New Book | Taking Travel Home

Posted in books by Editor on May 14, 2022

From Manchester UP:

Emma Gleadhill, Taking Travel Home: The Souvenir Culture of British Women Tourists, 1750–1830 (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2022), 312 pages, ISBN: 978-1526155276, £80 / $120.

Taking Travel Home provides a cultural history of the travel souvenir. It situates the souvenir at the crossroads of competing ideas of what travel stood for which were fought out amongst a rapidly growing constituency of British tourists between 1750 and 1830. Drawing from the theory of the souvenir as a nostalgic narrative instrument, the book uncovers how elite women tourists developed a souvenir culture around the texts and objects they brought home to realise their ambitions in the arenas of connoisseurship, science, and friendship. Ultimately, it argues that souvenirs are representative of female agency during this period. For elite women, revelling in the independence and identity formation of travel, but hampered by polite models of femininity and reliant on their menfolk, the creation of souvenirs provided a way to prove their claims to the authority of the travelling subject.

Emma Gleadhill is a Sydney-based historian and artist.


Introduction: Remembering Travel

Part I: Gendering Connoisseurship
1  The Grand Tour: A Masculine Legacy of Taste
2  Shopping for Souvenirs
3  Creating Their Own Cultural Capital: Lady Anna Miller and Hester Lynch Piozzi

Part II: Gendering Science
4  Every Fair Columbus
5  Dorothy Richardson’s Extensive Knowledge
6  Lady Elizabeth Holland, the Social Orchestrator of Science

Part III: Gendering Friendship
7  From Diplomatic Gift to Trifle from Tunbridge Wells
8  A Snuff-box and Other Napoleonic Keepsakes
9  Princess Ekaterina Dashkova’s Gifts to Martha Wilmot

Conclusion: Remembering the Souvenir


New Book | In the Shadow of the Empress

Posted in anniversaries, books by Editor on May 13, 2022

Maria Theresa was born on this day (13 May) in 1717; from Little, Brown and Company:

Nancy Goldstone, In the Shadow of the Empress: The Defiant Lives of Maria Theresa, Mother of Marie Antoinette, and Her Daughters (Little, Brown and Company, 2021), 640 pages, ISBN: ‎978-0316449335, $32.

The vibrant, sprawling saga of Empress Maria Theresa—one of the most renowned women rulers in history—and three of her extraordinary daughters, including Marie Antoinette, the doomed queen of France.

Out of the thrilling and tempestuous eighteenth century comes the sweeping family saga of beautiful Maria Theresa, a sovereign of uncommon strength and vision, the only woman ever to inherit and rule the vast Habsburg Empire in her own name, and three of her remarkable daughters: lovely, talented Maria Christina, governor-general of the Austrian Netherlands; spirited Maria Carolina, the resolute queen of Naples; and the youngest, Marie Antoinette, the glamorous, tragic queen of France, and perhaps the most famous princess in history.

Unfolding against an irresistible backdrop of brilliant courts from Vienna to Versailles, embracing the exotic lure of Naples and Sicily, this epic history of Maria Theresa and her daughters is a tour de force of desire, adventure, ambition, treachery, sorrow, and glory.

Each of these women’s lives was packed with passion and heart-stopping suspense. Maria Theresa inherited her father’s thrones at the age of twenty-three and was immediately attacked on all sides by foreign powers confident that a woman would to be too weak to defend herself. Maria Christina, a gifted artist who alone among her sisters succeeded in marrying for love, would face the same dangers that destroyed the monarchy in France. Resourceful Maria Carolina would usher in the golden age of Naples only to face the deadly whirlwind of Napoleon. And, finally, Marie Antoinette, the doomed queen whose stylish excesses and captivating notoriety have masked the truth about her husband and herself for two hundred and fifty years.

Vividly written and deeply researched, In the Shadow of the Empress is the riveting story of four exceptional women who changed the course of history.

