. Shelley, Lord Byron, and her step-sister Claire Clairmont that Mary Godwin found the inspiration to write Frankenstein. During their stay, the party entertained themselves by reading aloud from a volume of Gothic tales. Byron suggested a contest to write ghost stories, and Shelley joined in energetically, looking for something “to curdle the blood, and quicken the beatings of the heart.” After days of frustrated effort, the idea came to her one night after hearing P.B. Shelley and Lord Byron discuss the origins of life and the possibility of animating a corpse by galvanic action.

“I saw—with shut eyes, but acute mental vision—I saw the pale student of unhallowed arts kneeling beside the thing he had put together.” She returned to England with the beginnings of a novel.

By 1817, she had finished a draft titled Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus. The book appeared in three volumes on January 1, 1818, after P. B. Shelley offered revisions and found a publisher. Luckily for posterity, most of the Frankenstein manuscript has survived, making it possible to see the author’s original ideas, her second thoughts, and her husband’s suggestions. Portions of the manuscript containing key passages in the novel will be on display at the Morgan.

Mary Shelley’s personal life was punctuated by tragedy in ways strangely similar to incidents in the novel. After settling in Italy in the spring of 1818 with her husband, their children William and Clara, step-sister Claire and her daughter Allegra, the family experienced constant sorrow as first William and Clara, and then Allegra died. Their grief was only partly assuaged by the birth of another child, Percy Florence. Through their mourning and marital difficulties, Mary Shelley and her husband maintained a strenuous routine of writing and study and friendships in the English and Italian communities. In July 1822, Shelley suffered a final devastating loss: P. B. Shelley sailed with his friend Edward Williams and their cabin boy to meet their friend Leigh Hunt’s family in Leghorn; on their return their boat met a sudden squall and they drowned.

Frankenstein on Stage and on Screen

When Mary Shelley returned to England in August 1823, one of the few bright spots was Richard Brinsley Peake’s melodrama Presumption! or, the Fate of Frankenstein: a theatrical hit, the play had made her famous. The actor Thomas Potter Cooke’s performance was the key factor: over six feet tall, clad in a gray-blue leotard, his exposed skin painted the same color, with a toga on top, he moved with lyrical athleticism and made the creature both frightening and pathetic. Mary Shelley saw one of Cooke’s performances and enjoyed it greatly. Other adaptations followed: at least fifteen dramas based on the novel were produced between 1823 and 1826.

Poster for Mary W. Shelley’s Frankenstein (New York: Grosset and Dunlap, 1931 / The Morgan Library & Museum, purchased on the Gordon N. Ray Fund, 2016; PML 196478. Courtesy of Universal Studios Licensing LLC, © 1931 Univeral Pictures Company, Inc).

A large portion of the exhibition is dedicated to the movies, which have played an essential role in popularizing the story and shaping our pop culture image of the monster. The earliest film of Frankenstein was made by the Edison Studios in 1910, but it is James Whale’s 1931 version that has taken such a prominent place in the popular psyche that it is now better known than the novel. The 1931 Frankenstein and 1935 Bride of Frankenstein gave us a radically reimagined version of the narrative, particularly the creation scene and Boris Karloff’s performance as the monster. James Whale and his special effects technicians introduced the high-voltage lab equipment and set the scene amidst the thunder and lightning now obligatory in horror movies. The creature’s violence was induced by his being tortured with fire. Karloff later said, “Over the years thousands of children wrote, expressing compassion for the great, weird creature who was so abused by its sadistic keeper that it could only respond to violence with violence. Those children saw beyond the make-up and really understood.” The 1935 sequel, with Elsa Lanchester playing both Mary Shelley and the creature’s bride, has also aged well. Both films create sympathy for the creature through his encounters with stupid and sadistic people, and both Karloff and Elsa Lanchester portray their characters with dignity and depth of emotion.

From the creation of the monster, to the creature’s killing of a small child, to violence committed against women, adaptations of Frankenstein again and again have returned to some of the most disturbing but recurring scenes of human experience. Mary Shelley’s unique contribution to culture is the creation of the monster. Her genius was to imagine a way to make life out of death; James Whale’s genius was to imagine a way to depict it in moving images and sound.

Whale’s Frankenstein films sparked a mass of cinematic energy. Other directors drew from it for years after with imitations and derivative films, a few just as frightening, some quite funny, none as haunting. The Morgan has borrowed a series of B-movie posters from a private collector and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to show some of the more faithful, comic, lurid, and execrable treatments of this theme

Makeup artists, perhaps, have come closer than anyone to bringing Victor Frankenstein’s story to life. Jack Pierce’s makeup gave the creature a new face in the 1931 film. Some highlights in the section include the sketches and photographs of this iconic appearance along with a gruesome torso model of Robert De Niro in Kenneth Branagh’s Frankenstein, provided by the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas, Austin.

