Enfilade

Exhibition | Artful Nature: Fashion and Theatricality, 1770–1830

Posted in exhibitions, lectures (to attend) by Editor on January 28, 2020

Opening next week at the Lewis Walpole Library:

Artful Nature: Fashion and Theatricality, 1770–1830
Lewis Walpole Library, Farmington, CT, 6 February — 22 May 2020

Curated by Laura Engel and Amelia Rauser

G. M. Woodward, ‘The Art of Fainting in Company’, 1797, hand-colored etching, Plate 7 from ‘An Olio of Good Breeding: With Sketches Illustrative of the Modern Graces!!’ (London, 1797).

Between 1770 and 1830, both fashionable dress and theatrical practice underwent dramatic changes in an attempt to become more ‘natural’. And yet this desire was widely recognized as paradoxical, since both fashion and the theater were longstanding tropes of artifice. In this exhibition, we examine this paradox of ‘artful nature’ through the changing conception of theatricality during these decades, as mirrored and expressed in fashionable dress. Theater and performance practices in the late eighteenth-century, including the vogue for private theatricals, reinforced the blurred lines between the theater and everyday life. Classical sculpture became a reference point for women, as its artistic excellence was acclaimed precisely because it seemed so ‘natural’. But when actresses, dancers, painters, or just regular fashionistas posed themselves as classical statues come to life, they acted as both Pygmalion and Galatea, both the genius artist and the living artwork. ‘Artful Nature’ refers simultaneously to the theatricality and deception typically attributed to fashionable women in the late eighteenth century, and at the same time to the potential survival strategies employed by women artists, authors, and actresses to craft their own parts. The exhibition is curated by Laura Engel, Professor of English at Duquesne University, and Amelia Rauser, Professor of Art History at Franklin & Marshall College.

P R O G R A M M I N G

Joseph Roach, Fashionable Enemies: Glamour as Argument, 1770–1830
Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, Thursday, 6 February, 5.30pm

Joseph Roach, Sterling Professor Emeritus of Theater and Professor Emeritus of English, Yale University, will deliver a keynote lecture in association with the opening of the exhibition Artful Nature: Fashion and Theatricality, 1770–1830.

Amelia Rauser and Laura Engel, Artful Nature
Lewis Walpole Library, Farmington, Wednesday, 13 May, 7.00pm

Amelia Rauser and Laura Engel, the curators of Artful Nature: Fashion and Theatricality, 1770–1830, discuss the exhibition. The talk is presented in collaboration with the Farmington Libraries. Space is limited, and registration is required.

Performance: Mary Berry’s Fashionable Friends
Cowles House, Lewis Walpole Library, Farmington, Friday, 15 May

Under the direction of Laura Engel, a performance based on Mary Berry’s Fashionable Friends, acted as an amateur theatrical at Strawberry Hill in November 1801, is planned for May 15, 2020 in the newly restored eighteenth-century Cowles House on the campus of The Lewis Walpole Library in Farmington, Connecticut.

Lecture | Michelle Erickson on the Art and Politics of Clay

Posted in lectures (to attend), today in light of the 18th century by Editor on January 19, 2020

Tuesday evening at BGC:

Michelle Erickson, Making History: The Art and Politics of Clay
Bard Graduate Center, New York, 21 January 2020

Michelle Erickson, Patriot Jug, 2018, creamware (wheel thrown and lathe turned earthenware, modeled and press molded spout and handle extruded through a custom cut brass die), 9.5 × 9.5 inches (Photo by Robert Hunter).

Michelle Erickson will present at the Mr. and Mrs. Raymond J. Horowitz Seminar on New York and American Material Culture on Tuesday, January 21, at 6pm. Her talk is entitled “Making History: The Art and Politics of Clay.”

Erickson will discuss her practice as a studio potter in the fields of contemporary art, historical archaeology, and studio ceramics. Her oeuvre is renowned for its historical depth, technological virtuosity, and incisive commentary. She will explain how her work gives dynamic relevance to the legacy of ceramics as a form of social expression, referencing how makers and users have deployed ceramics to advocate for political change and social justice as well as to document epic events in human experience.

