Exhibition | The Claggetts of Newport: Master Clockmakers

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on December 31, 2018

Installation view of The Claggetts of Newport: Master Clockmakers in Colonial America (Newport: Redwood Library & Athenaeum, photo by Michael Osean).

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Press release (via Art Daily) for the exhibition:

The Claggetts of Newport: Master Clockmakers in Colonial America
The Redwood Library and Athenæum, Newport, 13 December 2018 — 21 April 2019

Curated by Gary Sullivan and Benedict Leca

In an era when it emerged alongside New York, Boston, Philadelphia, and Charleston as one of the five main port cities of the American Enlightenment, Newport famously distinguished itself by its uniquely progressive society, but also by its cultural refinement, exemplified as much by the Redwood Library—America’s first purpose-built library and earliest public neoclassic building—as by the masterpiece clocks produced by the Claggett dynasty. The Claggetts of Newport: Master Clockmakers in Colonial America features 35 clocks, the largest assemblage of Claggett and Wady clocks ever brought together—many never exhibited publicly. It examines the range of the Claggetts’ clock production in terms of their technical sophistication, decorative finesse, and context of fabrication.

“As the pinnacle of what was often the most expensive item in an elite colonial home, these clocks reflect the cultural aspirations of early Americans, and the role that Newporters played in fashioning an American style that contrasted with European fashions,” said Redwood Executive Director and exhibition co-curator Benedict Leca.

Drawn from a full roster of public and private collections, the exhibition includes pieces from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Brown University, The Preservation Society of Newport County, Old Sturbridge Village Collection, and the Rhode Island Historical Society. It features twenty clocks by William Claggett, including his masterpiece: the arch-dial, eight-day quarter-striking clock in japanned case belonging to the Redwood. Thomas Claggett is represented by eleven clocks, while James Wady—to whom only eleven clocks are ascribed—by four clocks, including one using a convex block-and-shell pendulum door, a feature that typified Newport clocks. Among other highlights is a table clock with japanned surface by William Claggett; a trio of Thomas Claggett clocks in related, uniquely regional cases, one a dwarf clock and another a musical clock by him; and two uncased eight-day time and strike movements enabling visitors to peer into the mechanics of a working clock.

The exhibition includes many clocks borrowed from private collections that feature significant provenance information. Preserved by Rhode Island families, some for 300 years, the identities of the original owners of several examples are documented and early family histories are known for others, shedding light on the value, details of construction and the circumstances governing commissions.

“This is an unprecedented presentation of clocks that is unlikely ever to be duplicated. With the recent book devoted to the Claggetts by Fennimore and Hohmann, the Claggetts’ achievement as a highpoint of early American craftsmanship can now be comprehensively appreciated,” said exhibition co-curator Gary Sullivan, the leading authority on early American clocks.

Organized by the Redwood Library & Athenæum—the sole venue—The Claggetts of Newport: Master Clockmakers in Colonial America juxtaposes significant early square dial clocks with later, highly elaborate clocks featuring japanned cases and complex movements indicating the day, tides, and phases of the moon. The clocks’ increasing technical and decorative elaboration over the course of the eighteenth century coincided with the growing prosperity of Newport’s merchant class, whose patronage fueled the city’s emergence as a major colonial artistic center.

The exhibition charts a complex narrative that teases out the three distinct personalities that comprise the Claggett dynasty—William Claggett (1694–1748), his assumed relative Thomas Claggett (d. 1797), and William’s son-in-law James Wady (ca. 1706–1759). As well, the show offers insights on the network of sub-contracted specialist case makers, brass founders and glaziers that the Claggett workshop relied on to produce their clocks.

The technical expertise required to produce a clock, whereby founders cast brass parts that clockmakers filed into the finished movement and positioned inside custom casework made these more than “a great ornament to [a] Room.” The Claggett’s ascendency as clockmakers coincides with the entry of science into public discourse through newly-formed philosophical societies, such as Newport’s Literary and Philosophical Society (1730), the group integral to the founding of the Redwood Library, whose members met to discuss current political and scientific issues. William Claggett himself experimented with electricity, and evidence abounds that clocks were conceived as far more than time pieces: in a 1725 pamphlet Benjamin Franklin compares God’s regulation of the world to the movement of a clock, a metaphor used and critiqued later by the philosopher George Berkeley.

