Enfilade

Exhibition | William Hunter and the Anatomy of the Modern Museum

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

Press release (12 September 2018) for the exhibition:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

C O N T E N T S

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

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

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

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

Selected Bibliography
Index
Photography Credits

 

Display | Eye Contact: Portraits in the Global Age

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on October 10, 2018

From the Thoma Foundation:

Eye Contact: Portraits in the Global Age
Thoma Foundation, Art House, Santa Fe, New Mexico, from 10 August 2018

Robert Wilson, ‘Lady Gaga: Mademoiselle Caroline Rivière’, 2013, high-definition video on plasma monitor.

For the first time, Art House will exhibit works from the Thoma Foundation’s diverse collections of Spanish colonial painting and digital art in tandem. Opening August 10, Eye Contact approaches portraiture as a sociological art. While portraits are created to commemorate individual identity, they are also reflections of the economic, political, and cultural forces around them, such as world trade, colonialism, and advances in technology.

The three artworks on view span more than two centuries, from 1776 to 2015, with the recent acquisition Lady Gaga: Mademoiselle Caroline Riviere, 2013 as a centerpiece. Robert Wilson’s video portrait depicts the subject in the guise of an early 19th-century French aristocrat. It is a powerful and ironic meditation on the ability of portraits to denote immortality. Styled in accordance with the famous 1806 painting of Rivière in the Louvre by neoclassical artist Jean Auguste Dominque Ingres, Lady Gaga inhabits the persona of the original sitter, an elegant teenager who died within a year of the work’s completion. Standing in front of a computer-generated landscape, Lady Gaga holds the foreknowledge of Caroline Rivière’s tragic demise, her Gothic pose, intense eye contact, and expression conveying her awareness that even fame fades with time. Wilson is best known for his spectacular, modernist operas, among them the 1976 production Einstein on the Beach, and has been described by The New York Times as “America’s—or even the world’s—foremost avant-garde ‘theater artist.’”

Unlike Lady Gaga and the aristocrat Caroline Rivière, little is known about the woman depicted in Andrés Solano’s Portrait of Ana Josepha de Castañeda y de la Requere from 1776. The inscription on her portrait notes that she was the wife of Juan Lázaro Merino y Zaldo, most likely a sugar planter in the town of Trinidad in central Cuba. While Josepha is forthright and relatively unadorned, the extravagance of her picture frame reflects her position as a wealthy peninsular, a Spanish-born Spaniard residing in the New World or the Spanish East Indies. The gilt rococo embellishments of the frame contrast with Josepha’s frank appearance. Her bloodline is denoted in the painting’s inscription, documenting her caste at a time when cultures, identities, religions, and ideas were mixing in the Spanish colonial world.

Daniel Rozin’s Selfish Gene Mirror, 2015, meanwhile, is a digital mirror in which the viewer temporarily becomes the portrait’s subject. Via a small camera and Rozin’s customized ‘Darwinian’ algorithm, lines of pixels replicate the behavior of human genes, scrambling to assemble a lifelike visage in real time through a process of replication and propagation. Each ‘gene’ is programmed to compete for its ongoing existence. The viewer is reinterpreted within the work of art in a transitory way; once he or she walks away, the pixels die off. The memorializing impulse of portraiture, already imperfect, is abandoned.

About the Collection

Spanning the global history of computer art of the past fifty years, the Foundation’s digital art collection includes some of the first algorithmic plotter drawings on paper, software-driven, generative, and custom-coded artworks, interactive works based on real-time gaming platforms, internet-based or networked art, and works that utilize LED and LCD displays. With more than 130 works from the 17th to 19th centuries, the Spanish Colonial art collection includes religious paintings and portraits from the Viceroyalty of Peru and the Kingdom of Nueva Granada, as well as a selection of portraits fro.m the Spanish Caribbean.

Exhibition | Tablescapes: Designs for Dining

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on October 8, 2018

Pierre-Philippe Thomire, Surtout de Table, 1805
(New York: Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum)

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Press release (via Art Daily) for the exhibition:

Tablescapes: Designs for Dining
Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, New York, 5 October 2018 — 14 April 2019

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum presents Tablescapes: Designs for Dining, an exhibition that offers a creative timeline of dining experiences through three distinct installations. At the center of the exhibition is Cooper Hewitt’s surtout de table, a magnificent, newly conserved treasure from the museum’s expansive collection of over 210,000 design objects that once ornamented the tables of French nobility at the turn of the 19th century. The exhibition also spotlights the work of the underrecognized but influential textile designer Marguerita Mergentime, active in the 1920s and ’30s, whose work has not received a dedicated museum presentation in 75 years. Pivoting to address 21st-century concerns, the exhibition debuts experimental and collaborative products commissioned from National Design Award-winning designers Joe Doucet and Mary Ping.