Nancy Goldstone is the author of six previous books including Daughters of the Winter Queen: Four Remarkable Sisters, the Crown of Bohemia, and the Enduring Legacy of Mary, Queen of Scots; The Rival Queens: Catherine de’ Medici, Her Daughter Marguerite de Valois, and the Betrayal that Ignited a Kingdom; The Maid and the Queen: The Secret History of Joan of Arc; Four Queens: The Provençal Sisters Who Ruled Europe; and The Lady Queen: The Notorious Reign of Joanna I, Queen of Naples, Jerusalem, and Sicily. She has also coauthored six books with her husband, Lawrence Goldstone. She lives in Del Mar, California.

New Book | Grafted Arts

Posted in books by Editor on May 11, 2022

Distributed by Yale UP:

Holly Shaffer, Grafted Arts: Art Making and Taking in the Struggle for Western India, 1760–1910 (London: Paul Mellon Centre, 2022), 320 pages, ISBN: 978-1913107284, £45 / $55.

Grafted Arts focuses on Maratha military rulers and British East India Company officials who used the arts to engage in diplomacy, wage war, compete for prestige, and generate devotion as they allied with (or fought against) each other to control western India in the eighteenth century. This book conceptualises the artistic combinations that resulted as ones of ‘graft’—a term that acknowledges the violent and creative processes of suturing arts, and losing and gaining goods, as well as the shifting dynamics among agents who assembled such materials. By tracing grafted arts from multiple perspectives—Maratha and British, artist and patron, soldier and collector—this book charts the methods of empire-building that recast artistic production and collection in western India and from there across India and in Britain. This mercenary method of artistry propagated mixed, fractured and plundered arts. Indeed, these ‘grafted arts’—disseminated across India and Britain over the nineteenth century to aid in consolidating empire or revolting against it entirely—remain instigators of nationalist agitation today.

Holly Shaffer is assistant professor of History of Art and Architecture at Brown University with a focus on eighteenth- and nineteenth-century British and South Asian arts and their intersections.


New Book | Lives of Gainsborough

Posted in books by Editor on May 8, 2022

From The Getty:

Philip Thicknesse, William Jackson, and Sir Joshua Reynolds, with an introduction by Anthony Mould, Lives of Gainsborough (Los Angeles: Getty Publications, 2020), 144 pages, ISBN: 978-1606066645, $13.

A collection of contemporary texts about Thomas Gainsborough, a leading British portraitist and landscape painter in the eighteenth century.

Thomas Gainsborough (1727–1788) was a leading English landscape and portrait painter, draftsman, and printmaker who is now considered one of the most important British artists of the eighteenth century. This volume illuminates his life, career, personality, and passions through three diverse character sketches by Philip Thicknesse, an eccentric British adventurer, businessman, and writer; William Jackson, an artist and close friend to Gainsborough; and Sir Joshua Reynolds, an English portrait painter and the first president of the Royal Academy of Arts. An obituary published shortly after Gainsborough’s death lends insight into the artist’s impact. An introduction by Anthony Mould, a British art dealer and independent scholar, offers an overview of Gainsborough’s life and career.


Exhibition | La Chine

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on May 6, 2022

Closing this weekend in Dresden at the Kupferstich-Kabinett:

La Chine: The 18th-Century China Collection in the Dresden Kupferstich-Kabinett
Residenzschloss, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, 19 November 2021 — 8 May 2022

In the early eighteenth century, when the legendary art collection of August the Strong (1670–1733), came into being, Asia was viewed with excited fascination in Europe.

In addition to today‘s world-famous porcelain wares, more than 1100 Chinese drawings and watercolour paintings on paper and silk, as well as woodcuts and coloured prints, were brought to Dresden. This important collection, along with 850 chinoiserie prints, is preserve in the Kupferstich-Kabinett of the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden. In the first inventory of the Kupferstich-Kabinett, drawn up in 1738, the objects were listed under the categories ‘La Chine’ and ‘La Chine européenne’.

