New Book | François Boucher and the Art of Collecting

Posted in books by Editor on December 1, 2021

From Routledge (and today priced at $105 for the hardcover). . .

Jessica Priebe, François Boucher and the Art of Collecting in Eighteenth-Century France (Routledge, 2021), 270 pages, ISBN: 978-1472435835 (hardcover), $150 / ISBN 978-1003224730 (ebook), $35.

While earlier studies have focused predominantly on artist François Boucher’s artistic style and identity, this book presents the first full-length interdisciplinary study of Boucher’s prolific collection of around 13,500 objects including paintings, sculpture, prints, drawings, porcelain, shells, minerals, and other imported curios. It discusses the types of objects he collected, the networks through which he acquired them, and their spectacular display in his custom-designed studio at the Louvre, where he lived and worked for nearly two decades. This book explores the role his collection played in the development of his art, his studio, his friendships, and the burgeoning market for luxury goods in mid-eighteenth-century France. In doing so, it sheds new light on the relationship between Boucher’s artistic and collecting practices, which attracted both praise and criticism from period observers.

Jessica Priebe is a Lecturer in the Department of Art History and Theory at the National Art School, Australia.


Introduction: In Pursuit of Pleasure

Part 1: The Artist as Agent
1  Modernizing Watteau: Marketing Luxury in France and Sweden
2  Boucher and the Art of Conchyliomani

Part 2: The Artist as Collector
3  Trading Places: Boucher as a Collector of Fine Art
4  The Business of Collecting

Part 3: The Collector as Artist
5  A New Address: Boucher at the Louvre
6  Boucher’s Cabinet of Natural History
7  The Artist Inspired: Representing Genius and the Art of Emulation

Exhibition | Antoine Watteau: Art — Market — Trade

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on December 1, 2021

Now on view  at Schloss Charlottenburg:

Antoine Watteau: Art — Market — Trade
Schloss Charlottenburg, Berlin, 9 October 2021 — 1 January 2022

Curated by Christoph Martin Vogtherr

2021 marks the 300th anniversary of the death of the French painter Antoine Watteau (1684—1721). The fame of the artist, who was already celebrated during his lifetime, continues to have an effect today, and his works are coveted collector’s items. After the Louvre in Paris, the Prussian Palaces and Gardens Foundation Berlin-Brandenburg owns the most important collection of paintings by this artist. Under the motto ‘Art—Market—Trade’, a special exhibition at Charlottenburg Palace pays tribute to this outstanding painter of the 18th century. The focus of the show is one of Watteau’s major works: the Shop Sign of the Art Dealer Gersaint (L’enseigne du marchand d’art Gersaint). Acquired by Frederick the Great (1712—1786) in 1746, the painting has been considered a masterpiece ever since it was painted. Originally created as a medium of business advertising and as a ‘figurehead’ of the Parisian art trade, the painting continues to stimulate contemporary questions concerning marketing, trade, but also collecting and intellectual engagement with art.

Two protagonists of Parisian art life are presented: Edme-François Gersaint (1694—1750) and Jean de Jullienne (1686—1766). Gersaint, a young up-and-coming art dealer, used his shop on the Pont Notre Dame in Paris to market the artist’s works throughout Europe through new advertising media and formats after Watteau’s death. Together with Jullienne, a collector and patron of Watteau, they realized the idea of reproducing all of the painter’s drawings and paintings in print. This edition, the Recueil Jullienne, was the prototype of a modern illustrated collection of works, which in its aftermath was to trigger a veritable fashion wave: throughout Europe, collectors, manufactory owners, and tradesmen acquired the prints created after Watteau’s works. Watteau’s imagery also inspired court painting and arts and crafts in Prussia. Motifs á la Watteau can be found not only in painting, but also on screens, wallpaper, fans, porcelain, and tapestries of the Frederician period.

As a source of inspiration, Watteau continues to have an impact right up to the modern age. Contemporary artists such as the Swiss painter Thomas Huber (b.1955) and the British fashion designer Vivienne Westwood (b.1941) are represented in the exhibition with one work each. Their artistic positions show that Watteau is still perceived today as an innovative artist and that his work stimulates creative debate. The exhibition, under the patronage of the French ambassador Anne-Marie Descôtes, paints a multifaceted picture of Watteau as an artist and style icon, whose posthumous fame was established with the shop of the art dealer Gersaint on Notre Dame in Paris.