The Creature’s Afterlife: Comic Books and Prints

The comic book as a separate slim magazine first appeared in 1933 as a promotional insert in newspapers, and Frankenstein has been part of this medium’s history from nearly the beginning. The exhibition includes some of the most interesting examples of the story, some aimed at children and some at adults.

Surprisingly few illustrators have taken on the novel’s challenge, but we present four of the best: Lynd Ward (remembered first of all as a wood engraver), Bernie Wrightson (a renowned comic book artist), Barry Moser (a celebrated book illustrator), and Pierre-Alain Bertola (a polymath Swiss artist who worked on a theatrical version of Frankenstein). All of them are working after, and against James Whale. All pay exquisite attention to Mary Shelley’s text and its ethical implications.

The exhibition closes with Barry Moser’s illustration of the Frankenstein family tomb, leaving us solidly in the tradition of Gothic art with which the show begins. Mary Shelley’s creature is a Gothic nightmare, but one who takes responsibility for himself. Even as his blood boils at the injustices committed against him, he is also “torn by the bitterest remorse.” Seeking quiet in death, he leaps onto his raft and is soon lost to human eyes. As mysterious and volatile in death as in life, Frankenstein’s monster leaves us with more questions than answers—perhaps the decisive reason why artists have been drawn to him for the past two hundred years.

Elizabeth Campbell Denlinger, It’s Alive! A Visual History of Frankenstein (New York: The Morgan Library & Museum, 2018), 336 pages, ISBN: 978-1512603422, $55.

New Book (and Film) | Peterloo

Posted in books, films by Editor on October 4, 2018

From Head of Zeus Books:

Jacqueline Riding, Peterloo: The Story of the Manchester Massacre (London: Head of Zeus, 2018), 400 pages, 400 pages, ISBN: 978-1786695833, £30.

Manchester, August 1819: 60,000 people had gathered in the cause of parliamentary reform. To those defending the status quo, the vote was not a universal right, but a privilege of wealth and land ownership. To radical reformers the fundamental overhaul of a corrupt system was long overdue. The people had come to hear one such reformer, Henry Hunt, from all over Lancashire, walking to the sound of hymns and folk songs. By the end of the day fifteen of them, including two women and a child, were dead or mortally wounded, and 650 injured, hacked down by drunken yeomanry after local magistrates panicked at the scale of the meeting. The British state, four years after defeating the ‘tyrant’ Bonaparte at Waterloo, had turned its forces against its own people, as they peaceably exercised their liberties.

Dr Jacqueline Riding’s compelling book ties in to Mike Leigh’s forthcoming film Peterloo, for which the author was historical advisor, in advance of the bicentenary of Peterloo in 2019.

Jacqueline Riding is author of the award-winning Jacobites: A New History of the ‘45 Rebellion. She is a consultant for museums, galleries and historic buildings, and an historical adviser on feature films.

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According to Wikipedia, the film is “scheduled to be released in the United Kingdom on 2 November 2018, by Entertainment One, and in the United States on 9 November 2018, by Amazon Studios.”

Exhibition | Rosetsu: Ferocious Brush

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on October 3, 2018

Nagasawa Rosetsu, Tiger, 1786 door panels from the Zen Temple Muryōji, Kushimoto.

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From the press release for the exhibition:

Rosetsu: Ferocious Brush / Rosetsu: Fantastische Bilderwelten aus Japan
Museum Rietberg, Zurich, 6 September — 4 November 2018

Curated by Khanh Trinh and Matthew McKelway

For eight weeks, Japan’s most famous tiger will reside exclusively at Museum Rietberg in Zurich. The story goes that the Japanese artist Nagasawa Rosetsu (1754–1799) painted this monumental tiger together with its counterpart, a dragon, on the sliding door panels of the Zen temple Muryōji in a single night in the year 1786. Now the entire temple’s painted walls and a number of other, awe-inspiring masterpieces by Rosetsu are being shown for the first time outside of Japan. Rosetsu’s highly dynamic paintings created with vigorous brushstrokes and sometimes with his fingers, but also his delicate compositions painted with fine brushes and rich colour are replete with energy, wit, and modern appeal.

Renowned as one of the most eccentric and imaginative artists in early modern Japan, Nagasawa Rosetsu (1754–1799) produced visually exciting, classification-defying works during his brief career. The exhibition Rosetsu: Ferocious Brush unravels the many mysteries of this enigmatic career. An exclusive and expert selection of works by Rosetsu chosen in consultation with the Agency for Cultural Affairs of the Government of Japan (Bunkachō) reveals his painting subjects, his relationship to Zen Buddhism, his contacts with patrons outside Kyoto, and his choice of extraordinarily bold images.