Tablescapes shows how taste and social values are expressed through style, materials and motifs,” said Caroline Baumann, director of the museum. “From awe-inspiring grandeur to vernacular wit to an emphasis on sustainability, the exhibition provokes a spirited conversation around design’s role in the evolution of a universal ritual.”

Surtout de Table

Pierre-Philippe Thomire, Candelabrum, 1815–25, gilt and patinated bronze (New York: Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum).

On view for the first time in 30 years, Cooper Hewitt’s surtout de table was created in Paris around 1805 by Pierre-Philippe Thomire, a French sculptor renowned for creating gilt-bronze objects for the politically and socially powerful. It is believed that Napoleon gave this example as a wedding present to his stepson, Eugène de Beauharnais, whom he often designated to host diplomatic dinners in Paris and Italy.

When placed at the center of a long table, the mirrored plateau and gilt-bronze surfaces of the surtout de table would have reflected the flames of expensive candles. As part of the exhibition’s digital experience, visitors may manipulate an image of the object to view the surtout de table under various lighting conditions. This technology, known as Reflection Transformation Imaging, facilitated the extensive conservation treatment of the surtout de table. As documented in an accompanying gallery video, Cooper Hewitt’s conservationists worked in collaboration with external specialists to restore the surface of the surtout de table, dulled by corrosion, to its original golden lustre. Additionally, the conservationists treated the deteriorating silver-leaf backing of the mirrored plateau, making the surtout de table reflective once again.

To contextualize the surtout de table, it is presented with related objects, including a late 18th-century Italian drawing for a surtout de table design inspired by the ruins of Pompeii and a fire-gilt and blackened bronze clock made by Antoine-Andre Ravrio (French, 1759–1814) with ornaments in the form of a woman playing piano, said to represent Empress Josephine, the mother of Eugène de Beauharnais, at her fashionable residence Malmaison.

Marguerita Mergentime

Marguerita Mergentime (American, 1894–1941) began her design career in New York City in the 1920s, where she made dress fabrics and bath and beach accessories. She belonged to a circle of modernist designers that included Donald Deskey, Gilbert Rohde, Frederick Kiesler, and Ilonka Karasz.

In 1934, Mergentime debuted her first designs for home linens at the Industrial Arts Exposition at Rockerfeller Center. She quickly gained recognition for her bright, modernist textile designs, which retailed at desirable department stores and were highlighted in popular magazines as essential accessories for the hostess seeking to vivify informal dining. Each of the eight napkins in the set Wish Fulfillment (1939) stimulated cocktail hour conversation with a depiction of a mystical or pseudoscientific conduit to the future—for instance, dream books or graphology—accompanied by predictions of wealth, success and happiness. Stylish and imbued with typographical interest, the tablecloth Food Quiz (1939) brought humorous, lighthearted debate to the table with conversation sparkers such as, “Do you dish the dirt before you dish the soup?”

Further illuminating Mergentime’s sensibility, the adjacent Spoon Family Gallery is dedicated to archival materials and the hanging Americana (1939), which entertained visitors at the Golden Gate International Exposition in San Francisco by uniting the names of 360 iconic American phrases, organizations, foods, points of interest, and people.

Joe Doucet and Mary Ping

For this exhibition, Cooper Hewitt commissioned Joe Doucet (American, born 1970), recipient of the 2017 National Design Award for Product Design, and Mary Ping (American, born 1978), recipient of the 2017 National Design Award for Fashion Design and founder of the studio Slow and Steady Wins the Race, to envision the future of dining. The designers address a near future in which users approach dining with greater speed and efficiency, and live in cities that are more densely populated than ever.

The Concentric and Decentric Tables and Seating, designed by Ping and the New York-based architectural firm Bureau V, can fold to seat a small group or expand to accommodate a gathering of up to nine people. Appropriately for a future of increasing material scarcity, its terrazzo-patterned surface is made not from stone, but from recycled food packaging.

Presented on the amoeba-shaped eating surfaces of Ping’s table, Doucet designed multifunctional servingware that can be used to cook, serve and store food and a set of cutlery designed for users who dine on a variety of international cuisines. Doucet fabricated the designs using 3D printing to allow for greater customization.