C. Alff, S. Evers, P. Fuhring, A. Moulinier, D. Ranftl, C. Vogtherr, F. Windt, E. Wollschläger, Antoine Watteau: Kunst — Markt — Gewerbe / Art — Marché — Commerce (Munich: Hirmer Verlag, 2021), 272 pages, ISBN: 978-3777437866 (German edition) / ISBN: 978-3777437842 (French edition), 40€.

New Book | Nature’s Favourite Child: Thomas Robins

Posted in books by Editor on November 30, 2021

Available from John Sandoe Books:

Cathryn Spence, Nature’s Favourite Child: Thomas Robins and the Art of the Georgian Garden (Bradford-on-Avon: Stephen Morris, 2021), 312 pages, ISBN: 978-1838472634, £40.

Thomas Robins the Elder (1716–1770) recorded the country estates of the Georgian gentry—their orchards, Rococo gardens, and potagers—like no other, with both topographical accuracy and delightful artistry, often bordering his gouaches with entrancing tendrils, shells, leaves, and birds. His skill was honed by the delicacy required for his early career as a fan painter and is shown too in his exquisite paintings of butterflies, flowers, and birds. This ravishing and scholarly study emerges from many years’ research by Dr Cathryn Spence, the curator and archivist at Bowood House who has also worked for the V&A, the American Museum, the Bath Preservation Trust, and the National Trust. This is the first full study of Thomas Robins since John Harris’s Gardens of Delight, published in two volumes in 1978; Harris, in fact, made over all his research notes to Spence in 2005 when she embarked on her work. Chinoiserie is everywhere—a wooden bridge over the Thames, delicious kiosks in a garden, a view of Bath with sampans, and Chinese fishermen on the river. There are also fascinating views of Sudeley Castle and other great houses that incorporated more or less ruined monastic structures, destroyed in the Dissolution of the Monasteries. Spence has tracked down many previously unknown paintings by Robins and sets his elusive life and work in the framework of his patrons.

New Book | The Country Houses of Shropshire

Posted in books by Editor on November 29, 2021

From Boydell & Brewer (with 50% off most print books until 10 December; use code BB050) . . .

Gareth Williams, The Country Houses of Shropshire (London: Boydell Press, 2021), 760 pages, ISBN: 978-1783275397, £95 / $150.

A gazetteer of the many fine Shropshire country houses, covering the architecture, the owners’ family history, and the social and economic circumstances that affected them.

Shropshire is the largest English inland county and has a wide variety of important landed country houses, with owners from diverse social groups, with links to trade in Liverpool, Manchester, and London as well as the local gentry. This book is not simply about the houses they built, but also about the people who lived in them and the context in which the houses are set. The architecture is, of course, fully covered. What is distinctive about the author’s approach is that he treats the histories of the families, their artistic tastes, and their estates, as an integral part of the character of each house. Country houses can serve as a barometer of national tastes and of the social and economic times in which they were built. The work includes reference to the important sporting associations, fine, and decorative art collections, and to important guests and social networks. Unlike most architectural guides, this aims at a wider readership, and will be an important resource for social historians, genealogists, and local historians. The Country Houses of Shropshire considers the history of 347 identified houses of varying importance; those with a significant or influential history are given a main entry of up to 6000 words whilst lesser houses are treated with an entry of less than 1000 words. All houses have footnoted entries, enabling the reader to refer directly to source and to undertake further research themselves.

Gareth Williams is a curator at the British Museum with responsibility for early medieval coins and Viking antiquities. His research focuses on the Anglo-Saxon and Viking periods, spanning archaeology, history, and numismatics.

Exhibition | Studies in Irish Georgian Silver

Posted in books by Editor on November 25, 2021

From Four Courts Press:

Alison FitzGerald, ed., Studies in Irish Georgian Silver (Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2020), 208 pages, ISBN: 978-1846827990, €50.