The Claggetts of Newport: Master Clockmakers in Colonial America is co-curated by Gary R. Sullivan and Benedict Leca. The Redwood gratefully acknowledges support from the Edward W. Kane and Martha J. Wallace Family Foundation, and by several donors who wish to remain anonymous. Further support for the gallery presentation comes from Cornelius C. Bond and Ann E. Blackwell, and an in-kind donation by Sandra Liotus Lighting LLC. A catalog recording the exhibition will be available in 2019.

Donald Fennimore and Frank Hohmann, with an Introduction by Dennis Carr, Claggett: Newport’s Illustrious Clockmakers (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2018), 272 pages, ISBN: 978-0300233797, $65.

New Book | National Gallery, Eighteenth-Century French Paintings

Posted in books, catalogues by Editor on December 27, 2018

Distributed by Yale UP:

Humphrey Wine, National Gallery Catalogues: The Eighteenth-Century French Paintings (London: National Gallery Company, 2019), 632 pages, ISBN: 978-1857093384, $125.

The impressive collection of eighteenth-century French paintings at the National Gallery, London, includes important works by Boucher, Chardin, David, Fragonard, Watteau, and many others. This volume presents over seventy detailed and extensively illustrated entries that expand our understanding of these paintings. Comprehensive research uncovers new information on provenance and on the lives of identified portrait sitters. Humphrey Wine explains the social and political contexts of many of the paintings, and an introductory essay looks at the attitude of eighteenth-century Britons to the French, as well as the market for eighteenth-century French paintings then in London salerooms.

Humphrey Wine was formerly the curator of 17th- and 18th-century French paintings at the National Gallery, London.

New Book | Gems in the Early Modern World:

Posted in books by Editor on December 22, 2018

From Palgrave Macmillan:

Michael Bycroft and Sven Dupré, eds., Gems in the Early Modern World: Materials, Knowledge and Global Trade, 1450–1800 (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2018), 359 pages, ISBN: 978-3319963785, $120.

This edited collection is an interdisciplinary study of gems in the early modern world. It examines the relations between the art, science, and technology of gems, and it does so against the backdrop of an expanding global trade in gems. The eleven chapters are organised into three parts. The first part sets the scene by describing how gems moved around the early modern world, how they were set in motion, and how they were pulled together in the course of their travels. The second part is about value. It asks why people valued gems, how they determined the value of a given gem, and how the value of a gem was connected to its perceived place of origin. The third part deals with the skills involved in cutting, polishing, and mounting gems, and how these skills were transmitted and articulated by artisans. The common themes of all these chapters are materials, knowledge and global trade. The contributors to this volume focus on the material properties of gems such as their weight and hardness, on the knowledge involved in exchanging them and valuing them, and on the cultural consequences of the expanding trade in gems in Eurasia and the Americas.

Michael Bycroft is Assistant Professor of the History of Science and Technology at the University of Warwick. He completed his PhD in the History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Cambridge in 2013, and has since held fellowships at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science and the University of Warwick. He specialises in the physical sciences in early modern Europe, and is writing a monograph on the role of precious stones in the scientific revolution.

Sven Dupré is Professor of History of Art, Science and Technology at Utrecht University and the University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands. He directs ARTECHNE, an interdisciplinary project on technique in the arts, supported by the European Research Council. Previously he was a Professor of History of Knowledge at the Freie Universität in Berlin.


• Michael Bycroft and Sven Dupre, Introduction: Gems in the Early Modern World
• Hugo Miguel Crespo, The Plundering of the Ceylonese Royal Treasury, 1551–1553: Its Character, Cost, and Dispersal
• Christina M. Anderson, Diamond-Studded Paths: Lines of Communication and the Trading Network of the Hellemans Family, Jewellers from Antwerp
• Claire Sabel, The Impact of European Trade with Southeast Asia on the Mineralogical Studies of Robert Boyle
• Anna Grasskamp, Branches and Bones: The Transformative Matter of Coral in Ming Dynasty China
• Michael Bycroft, Boethius de Boodt and the Emergence of the Oriental/Occidental Distinction in European Mineralogy
• Marcia Pointon, Good and Bad Diamonds in Seventeenth-Century Europe
• Marieke Hendriksen, The Repudiation and Persistence of Lapidary Medicine in Eighteenth-Century Dutch Medicine and Pharmacy
• Marjolijn Bol, Polito et Claro: The Art and Knowledge of Polishing, 1100–1500
• Taylor L. Viens, Mughal Lapidaries and the Inherited Modes of Production
• Karin Hofmeester, Knowledge, Technique, and Taste in Transit: Diamond Polishing in Europe, 1500–1800
• Marlise Rijks, Gems and Counterfeited Gems in Early Modern Antwerp: From Workshops to Collections


New Book | The Game of Love in Georgian England

Posted in books by Editor on December 20, 2018

From Oxford UP:

Sally Holloway, The Game of Love in Georgian England: Courtship, Emotions, and Material Culture (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2019), 256 pages, ISBN: 978-0198823070, £60 / $75.