Tablescapes: Designs for Dining is made possible by Anonymous. Conservation of the surtout de table is made possible by the Smithsonian Women’s Committee. In-kind support is provided by Shapeways and The Abadi Group. Pure+Applied designed the exhibition.

Images and exhibition labels are available here»

Exhibition | It’s Alive! Frankenstein at 200

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

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

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

Curated by John Bidwell and Elizabeth Denlinger

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Influence of the Gothic Style and Enlightenment Science

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

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

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

Mary Shelley’s Life and Conception of Frankenstein

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

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

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

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

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

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

Frankenstein on Stage and on Screen

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Creature’s Afterlife: Comic Books and Prints

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

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

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

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

Exhibition | Rosetsu: Ferocious Brush

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

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

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From the press release for the exhibition:

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

Curated by Khanh Trinh and Matthew McKelway

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Exhibition | Isabelle de Borchgrave

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

From The Frick Pittsburgh:

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

Curated by Dennita Sewell

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

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

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

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

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

Exhibition | The Chocolate Girl by Liotard

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

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

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

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

Exhibition | Tudors to Windsors: British Royal Portraits

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on September 27, 2018

From the MFAH:

Tudors to Windsors: British Royal Portraits
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, 7 October 2018 — 27 January 2019
Bendigo Art Gallery, 16 March — 14 July 2019

Tudors to Windsors: British Royal Portraits from Holbein to Warhol sheds new light on changing ideas of monarchy and nationhood in Britain. The exhibition features portraits of British royalty spanning 500 years, by artists from Hans Holbein and Sir Joshua Reynolds to Annie Leibovitz and Andy Warhol.

In a sweeping survey, Tudors to Windsors covers the cavalcade of kings, queens, princes, and princesses who have graced the British crown. The MFAH is the only U.S. venue to host this unprecedented exhibition, part of a major partnership with the National Portrait Gallery in London. Some 150 objects—most never before seen outside of England—tell the story of Britain’s monarchy through masterworks of painting, sculpture, and photography.

Visitors have an extraordinary opportunity to come face-to-face with the fascinating figures of British royalty. Tudors to Windsors explores four royal dynasties: the House of Tudor (1485–1603), the House of Stuart (1603–1714), the House of Hanover (1714–1901), and the present-day House of Windsor. Among the many works of art on view are portraits featuring King Henry VIII, Queen Elizabeth I, King George I, Queen Victoria, Queen Elizabeth II, Princess Diana, and Prince William.

Tudors to Windsors: British Royal Portraits, with an introduction by David Cannadine (London: National Portrait Gallery, 2018), 240 pages, ISBN 978-1855147560, $50.

Exhibition | Ladies of Quality and Distinction

Posted in exhibitions, lectures (to attend) by Editor on September 22, 2018

Press release for the exhibition now on view at The Foundling:

Ladies of Quality and Distinction
The Foundling Museum, London, 21 September 2018 — 20 January 2019

Andrea Soldi, Portrait of Isabella Duchess of Manchester, 1738 (London: Whitfield Fine Art).

This autumn, for the first time, visitors to the Foundling Museum will have an opportunity to discover portraits and stories of the remarkable women who supported the establishment and running of London’s Foundling Hospital. Marking 100 years of female suffrage, Ladies of Quality and Distinction resets the focus of the Hospital’s story and radically re-hangs the Museum’s Picture Gallery.

Despite its male face, women permeate every aspect of the Hospital story—as mothers, supporters, wet nurses, staff, apprentice masters, artists, musicians, craftsmen, and foundlings. Yet for almost 300 years, history has placed these women as a footnote in the story. The Museum is redressing this balance by bringing these overlooked stories to the fore.

Following a successful campaign via Art Happens, the Art Fund’s crowdfunding platform, the Museum brings together portraits of the ‘ladies of quality and distinction’ who signed Thomas Coram’s original petition to King George II in 1735, calling for the establishment of a Foundling Hospital. Working closely with eighteenth-century specialist Elizabeth Einberg, the Museum has identified portraits of these duchesses in public and private collections across the UK. Hung together for the first time, these paintings will temporarily replace the portraits of male governors that line the walls of the Museum’s Picture Gallery, reuniting the Ladies on the site of the charity they helped establish, and highlighting their role in shaping British society today. Included are magnificent court portraits by leading eighteenth-century painters William Hogarth, Thomas Hudson, and Godfrey Kneller. The majority of the portraits are in private collections, having remained within the family or ancestral home. Some paintings have not been on public display for many years.