Irish silver, for long renowned among collectors and connoisseurs, is increasingly being considered as an aspect of the material world of the past. Its making, acquisition and use tells much about past attitudes and behaviour. At the same time, careful examination of surviving articles not only adds to appreciation of the design and craftsmanship but also to Ireland’s participation in international fashions. This volume, with new research by established and emerging scholars from Ireland and the UK, advances the study across a broad range. The contributions examine the circumstances in which silver objects were made, sold, valued, and dispersed in Georgian Ireland. It considers specialized branches of the trade including the production of freedom boxes and jewellery, the sourcing of metals and materials, the value of inventories as evidence, and regional patterns and preferences. This book builds on recent literature on the history of silver, second-hand markets, guilds, and luxury goods, to recover and reconsider Ireland’s silversmithing.

Alison FitzGerald is associate professor in history, Maynooth University. She has published widely on the history of Irish silver, including a monograph, Silver in Georgian Dublin: Making, Selling, Consuming (London, 2016), and an essay in the catalogue Ireland: Crossroads of Art and Design, 1690–1840 (New Haven, 2015).


• Toby Barnard, Silver: Mined and in Mind
• Damian Collins, The Production and Supply of Gold and Silver Boxes in Late Stuart and Georgian Dublin
• Tessa Murdoch, Elite Gift Exchange: A Royal Christening Gift for Lady Emily Lennox in the Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Collection and Christening Gifts in the V&A Collections
• Thomas Sinsteden, The Dukes of Ormondes’ Silver Inventories, 1674–1715
• Jessica Cunningham, ‘Taken or Destroy’d’: The Silver at Castlecomer House and the Irish Rebellion of 1798
• Breda Scott, Jewellery in Georgian Dublin, 1770 to 1830
• Zara Power, Jewellery in Eighteenth-Century Ireland: From the Staple to the Sublime to the Sentimental
• John R. Bowen, Irish Provincial Silver in the Georgian Period
• Alison FitzGerald, Plate, Plated Wares, Plotting, and Proposals: Matthew Boulton’s Irish Correspondence

Exhibition | In American Waters

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on November 21, 2021

Unknown artist in New England, Contemplation by the Sea, 1790, oil on board 37 × 59 inches
(Salem, MA: Peabody Essex Museum, Museum purchase with funds from anonymous donor, 1994 137681)

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Now on view at Crystal Bridges:

In American Waters: The Sea in American Painting
Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Massachusetts, 29 May — 3 October 2021
Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas, 6 November 2021 — 31 January 2022

Curated by Austen Bailly and Daniel Finamore

For over 200 years, artists have been inspired to capture the beauty, violence, poetry, and transformative power of the sea in American life. Oceans play a key role in American society no matter where we live, and still today, the sea continues to inspire painters to capture its mystery and power. Be transported across time and water on the wave of a diverse range of modern and historical artists including Georgia O’Keeffe, Amy Sherald, Kay WalkingStick, Norman Rockwell, Hale Woodruff, Paul Cadmus, Thomas Hart Benton, Jacob Lawrence, Valerie Hegarty, Stuart Davis, and others.

highlights American art historical and cultural traditions associated with the sea, deepening our understanding of it as a symbol of American ambition, opportunity, and invention. While histories of American art have long privileged ways of imagining American culture that tell only a partial story and that overlook marine narratives of national and individual experience past and present, this ambitious exhibition reveals the sea as an expansive way to reflect on American culture and environment and to question what it means to be “in American waters.”

The exhibition is co-created by Austen Bailly, chief curator, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, and Daniel Finamore, The Russell W. Knight Curator of Maritime Art and History, Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts.

Daniel Finamore and Austen Barron Bailly, eds., with additional contributions by Mindy N. Besaw, Sarah N. Chasse, and George H. Schwartz, In American Waters: The Sea in American Painting (Fayetteville: University of Arkansas Press, 2021), 240 pages, ISBN: ‎978-1682261705, $60.

New Book | Art, Science, and the Body in Early Romanticism

Posted in books by Editor on November 20, 2021

From Cambridge UP:

Stephanie O’Rourke, Art, Science, and the Body in Early Romanticism (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2021), 205 pages, ISBN: 978-1316519028, £75 / $100. Part of the Cambridge Studies in Romanticism series.