Courtship in Georgian England was a decisive moment in the life cycle, imagined as a tactical game, an invigorating sport, and a perilous journey across a turbulent sea. This volume brings to life the emotional experience of courtship using the words and objects selected by men and women to navigate this potentially fraught process. It provides new insights into the making and breaking of relationships, beginning with the formation of courtships using the language of love, the development of intimacy through the exchange of love letters, and sensory engagement with love tokens such as flowers, portrait miniatures, and locks of hair. It also charts the increasing modernization of romantic customs over the Georgian era—most notably with the arrival of the printed valentine’s card—revealing how love developed into a commercial industry. The book concludes with the rituals of disintegration when engagements went awry, and pursuit of damages for breach of promise in the civil courts.

The Game of Love in Georgian England brings together love letters, diaries, valentines, and proposals of marriage from sixty courtships sourced from thirty archives and museum collections, alongside an extensive range of sources including ballads, conduct literature, court cases, material objects, newspaper reports, novels, periodicals, philosophical discourses, plays, poems, and prints, to create a vivid social and cultural history of romantic emotions. The book demonstrates the importance of courtship to studies of marriage, relationships, and emotions in history, and how we write histories of emotions using objects. Love emerges as something that we do in practice, enacted by couples through particular socially and historically determined rituals.

Sally Holloway is the Vice Chancellor’s Research Fellow in History and History of Art at Oxford Brookes University. Holloway is an historian of emotions, gender, material culture, and romantic relationships in Georgian England. After completing her AHRC-funded PhD at Royal Holloway in 2013, she worked on the Georgians season at Historic Royal Palaces, and taught at Queen Mary University of London, Oxford Brookes University, and Richmond, The American International University in London. With Stephanie Downes and Sarah Randles, she is co-editor of Feeling Things: Objects and Emotions through History (OUP, 2018).


1  The Language of Love
2  Love Letters
3  Love Tokens
4  The Marketplace of Love
5  Romantic Suffering
6  Breach of Promise

New Book | The Architecture of Art History

Posted in books by Editor on December 18, 2018

From Bloomsbury:

Mark Crinson and Richard Williams, The Architecture of Art History: A Historiography (London: Bloomsbury, 2018), 168 pages, ISBN: 9781350020917, $82.

What is the place of architecture in the history of art? Why has it been at times central to the discipline, and at other times seemingly so marginal? What is its place now?

Many disciplines have a stake in the history of architecture—sociology, anthropology, human geography, to name a few. This book deals with perhaps the most influential tradition of all—art history—examining how the relation between the disciplines of art history and architectural history has waxed and waned over the last one hundred and fifty years.

In this highly original study, Mark Crinson and Richard J. Williams point to a decline in the importance attributed to the role of architecture in art history over the last century—which has happened without crisis or self-reflection. The book explores the problem in relation to key art historical approaches, from formalism, to feminism, to the social history of art, and in key institutions from the Museum of Modern Art, to the journal October. Among the key thinkers explored are Banham, Baxandall, Giedion, Panofsky, Pevsner, Pollock, Riegl, Rowe, Steinberg, Wittkower and Wölfflin. The book will provoke debate on the historiography and present state of the discipline of art history, and it makes a powerful case for the reconsideration of architecture.

Mark Crinson is Professor of Art History at the University of Manchester, where he teaches on the history of modern architecture and photography. He won the 2004 Spiro Kostof Prize for his work Modern Architecture and the End of Empire, and the 2012 Historians of British Art Prize for Stirling and Gowan: Architecture from Austerity to Affluence.

Richard Williams is Professor of Contemporary Visual Cultures at the University of Edinburgh. He has written and edited several books, including Regenerating Culture and Society (2011) and After Modern Sculpture (2000), and is a frequent contributor to The Times Higher on architecture and urbanism related topics.


