Enfilade

Exhibition | Tables of Power: A History of Prestigious Meals

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on June 13, 2021

Jacques Roëttiers, Ornamental Centerpiece, Surtout de table, 1736 (Paris: Musée du Louvre). Additional information and exceptional details are available here.

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Comprised of five sections, the exhibition traces the history of elite dining conventions from ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt to the present. The fourth section focuses on eighteenth-century France.

Les tables du pouvoir: Une histoire des repas de prestige
Musée du Louvre-Lens, 19 May — 26 July 2021

Organized by Zeev Gourarier with Michèle Bimbenet-Privat, Hélène Bouillon, Alexandre Estaquet-Legrand, Christine Germain-Donnat, and Marie Lavandier

Chapitre 4 : du service à la française au service à la russe

Le 18e inaugure de nouvelles manières d’envisager les plaisirs de la table. La forme trop protocolaire du Grand Couvert laisse si peu de place à la convivialité que, pour y échapper, on invente au sein des « petits appartements » à Versailles et dans les résidences privées du roi, la salle à manger puis la table à manger, de forme ronde. Dans le cadre des Soupers fins, on peut alors s’adonner en toute liberté et en bonne compagnie aux plaisirs d’une gastronomie en pleine effervescence. Le service offert par l’Impératrice Marie-Thérèse d’Autriche à Madame Geoffrin, qui tient l’un des plus célèbres salons artistiques et littéraires parisiens d’alors, rappelle l’atmosphère raffinée des repas consommés dans les toutes premières salles à manger au temps des Lumières.

À partir de 1740, la fabrique de Vincennes—transférée à Sèvres en 1756—met au point un procédé complexe de double cuisson qui permet d’obtenir une pâte onctueuse et translucide, la porcelaine tendre. L’exposition présente l’un des premiers services de table réalisés, à fond bleu céleste et décor de fleurs, offert à Louis XV. Ces pièces exceptionnelles font la renommée de la France dans toute l’Europe et créent une véritable diplomatie des services de Sèvres, abondamment offerts en cadeaux par le roi. Dès son instauration en 1804, le Premier Empire en devient un commanditaire majeur. Le Service Olympique fait partie des premiers services en porcelaine livrés à Napoléon. Il décore la table de fête au palais des Tuileries à l’occasion du mariage de son frère, Jérôme Bonaparte. La table du Cardinal Fesch, oncle de Napoléon, se déploie également au milieu du parcours. Sur un fond bleu lapis, imitant la pierre dure, le décor de portraits d’empereurs antiques à la manière des camées est un hommage subtil à Napoléon lui-même, qui lui offre ce service.

Au gré des régimes, la Manufacture de Sèvres habille les tables du pouvoir. À l’instar de la Présidence de la République, les ministères d’État disposent de leur propre vaisselle, passant commande aujourd’hui encore. Une table en miroir fait ainsi dialoguer le service des Départements (19e siècle) et son décor floral, au service Diane du ministère de la Culture, conçu vers 1960 et dont le décor est renouvelé en 2007 par l’artiste Fabrice Hyber.

À sa création à la fin du 18e siècle, la manufacture royale du Danemark rejoint la prestigieuse compétition que se livrent les différentes manufactures de porcelaine d’Europe. Elle réalise l’un des plus surprenants et opulents services de table de cette époque, le Flora Danica. Composé de plus de 1800 pièces à l’origine, il aurait été initialement destiné à l’impératrice de Russie Catherine II, grande amatrice de porcelaine, mais n’est jamais livré. Les motifs s’inspirent directement des planches illustrées du Flora Danica (« Flore du Danemark »), et forment comme un grand atlas botanique, avec plantes, champignons et autres lichens. Le service est aujourd’hui encore utilisé à la cour du Danemark lors des grandes occasions.

Dans le cadre de la pièce désormais réservée aux repas, la salle à manger, l’ordonnance du repas continue d’évoluer pour aboutir en un siècle à notre service actuel, dit « service à la russe ». Ce nouveau dispositif témoigne des transformations des modes de vie et de la culture alimentaire au début du 19e siècle. Il implique un nouvel ordonnancement des mets. Les plats ne sont plus présentés de manière harmonieuse et foisonnante en services successifs, mais sont désormais servis individuellement, simultanément à tous les convives. Ces dispositions permettent notamment à tous de manger chaud et réduisent le nombre de domestiques autour de la table. Les verres se multiplient et ne sont plus disposés sur des dessertes mais sur la table, et les couverts individuels s’alignent autour de l’assiette—tels que nous les connaissons aujourd’hui.

