Cultural Heritage Magazine, May 2023

Posted in journal articles, on site by Editor on June 9, 2023

Cultural Heritage Magazine is published twice each year, in May and October by the National Trust:

Cultural Heritage Magazine, issue 2 (May 2023)

4  Welcome — Tarnya Cooper, the National Trust’s Curatorial and Conservation Director introduces the spring issue

6  Briefing: News, Events, and Publications, Plus Research and Conservation Round-ups
A la Ronde Interiors: The major project to conserve and repair this unique 18th-century property has now begun in earnest, with specialists working to secure the fragile and intricate decorative features. A la Ronde is a 16-sided house designed to catch the natural daylight through its unusual diamond-shaped windows as the sun moves around the building. The creation of Jane and Mary Parminter, two dynamic and well-travelled cousins who commissioned the house following their travels across Europe, it originally sat within a wider estate containing almshouses, gardens, a chapel and orchards.

14  In Conversation — John Orna-Ornstein talks to Tristram Hunt about design, creativity and the heritage sector today

24  Treasured Connections, Treasured Possessions: The Formation of Margaret Greville’s Collection — Richard Ashbourne, James Rothwell, and Alice Strickland
Treasured Possessions: Riches of Polesden Lacey — A major exhibition marking 80 years since Dame Margaret Greville left Polesden Lacey and her collection to the National Trust (1 March — 29 October 2023).

34  Dynamic and Resonant: The Sculpture of Anthony Twentyman at Dudmaston — Brendan Flynn

Old Staircase of Dyrham Hall, in 2019 after restoration, with old paint removed and completed graining (Photo: National Trust/David Evans).

40  Dyrham Transformed: Revealing Hidden Schemes and Re-examining Historic Narratives — Eilidh Auckland, Amy Knight-Archer and Claire Reed
Crossing the threshold back in 2015, there was a sense that something had been lost. Rooms and staircases had been painted white, decorative surfaces had deteriorated and spaces that had once glittered in candlelight seemed dimly lit and uninspiring. The National Trust’s project to transform the house, recently completed, has attempted to recapture something of its original vibrancy and dynamism and to enable visitors to step inside the world of the late 17th century. Historic schemes and historic narratives have been uncovered and unpicked, and the project concluded with the installation of new interpretation in January 2023. . . Senior National Curator Rupert Goulding’s research of the Blathwayt archives, which are scattered around the world, fuelled the core narrative.
Following this extensive research and preparation, those schemes that were anachronistic or failing were selected for re-presentation, with the aim of recreating the interiors of 1692–1710. This was the period in which the current house was built and furnished by William Blathwayt, then at the peak of his career.
As work to the main body of the house progressed, the stories it had to tell came into sharper focus. The building of the house at Dyrham Park took place in the early years of the transatlantic slave trade and William Blathwayt was one of the key colonial figures of that time. As Surveyor and Auditor General of Plantations, Blathwayt accounted for income due to the Crown from different royal colonies. He received part of his salary from colonies that were economically reliant on slavery—Barbados and Virginia each contributed £150 per year (the equivalent of around £18,000 today). Blathwayt’s house reflected his colonial connections. . .

From Melchisédech Thévenot, The Art of Swimming (1699) (National Trust Images/ Leah Band).

50  Sink or Swim: An Intriguing Manual from Kedleston’s Library — Nicola Thwaite
Melchisédech Thévenot (c.1620–92), a French diplomat fluent in several languages, was appointed Royal Librarian to Louis XIV in 1684. . . . Thévenot’s L’art de Nager—published posthumously in 1696—was largely based on De Arte Natandi by the English clergyman Everard Digby (d.1605), although there is only a brief acknowledgement of this in Thévenot’s preface. An English translation—The Art of Swimming—was published only three years later in two issues and both French and English editions were reissued over the next century, indicating a contemporary demand for instruction on the subject.

54  Shaped by Love and Loss: A Collection of Ancient Greek Vases at Nostell Priory — Abigail Allan
Nostell is full of treasures. Among the less well-known items is a group of painted Greek vases made in Athens and South Italy c.500–300BC, which were collected by John Winn (c.1794–1817) and his younger brother Charles (1795–1874). Mistakenly called ‘Etruscan’ until the mid-19th century, these 12 vases once belonged to a collection of over 130 at Nostell, sold at Christie’s in 1975 and 1998, before some were repurchased by the National Trust.