Michelle Erickson has a BFA from the College of William and Mary and is an independent ceramic artist and scholar. Internationally recognized for her mastery of techniques used during the American colonial era, her work reinvents historical ceramics to construct contemporary social, political, and environmental critiques. Her pieces are in the collections of major museums in the United States and Britain, including the Museum of Arts and Design in New York City, the Seattle Art Museum, the Potteries Museums in Stoke-on-Trent, and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. She has lectured and demonstrated at these institutions as well as the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Milwaukee Art Museum, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Profiles of Erickson’s erudite artistry appear in numerous national and international publications. Her interdisciplinary studies of seventeenth- and eighteenth- century ceramic techniques, grounded in historical research and object-making, have been featured in such journals as the Chipstone Foundation’s Ceramics in America. Erickson also has designed and produced ceramics for many museums, institutions, and collectors as well as major motion pictures such as The Patriot (2002) and HBO’s series John Adams (2008).

The Mr. and Mrs. Raymond J. Horowitz Foundation Seminar in New York and American Material Culture fosters thought-provoking discussions of current research on New York and American Material Culture. Talks by leading scholars draw upon a wide array of material evidence, including artifacts of daily life and ranging from decorative arts, prints, and photographs to architecture, interiors, and urban design. A key aspect of the series is the broad spectrum of disciplinary frameworks at play, including history, art history, anthropology, and archaeology as well as specialized studies of race, ethnicity, gender, class, region, and nationhood.

This event will be livestreamed. Please check back the day of the event for a link to the video. To watch videos of past events please visit our YouTube page.

The Wallace’s History of Collecting Seminars, 2020

Posted in lectures (to attend) by Editor on December 21, 2019

Next year at The Wallace:

History of Collecting Seminars
The Wallace Collection, London, 2020

The History of Collecting seminar series was established as part of the Wallace Collection’s commitment to the research and study of the history of collections and collecting, especially in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries in Paris and London. The seminars are free, no bookings required; each begins at 5.30pm. To join the History of Collecting mailing list and receive updates on the future programme, please email your interest to collection@wallacecollection.org.

Monday, 27 January
Camilla Pietrabissa (Associate Lecturer, Bocconi University, Milan), From Nature: Jean-Baptiste Oudry and the Taste for Landscape Paintings under Louis XV

Monday, 24 February
Errol Manners (Dealer in Historic Ceramics), The Mystery of Redwares in Princely Collections

Monday, 30 March
Janet M. Brooke (Independent Scholar, Montreal), The Gilded Age in Canada: Reconstructing the Life and Afterlife of the Sir William Van Horne Collection

Monday, 27 April
Ellinoor Bergvelt (Guest Researcher University of Amsterdam / Research Fellow, Dulwich Picture Gallery), The Dutch King Willem II (1792–1849) as Collector and Source of Some Important Pictures in the Wallace Collection

Monday, 18 May
Arthur Bijl (Assistant Curator of Ottoman, Middle Eastern and Asian Arms and Armour, The Wallace Collection), Marvels in Lucknow: ‘Ajab and Asaf al-Dawla’s Collection of Curiosities

Monday, 29 June
Krystle Attard Trevisan (PhD Candidate, Institute of English Studies, School of Advanced Study, University of London), The ‘Primo Costo’ Inventory of Count Saverio Marchese (1757–1833): Mapping the Print Market in Malta and its European Connections

Monday, 27 July
Sara Ayres (Independent Scholar, London), Descriptions of Collections and Their Display at the Stuart Court in 1669 in a Manuscript Account of Prince George of Denmark’s Grand Tour, 1668–1670

Monday, 28 September
Heike Zech (Head of Decorative Arts before 1800 and History of Craft, Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Nuremberg), Germanic and Gentle? The Foundation and Early Collections of the Germanisches Nationalmuseum in Nuremberg

Monday, 26 October
Valérie M. C. Bajou (Chief Curator, Versailles Palace), The Paintings by Horace Vernet in Louis-Philippe’s Private Collection: Commission, Purpose, Display, and Destination