Zeev Gourarier, ed., Les tables du pouvoir: Une histoire des repas de prestige (Paris: Réunion des musées nationaux, 2021), 320 pages, ISBN: 978-2711878635, 40€.

A list of contents is available here»

New Book | Dandy Style

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on May 31, 2021

The related exhibition is scheduled to open later at the Manchester Art Gallery, but the publication, from Yale UP, is available now:

Shaun Cole and Miles Lambert, Dandy Style: 250 Years of British Men’s Fashion (New Have: Yale University Press, 2021), 168 pages, ISBN: 978-0300254136, $35.

Celebrating 250 years of male self-expression, investigating the portraiture and wardrobe of the fashionable British man

The style of the dandy is elegant but bold—dedicated to the perfection of taste. This meticulously choreographed look has a vibrant history; the legacy of Beau Brummell, the original dandy of Regency England, can be traced in the clothing of urban dandies today. Dandy Style celebrates 250 years of male self-expression, investigating the portraiture and wardrobe of the fashionable British man. Combining fashion, art, and photography, the historic and the contemporary, the provocative and the respectable, it considers key themes in the development of male style and identity, including elegance, uniformity, and spectacle. Various types of dandy are represented by iconic figures such as Oscar Wilde, Edward VIII as Prince of Wales, and Gilbert & George. They appear alongside the seminal designs of Vivienne Westwood, Ozwald Boateng, and Alexander McQueen; and portraits by Thomas Gainsborough and David Hockney.

Shaun Cole is associate professor in fashion at Winchester School of Art, University of Southampton. Miles Lambert is curator of costume at Manchester Art Gallery.

C O N T E N T S

Christopher Breward — Foreword: Dandy Style
Alistair Hudson — Director’s Preface

Shaun Cole and Miles Lambert — Introduction
1  Miles Lambert — Creative Collecting: How Museums Acquire Men’s Fashion
2  Ben Whyman — The Life Stories of Men’s Clothes
3  Joshua M. Bluteau — The Devil Is in the Detail: Why Men Still Wear Suits
4  Shaun Cole, Miles Lambert, and Rebecca Milner — Painting Men’s Style: Portraying an Image
5  Kate Dorney — Performing the Dandy
6  Miles Lambert — Extravagance and Flamboyance: Decorated Men’s Fashion
7  Shaun Cole — Casual Subversion
8  Jay McCauley Bowstead — Contemporary British Menswear: Hybridity, Flux, and Globalisation

Notes
Select Bibliography
Index
Acknowledgments
List of Contributors

New Book | Venetian Drawings

Posted in anniversaries, books, catalogues by Editor on May 12, 2021

On this day (12 May) in 1797, Ludovico Manin, the last doge of Venice—in response to Napoleonic aggression—formally abolished La Serenissima after 1,100 years of existence. Notice of this SMK catalogue seems like a fine way to mark the anniversary. I didn’t provide a posting here at Enfilade when it was initially published in 2018, but copies are still available. Thomas Dalla Costa’s review of it appears in the current issue of Master Drawings (2021, volume 59, issue 1); it also was reviewed by Jörg Zutter for The Burlington in December 2019. CH

Chris Fischer, Venetian Drawings: The Royal Collection of Graphic Art (Copenhagen: Statens Museum for Kunst, 2018), 339 pages, ISBN 978-8775510719, 300 Danish Kroner (DKK), or about $50.

This catalogue is the first publication of all the Venetian drawings in the Royal Collection of Graphic Art at the National Gallery of Denmark (Statens Museum for Kunst). Few of these drawings have ever been published, and only a handful has been shown to the public within living memory. Research in connection with this catalogue has revealed that not only is the number of drawings from this geographic area surprisingly high, but the quality of the drawings is stupendous, counting some of the most beautiful sheets in the collection. Furthermore, the comprehensiveness of this part of the collection has proved extraordinary with very even coverage of the development of draughtsmanship in Venice and the Venetian mainland from the 1480s, when sketching on paper became common, through the lesser-known 17th century to the fall of the Venetian republic in 1797. The catalogue presents more than 200 fine drawings by Vittore Carpaccio, Moretto da Brescia, Domenico Campagnola, Jacopo Bassano, Paolo Farinati and Paolo Veronese, large groups of studies by Palma Giovane and Antonio Vassilacchi called Aliense, as well as sheets by 18th-century draughtsmen such as Giovanni Antonio Pellegrini, Gaspare Diziani, Giovanni Battista Tiepolo and his son Domenico, Francesco Fontebasso, Francesco Guardi, and Giovanni Battista Piranesi.

It is available at the SMK Shop, and can be ordered in Danish bookstores and webshops such as Academic Books, Bog & Idé, Bogreolen, Buuks, Gucca, I Music, Plusbog og Saxo.