62  Loans: Selected Highlights, 2023

68  Meet the Expert: Lottie Allen, Head Gardener at Hidcote Manor, Gloucestershire

Colonial Williamsburg in 2023

Posted in on site by Editor on May 19, 2023

The Foundations of the Governors Palace in 1930. (Visual Resources, John D. Rockefeller Jr. Library, The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation; photo by Thomas Layton). As Jennifer Scheussler writes, Colonial Williamsburg is now “a 301-acre complex consisting of more than 60 restored or reconstructed 18th-century buildings, 30 gardens, five hotels, three theaters, two art museums and a long, tangled history of grappling with questions of authenticity, national identity and what it means to get the past ‘right’.”

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Schuessler’s feature article on Williamsburg is useful for both the history of the Foundation and its present-day vision and commitments. CH

Jennifer Schuessler, with photographs by Matt Eich, “Building a Better Colonial Williamsburg,” The New York Times (8 May 2023). Virginia’s reconstructed colonial capital, long criticized as presenting an idealized image of the American Revolution, brings its history into the 21st century.

“. . . After decades of declining attendance and financial instability, the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, the private entity that owns and operates the site, is rethinking not just some of its structures, but also the stories it tells, adding or expanding offerings relating to Black, Native American, and L.G.B.T.Q. history.

And it’s doing so amid a fierce partisan battle over American history, when the date “1776”—emblazoned on souvenir baseball hats on sale here—has become a partisan rallying cry.

Some conservative activists have accused Colonial Williamsburg of going “woke,” a charge also lobbed against Monticello and Montpelier, James Madison’s home. But Cliff Fleet, a former tobacco executive who took over as the foundation’s president and CEO in early 2020, firmly rejects it. Fleet describes his approach as leaning into Colonial Williamsburg’s longtime mission of presenting “fact-based history,” grounded in rigorous research. “That’s true to our brand,” he said. “Everything is going to be what actually happened. That’s who we are.”

Recounting “what actually happened” is no simple matter, as any historian will tell you. But when it comes to the state of contemporary Colonial Williamsburg, some facts speak powerfully.

In 2021, the foundation raised a record-breaking $102 million, up 42 percent from the previous high in 2019. To date, it has collected more than $6 million for the excavation and reconstruction of the First Baptist Church, home to one of the earliest Black congregations in the United States (founded in 1776), and more than $8 million for the restoration of the Bray School, which educated free and enslaved Black children in the 1760s and ’70s.

Those projects have won support across the political spectrum, including from Gov. Glenn Youngkin. In February, the governor—a Republican who on his first day in office signed an executive order banning the teaching of critical race theory and other “inherently divisive concepts” in public schools—spoke at an event for the Bray School, citing the need “to teach all of our history, all of it, the good and the bad.”

For some longtime Williamsburg-watchers, the institution’s leadership has deftly steered through today’s choppy political waters by staying true to the past.

“It’s a remarkable shift, but in some ways a return to C.W.’s original mission,” said Karin Wulf, a historian and the former executive director of the Omohundro Institute, an independent research group at the College of William & Mary. “The scholarship of decades has shown us this fuller, richer picture of Early America,” Wulf said. “It’s diverse, it’s complex, it’s violent. But it’s the real thing.” . . .

After World War II, Colonial Williamsburg became a patriotic shrine and “symbol of democracy in the troubled world,” as a top executive put it. The Bicentennial brought a new boom, with annual paid attendance peaking in the mid-1980s at 1.1 million visitors, many of whom bedded down in period-style inns (or snapped up authorized colonial-style home products).

But not everyone appreciated the tastefully spic-and-span aesthetic. Writing in The New York Times in 1963, the architecture critic Ada Louise Huxtable called it a “superbly executed vacuum,” which fostered “an unforgivable fuzziness between the values of the real and the imitation.”

The carefully tended history also stirred criticism, particularly as social history, with its emphasis on ordinary people and marginalized groups, surged in the academy.

In the 1770s, more than half of the town’s 1,800 residents were Black, though visitors to the modern-day recreation would not always have known it. . . .

“True” is a word heard often at Williamsburg, where interpreters—including one portraying Oconostota, an 18th-century Cherokee diplomat who came to Williamsburg in 1777—regularly break character to explain the evidence behind their stories.