Monday, 30 November
Helen Jacobsen (Senior Curator, The Wallace Collection), Creating a Market: Dealers, Auctioneers, and the Passion for Riesener Furniture, 1800–1882

 

Lecture Series | Perspectives on Collecting

Posted in lectures (to attend) by Editor on October 31, 2019

From ArtHist.net:

Perspectives on Collecting: A Four-Part Lecture Series
Strawberry Hill House, London, 6–27 November 2019

Strawberry Hill Trust hosts a four-part lecture series exploring perspectives on collecting from renowned speakers: David Starkey, historian and presenter; Tim Knox, Director of the Royal Collection; Martin Caiger-Smith, author and Head of the MA Curating the Art Museum programme at The Courtauld Institute of Art; and Tristram Hunt, Director of the Victoria & Albert Museum. The lectures will begin at 7.30pm in the Waldegrave Drawing Room by kind permission of St Mary’s University. Guests are invited to arrive from 6.45pm to enjoy a complimentary glass of fizz in Horace Walpole’s magnificent Gallery.

Wednesday, 6 November
David Starkey, Holbein and The Tudor Court

Wednesday, 13 November
Tim Knox, The Rise and Fall of the Country House Museum

Wednesday, 20 November
Martin Caiger-Smith, Antony Gormley’s Interventions in Historic Collections

Wednesday 27 November
Tristram Hunt, Collecting the Home

Exhibition | Thomas Jefferson, Architect

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions, lectures (to attend) by Editor on October 25, 2019

Model of Jefferson’s Design for the President’s House Competition, designed by Simone Baldissini and constructed by Ivan Simonato, 2015, scale 1:66, wood, resin, and tempera (Vicenza: Palladio Museum; photo by Lorenzo Ceretta).

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Press release (18 April 2019) for the exhibition:

Thomas Jefferson, Architect: Palladian Models, Democratic Principles, and the Conflict of Ideals
Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk, Virginia, 19 October 2019 — 19 January 2020

 Curated by Erik Neil, Lloyd DeWitt, and Corey Piper

Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826) was Governor of Virginia, Secretary of State, President of the United States, and author of the Declaration of Independence. The most important architectural thinker of the young American republic, Jefferson conveyed ideals of liberty and democracy in his designs. He was also a slave owner. A new exhibition from the Chrysler Museum of Art titled Thomas Jefferson, Architect: Palladian Models, Democratic Principles and the Conflict of Ideals explores this divergence alongside his extraordinary architectural influence.

Thomas Jefferson, Monticello: Observation Tower, recto, ca. 1771, pen and Ink with gray wash (Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, Coolidge Collection of Thomas Jefferson Manuscripts).

Organized by the Chrysler Museum of Art in collaboration with the Palladio Museum in Vicenza, Italy, the exhibition focuses on the ideas, formation, and key monuments of the Founding Father who dramatically influenced the architectural profile of the young republic. It will also confront the inherent conflict between Jefferson’s pursuit of contemporary ideals of liberty and democracy and his use of slave labor to construct his monuments.

The Chrysler Museum’s exhibition will follow Jefferson’s evolution as an architect with nearly 130 objects, including models, rare books, paintings, drawings, early photographs, and architectural elements. Visitors will see objects from the Chrysler’s rich collection, as well as loans from the Library of Congress, the National Gallery of Art, Jefferson’s residences at Monticello and Poplar Forest in Virginia, the University of Virginia, and other museums and libraries.

The Palladio Museum will provide 14 models, including 10 newly created models of Jefferson’s buildings and four models displaying the key architecture of Renaissance master Andrea Palladio (1508–1580). The exhibition will feature models of Monticello and Jefferson’s design for the U.S. president’s house, which was not selected, as well as numerous representations of the Pantheon that will highlight its architectural influence on the University of Virginia’s Rotunda. The Chrysler will also display the only autographed drawing by Palladio in an American collection as well as various editions of his treatise, The Four Books of Architecture.