An outstanding feature is the large collection of Chinese popular prints. In China itself, such New Year pictures, congratulatory leaflets, and theatre scenes were considered mere commodities, so that hardly any have been preserved. The prints were cheap to buy. With their wideranging symbolism, usually promising good fortune and prosperity, these sheets were hung up in homes for the New Year or passed on as a blessing, for example, and usually were not preserved. In Europe, Chinese folk art was seen as documenting the costumes and customs of distant lands. In the courtly sphere, the sheets were used as wall decorations, for example. They also served as models for chinoiserie prints. These provided motifs for decorations on buildings and furniture, as well as for porcelain painting.

Ines Beyer, Transformation

The first copperplate prints created in China were made by Matteo Ripa in collaboration with artists from the court painting workshops, on commission to the Kangxi Emperor, after woodcuts illustrating the Emperor’s own poems. The work by Ines Beyer entitled Transformation, based on the eighth view in the series, creates a link to the present day.

Cordula Bischoff and Petra Kuhlmann-Hodick, La Chine: Die China-Sammlung Des 18. Jahrhunderts Im Dresdner Kupferstich-Kabinett (Dresden: Sandstein Verlag, 2021), 256 pages, ISBN: 978-3954986286, €38.


New Book | British Dandies

Posted in books by Editor on May 5, 2022

Distributed by The University of Chicago Press:

Dominic Janes, British Dandies: Engendering Scandal and Fashioning a Nation (Oxford: Bodleian Library Publishing, 2022), 248 pages, ‎ ISBN: 978-1851245598, £30 / $45.

Reveals how the scandalous history of fashionable men and their clothes is a reflection of changing attitudes to style, gender, and sexuality.

Well-dressed men have played a distinctive part in the cultural and political life of Britain over several centuries. But unlike the twenty-first-century hipster, the British dandies provoked intense degrees of fascination and horror in their homeland and played an important role in British society from the seventeenth to the twentieth century. This book explores that social and cultural history through a focus on three figures: the macaroni, the dandy, and the aesthete. The first was noted for his flamboyance, the second for his austere perfectionism, and the third for his perversity. All were highly controversial in their time, pioneering new ways of displaying and performing gender, as demonstrated by the impact of key figures such as Lord Hervey, George ‘Beau’ Brummell, and Oscar Wilde. Illustrated with contemporary prints, portraits, and caricatures, this groundbreaking study tells the fascinating—and scandalous—story of fashionable men and their clothes.

Dominic Janes is professor of modern history at Keele University.


List of Illustrations

1  British Dandies
2  Dressing the Sexes in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries
3  A Georgian Taste for Macaroni
4  Fine and Dandy in the Regency
5  Victorians and the Aesthetic Pose
6  Fashion and Scandal in the Twentieth Century

Picture Credits

New Book | Jean-Baptiste Greuze et ses têtes d’expression

Posted in books by Editor on May 3, 2022

Published by the Comité des travaux historiques et scientifiques and the Institut national d’histoire de l’art:

Yuriko Jackall, Jean-Baptiste Greuze et ses têtes d’expression: La fortune d’un genre (Paris: CTHS / INHA, 2022), 320 pages, ISBN: 978-2735509393, €38.

La représentation de têtes dites d’expression a été initiée par Charles Le Brun au xviie siècle et s’inscrit dans la tradition académique. Les figures de Jean-Baptiste Greuze, principalement féminines, sont
d’abord le vecteur narratif des œuvres au sein desquelles elles ont vocation à s’intégrer. Toutefois, les émotions vont peu à peu constituer l’unique élément fictionnel des productions de l’artiste. L’autrice montre comment les têtes «greuziennes » — parfois jugées décadentes en raison de leur lascivité et leur volupté affichées — acquièrent finalement un statut autonome et deviennent un genre artistique à part entière entretenu par les collectionneurs et perpétué par une nouvelle génération d’artistes.

Spécialiste de la peinture française du xviiie siècle, Yuriko Jackall est conservatrice en chef de la Wallace Collection (London). Auparavant conservatrice à la National Gallery of Art (Washington, DC), elle a participé à l’exposition Hubert Robert (1733–1808) (musée du Louvre / National Gallery of Art, 2016), puis a été commissaire des expositions America Collects Eighteenth-Century French Painting et Fragonard: The Fantasy Figures (National Gallery of Art, 2017).