The foundation’s audience research, Fleet said, indicates that showing your work helps built trust. “One of the most important things to do, particularly in this age of polarization, is to let them know how you know,” he said.

The First Baptist Church project exemplifies how Colonial Williamsburg’s storytelling is literally built from the ground up, and rooted in discoveries—and rediscoveries—on site. . . .

The full article is available here»


Summer Seminar | Material Religion in Early America

Posted in graduate students, on site, opportunities by Editor on April 9, 2023

From the American Antiquarian Society:

Material Religion: Objects, Images, Books
2023 CHAViC-PHBAC Summer Seminar
American Antiquarian Society, Worcester‭, ‬Massachusetts‭, 25–30 June 2023

Led by Christopher Allison and Sonia Hazard

Applications due by 17 April 2023

Scholars of religion have taken a material turn, delving into the study of images, objects, monuments, buildings, books, spaces, performances, and sounds. What do these inquiries look like in the context of early America, and how did religious materialities shape early American worlds? The goal of this seminar is to explore this area’s exciting archives, theories, and methods, enabling participants to bring together religion and materiality in their own work in fresh ways.

The American Antiquarian Society provides an exceptional site for hands-on inquiries into the material worlds of early American religions. Collections at AAS furnish materials relating to religion before 1900 in North America, including Islam, Judaism, Mormonism, Catholicism, Protestantism, metaphysical religions, African-inspired religions, South Asian religions, and civil religion as well as collections that support studying religious hybridity and forms of Christianity as practiced in Hawaiian, Caribbean, and Indigenous nations and groups.

Topics will include lived religion, materialisms (old and new), sensory culture, books as objects, animisms and animacies, iconoclasm, visual piety, the ontological turn, residual transcription, and sacred objects in archival contexts. ‬The seminar will be held from Sunday‭, ‬June 25‭, ‬through Friday‭, ‬June 30‭, ‬2023‭, ‬at the American Antiquarian Society in Worcester‭, ‬Massachusetts‭. ‬Co-leaders for the seminar will be Chris Allison and Sonia Hazard. ‬Guest speakers will include Solimar Otero‭‭, Professor of Folklore and Ethnomusicology, Indiana University, Bloomington and Anthony Trujillo, doctoral candidate in American Studies, Harvard University.

Participation is intended for faculty, museum and library professionals, and graduate students. It welcomes researchers across fields such as art history, religious studies, history, anthropology, American studies, music, and literature. It is co-sponsored by the Center for Historic American Visual Culture (CHAViC) and the Program in the History of the Book in American Culture (PHBAC).

The format of the seminar will be select readings, highly interactive seminar discussion, collections explorations and archival sessions, individual research time with the collection, and site visits to notable collections and religious sites in the area, including the Worcester Art Museum, burial grounds, and sacred sites. The syllabus is available online. Information on access to the readings will be emailed to students.

Tuition for the seminar is $600, which includes lunch each day and some evening meals. Some financial aid is available for graduate students. The cost of housing is not included in the tuition fee. Housing is available at two nearby hotels.

Sonia Hazard is Assistant Professor of Religion at Florida State University. Her book, Building Evangelical America: How the American Tract Society Laid the Groundwork for a Religious Revolution, is forthcoming from Oxford University Press. She did her graduate work at Harvard Divinity School and Duke University.
Christopher Allison is Director of the McGreal Center for Dominican Historical Studies, Department of History, Dominican University. He is the author of the forthcoming book, Protestant Relics: Capturing the Sacred Body in Early America, under contract with the University of Chicago Press. He did his graduate work at Yale Divinity School and Harvard University.

Guest Speakers
Solimar Otero is Professor of Folklore and Ethnomusicology at Indiana University, Bloomington. She is the author of Archives of Conjure: Stories of the Dead in Afrolatinx Cultures (Columbia University Press, 2020).
Anthony Trujillo is a doctoral candidate in American Studies at Harvard University. He works at the confluence of Native American and Indigenous studies, history, religious studies, anthropology, and the arts.

Masterclass in Palermo | European Collectors as Patrons

Posted in on site, opportunities by Editor on March 27, 2023

Photograph of the Palazzo Butera with a view of the sea to the right.