Downstairs in the Museum’s exhibition gallery, the lives of the women who supported the day-to-day running of the institution will be brought to life. Women worked in many different roles at the Hospital, from laundresses and scullery maids, to cooks and matrons. Beyond its walls the organisation was supported by a small army of wet nurses who fostered the children in their infancy, as well as inspectors who supervised them. It was not until the twentieth century that the first woman was appointed Governor. Nevertheless, many female supporters of similar social class to the Hospital Governors gave valued advice, particularly around the proper care of infants, girls, and female staff.

Highlighted stories include: Mrs Prudence West, a female inspector and the only woman to run a branch Hospital; Miss Eleanor Barnes, one of the earliest female Governors of the Hospital; Mrs Elizabeth Leicester, an early matron of the Foundling Hospital who oversaw some of its most challenging years; and Jane Pett, a dry nurse highly acclaimed for her exceptional care.

Caro Howell, Director of the Foundling Museum said: “Women of every social class permeate every aspect of the Foundling Hospital story. After centuries of omission, their revolutionary, catalytic and invaluable contributions can at last be celebrated. We are incredibly grateful to the 336 donors who supported our Art Happens campaign to make this important exhibition possible.”

This exhibition forms part of the Museum’s year-long programme of exhibitions, displays, and events to mark the centenary of female suffrage, by celebrating women’s contribution to British society, culture, and philanthropy from the 1720s to the present day. The Museum raised over £20,000 towards this exhibition through a successful Art Happens crowdfunding campaign. The Museum is incredibly grateful to all our exhibition donors, including the 336 donors who gave to our Art Happens campaign, our main corporate exhibition sponsor Saxton Bampfylde, and to Art Fund, whose support made conservation of paintings loaned for this exhibition possible.

P R O G R A M M I N G

Georgian Women
The Foundling Museum, London, 19 October 2018

Discover what it meant to be a woman during this period and how three writers have brought the era to life. Speakers include Imogen Hermes Gowar, author of the Women’s Prize for Fiction shortlisted novel The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock; writer and television presenter Janet Ellis, author of The Butcher’s Hook; and Katharine Grant, whose novel Sedition was described by The Guardian as “subversive and unmissable.” Cash bar on the night. The programme begins at 19:00 (doors open at 18:30). Tickets £15 (£12.50 concessions and Foundling Friends). Details, including booking information, are available here.

Film Screening: The Duchess
The Foundling Museum, London, 9 November 2018

Join us for a unique cinema experience and enjoy the sensational 18th-century drama The Duchess, screened in the Picture Gallery. Keira Knightley and Ralph Fiennes star in this film exploring the life of Georgiana Spencer, Duchess of Devonshire, as she struggles to protect her children from her unscrupulous husband and social pressures, and find her independence. The film begins at 19:00. Tickets are £12. Details, including booking information, are available here.

Wikithon: Ladies Of Quality & Distinction
The Foundling Museum, London, 17 November 2018

Join our Wikipedia edit-a-thon and help us bring the overlooked stories of women and the Foundling Hospital to the fore. Bring your laptop and prepare with our Edit-a-thon guide. Led by researchers from the project Editing the Long Nineteenth Century: Recovering Women in the Digital Age in partnership with the Birkbeck Centre for Nineteenth-Century Studies, the session begins at 13:00 and lasts until 16:00; it is free, but booking is essential. This event is part of the Being Human Festival, organized by the School of Advanced Study, University of London, in partnership with the Arts & Humanities Research Council and the British Academy.

Exhibition | Russia: Royalty and the Romanovs

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on September 20, 2018

Press release (7 August 2018) for the exhibition:

Russia: Royalty and the Romanovs
The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace, London, 9 November 2018 — 28 April 2019

Vigilius Eriksen, Catherine II, Empress of Russia, ca.1765, oil on canvas, 276 × 202 cm (London: Royal Collection Trust, RCIN 404774).

For more than 300 years Britain has been linked to Russia through exploration and discovery, diplomatic alliances and, latterly, by familial and dynastic ties. Russia: Royalty & the Romanovs, opening on 9 November 2018, explores the relationship between the two countries and their royal families through works of art in the Royal Collection, many of which were acquired through the personal exchange of gifts.

In 1698 Tsar Peter I, known as Peter the Great, arrived in London. The first Russian ruler to set foot on English soil, he stayed for three months as part of a ‘Grand Embassy’, a diplomatic and fact-finding tour of Western Europe that included meetings with the British King, William III. On his departure Peter presented the King with his portrait, painted by Sir Godfrey Kneller. Kneller depicts the Tsar as a young and vibrant ruler, looking to the West and hoping to establish a new, ‘open’ Russia.