The exhibition at the Rietberg Museum will survey Rosetsu’s art through a selection of sixty of his most important paintings, beginning with the earliest works in the realist style of his teacher Maruyama Ōkyo (1733–1795) and ending with the haunting and occasionally bizarre final masterpieces of his career. Screen paintings, scrolls, and albums depicting Zen eccentrics, children at play, ethereal beauties, breathtaking landscapes, and vivacious animals and birds will take viewers on a journey through Rosetsu’s own travels and into his fantastic imagination. These works, some of them compellingly realistic and others surprisingly abstract, take us into an early modern Japan we did not know and which feels very contemporary.

The highlight of the exhibition will be a magnificent ensemble of 48 screens and hanging scrolls, displayed in a recreated original floorplan of the Zen temple Muryōji. This Zen temple in the southern part of Japan’s main island holds the largest and most important collection of Rosetsu’s paintings, created in 1786. Various stories recount the creation of this breathtaking ensemble. The installation of these works would present an unprecedented opportunity to view and examine the paintings in a single venue outside their home in Kushimoto, and indeed the first such installation of architecturally specific paintings in an exhibition outside Japan.

Approximately one-third of the works to be exhibited are registered as Important Cultural Properties or Important Art Objects. Complementing these masterpieces from Japan, paintings from museums, temples, and private collections in Japan, Europe, and the United States trace the phases of Rosetsu’s life as he pursued his livelihood in Kyoto and the surrounding provinces. The exhibition closes with a dramatic display of abstract landscapes, ghosts, and perhaps his most astonishing work of all, a depiction of 500 Disciples of the Buddha on a surface of only one square inch.

Rosetsu, who hailed from a low-ranking samurai family, gained his reputation among art circles in the imperial capital Kyoto and its neighbouring regions with his untamed personality and his unusual talent. The exhibits run the gamut of formats and subjects, from exquisitely executed scrolls depicting birds and flowers in brilliant polychrome pigments to large-scale sliding doors and folding screens with fantastic landscapes, bizarre figures, and adorable animals. With his unconventional compositions and powerful brushwork Rosetsu always offers a fresh take on traditional subject matter. His paintings never fail to surprise, entertain, and charm.

The show at the Museum Rietberg is the first comprehensive presentation ever to take place outside of Japan. The exhibition is jointly curated by Dr Khanh Trinh, Curator of Japanese art, Museum Rietberg, Zurich, and Professor Matthew McKelway, Takeo and Itsuko Atsumi Professor of Japanese art history; director of the Mary Griggs Burke Center for Japanese Art, Columbia University in the City of New York.

Khanh Trinh and Matthew McKelway, Rosetsu: Ferocious Brush (London: Prestel, 2018), 296 pages, ISBN: 978-3791357263, $60 / £45. Also available in German.

Exhibition | Isabelle de Borchgrave

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on September 30, 2018

From The Frick Pittsburgh:

Isabelle de Borchgrave: Fashioning Art from Paper
Dixon Gallery and Gardens, Memphis, 15 October 2017 — 7 January 2018
The Society of the Four Arts, Palm Beach, 27 January — 15 April 2018
Oklahoma City Museum of Art, 16 June — 9 September 2018
The Frick Art Museum, Pittsburgh, 13 October 2018 — 6 January 2019
The Baker Museum, Artis, Naples, February — May 2019

Curated by Dennita Sewell

Isabelle de Borchgrave, Banyan and Waistcoat, 1998; inspired by a banyan and waistcoat ca. 1730 worn by Peter the Great of Russia.

Co-organized by the Frick in collaboration with four other American museums, this major exhibition presents the full breadth of de Borchgrave’s exploration of historical costume through contemporary paper sculpture. If you’ve never seen the artist’s work, you will be delighted by these breathtaking, life-size renditions of historic clothing created completely from artfully painted, pleated, crumpled, and manipulated paper.

From replicas of Renaissance Italian gowns to recreations of the fantastical modernist costumes of the Ballet Russes, Isabelle de Borchgrave’s work is meticulously crafted and astonishingly beautiful. The artist’s interest in creating paper costumes was sparked by a visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1994, where she found herself inspired by the historic costumes on display. Back in her studio, she began to experiment with creating renditions of the pieces in paper. Since then, de Borchgrave’s paper costumes have been featured in major exhibitions around the world.

This immersive exhibition celebrates the breadth of de Borchgrave’s work with costume and fashion history and is designed to introduce her work to a wider audience. De Borchgrave’s paper sculptures are masterpieces of trompe l’oeil—even upon close inspection it is often difficult to discern that the costumes are made of paper. At the Frick, de Borchgrave’s work will be exhibited throughout the museum, creating a dialogue with the museum’s collection. Joining the exhibition will be the Frick’s recently commissioned piece inspired by one of our best-known masterpieces—Peter Paul Rubens’ Portrait of Charlotte- Marguerite de Montmorency, Princess of Condé.