Napoleon Two Centuries Later

Posted in anniversaries, books, catalogues, exhibitions, the 18th century in the news by Editor on May 10, 2021

Two centuries after his death (the anniversary of which arrived last week on May 5), Napoleon’s legacy remains combustible. From the Musée de l’Armée:

Napoléon n’est plus / Napoleon Is No Nore
Musée de l’Armée Invalides, Paris, 31 March — 31 October 2021

The death of Napoleon I on 5 May 1821—although it went relatively unnoticed in the eyes of the world—was extremely well documented by his companions in exile. Despite the abundance of memories, letters, sketches, relics, and stories, this history nevertheless includes grey areas, uncertainties, contradictions. In this exhibition, we examine the major themes surrounding the death of Napoleon by changing the perspectives. By calling in new scientific disciplines (archaeology, medicine, chemistry) in order to complete already known historical sources and material evidence of this history, the musée de l’Armée provides visitors with all the necessary elements to enable them to conduct the investigation by themselves.

This exhibition is part of the 2021 Napoleon Season organised to celebrate the bicentenary of the Emperor’s death. The musée de l’Armée will present a rich and varied cultural offering evoking the end of Napoleon’s personal adventure, while opening up to the topicality and the current reality of his legacy to the world. . . .

Napoléon n’est plus (Paris: Gallimard, 2021), 296 pages, ISBN: 978-2072931604, 35€.

From the Musée de l’Armée:

Napoleon? Encore!
Musée de l’Armée Invalides, Paris, 7 May 2021 — 13 February 2022

Curated by Éric de Chassey and Julien Voinot

This contemporary art tour evokes the figure of Napoleon as well as his legacy. Thirty contemporary artists received carte blanche to question this symbolic and historical figure.

Echoing the commemorations of the bicentenary of the death of the Emperor, the musée de l’Armée is presenting, for the first time in its history, a contemporary art tour at Les Invalides. The presentation of pre-existing works and specially commissioned orders entrusted to renowned or emerging artists, from France and abroad, evokes the figure of Napoleon as well as the impact of his action in today’s world. Presented in conjunction with the exhibition Napoleon Is No More, the curation of this contemporary tour was entrusted to Éric de Chassey, Director of the Institut National d’Histoire de l’Art, and Julien Voinot, Collections Manager in the Department of 19th-Century and Symbolic Art of the musée de l’Armée.

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From The New York Times:

Roger Cohen, “France Battles over Whether to Cancel or Celebrate Napoleon,” The New York Times (5 May 2021). President Emmanuel Macron laid a wreath at the emperor’s tomb on the 200th anniversary of his death, stepping into a national debate over the legacy of Napoleon.

Jacques Chirac couldn’t stand him. Nicolas Sarkozy kept his distance. François Hollande shunned him. But on the 200th anniversary this week of Napoleon Bonaparte’s death, Emmanuel Macron has chosen to do what most recent presidents of France have avoided: honor the man who in 1799 destroyed the nascent French Republic in a putsch.

By choosing to lay a wreath Wednesday at Napoleon’s tomb under the golden dome of Les Invalides, Mr. Macron stepped into the heart of France’s culture wars. Napoleon, always a contested figure, has become a Rorschach test for the French at a moment of tense cultural confrontation.

Was Napoleon a modernizing reformer whose legal code, lycée school system, central bank and centralized administrative framework laid the basis for post-revolutionary France? Or was he a retrograde racist, imperialist, and misogynist?

By paying his respects to Napoleon, Mr. Macron will please a restive French right dreaming of lost glory and of a moment when, under its turbulent emperor, France stood at the center of the world. The French obsession with the romantic epic of Napoleon’s rise and fall is undying, as countless magazine covers and talk shows have underscored in recent weeks. But in the current zeitgeist, Napoleon’s decisive role as founder of the modern French state tends to pale beside his record as colonizer, warmonger and enslaver. . . .

The full article is available here»

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Rendering from Pascal Convert of his Memento Marengo as envisioned at Les Invalides in Paris.

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From Apollo Magazine:

Laura O’Brien, “The Celebrity Horse That’s Putting Napoleon in the Shade,” Apollo Magazine (6 May 2021).

On a cold December day in 1840, Napoleon Bonaparte’s body made its final journey through the streets of Paris for reburial at the Dôme church at Les Invalides. Nineteen years after his death on Saint Helena, on 5 May 1821, the former emperor’s remains had been repatriated to France. The procession to Les Invalides included a lone, riderless white horse. In the emotionally charged atmosphere of that day, some witnesses even believed for a moment that this was the emperor’s most famous mount: Marengo.