The oldest portions of the Palazzo Butera date to the early eighteenth century, when the Duke of Branciforti constructed a grand house according to designs produced by the Palermo architect Giacomo Amato. In 1759, fire destroyed a portion of the palazzo. Prince Butera responded by acquiring the adjacent property and rebuilding, doubling the size of the Palazzo Butera. More information is available here»

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From ArtHist.net and the Palazzo Butera:

Masterclass in Palermo: European Collectors as Patrons
Palazzo Butera, Palermo, 28–30 June 2023

Applications due by 30 April 2023

European Collectors as Patrons is a three-day masterclass based in Palermo, Sicily focused on how patronage supports and defends artistic and cultural activity. Bertrand du Vignaud and Claudio Gulli will outline how over the last three centuries a range of historical and current European patrons have advocated for art and culture by building their own private collections. These individuals have contributed both to social progress and urban development. Examples will include the Roman Cardinals Alessandro Albani and Pietro Ottoboni, along with the English amateur-architects Lord Burlington and Sir John Soane, and the Spanish Count Alexandre Aguado. From more recent history, we will consider Harry Kessler, Vittorio Cini, and Calouste Gulbenkian. Professors Andrea Rurale and Piergiacomo Mion, of the SDA Bocconi School of Management, will discuss the economic longevity and long-term impact of these enterprises.

During these three days, lectures will take place at Palazzo Butera, and visits across the city will include both well-known and lesser known places. In the evenings, private dinners have been arranged in historic houses and other places of significant cultural importance. The dinners are designed as an integral part of the masterclass allowing for a greater depth of understanding. They also offer time for discussion and reflection on the days’ experiences and learning.

The use of Palazzo Butera as host to this masterclass is intentional as it represents a fine example of the sort of enlightened patronage being discussed. This eighteenth-century seafront palace, once the home of the Branciforti family, was purchased by Francesca and Massimo Valsecchi in 2016. The new owners privately undertook a complete restoration of the building and have transferred their art collection to the palazzo. Since the 1960s the Valsecchi’s collecting has been guided by a fascination in cultural exchanges and the cross-pollination of ideas. Assembled quietly over decades of intense research, the collection opened to the public in the spring of 2021. The main works in the collection arrived in Palermo after long-term loans to the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge and the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford (2016–2020).

Classes will be held in English. The course fee, excluding dinners, is €350; including dinners, the cost is €700. It is possible to receive a grant to cover €350 (applicants will be selected by Bertrand du Vignaud and Claudio Gulli). Lunch is included in the price, except on June 29, when lunch will take place at Villa Tasca. Registration is open to anybody, there is no age limit, and an educational qualification is not a requirement. To register, please send an email to info@palazzobutera.it. For those applying for a grant, please include your CV and a personal statement. We also advise staying in Palermo, if possible, some days prior to or after the course, so as to visit the city’s main points of interest.

W E D N E S D A Y ,  2 8  J U N E  2 0 2 3

10.00  Visit to the Francesca and Massimo Valsecchi Collection

12.00  Meet with Francesca and Massimo Valsecchi

15.00  Lecture by Bertrand du Vignaud and Claudio Gulli — European Collectors as Patrons, Part 1

18.30  Visit to the Chiaramonte Bordonaro Collection

Dinner at Villa Chiaramonte Bordonaro (optional)

T H U R S D A Y ,  2 9  J U N E  2 0 2 3

10.00  Visit to Villa Tasca

15.00  Lecture by Bertrand du Vignaud and Claudio Gulli — European Collectors as Patrons, Part 2

19.00  Visit to Palazzo Mazzarino

Dinner at Palazzo Mazzarino (optional)

F R I D A Y ,  3 0  J U N E  2 0 2 3

10.00  Lecture by Bertrand du Vignaud — Heritage at Risk

11.00  Lecture by Andrea Rurale — Art Orientation vs Market Orientation

12.00  Lecture by Piergiacomo Mion — A New Model for Cultural Business: Key Issues Faced by Art Managers

15.00  The Financing of Restorations, Museums, and Heritage. Attended by Bertrand du Vignaud, Claudio Gulli, Andrea Rurale, and Piergiacomo Mion (open to the public)

16.15  Walking Tour of Palermo’s Historical Center: Restored Churches and Churches To Be Restored, curated by Claudio Gulli

17.30  Gallery of Francesco Pantaleone

18.15  Meeting with Alexandre Giquello and Cocktails


Villa Chiaramonte Bordonaro alle Croci

In 1892, Ernesto Basile designs an extension for Gabriele Chiarmonte Bordonaro’s (1835–1914) villa to house his art collection. Assembled at the end of the 19th century, it included works by Giotto, Botticelli, and Van Dyck. Today you can still see many of these works here, even though the collection was divided in three parts in 1950.