The exhibition will include examples from all the artist’s major series, beginning with her exploration of 300 years of fashion history in the works created for Papiers à la Mode. The works from her Splendors of the Medici series are inspired by Italian Renaissance costumes portrayed in Old Master paintings. Her next series, The World of Mariano Fortuny explored the work of the iconoclastic Spanish fashion designer, famously based in Venice, and her most recent series, Les Ballet Russes features fantastical modernist costumes designed by artists like Picasso, Bakst, and Matisse. The Frick’s recent commission will be the only new piece included in the exhibition. A fully illustrated color catalogue accompanies the exhibition.

Exhibition | The Chocolate Girl by Liotard

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on September 29, 2018

Notice of the exhibition appeared at Enfilade in April, but here are the details for the catalogue, published in association with Hirmer Verlag:

Stephan Koja and Roland Enke, eds., ‘The Most Beautiful Pastel Ever Seen’: The Chocolate Girl by Jean-Étienne Liotard in the Dresden Gemäldegalerie (Munich: Hirmer Verlag, 2018), 272 pages, ISBN: 978-3777431369, $42.

The Chocolate Girl is one of the most famous works by the Swiss artist Jean-Étienne Liotard. This richly illustrated volume leads the reader through the age in which it was created during the French-inspired Rococo and into the Vienna of Empress Maria Theresia, where the work was painted. It also explains the art of pastel painting, in which this enchanting work has been executed. The painting had a tremendous effect in those days and still does so today. Even during Liotard’s life (1702–1789) his pastel painting was highly valued, as the description by the most famous pastel artist Rosalba Carriera as “the most beautiful pastel” demonstrates. The Chocolate Girl shows a simple, unknown domestic servant, until then a rarely chosen subject. In its sober and precise observation it reflects the art of the Enlightenment as well as anticipating the realism of the nineteenth century. Chocolate itself, always associated with pleasure, contributes further to the particular charm. Characteristic works from other creative periods complete the overview of Liotard’s oeuvre.

New Book | Collecting the Past: British Collectors

Posted in books by Editor on September 28, 2018

From Routledge:

Toby Burrows and Cynthia Johnston, eds., Collecting the Past: British Collectors and their Collections from the 18th to the 20th Centuries (New York: Routledge, 2018), 144 pages, ISBN: 978-0815382348, $60.

Today’s libraries and museums are heavily indebted to the passions and obsessions of numerous individual collectors who devoted their lives to amassing collections of books, manuscripts, artworks, and other culturally significant objects. Collecting the Past brings together the latest research on a wide range of significant British collectors from the eighteenth to the twentieth centuries, including Hans Sloane, Sarah Sophia Banks, Thomas Phillipps, Sydney Cockerell, J. P. Morgan Jr., Alfred Chester Beatty, and R. E. Hart.

Contributors to the volume examine the phenomenon of collecting in a variety of settings and across a range of different materials. Considering the aims and motives that led these collectors to assemble such remarkable collections, the book also examines the history of these collections after the collector’s death. Particular attention is given to the often complicated relationship between collectors and the public institutions that subsequently came to house their collections. Situated within the framework of cultural collecting more generally, this book offers an authoritative series of essays on key collectors.

Toby Burrows is Senior Researcher at the University of Oxford and a Senior Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Western Australia.
Cynthia Johnston is Lecturer in the History of the Book and Communications at the Institute of English Studies, School of Advanced Study, University of London.

C O N T E N T S

1  Toby Burrows and Cynthia Johnston, Collecting the Past: Manuscript and Book Collecting in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries
2  Alice Marples, Creating and Keeping a National Treasure: The Changing Uses of Hans Sloane’s Collection in the Eighteenth Century
3  Arlene Leis, Sarah Sophia Banks: A ‘Truly Interesting Collection of Visiting Cards and Co.’
4  Toby Burrows, ‘There Never Was Such a Collector Since the World Began’: A New Look at Sir Thomas Phillipps
5  Laura Cleaver and Danielle Magnusson, American Collectors and the Trade in Medieval Illuminated Manuscripts in London, 1919–1939: J. P. Morgan Junior, A. Chester Beatty, and Bernard Quaritch Ltd.
6  Stella Panayotova, Sydney Cockerell: A Bibliophile Director-Collector
7  Cynthia Johnston, Spending a Fortune: Robert Edward Hart, Bibliophile and Numismatist, An Industrialist Collector in Blackburn, Lancashire
8  Karen Attar, Ossified Collections: The Past Encapsulated in British Institutions Today