Now, 200 years after Napoleon’s death, Bonaparte and Marengo are to be reunited, albeit temporarily. As part of Napoleon? Encore!, an exhibition of contemporary art responding to Napoleon’s image and complex legacies [on view from 7 May 2021 to 13 February 2022], the French multimedia artist Pascal Convert has created Memento Marengo: a life-sized, 3D-printed copy of the skeleton of the Arab horse said to have been Napoleon’s favourite—or one of his favourites, at least. Convert had originally hoped to use the real skeleton, which is usually on display at London’s National Army Museum, but its fragility made this impossible. Memento Marengo will hang from the ceiling of the Dôme church, the equine skeleton suspended a few metres above the enormous red quartzite tomb of its ex-master. On 5 May, President Emmanuel Macron placed a wreath of red, white, and blue flowers at the foot of the tomb, as part of the official commemorations—not celebrations, as the Élysée Palace has carefully insisted—of Napoleon’s death. Memento Marengo was not in place during the solemn ceremonies at Les Invalides, but with these now completed, the artwork can be installed ahead of the planned reopening of the museum later this month. . . .

The full article is available here»

Exhibition | Vicereines of Ireland

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on May 9, 2021

Opening at the end of this month in the State Apartment Galleries at Dublin Castle:

Vicereines of Ireland: Portraits of Forgotten Women
Dublin Castle, 31 May – 5 September 2021 (dates subject to Covid-19 restrictions)

Curated by Myles Campbell

Joshua Reyolds, Frances Molesworth, later Marchioness Camden, 1777, oil on canvas, 56 × 45 inches (San Marino: The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens).

Fabrics shimmer, flowers blossom, and pearls glint in the painted world of the vicereines of Ireland. But who were the women behind these genteel portraits? Discover their untold story in this landmark exhibition.

As the wives of Ireland’s viceroys, the vicereines were once the fashionable figureheads of social and cultural life at Dublin Castle. Often sympathetic but sometimes apathetic, their attitudes and activities offer fresh insights into the workings of the British administration in Ireland. Campaigns to develop hospitals, relieve poverty, promote Irish fashions, and, in some cases, mitigate what they described as the injustices of British rule in Ireland, are just some of their overlooked initiatives. Featuring works by masters such as Sir Joshua Reynolds, Thomas Gainsborough, John Singer Sargent, and Sir John Lavery, together with intimate personal objects, this exhibition shines a light on these activities to create new and illuminating portraits of forgotten women.

The exhibition is curated by Dr Myles Campbell, Research and Interpretation Officer, Dublin Castle. Lending institutions include the National Gallery of Ireland, National Trust, Royal Collection Trust, Trinity College Dublin, and Chatsworth House.

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From the Irish Academic Press:

Myles Campbell, ed., Vicereines of Ireland: Portraits of Forgotten Women (Dublin: Irish Academic Press, 2021), 328 pages, ISBN: 978-1788551335, €35 / $45.

By exploring previously unknown or rarely seen artworks by prominent Irish and British artists of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, Vicereines of Ireland tells the untold story of the women who were the faces of the British administration in Ireland. Featuring essays by leading scholars and based on original sources, including diaries and letters, this beautifully illustrated book brings together text and image to create new and illuminating portraits of forgotten women.

Myles Campbell is now Research and Interpretation Officer (Curator) for the Office of Public Works at Dublin Castle, where he has curated several exhibitions. In 2017 he was co-editor of Making Majesty: The Throne Room at Dublin Castle, A Cultural History (Irish Academic Press), research for which earned him the inaugural George B. Clarke Prize.

C O N T E N T S

Foreword by Mary Heffernan, OPW
Editor’s Introduction

1  ‘The Goverment of the Familie’: The First Duchess of Ormonde’s Understanding of the Role of Vicereine ~ Naomi McAreavey
2  ‘That Caballing Humour, which has Very Ill Effects’: Frances Talbot, Jacobite Duchess of Tyrconnell and Vicereine of Ireland ~ Frances Nolan
3  ‘She Made Charity and Benevolence Fashionable’: Mary, Marchioness of Buckingham, Vicereine of Ireland ~ Janice Morris
4  ‘An Admirable Vice-Queen’: The Duchess of Rutland in Ireland, 1784–87 ~ Rachel Wilson
5  ‘A Subject for History’: Maria, Marchioness of Normanby as Vicereine of Ireland, 1835–39 ~ Myles Campbell
6  Lacing Together the Union: How Theresa, Marchioness of Londonderry’s Unionist Endeavours were at the Heart of her Viceregal Tenure in Ireland, 1886–89 ~ Neil Watt
7  ‘One of the Sincerest Democrats of her Caste’: Lady Ishbel Aberdeen’s Crusade against Tuberculosis in Ireland ~ Éimear O’Connor