Can we really trust the things our bodies tell us about the world? This work reveals how deeply intertwined cultural practices of art and science questioned the authority of the human body in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Focusing on Henry Fuseli, Anne-Louis Girodet, and Philippe de Loutherbourg, it argues that romantic artworks participated in a widespread crisis concerning the body as a source of reliable scientific knowledge. Rarely discussed sources and new archival material illuminate how artists drew upon contemporary sciences and inverted them, undermining their founding empiricist principles. The result is an alternative history of romantic visual culture that is deeply embroiled in controversies around electricity, mesmerism, physiognomy, and other popular sciences. This volume reorients conventional accounts of romanticism and some of its most important artworks, while also putting forward a new model for the kinds of questions that we can ask about them.

Stephanie O’Rourke is a lecturer in Art History at the University of St Andrews.


List of Figures

Introduction: Bodies of Knowledge
1  De Loutherbourg’s Mesmeric Effects
2  Fuseli’s Physiognomic Impressions
3  Girodet’s Electric Shocks
4  Self Evidence on the Scaffold


The Burlington Magazine, October 2021

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions, journal articles by Editor on November 18, 2021

The eighteenth century in October’s issue of The Burlington . . . Rado’s article is not an eighteenth-century essay, but she is a HECAA member (!), and she briefly frames the material in terms of a longer history; the theme for the October issue is ‘art in twentieth-century China’.CH

The Burlington Magazine 163 (November 2021)


• “Art History in the Anthropocene” p. 883.


• Mei Mei Rado, “The Empress Dowager Cixi’s Japanese Screen and Late Qing Imperial Cosmopolitanism,” pp. 886–97.


• Arthur Bijl, Review of the exhibition catalogue Kjeld von Folsach, Joachim Meyer, and Peter Wandel, Fighting, Hunting, Impressing: Arms and Armour from the Islamic World, 1500–1850 (Copenhagen: David Collection / Strandberg Publishing, 2021), pp. 946–47.

• Kee Il Jr Choi, Review of John Finlay, Henri Bertin and the Representation of China in Eighteenth-Century France (Routledge, 2020), pp. 966–67.

• Mirjam Hähnle, Review of Annette Kranen, Historische Topographien: Bilder europäischer Reisender im Osmanischen Reich um 1700 (Brill, 2020), pp. 971–72.




Online Book Launch | Enlightened Eclecticism

Posted in books, lectures (to attend), online learning by Editor on November 17, 2021

This Friday at 6.30pm (GMT) via Zoom:

Adriano Aymonino, Enlightened Eclecticism: The Grand Design of the 1st Duke and Duchess of Northumberland
Online Book Launch, Sir John Soane’s Museum, London, 19 November 2021

Hosted by Sir John Soane’s Museum in their beautiful library, and presented in collaboration with the Society for the History of Collecting, this virtual event will celebrate the publication of Adriano Aymonino’s new book, Enlightened Eclecticism: The Grand Design of the 1st Duke and Duchess of Northumberland.

The central decades of the eighteenth century in Britain were crucial to the history of European taste and design. One of the period’s most important campaigns of patronage and collecting was that of the 1st Duke and Duchess of Northumberland: Sir Hugh Smithson (1712–86) and Lady Elizabeth Seymour Percy (1716–76). This book examines four houses they refurbished in eclectic architectural styles—Stanwick Hall, Northumberland House, Syon House, and Alnwick Castle—alongside the innumerable objects they collected, their funerary monuments, and their persistent engagement in Georgian London’s public sphere. Over the years, their commissions embraced or pioneered styles as varied as Palladianism, rococo, neoclassicism, and Gothic revival. Patrons of many artists and architects, they are revealed, particularly, as the greatest supporters of Robert Adam. In every instance, minute details contributed to large-scale projects expressing the Northumberlands’ various aesthetic and cultural allegiances. Their development sheds light on the eclectic taste of Georgian Britain, the emergence of neoclassicism and historicism, and the cultures of the Grand Tour and the Enlightenment.