Visitors will also see bricks, nails, and other components from Jefferson’s buildings that were created by enslaved laborers and craftsmen, as well as two rare images of enslaved and formerly enslaved people who can be linked directly to Jefferson and his buildings. These include Isaac Granger Jefferson, an artisan who was a tinsmith and blacksmith and labored in the nailery as an enslaved worker at Jefferson’s Monticello.

“Thomas Jefferson engaged with the most advanced ideas of architecture and city planning of his era. He was also a slave owner who failed to resolve his ideals about freedom and democracy with his reliance upon the institution of slavery. We will examine these facets of Jefferson’s architectural formation and practice to foster a new and fuller understanding of his accomplishments,” said Museum Director Erik H. Neil.

Through his education in Virginia, travels in the colonies and Europe and extensive library, Thomas Jefferson engaged with both classical and contemporary ideas about architecture. His projects frequently referenced ancient models or those of established authorities such as Palladio. He pursued forms that were both aesthetic models and expressive of the new republic’s democratic ideals. He employed those influences in his designs for the Virginia State Capitol, the University of Virginia, buildings in Washington, D.C. and his own residences, Monticello and Poplar Forest.

“For both Jefferson and Palladio, the architecture of the ancients was the key model with regard to functionality, style and meaning,” Neil said. “We see evidence of Thomas Jefferson’s influence in the architecture throughout our region, and we are excited to share the history and influence of these designs with our visitors to present important elements of Virginia’s history.”

Thomas Jefferson, Architect: Palladian Models, Democratic Principles and the Conflict of Ideals is curated by the Chrysler Museum’s Erik Neil, director; Lloyd DeWitt, chief curator and Irene Leache curator of European art; and Corey Piper, Brock curator of American art.

Lloyd DeWitt and Corey Piper, with an introduction by Erik Neil and contributions by Guido Beltramini, Barry Bergdoll, Howard Burns, Lloyd DeWitt, Louis P. Nelson, Mabel O. Wilson, and Richard Guy Wilson, Thomas Jefferson, Architect: Palladian Models, Democratic Principles, and the Conflict of Ideals (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2019), 208 pages, ISBN: 978-0300246209, $45.

A richly illustrated catalog published by Yale University Press will accompany the exhibition. A team of leading international scholars will offer new scholarship and a fresh appraisal of Jefferson’s formation and career as an architect, engage the impact and legacy of his status as a slave owner and highlight the work and contributions of enslaved laborers and artisans. Contributors include Lloyd DeWitt, the Chrysler Museum’s chief curator, and Irene Leache, curator of European art; Howard Burns, president of the Centro Palladio, Scuola Normale Pisa; Guido Beltramini, director of the Palladio Museum; Richard Guy Wilson and Louis P. Nelson, both from the University of Virginia; and Barry Bergdoll and Mabel O. Wilson of Columbia University.

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

Mabel O. Wilson and Louis P. Nelson in Conversation
Saturday, 2pm, 26 October 2019

Renowned scholars Mabel O. Wilson and Louis P. Nelson will discuss the contributions and legacy of enslaved craftsman on the architecture of Thomas Jefferson. Wilson is a professor of architectural design at Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation. She is also a Senior Fellow at the Institute for Research in African American Studies and co-directs Global Africa Lab. Nelson is the Vice Provost for Academic Outreach and Professor of Architectural History at the University of Virginia. Register at chrysler.org.

Travis McDonald, Thomas Jefferson’s Poplar Forest
Sunday, 2pm, 1 December 2019

Travis McDonald, the Director of Architectural Restoration at Poplar Forest, will offer insight into the restoration of Thomas Jefferson’s personal retreat and plantation and the work of enslaved craftspeople.

Lecture | Tom Almeroth-Williams on Animals and the West End

Posted in lectures (to attend) by Editor on October 21, 2019

Jacques-Laurent Agasse, Old Smithfield Market, 1824, oil on canvas (New Haven: Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection, B2001.2.252).