Online Talk | Alec Cobbe, Birds, Bugs and Butterflies

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions, lectures (to attend), online learning by Editor on May 9, 2021

Tomorrow, from The Decorative Arts Trust:

Recounting the Life of the ‘Peacock’ Worcester Service (1763)
Alec Cobbe, joined with Leslie Fitzpatrick
Online, Monday, 10 May 2021, 1.00pm (ET)

Join us as we learn about some incredible ceramics from Ireland with artist, designer, and collector Alec Cobbe. Alec will share an illustrated talk about the creation, dispersal, and recovery of the ‘Peacock’ Worcester service of 1763, the largest mid-18th-century service recorded from any British porcelain manufacturer. Thomas and Lady Betty Cobbe of Newbridge House, County Dublin, acquired the service after becoming acquainted with Dr. Wall’s porcelain factory in Worcester as they traveled from Dublin to Bath.

This lecture features scholarship that is part of a recent publication and exhibition Birds, Bugs and Butterflies: Lady Betty Cobbe’s ‘Peacock’ Worcester Porcelain composed by Alec and shown at Dublin Castle (October 2019 to February 2020).

After his presentation, Alec will be joined in conversation with Leslie Fitzpatrick, who previously served as the Samuel and M. Patricia Grober Associate Curator of European Decorative Arts at the Art Institute of Chicago.

This program is dedicated in memory of Christopher Monkhouse, a recipient of the Decorative Trust’s Award of Merit, whose extraordinary 2015 exhibition and publication Ireland: Crossroads of Art and Design, 1690–1840 continue to serve as a testament to the incredible material culture of Ireland.

Participants will receive an email with the event link after registering. If you have any questions about this or other programs, please email carrie@decorativeartstrust.org.

Registration is available here (pay what you can)

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From Boydell and Brewer:

Alec Cobbe, Birds, Bugs and Butterflies: Lady Betty Cobbe’s ‘Peacock’ China: A Biography of an Irish Service of Worcester Porcelain (London: Boydel Press, 2019), 143 pages, ISBN: 9781783274727, £45 / $80.

A major contribution to our knowledge of the Worcester porcelain factory in its early years, based on a single large and elaborate dinner service commissioned by an Irish family.

2020 Winner of the American Ceramic Circle Book Award

The early years of the famous Worcester porcelain factory established by Dr Wall have always been a little mysterious, owing to the destruction of the records of the business for this period. Alec Cobbe’s discovery of family papers listing the purchases over a period of years of a particularly beautiful and ornate table set have enabled him to give a vivid glimpse of how the factory interacted with its customers. He is able to describe the commissioning of perhaps the largest service of first period Worcester porcelain on record by Thomas and Lady Betty Cobbe for Newbridge House Co. Dublin. It was bought in stages from 1763 as the family travelled from Dublin to Bath each year, stopping at Worcester en route, as other Irish gentry did. The Cobbe service, uniquely in the context of British porcelain, was accompanied by a full set of Irish silver and steel cutlery fitted with Worcester porcelain handles matching the service. The various pieces of porcelain and their historical context are described as well as their painted decoration, and the sources for it. The later history of the service is outlined and its gradual dispersal in the nineteenth century, culminating in a final sale of the remaining pieces lot by lot in a Christie’s sale in 1920. This book celebrates Cobbe’s reassembly of more than 160 pieces of the original service over a period of more than thirty years and their return to Newbridge following their exhibition in the State Apartments at Dublin Castle. Overall, the book gives an important insight into Irish social life and patronage in the mid-eighteenth century.

Alec Cobbe was born in Ireland and still resides in Newbridge House, Co. Dublin, where his ancestors have lived since it was built in the middle of the eighteenth century. He practises as an artist and designer. As a passionate collector, he added to his family’s historic collections and assembled the world’s largest group of composer-owned keyboard instruments.