Table des matières

Liste des abréviations

• Greuze peintre
• Deux approches de Greuze peintre
• Un nouveau regard sur les têtes de Greuze
• Greuze éclipsé ?
• Greuze et Diderot
• Le sens du dessin de Denon

I. Un lexique pour la tête isolée
• Une tête d’après nature
• Tête et tête d’après nature
• Tête de fantaisie
• Tête de caractère
• Tête d’expression
• Tête d’étude
• Transformations de la tête isolée

II. Les identités académiques de Greuze
• Greuze et l’Académie
• Greuze selon Gougenot
• Peintre d’expression
• Peintre de nature
• Nature et expression
• Greuze entre nature et expression

III. La tête autonome : découper, isoler, extraire, remplacer
• Corrège, Coypel et le recadrage
• Mettre le tableau en morceaux
• Couper les têtes
• L’image du sentiment
• Le visage métonymique
• Greuze et le comte de Caylus
• Caylus et Watteau : dess(e)ins et jeux de fonds
• Caylus et Vien : sculpter la tête

IV. Morceler Greuze
• La question de matérialité
• Greuze, dessinateur
• Surfaces
• Greuze, peintre
• Du dessin à la peinture
• D’un tableau à l’autre
• Faire de la tête un condensé de l’oeuvre

V. Exprimer le désir et l’admiration
• De l’allégorie
• La Tête d’une jeune fille, exprimant l’admiration et le désir
• Abondance
• Interchangeabilité
• Expressions symboliques
• La part du spectateur : une lecture libertine
• La part du spectateur : un choix féminin

Conclusion: De l’expression au caractère
• La place de Greuze
• Évolutions lexicales

Crédits photographiques

New Book | Capitalism and the Emergence of Civic Equality

Posted in books by Editor on May 2, 2022

From The University of Chicago Press:

William Sewell, Capitalism and the Emergence of Civic Equality in Eighteenth-Century France (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2021), 416 pages, ISBN: 9780226770321 (cloth), $105 / ISBN: 9780226770468 (paper), $35.

There is little doubt that the French Revolution of 1789 changed the course of Western history. But why did the idea of civic equality—a distinctive signature of that revolution—find such fertile ground in France? How might changing economic and social realities have affected political opinions? William H. Sewell Jr. argues that the flourishing of commercial capitalism in eighteenth-century France introduced a new independence, flexibility, and anonymity to French social life. By entering the interstices of this otherwise rigidly hierarchical society, expanded commodity exchange colored everyday experience in ways that made civic equality thinkable, possible, even desirable, when the crisis of the French Revolution arrived. Sewell ties together masterful analyses of a multitude of interrelated topics: the rise of commerce, the emergence of urban publics, the careers of the philosophes, commercial publishing, patronage, political economy, trade, and state finance. Capitalism and the Emergence of Civic Equality in Eighteenth-Century France offers an original interpretation of one of history’s pivotal moments.

William H. Sewell Jr. is the Frank P. Hixon Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus in Political Science and History at the University of Chicago. He is the author of several books, including, most recently, Logics of History: Social Theory and Social Transformation, published by the University of Chicago Press.


Introduction: The French Revolution and the Shock of Civic Equality
1  Old Regime State and Society
2  The Eighteenth-Century Economy: Commerce and Capitalism

I. The Emergence of an Urban Public
3  The Commercial Public Sphere
4  The Empire of Fashion
5  The Parisian Promenade

II. The Philosophes and the Career Open to Talent
6  The Philosophe Career and the Impossible Example of Voltaire
7  Denis Diderot: Living by the Pen
8  The Abbé Morellet: Between Publishing and Patronage
9  Jean-Jacques Rousseau: Self-Deceived Clientage