18.30  Introduction by Frances Sands (Curator of Drawings and Books, Sir John Soane’s Museum)
18.40  Talk by Kate Retford (Professor of Art History, Birkbeck, University of London)
19.10  Talk by Adriano Aymonino (Senior Lecturer and Director of Undergraduate Programs, Department of History and History of Art, University of Buckingham)
19.30  Conversation and questions moderated by Adriana Turpin (Director of Institut Des Etudes Superieurs Des Arts UK)


Exhibition | Hogarth and Europe

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on November 15, 2021

William Hogarth, The March of the Guards to Finchley, 1749–50
(London: The Foundling Museum)

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From the press release (1 November 2021) for the exhibition:

Hogarth and Europe
Tate Britain, London, 3 November 2021 – 20 March 2022

Curated by Alice Insley and Martin Myrone

Few artists have defined an era as much as William Hogarth (1697–1764), whose vivid, satirical depictions of 18th-century England continue to capture the imagination today. Tate Britain’s major exhibition Hogarth and Europe presents his work in a fresh light, seen for the first time alongside works by his continental contemporaries. It explores the parallels and exchanges that crossed borders and the cosmopolitan character of Hogarth’s art. Hogarth’s best-known paintings and prints—such as Marriage A-la-Mode (1743), The Gate of Calais (1748), and Gin Lane (1751)—are shown alongside works by famed European artists, including Jean-Siméon Chardin in Paris, Pietro Longhi in Venice, and Cornelis Troost in Amsterdam. Together they reveal how changes in society took art in new directions, both in Britain and abroad.

Featuring over 60 of Hogarth’s works, brought together from private and public collections around Europe and North America, the exhibition draws decades of research to show Hogarth in all his complexity—whether as staunch patriot or sharp critic, bawdy satirist or canny businessman. It also examines the shifting status of artists in the 18th century, from workshop artisans and court painters to independent freelancers enjoying prominence alongside actors, musicians, and writers. The rapid expansion of urban centres like London, Paris, Amsterdam, and Venice also saw the city itself become a major subject in art for the first time. Tate Britain juxtaposes these metropolitan scenes from across Europe, showing the bustling London streets of Hogarth’s Southwark Fair (1733) and The March of the Guards to Finchley (1749–50) together with vibrant depictions of Étienne Jeaurat’s Paris and Longhi’s Venice.

This was an age of opportunity and innovation, but also materialism, self-delusion, exploitation, and injustice. In Europe, new heights of luxury emerged with extreme poverty, while growing cities saw overcrowding and disease. The rising demand for consumer goods at home came at the expense of the labour and lives of enslaved and colonised people overseas. Against the backdrop of this changing world, artists like Hogarth pioneered a new painting of modern life, revealing its pleasures and dynamism but also its dangers and stark inequalities. In the 1730s he began his ‘modern moral series’: frank and engaging narratives charting the rise and fall of everyday characters corrupted by immorality and vice. Hogarth and Europe includes these celebrated series, including A Rake’s Progress (1734), which were immediately popular and widely circulated through print. At Tate Britain they are shown alongside paintings by the Italian Giuseppe Crespi, including The Flea (1707–09), and the Parisian Nicolas Lancret, to show how this new artistic genre of urban storytelling developed across Europe.

The 18th century also saw greater informality and ease in portraiture, expressing the new ideas emerging around individuality and personal freedom that remain familiar today. The exhibition culminates in a room focussing on such pictures, including Miss Mary Edwards (1742)—a painting not seen in the UK for over a century—depicting the eccentric, wealthy patron who commissioned many of Hogarth’s best-known works. Additional highlights include paintings of his sisters Mary and Anne Hogarth, as well as Heads of Six of Hogarth’s Servants (c.1750–55). Through juxtapositions with European artworks, the exhibition looks afresh at these and many other works by one of Britain’s most important artists, giving visitors a chance to see Hogarth’s position on the international stage in a new light.

Hogarth and Europe is curated by Alice Insley, Curator, British Art c 1730–1850 and Martin Myrone, former Senior Curator, pre-1800 British Art, Tate Britain (now Convenor, British Art Network at the Paul Mellon Centre). The exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue featuring essays by eminent scholars and artists including Lubaina Himid and Sonia E. Barrett.

Martin Myrone and Alice Insley, eds., Hogarth and Europe (London: Tate, 2021), 208 pages, ISBN: 978-1849767682, £40 / $55.

The exhibition guide is available here»

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