C O N T E N T S

Foreword
Preface and Acknowledgements

Beginnings
‘Snuff for Dr Walls’: The Cobbes in Worcester and London
Plans for Collecting and Entertaining
The Peacock Service and Its Cutlery
The Decoration of the Original Peacock Service
The Service through Later Centuries, Sale, and Reassembly

Appendices
I. Transcripts from Worcester and Cobbe archives, accounts, and inventories
II. Hypothetical tally of the original Peacock Service
III. Transcript of Christie’s 1920 sale catalogue
IV. Known destinations of Cobbe pieces
V. A note on the nomenclature of Worcester porcelain pieces
VI. Inventory of Worcester blue-scale porcelain from the original service and re-assembled pieces in Lady Betty’s pattern of birds, insects, and butterflies

Exhibition | In Sparkling Company: Glass and Social Life

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on May 3, 2021

Pair of covered green vases, ca. 1765 and a pair of vases, 1750–75, probably from the workshop of James Giles, London, gilded copper-green lead glass (Corning, New York: Corning Museum of Glass, 2003.2.4 A-B, 54.2.4 A-B).

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Notice of the exhibition appeared here in February 2020, but I note it again since the show is scheduled to open (with new dates) later this month. CH

Press release (30 October 2019) for the exhibition:

In Sparkling Company: Glass and Social Life in Britain during the 1700s
Corning Museum of Glass, Corning, New York, 22 May 2021 — 2 January 2022

Curated by Christopher Maxwell

The Museum’s spring exhibition, In Sparkling Company: Glass and Social Life in Britain during the 1700s, will open May 9, 2020. With exhibition design by Selldorf Architects, In Sparkling Company will present the glittering costume and jewelry, elaborate tableware, polished mirrors, and dazzling lighting devices that delighted the British elite, and helped define social rituals and cultural values of the period. Through a lens of glass, this exhibition will show visitors what it meant to be ‘modern’ in the 1700s, and what it cost.

The exhibition will also include a specially created virtual reality reconstruction of the remarkable and innovative spangled-glass drawing room completed in 1775 for Hugh Percy, 1st Duke of Northumberland (1714–1786), and designed by Robert Adam (1728–1792), one of the leading architects and designers in Britain at the time. An original section of the room (which was dismantled in the 1870s), on loan from the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, will be on view in North America for the first time as part of the exhibition. It will be accompanied by Adam’s original colored design drawings for the interior, on loan from the Sir John Soane’s Museum, London.

“One medium that is often overlooked in scholarly discussions of 18th-century art, design, and material culture is glass,” said Christopher L. Maxwell, Curator of European Glass at CMoG, who has organized the exhibition. “In Britain, developments in glass formulas and manufacturing techniques resulted in new and better types of glass, from windowpanes and mirrors to heavy, clear ‘crystal’ tableware, perfectly suited to the tastes and needs of Britain’s growing urban elite whose wealth derived from new enterprises in finance, manufacture, international trade and colonial expansion. In Sparkling Company will demonstrate the many functions and meanings of glass in the exuberant social life of the 1700s.”

The smooth, ‘polished’ and reflective properties of glass perfectly embodied 18th-century ideals of sociability, in what is considered by many as the ‘age of politeness.’ As urban centers grew in size and prosperity, sociability became ever more sophisticated. The terms ‘polite’ and ‘polished’ were often used interchangeably in the numerous etiquette manuals eagerly read by those wishing to take their place in the polite world. Examples of such literature will be displayed alongside fashionable glass of the period, including embroidered costume, mirrors, a chandelier, cut glass lighting and tableware, and paste jewelry that accessorized and defined the lives of the ‘polished’ elite.

In the 1700s Britain was a prosperous and commercial nation. Its growing cities were hubs of industry, scientific advancement, trade and finance, and its colonies were expanding. British merchants navigated the globe carrying a multitude of cargoes: consumable, material, and human. Underpinning Britain’s prosperity was a far-reaching economy of enslavement, the profits of which funded the pleasures and innovations of the fashionable world, among them luxury glass. Alongside the beauty and innovation of glass during this period, the exhibition will consider the role of the material as a witness to colonization and slavery. Using artifacts and documents relating to the slave trade, it will reveal a connection that permeated all levels of British society.

From glittering costume and elaborately presented confectionery, to polished mirrors and dazzling chandeliers, glass helped define the social rituals and cultural values of the period. While it delighted the eyes of the wealthy, glass also bore witness to the horrors of slavery. Glass beads were traded for human lives while elegant glass dishes, baskets and bowls held sweet delicacies made with sugar produced by enslaved labor.

In Sparkling Company: Glass and Social Life in Britain during the 1700s will include important examples of 18th-century British glass, including:

• Glass embroidered costume: a spectacular men’s coat intricately decorated with glass ‘jewels’ made around 1780; a pair of women’s shoes covered in glass beads; shoe buckles set with glass paste jewels; jewelry and other accessories.
• Cut glass lighting and tableware, all made possible through the perfection of British lead ‘crystal’ in the late 1600s and exported throughout Europe and the British colonies in America and beyond.
• A number of large mirrors, which became the tell-tale sign of a fashionable interior, and reverse-painted glass meticulously decorated in China for the British luxury market.
• Opulent glass dressing room accessories, including a magnificent gilded silver dressing table set, with a looking glass as its centerpiece, made in about 1700 for the 1st Countess of Portland; perfume bottles, patch boxes, a dazzling cut glass washing basin and pitcher and an exquisite blue glass casket richly mounted in gilded metal, used in the ‘toilette’ a semi-public ritual of dressing which was adopted from France for men and women alike and became a feature of British aristocratic life in the 18th century.