III. Royal Administration and the Promise of Political Economy
10  Tocqueville’s Challenge: Royal Administration and the Rise of Civic Equality
11  Warfare, Taxes, and Administrative Centralization: The Double Bind of Royal Finance
12  Political Economy: A Solution to the Double Bind?
13  Navigating the Double Bind: Efforts at Reform

Conclusion: The Revolution and the Advent of Civic Equality
Epilogue: Civic Equality and the Continuing History of Capitalism


Exhibition | Bestowing Beauty

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on May 1, 2022

Inkwell, Pakistan, Sindh, eighteenth century, steel, overlaid with gold (koftgari) (Houston: Hossein Afshar Collection at the MFAH). This inkwell is dedicated to Mir Fateh ‘Ali Sarkar-i Khan Talpur (r. 1783–1801/2), chief of the Talpurs, a tribe that conquered and ruled Sindh, in present-day Pakistan, from 1783 until 1843. The slit in the inkwell’s base, which makes it possible for a belt to pass through, suggests its portability and importance as part of courtly attire. The gold overlay, delicate decoration, and dedicatory inscription emphasize the power and prestige of the written word.

◊    ◊    ◊    ◊    ◊

From the Toledo Museum of Art’s press release for the exhibition:

Bestowing Beauty: Masterpieces from Persian Lands
The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, 19 November 2017 — 11 February 2018
High Museum of Art, Atlanta, 12 December 2020 — 18 April 2021
Toledo Museum of Art, 23 April — 17 July 2022

Curated by Aimée Froom

This spring and summer the Toledo Museum of Art offers a spectacular exhibition of more than 100 objects drawn from one of the most significant private collections of Persian art. Bestowing Beauty: Masterpieces from Persian Lands showcases the artistic inventiveness of Persian culture across different media, featuring a broad array of textiles, ceramics, metalwork, lacquer, paintings, jewelry, and manuscripts from the Hossein Afshar Collection. Historically Persian lands—a wide swath of territory that at various times spanned from Cairo to Delhi, with its heart in what is now modern-day Iran—saw centuries of conquest and globalization. The art that resulted both reinforced Persian culture and assimilated these cross-cultural exchanges.

Woven throughout the stories of these extraordinary objects are experiences, ideas, and emotions shared by cultures across the globe. By evoking universal themes of love, loss, conflict, and spirituality the exhibition brings to life the rich heritage and enduring beauty of Persian art.

“Celebrating the cultural heritage of Iran at the Toledo Museum of Art with Bestowing Beauty represents a rare opportunity for our audiences to experience the grandeur and beauty of these objects in person,” said Diane Wright, the Museum’s senior curator of glass and contemporary craft. “An important area of trade and migration, Persian lands served as critical centers of artistic production and influence for centuries, which the exhibition brilliantly highlights through these extraordinary works of art.”

The visual and literary arts have held a privileged place in Iranian civilization for centuries. The Hossein Afshar Collection, which embraces a diverse range of treasures from the eve of Islam’s arrival in the seventh century to the end of the 19th century, was assembled to preserve and share Persian art and culture today and for future generations. The exceptional objects in Bestowing Beauty embody the history of trade and migration found in Persian art, as well as map the legacy of artistic and technological advancements across the region.

Signed ‘Ali-Quli’, Common Green Magpie, 1746–47, ink, opaque watercolor, and gold on paper (Hossein Afshar Collection at the MFAH).

The exhibition is divided into six sections:

Banquets and Battles features the exuberance of palace feasting and fighting, quintessential aspects of Persian kingship and perennially popular subjects in Persian art and literature. Feasts are portrayed across media, such as a 19th-century painting of a female juggler accompanied by a cat, and the exhibition also includes lavishly decorated serving vessels and utensils fashioned from metals and ceramic.

Faith and Piety explores how, after the advent of Islam, words from the Qur’an became paramount as a mode of expression. Exquisitely penned and sumptuously illuminated Qur’an manuscripts were produced across the Islamic world. Calligraphers also copied a variety of texts in addition to the Qur’an, such as sayings from the Hadith, Shi‘a invocations, literary manuscripts and poetry, all of which are included in the exhibition.