1  The German Tradition
2  The Architectural Unconscious — Steinberg and Baxandall
3  Modernism- Institutional and Phenomenal
4  From Image to Environment — Reyner Banham’s Architecture
5  The New Art History
October’s Architecture

New Book | Pierre Guérin

Posted in books by Editor on December 14, 2018

Published by Mare et Martin and available from Artbooks.com:

Mehdi Korchane, Pierre Guérin (1774–1833) (Paris: Mare et Martin, 2018), 400 pages, ISBN: 979-1092054705, 65€ / $110.

De tous les peintres qui dominent la scène française au début du XIXe siècle, Pierre Guérin (1774–1833) est le plus méconnu. L’évolution de la peinture d’histoire du Directoire à la monarchie de Juillet ne peut pourtant se comprendre sans cet artiste capital, passeur entre la modernité de David, qu’il a transformée en l’assimilant, et celle des peintres romantiques qu’il a formés. Guerin doit au Retour de Marcus Sextus, mémorial des peines endurées par la famille France au cours de la Révolution, des débuts mythiques au Salon de 1799, et l’extraordinaire succès de Phèdre et Hippolyte en 1802, lui assure un statut équivalent à celui de Chateaubriand dans la sphère publique. Il produit au cours de l’Empire et de la Restauration des oeuvres qui ont marqué la mémoire collective et occupent, de longue date, les cimaises du musée du Louvre (Aurore et Céphale, Didon et Enée…). Membre de l’Académie de beaux-arts, promoteur d’un beau idéal prenant sa source dans l’Antiquité, tout en favorisant par son action pédagogique l’essor de la peinture romantique, il incarne tous les paradoxes de cette époque en rupture.

New Book | Le Voyage pittoresque de la Flandre et du Brabant

Posted in books by Editor on December 13, 2018

From Brepols:

Gaëtane Maës, ed., Le Voyage pittoresque de la Flandre et du Brabant de Jean-Baptiste Descamps (1769) (Turnhout: Brepols, 2018), 492 pages, ISBN: 978-2503577036, 125€.

Cette édition du Voyage pittoresque de la Flandre et du Brabant (1769) de Jean-Baptiste Descamps permet non seulement de comprendre l’importance de l’ouvrage dans l’émergence du tourisme d’art, mais elle est aussi la première à fournir la localisation actuelle des oeuvres commandées par les églises aux anciens maîtres flamands.

En publiant Le Voyage pittoresque de la Flandre et du Brabant à Paris en 1769, Jean-Baptiste Descamps (1715–1791) a fait connaître au public européen les richesses artistiques conservées dans les églises des Pays-Bas du Sud (actuelle Belgique). Alors qu’il était d’usage de se rendre en Italie depuis la Renaissance, son livre était le premier à imposer une autre destination culturelle aux amateurs d’art. A ce titre, il a connu un succès considérable, ne s’éteignant qu’à l’époque napoléonienne en raison du nombre important d’oeuvres disparues ou déplacées.

A cet égard, l’ouvrage de Descamps conserve une importance unique, car il fournit un état des lieux du patrimoine visible dans la Flandre et le Brabant jusqu’au XVIIIe siècle, avant les trois événements qui le bouleversèrent à jamais. Il y eut, d’abord, les édits autrichiens supprimant l’ordre des Jésuites en 1773, puis les couvents en 1783, qui aboutirent tous deux à des ventes massives d’oeuvres d’art ; il y eut, ensuite, les saisies effectuées par les troupes françaises de la République en 1794. Par ces dépouillements successifs, le guide écrit par Descamps pour une banale vocation touristique est devenu un document irremplaçable que l’édition critique vise à actualiser et à enrichir. Celle-ci donne, en effet, les moyens de visualiser cet état originel du patrimoine belge décrit par l’auteur grâce aux nombreuses illustrations et aux notes fournissant les localisations actuelles des oeuvres. Un index complète ces éléments en répertoriant la production personnelle des artistes cités par Descamps afin de contribuer à une meilleure connaissance de chacun d’entre eux.

Gaetane Maes est Maître de conférences habilitée à diriger des recherches, et elle enseigne l’Histoire de l’Art des Temps modernes à l’université de Lille. Spécialiste des échanges artistiques entre la France et les anciens Pays-Bas (Flandre et Hollande), elle a notamment publié De l’expertise à la vulgarisation au siècle des Lumières: Jean-Baptiste Descamps (1715–1791) et la peinture flamande, hollandaise et allemande (Brepols, 2016). Elle est également l’auteur de nombreux articles sur l’historiographie des peintres et les fonctions sociales de l’art aux XVIIe et XVIIIe siècles.