Robert Adam, Design for the end wall of the drawing room at Northumberland House, 1770–73, pen, pencil, and colored washes, including pink, verdigris, and Indian yellow on laid paper, 52 × 102 cm (London: Sir John Soane’s Museum, SM Adam, volume 39/7; photo by Ardon Bar Hama).

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Glass Drawing Room for the Duke of Northumberland

Over the course of the 18th century, domestic interiors were transformed by the increasing presence of clear and smooth plate glass. A remarkable example is the lavish drawing room designed by the celebrated British architect Robert Adam for Hugh Percy, 1st Duke of Northumberland (1714–1786) and his wife, the Duchess Elizabeth Percy (1716–1776), and completed in 1775. This unique room, measuring 36 by 22 feet, was paneled between dado rail and architrave with red glass panels sprinkled on the reverse with flakes of metal foil, like large-scale glitter. Similarly spangled green glass pilasters, large French looking glasses, and intricate neo-classical ornament in gilded lead completed the dazzling scheme. The room was altered in the 1820s and finally dismantled in the 1870s, when Northumberland House was demolished. Many of the panels were acquired by the V&A Museum in the 1950s, but their poor condition meant that they could only be partially displayed. The panels on display at The Corning Museum of Glass incorporate newly-conserved elements from the V&A’s stores.

In Sparkling Company will feature a virtual reality reconstruction of the drawing room, created by Irish production house Noho. Visitors to the exhibition will be transported into the interior, experiencing the original design scheme—last seen almost 200 years ago. This will be the first virtual-reality experience ever offered at CMoG. Visitors will also be able to see Robert Adam’s design drawings, on loan from the Sir John Soane’s Museum, London, and a section of the original Northumberland House Glass Drawing Room on loan from the V&A Museum, which has never been on view in North America.

In Sparkling Company: Glass and Social Life in Britain during the 1700s will include loans from the Victoria and Albert Museum; Sir John Soane’s Museum; the Museum of London; the Fashion Museum, Bath; Royal Museums Greenwich; Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA); Penn State University Library; Cleveland Museum of Art; and The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.

The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue, In Sparkling Company: Reflections on Glass in the 18th-Century British World (The Corning Museum of Glass, 2020). Publication contributors include Marvin Bolt, Kimberly Chrisman Campbell, Jennifer Chuong, Melanie Doderer Winkler, Christopher Maxwell, Anna Moran, Marcia Pointon, and Kerry Sinanan.

The Burlington Magazine, March 2021

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions, journal articles, obituaries, reviews by Editor on April 24, 2021

The eighteenth century in The Burlington (I’m catching up, gradually!) . . . CH

The Burlington Magazine 163 (March 2021)

Hubert Robert, Arch of Septimius Severus, 1756; pen with grey and beige washes, 73 × 52 cm (Musée de Valence).

A R T I C L E S

•  Pedro Luengo, “Spatial Rhetoric: Echoes of Madrid’s Alcázar in Palaces Overseas,” pp. 236–43.
Several key features of the Alcazar in Madrid—including the twin-courtyard plan, double staircase, and layout of the royal chapel—were replicated in royal palaces in Spain and elsewhere and in the viceregal palaces in Spain’s American empire as part of a desire to project a unified imperial image.

•  Yuriko Jackall and Kari Rayner, “Becoming Hubert Robert: Some New Suggestions,” pp. 244–53.
The thin documentation of Hubert Robert’s early years makes it difficult to understand how the largely untrained student who went to Rome in 1754 emerged as a leading talent in Paris in the mid 1760s. Close examination of his art suggests that his rapid development was due to a rigorous course of study of perspective and life drawing, probably in response to criticisms of his abilities by the secretary of the Académie Royale, Charles-Nicolas Cochin.

R E V I E W S

• Michael Hall, Review of Matthew Reeve, Gothic Architecture and Sexuality in the Circle of Horace Walpole (Pennsylvania State University Press, 2020), pp. 264–69.

• Antonio Mazzotta, Review of the exhibition Tiepolo: Venezia, Milano, l’Europa (Milan: Gallerie d’Italia, 2020–21), pp. 273–75.