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Next month at Spencer House:

Tom Almeroth-Williams, Animals and the Rise of the West End
Spencer House, London, 11 November 2019

A lecture at Spencer House exploring the dramatic role played by horses, livestock and dogs in West End life in the Georgian period and their representation in art, presented by Dr Thomas Almeroth-Williams, author of City of Beasts.

Spencer House once stood at the gateway to a horse-powered metropolis, an equestrian paradise and a city brimming with farm animals. The Georgian West End contained the largest concentration of elite riding and carriage horses in the world; and Spencer House is a stone’s throw from Hyde Park, then Europe’s most famous riding venue. At the same time, the building is a monument to the huge contribution made by working horses in the city. Most of the materials used to build Spencer House were hauled there by draught horses, while some were also manufactured with horse-powered machinery. Once the Spencers were in residence, they could also depend on being served the nation’s finest meat thanks to the gargantuan Smithfield livestock trade.

This lively and richly illustrated lecture will discuss the many ways in which animals shaped the West End’s dramatic expansion and daily life in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, covering everything from art and architecture, to industry and crime prevention. Warning: enraged bullocks and fierce dogs will make their presence felt.

There will be an opportunity at the event to buy signed copies of City of Beasts at a discounted price. Monday, 11 November; doors open at 6pm for the 6:30 lecture. Tickets £15, include a glass of wine and an opportunity to view the State Rooms. Booking information is available here.

Tom Almeroth-Williams is a Research Associate of the University of York’s Centre for Eighteenth Century Studies and a Research Communications Manager at the University of Cambridge. In addition to human–animal interactions, his main interests lie in urban life and the world of work in Georgian Britain. His first book, City of Beasts: How Animals Shaped Georgian London, was published by Manchester University Press in May 2019.

Lecture | Matthew Reeve, ‘Children of Strawberry’

Posted in lectures (to attend) by Editor on September 24, 2019

Next month at BGC:

Matthew Reeve, ‘Children of Strawberry’: Replication and Referentiality in the English Gothic Revival / The Lee B. Anderson Memorial Lecture on the Gothic
Bard Graduate Center, New York, 16 October 2019

John Carter, The Tribune at Strawberry Hill, ca. 1789 (Lewis Walpole Library, Yale University).

Matthew M. Reeve will deliver the inaugural Lee B. Anderson Memorial Lecture on the Gothic on Wednesday, October 16, at 6pm. His talk is entitled “‘Children of Strawberry’: Replication and Referentiality in the English Gothic Revival.”

Horace Walpole’s Strawberry Hill (begun 1747) established a significant template for subsequent Gothic buildings. Eliding the persona of a famous author, antiquary, and connoisseur with an extraordinary Gothic villa, it would be emulated in a long list of commissions from c. 1750 into the twentieth century. In Reeve’s recent work he has explored the place of homoerotic coteries in the formation of the Gothic idiom—and more broadly of medievalism—within Walpole’s milieu. Walpole’s queer coterie would disseminate the Gothic style in Georgian London from c. 1750–1790 in a handful of buildings that followed in Strawberry Hill’s wake. For Walpole, these buildings were “Children of Strawberry,” the offspring of his famous home. This was grounded in the construction of Walpole’s coterie as a ‘queer family’, a sexual rather than biological construction of kinship. Sexuality was, however, only one possible signification of Strawberry Hill and Strawberry Hill Gothic, and the house’s reception history indicates that the meanings of the house morphed to adapt to different needs of patrons. The apparent ‘queerness’ of these buildings and of the Gothic generally, would change significantly around 1800 and be reframed in the light of the religious and social reforms that shaped the Victorian Gothic Revival. Taking the ‘long view’ of Walpole’s famous home, this lecture considers the changing meanings of the Gothic on either side of c. 1800 and in so doing offers a new perspective on the shaping of ‘the Gothic Revival’.