Art of the Word, the third section, delves into the different developments, styles and uses of calligraphy, enhancing the aesthetic form and rhythmic beauty of calligraphy. Words were woven into textiles, engraved onto metalwork, painted on ceramic objects and enamels, and carved into wood.

In Persian literature, love finds expression as a profound human connection and metaphor for a yearning for unity with the divine. Love and Longing traces how calligraphers and painters brought to life the rich corpus of Persian literature, from the exquisite miniature paintings from the Shahnama (Book of Kings), the Persian national epic, to couplets of lyric poetry and a pair of tightly embracing lovers on a slim lacquer pen case.

Kingship and Authority explores the kingly ideal, which figures prominently in Persian visual and literary culture. In addition to the Shahnama—the masterpiece that reflects the legends and virtues of Persian dynasties—court painters in the 19th century captured portraits of royalty and the ruling elite. This section also incorporates monumental silk carpets of the 16th and 17th centuries and an exquisite 19th-century pendant of gold, pearls, and gemstones.

The concluding section, Earth and Nature, examines the manifestations of flora and fauna that abound in the art of Iran. Its people were among the earliest civilizations to cultivate gardens. The garden’s symbolism—of paradise, of the promise of spring, of renewal—permeated Persian culture and can be seen in the exhibition through glorious depictions of lions, falcons, nightingales, roses, and fruit.

“The significance of Persian lands geographically, culturally and politically cannot be overstated,” said Sophie Ong, Hirsch curatorial fellow at the Toledo Museum of Art. “Bestowing Beauty draws attention to the splendor and complexity of Persian art, continuing TMA’s enrichment of the medieval world and beyond.”

Bestowing Beauty: Masterpieces from Persian Lands is organized by the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.

Aimée Froom, ed., Bestowing Beauty: Masterpieces from Persian Lands—Selections from the Hossein Afshar Collection (New Haven: Yale University Press, with The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, 2021), 304 pages, ISBN‏: ‎978-0300247022, $85. With contributions by Walter Denny, Melanie Gibson, David Roxburgh, Robert Hillenbrand, Mary McWilliams, Janet O’Brien, Marianna Shreve Simpson, Eleanor Sims, Margaret Squires, and Julie Timte.

Exhibition | Louis Chéron (1655–1725)

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on April 27, 2022

The exhibition closed last month, but the catalogue is still available:

Louis Chéron: L’ambition du dessin parfait
Musée des Beaux-Arts, Caen, 4 December 2021 — 6 March 2022

Curated by François Marandet

Le musée des Beaux-Arts propose la première rétrospective consacrée à Louis Chéron, au travers d’une soixantaine d’œuvres issues de collections françaises et anglaises, couvrant une large période, de 1678 jusqu’aux années 1720.

Né à Paris en 1655, Louis Chéron quitte la France pour l’Angleterre en 1683. C’est à Londres qu’il vivra pendant trente ans, occupant là une place centrale au sein de la scène artistique. Les études académiques, les dessins d’invention, les projets d’illustration, les programmes pour de grands décors peints et les rares tableaux de chevalet conservés permettent de découvrir un artiste prolifique et précurseur. Contemporain de Louis Laguerre et de James Thornhill, à cheval sur deux siècles et deux nations, Cheron, souvent considéré comme un « suiveur de Charles Le Brun », reflète l’esprit classique français. Il annonce également, par ses dessins d’invention et sa peinture de chevalet proprement fantastiques, l’art de la génération suivante. En 1720, il crée sa propre école d’art à Londres, dont l’originalité est l’introduction de femmes nues comme modèles. Un peintre aussi célèbre que William Hogarth y suivra des cours.

The press packet is available as a PDF file here»

François Marandet, with prefaces by Emmanuelle Delapierre and Robin Simon, Louis Chéron (1655–1725): L’ambition du dessin parfait (Ballan-Miré: Illustria Librairie des Musées, 2022), 288 pages, ISBN: ‎978-2354040956, 30€.

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