• Christoph Stiegemann, Review of the exhibition Passion, Leidenschaft: Die Kunst der großen Gefühle (Münster: LWL-Museum für Kunst und Kultur, 2020–21), pp. 275–78.

• Stephen Leach, Review of Matthew Craske, Joseph Wright of Derby: Painter of Darkness (Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, 2020), pp. 297–98.

• Philippe Malgouyres, Review of Suzanne Higgott, ‘The Most Fortunate Man of his Day’: Sir Richard Wallace: Connoisseur, Collector, and Philanthropist (Wallace Collection, 2018), pp. 298–99.

• Elena Almirall Arnal, Review of Carolina Naya Franco, El joyero de la Virgen del Pilar: Historia de una colección de alhajas europeas y americanas (Institución Fernando El Católico, 2019), pp. 302–03.

• Gauvin Alexander Bailey, Review of Laura Windisch, Kunst, Macht, Image: Anna Maria Luisa de’ Medici (1667–1743) im Spiegel ihrer Bildnisse und Herrschaftsräume (Böhlau Verlag, 2019), p. 303.

O B I T U A R I E S

• Peter Cherry, Obituary of Carmen Garrido (1947–2020), pp. 305–06.
Director of the Gabinete de Documentación Técnica at the Prado for thirty years, Carmen Garrido made major contributions to the technical study of Spanish painting, in particular with her publications on Diego Velázquez.

• Ger Luijten, Obituary of David Scrase (1949–2020), pp. 306–08.
In a career spent almost entirely at the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, David Scrase was responsible for numerous significant acquisitions and exhibitions. His magnum opus his his catalogue for the museum’s Italian drawings, published in 2011.

 

Exhibition | American Weathervanes

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on April 16, 2021

This summer at the American Folk Art Museum (with the catalogue already available from Rizzoli). . .

American Weathervanes: The Art of the Winds
American Folk Art Museum, New York, 23 June 2021 — 2 January 2022

Organized by Robert Shaw and Emelie Gevalt

American Weathervanes: The Art of the Winds is the first exhibition in more than four decades to highlight the beauty, historical significance, and technical virtuosity of American vanes fashioned between the late seventeenth and early twentieth centuries. The exhibition includes the graceful figure of Fame blowing a trumpet and standing en pointe like a celestial ballerina, attributed to well-known manufactory E.G. Washburne & Co. in New York City; a Dove of Peace designed by George Washington for his home in Mount Vernon; and an eagle possibly made in the foundry of revolutionary patrior Paul Revere. In addition to weathervanes, the exhibition will also include beautifully articulated wood sculptures by Harry Leach that functioned as patterns for weathevane molds for the Cushing & White and L.W. & Sons manufactories in Waltham, MA., watercolors of historic weathervanes painted for the Index of American Design, and rare archival materials that illuminate the development of the weathervane in the United States of America.

Robert Shaw is a critically acclaimed author, curator, and art historian who has written and lectured extensively on many aspects of American folk art. He has curated exhibitions at the Dallas Museum of Natural History, the Fenimore Art Museum, the National Gallery of Art, and the Shelburne Museum, where he served as curator from 1981 to 1994.

Robert Shaw, American Weathervanes: The Art of the Winds (New York: Rizzoli Electa, 2021), 256 pages, ISBN: 978-0847863907, $75.

 

Exhibition | À Table!

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

This summer at the National Museum of Ceramics at Sèvres, with an online version available here:

À Table! Le repas, tout un art / The Meal, a Whole Art
Sèvres — Manufacture et Musée Nationaux, 18 November 2020 — 16 May 2021 [original dates to be extended]

Organized by Anaïs Boucher and Viviane Mesqui

The exhibition À Table! Le repas, tout un art explores the historical and cultural aspects of the art of the table and the art of French gastronomy. It reveals how the opulent and elegant banquets of the Ancien Régime became part of French culture by constituting an ideal of happiness and by transforming everyday lunches and dinners into extraordinary social occasions.

With a chronological approach, the exhibition explains the origins of popular French delicacies and how dining etiquette has evolved from antiquity to today. The selection of a variety of plates, forks, and other objects—functional or of pure fantasy—narrates the amazing stories behind familiar food customs. Sèvres porcelain is in the spotlight as it plays an important role in setting exquisite tables. This feast of Sèvres cups, plates, and glacières is our way to celebrate the 280th anniversary of the Sèvres Manufacture.

Anaïs Boucher and Viviane Mesqui, À Table! Le repas, tout un art (Montreuil: Gourcuff Gradenigo, 2020), 240 pages, ISBN: 978-2353403257, €39.