New Book | Io Sono ‘700: L’anima di Venezia

Posted in books by Editor on December 11, 2018

Published by Cierre and available from Artbooks.com:

Federica Spadotto, Io Sono ‘700: L’anima di Venezia tra pittori, mercanti e bottegheri da quadri (Caselle di Sommacampagna: Cierre, 2018), 232 pages, ISBN: 978-8898768806, $34 (marked down from $68).

Il volume illustra il mercato dei quadri a Venezia nel Settecento. Per la prima volta l’attenzione critica si sposta dai grandi collezionisti alle dinamiche commerciali vere e proprie, che coinvolgevano gli stessi artisti, oltre a intermediari, diplomatici ed i cosiddetti ‘botegheri da quadri’. Questi ultimi, titolari di negozi/ laboratori per la vendita di dipinti al dettaglio, decreteranno, insieme a figure come il Console Smith o John Strange—di cui è resa nota l’inedita corrispondenza con l’intendente veneziano Giovanni Maria Sasso—le sorti di Michele Marieschi, Canaletto e molti protagonisti del paesaggio e della veduta, ovvero i generi che hanno reso celeberrima Venezia nel suo secolo d’oro. Tra aneddoti, riflessioni e documenti, i dipinti sfilano ad illustrare uno scenario dai risvolti inaspettati, dove luci e ombre del mercato lagunare divengono metafora del nostro tempo.

New Book | Great English Interiors

Posted in books by Editor on December 10, 2018

Featuring twenty-two interiors, including five eighteenth-century houses; from Prestel:

David Mlinaric and Derry Moore, Great English Interiors (London: Prestel, 2018), 224 pages, ISBN: 978-3791381985, £40 / $60.

Famed photographer Derry Moore and renowned interior designer David Mlinaric offer a panoramic tour inside some of Britain’s finest manor houses, halls, castles, and public buildings. Bridging five centuries, this lavishly illustrated book looks at houses such as Haddon Hall, Chastleton, and Knole, each with superb examples of Tudor and Stuart interiors. Including Houghton Hall from the 18th century and Waddesdon Manor from the 19th century, the book continues into the 20th century to feature the homes of such influential figures as Nancy Lancaster, Pauline de Rothschild, and David Hicks, guiding readers through the finest examples of English interior design. The work of British masters including Inigo Jones, William Kent, and Robert Adam is beautifully portrayed in striking photographs while complementary essays enlighten readers on the events and personalities that lend each site cultural significance. Anglophiles, armchair tourists, and lovers of grand interiors will enjoy these gorgeous photographs while discovering more about the designers, architects, and trends that have made British style so alluring and enduring over the centuries.

Derry Moore is a British architectural photographer and portraitist. He is the author of An English Room and In the Shadow of the Raj (both by Prestel).

David Mlinaric is a British interior designer whose work ranges from commissions for private clients such as Lord Rothschild and Mick Jagger to public galleries and museums, including the National Gallery, and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

New Book | The Rebirth of an English Country House: St Giles House

Posted in books by Editor on December 10, 2018

From Rizzoli:

Tim Knox and The Earl of Shaftesbury, with photographs by Justin Barton and an introduction by Nick Ashley-Cooper and Jenny Chesher, The Rebirth of an English Country House: St Giles House (New York: Rizzoli, 2018), 256 pages, 978-0847863204, $55.

The brilliantly restored St. Giles House, in the idyllic Dorset countryside, offers high-point Georgian architecture and interiors that bridge many historical styles.

The 12th Earl of Shaftesbury, 39-year-old Nicholas Ashley-Cooper, invites the reader into the house that his family has called home since the fifteenth century. In recent years, his award-winning restoration has brought the house back to life, transforming exquisite spaces that honor the past while being suited to twenty-first-century living. English country-house splendor, through the hands of some of the world’s top artisans and craftspeople, returns to the house in the form of re-created wallpapers, customized paints, revived furniture from the Georgian and Victorian periods, reworked antique Brussels tapestries, restored plasterwork and textiles, and a complete overhaul of the landscape, with its sunken garden, woodlands, avenue of beeches, lake, and shell-encrusted grotto.

With stories of noteworthy architecture, beautiful interiors, and centuries of a single family’s involvement in British and world history, this book will appeal to devotees of country living, the aristocratic life, historic houses, and English interior design.

The 12th Earl of Shaftesbury, Nicholas Ashley-Cooper, is an English peer and philanthropist. Tim Knox is a British art historian and director of the Royal Collection Trust. Justin Barton is a London-based photographer.