During the reign of the Empress Catherine II (Catherine the Great) Russia’s borders expanded to the south and west, and the country was established as one of the great powers in Europe. The Empress’s coronation portrait by Vigilius Eriksen, c.1765–69, is thought to have been given to George III and is recorded as hanging in the Privy Chamber at Kensington Palace in 1813. George III never visited Russia, yet his interest in the country is evident from the books in his library. These included the accounts of European merchants and the first description of Russia in the French language by the mercenary soldier Jacques Margeret.

The year 1815 saw final victory in the Napoleonic wars by the allied forces, including those of Great Britain and Russia. George IV commissioned Sir Thomas Lawrence to paint portraits of the central figures in the defeat of Napoleon for the Waterloo Chamber at Windsor Castle, a room created to celebrate the achievement. Paintings of Matvei Ivanovitch, Count Platov, commander of the Cossack cavalry, and of General Fedor Petrovitch Uvarov, Emperor Alexander I’s Aide-de-Camp at the Congress of Vienna, recognised Russia’s important contribution to the defeat of Napoleon.

A steady stream of Russian emperors, empresses, grand dukes, and grand duchesses were entertained in Britain in the following years. The future Emperor Nicholas I visited in 1816–17, when he attended a banquet of more than 100 courses, hosted by the Prince Regent at his seaside residence, Brighton Pavilion, in the company of Frederick, Duke of York and the Duke of Clarence, later William IV. In gratitude for the hospitality shown to the future Emperor, his mother, Empress Maria sent the Prince Regent’s daughter, Princess Charlotte, the insignia of the Order of St Catherine. The Order had been instituted in 1714 by Peter I on the occasion of his marriage to Catherine I and was the most prestigious award for women in Imperial Russia. The Princess is shown wearing the badge on a Russian-style dress in a portrait of c.1817.

Queen Victoria’s eldest son, Albert Edward, Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII), married Princess Alexandra of Denmark in 1863. Three years later, Alexandra’s sister, Princess Dagmar, married Tsesarevich Alexander, later becoming Empress Maria Feodorovna and linking the English, Russian and Danish royal houses. In 1874, Queen Victoria’s second son Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh, married Grand Duchess Marie Alexandrovna, daughter of Emperor Alexander II, as recorded in Nicholas Chevalier’s painting of the ceremony. This first direct dynastic marriage between the two families was followed by the marriage of two of Queen Victoria’s granddaughters, the Princesses Elizabeth and Alix of Hesse, to Grand Duke Sergei, son of Alexander II, and the future Nicholas II respectively.

The English, Russian, and Danish royal families regularly visited one another and marked these occasions in paintings and photographs, and through the exchange of gifts. The Danish artist Laurits Regner Tuxen was commissioned to record significant family events, including The Marriage of Nicholas II, Emperor of Russia, 26th November 1894 and The Family of Queen Victoria in 1887, celebrating the Queen’s Golden Jubilee that year. A great number of works by Carl Fabergé entered the Royal Collection as a result of the close relationship and shared tastes of the sisters Queen Alexandra and Empress Maria Feodorovna. Among them are a framed portrait miniature of the Empress and a gold cigarette case, given to King Edward VII as a 40th wedding anniversary present in 1903.

Nicholas II and his family made their last visit to England in August 1909. They attended the annual regatta at Cowes on the Isle of Wight, and the royal families dined together on each other’s yachts. A local photographer was commissioned to record the occasion and produced a double portrait of the Prince of Wales (later King George V) and his cousin Emperor Nicholas, which shows the strong family resemblance. During the visit the Princess of Wales (later Queen Mary) was given a diamond-set Fabergé brooch made from a Siberian amethyst, a stone famous for its intense purple hue. Following the deaths of the Imperial Family in 1918, King George V and Queen Mary assembled a collection of works of art that had belonged to their Russian relations as poignant reminders of happier times.

In 1923 the Duchess of York (later Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother) commissioned a portrait of herself from the Russian artist Savely Sorine. Twenty-five years later she commissioned Sorine to paint a portrait of her daughter Princess Elizabeth, Duchess of Edinburgh, the future Queen Elizabeth II. During an official visit in 1956, First Secretary Nikita Khrushchev and Premier Nikolai Bulganin presented Her Majesty The Queen with a number of gifts, including the oil painting A Winter’s Day by the prominent painter, publisher, and art historian Igor Grabar.