Matthew M. Reeve is Associate Professor and Queen’s National Scholar of Art History at Queen’s University and a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London. Beginning at the University of Toronto, he moved to Cambridge for his graduate work under Paul Binski and taught at the University of Toronto and the University of London. His research has long been divided between medieval art (proper) and episodes of medievalism in Western art. His first books were on Gothic architecture and wall painting and he has recently completed Gothic Architecture and Sexuality in the Circle of Horace Walpole 1717–97, which is soon to appear from Penn State. Arguing that the revival of Gothic art and architecture was the product of a queer coterie surrounding Horace Walpole, this study interrogates the sexual and aesthetic origins of medievalism itself. This project has been supported by fellowships from the Paul Mellon Centre and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, and earlier papers from it were published in The Art Bulletin, Architectural History, the Burlington Magazine, and elsewhere. He is currently working on books on the Gothic sculpture of Wells Cathedral, Welsh Gothic architecture, and a collaborative study of Medievalism during Toronto’s Gilded Age.

Lecture | Menno Fitski, On a Japanese Lacquer Chest

Posted in lectures (to attend) by Editor on September 17, 2019

Next Thursday at Columbia:

Menno Fitski, Genji Meets Yoritomo
Burke Center, Columbia University, New York, 26 September 2019

Menno Fitski, head of Asian Art at the Rijksmuseum, will lecture on an astonishing mid-seventeenth century Japanese lacquer chest acquired by the museum in 2013. Hitherto known only through a poor World War II-era photograph published by his mentor (and father-in-law), the late Oliver Impey, the RM chest must be counted as one of the finest examples of Japanese lacquer ever to have been exported to the West. It forms part of what Impey described as the Fine Group—comprised of three other, similarly large, richly lacquered chests, in the the Victoria and Albert Museum; the State Historical Museum, Moscow; and one believed to have been sawn up. The recovery of the RM chest was rightfully heralded in the 2015 exhibition Asia in Amsterdam.

The RM and V&A chests are believed to have passed from the directors of the Dutch East India company in Japan who first acquired them to Cardinal Mazarin whose descendants preserved them throughout the eighteenth century. Around 1800, they were acquired by the renowned English collector William Beckford and subsequently sold in the estate sale of his son-in-law, the 10th Duke of Hamilton in 1882. At this point, their paths diverged—one to the V&A and the RM example into the collection of Sir Trevor Lawrence. At some point thereafter, the RM chest dropped off the map, only to remerge in a house near Paris six years ago.

But the odyssey through trade and European princely ownership is only part of their story as the quality and themes of these lacquers are in every sense exceptional (if only for what we now view as having been made expressly for export, i.e, Namban wares). Of a quality more generally identified with the most refined domestic taste (akin to those collected by Maria Theresa and Marie Antoinette), the panels of the chest illustrate scenes from the eleventh century Tale of Genji.

The lecture is scheduled for Thursday, 26 September 2019 at 6:00pm.

Exhibition and Book | Mudlarking

Posted in books, exhibitions, lectures (to attend) by Editor on August 4, 2019

As noted in Salon, the newsletter of the Society of Antiquaries of London, issue 432 (30 July 2019) . . .

Foragers of the Foreshore
Bargehouse on Bankside, London, 25–29 September 2019

Curated by Florence Evans

Mudlarking is gaining new attention. It is an old profession, a term applied especially to people who once lurked on the banks of the Thames in London searching for things they could sell, washed up on the tide or rising from the mud and sewage . . . The poor became less visible and scavengers faded away, but more recently detectorists and collectors have returned to the river, for the thrill and fascination of discovery and contact with people from the past.

Modern mudlarkers need a three-year permit, issued by the Port of London Authority (PLA) for £80, and must report all their finds to the Portable Antiquities Scheme’s Finds Liaison Officer at the Museum of London. . . .

Lara Maiklem is more communicative about mudlarking than many practitioners. She has tens of thousands of followers on social media, where she posts striking photos of her finds (often to be left where they are)—Instagram is made for determined mudlarkers—and has written a book, Mudlarking: Lost and Found on the River Thames. Though not be released until 22 August, on Amazon it is already at no 1 in ‘Urban & rural planning’ and no 7 in ‘Social science human geography’. It will be Radio 4 Book of the Week from 12 August. And now there is to be an exhibition.

For five days, writes Karen Hearn FSA, Foragers of the Foreshore will be at the Bargehouse on Bankside (25–29 September), part of a Totally Thames festival. Curated by Florence Evans, says the blurb, this will be “the most expansive exhibition on Mudlarking that has ever taken place.” It will feature new art, photographic portraits of mudlarkers taken by Hannah Smiles, and “a chance to meet Mudlarker in Residence Nicola White.” Museum of London Archaeology’s Thames Discovery Programme, Thames21, and Unruly Heritage will explain inter-tidal archaeology. Maiklem is among event speakers.

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From Bloomsbury:

Lara Maiklem, Mudlarking: Lost and Found on the River Thames (London: Bloomsbury Publishing, 2019), 320 pages, ISBN: 978-1408889213, £19.

For thousands of years human beings have been losing their possessions and dumping their rubbish in the River Thames, making it the longest and most varied archaeological site in the world. For those in the know, the muddy stretches provide a tangible link with the past, a connection to the natural world, and an oasis of calm in a chaotic city.

Lara Maiklem left the countryside for London in her twenties. At first enticed by the city, she soon found herself cut adrift, yearning for the solace she had known growing up among nature. Down on the banks of the River Thames, she discovered mudlarking: the act of scavenging in the mud for items discarded by past generations of Londoners. For the next fifteen years her days would be dedicated to and dictated by the tides, in pursuit of the objects that the river unearthed: from Neolithic flints to Roman hair pins, medieval shoe buckles to Tudor buttons, Georgian clay pipes to discarded war medals. Moving from the river’s tidal origins in the west of the city to the point where it reaches the sea in the east, Mudlarking is the story of the Thames and its people as seen through these objects. A fascinating search for peace through solitude and history, it brings the voices of long-forgotten Londoners to life.

Lara Maiklem moved from her family’s farm to London in the 1990s and has been mudlarking along the River Thames for fifteen years. She now lives with her family on the Kent coast within easy reach of the river, which she visits as regularly as the tides permit. This is her first book.

 

Lecture | Susan Sloman, Mapping Gainsborough in Bath and London

Posted in lectures (to attend) by Editor on June 13, 2019

From the Society of Antiquaries:

Susan Sloman, Mapping Thomas Gainsborough’s Career in Bath and London
Society of Antiquaries of London, 9 July 2019

Much of Susan Sloman’s research into the Thomas Gainsborough’s life and career has involved mapping and architecture. She is primarily interested in how the streets and buildings in which he lived affected his practice.

In Bath, Gainsborough shared a large central town house built for the Duke of Kingston with his sister (a milliner). This was destroyed at the time of the excavation of the Roman Baths in the last decade of the nineteenth century, and photographs of the excavation show Gainsborough’s house teetering at the edge of the Great Bath held up by wooden props. For the exhibition catalogue accompanying Gainsborough’s Family Album (National Portrait Gallery, November 2018 – February 2019), Sloman has written about the roles the artist’s wife and sister played within his professional life, and how his and his sister’s use of property created wealth for the family as a whole and supported his portrait-painting practice.

In the course of research for another exhibition (Gainsborough and the Theatre, Holburne Museum, Bath, October 2018 – January 2019), the changes in London’s streetscape south of Piccadilly that took place at the time of the construction of Regent Street were discovered to be particularly striking. The area Gainsborough frequented in the vicinity of Pall Mall looked very unlike the place we know now. He was only a short walk from the ‘Little’ Theatre (the site of the later Haymarket Theatre) and the King’s Theatre or Italian Opera House, also in Haymarket. Across Pall Mall from these theatres was Dalton’s Warehouse, home to the Royal Academy for the first ten years of its existence, between 1769 and 1779. It is hoped that these elements of geography and archaeology will be of wider interest beyond the confines of art history—and will form a key focus of this talk on Gainsborough’s career.

This public lecture will begin at 13.00; doors open at 12.30. It is free and open to the public, but space is limited and reservations are strongly recommended to avoid disappointment. To book online, simply click the ‘Reserve Your Seat’ button, available here.