Villa Tasca

The origins of Villa Tasca date from the 16th century, though it was restored with its current decorations beginning in 1855. It has since been called the ‘Villa Borghese of Palermo’ because of the eight hectares of surrounding park, preserved to this day. It includes a swan lake and a temple to Ceres. Richard Wagner was a long-time guest of the villa and during his stay in Palermo wrote much of Parsifal. The park opened to the public in 2020. The visit will be guided by Giuseppe Tasca owner and CEO of Villa Tasca.

Palazzo Mazzarino

Within walking distance of Teatro Massimo, Palazzo Mazzarino, belongs to Marquis Berlingieri. Historically it has been one of the city’s most important palazzi, because of its links to the Lanza family. In the Minerva Hall, where a sculpture of Valerio Villareale towers, you will also find butterfly paintings by Damien Hirst. The palazzo is a showcase for this type of cross-pollination between new and old. The visit will be guided by Marialda Berlingeri.


Contemporary art gallery founded in Palermo by Francesco Pantaleone in 2003, located at the Quattro Canti.

House of Alexandre Giquello

Alexandre Giquello is co-owner of the Parisian auction house Binoche-Giquello and president of Drouot. He owns an apartment in Palermo at the Quattro Canti.


Art historian Bertrand du Vignaud has been Chairman of Christie’s Monaco and Vice-Président of Christie’s France. Passionate about the safeguarding the world cultural heritage, he has been President of the World Monuments Fund organisations for Europe, France, and Italy. Currently, he advises the Fondation Evergète in Geneva and is the scientific advisor of Dassault Histoire et Patrimoine in France and is the President of the Comité International des Amis de la Bibliothèque Vaticane in Rome. For more than 40 years, he has launched numerous projects to save and restore masterpieces of cultural heritage in danger or in urgent need of work around the world: from baroque churches in Peru, Brazil, and Austria, to the Queens’ Theatre at Trianon, from the Carracci Gallery in Rome to the Palace of Dario in Persepolis; the most original and iconic of these was the reinstallation of the spectacular decors of an 18th-century mansion, the Hôtel de Voyer d’Argenson, or Chancellerie d’Orléans, in Paris. He is also a great nephew of the painter Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, and through his writing and lectures, works to make the little-know aspects of this artist’s life better known to the public. His last book, Les Thellusson. was published in French and English by In Fine in 2021 and is dedicated to an important European family of collectors and art patrons.

Claudio Gulli was born in Palermo in 1987. He read History of Art at the Università degli Studi di Siena and gained his PhD at the Scuola Normale Superiore in Pisa, with a thesis on the late-nineteenth century Chiaramonte Bordonaro collection (published by Officina Libraria in 2021). Between 2009 and 2011, he worked in the Paintings Department of the Louvre Museum in Paris, where his contributions to the research on Leonardo da Vinci focused on the literary popularity of the master’s Saint John the Baptist (2009) and Saint Anne (2011). He is involved in the project of Palazzo Butera in Palermo, where he is now director, since the acquisition of the building by Francesca and Massimo Valsecchi

Andrea Rurale is a Lecturer at the Department of Marketing at Università Bocconi. At SDA Bocconi, he is the Director of the Master in Arts Management and Administration (MAMA). He has conducted research and education projects with major enterprises. His research activities focus on cultural marketing, consumer behaviour, experiential marketing, CRM, and marketing communication. He is the author of books and articles on his topics of interest. His works have been published in Psychology and Marketing. He has been a Visiting Professor in many international universities, including Simon Fraser in Vancouver (Canada), Tinsgua University in Beijing (China), SMU in Dallas (USA), UTS in Sydney (Australia), and Universidad de Aguascalientes (Mexico). He is President of the Istituto musicale superiore Monteverdi Conservatory in Cremona. Andrea earned a degree from Università Bocconi and a PhD in Marketing from Universitat de València. He is President of the Lombardy Delegation of FAI – Fondo Ambiente Italiano.

Piergiacomo Mion Dalle Carbonare is SDA Junior Lecturer of the Government, Health and Non-Profit Division and Coordinator of the Master in Arts Management and Administration (MAMA) at SDA Bocconi School of Management. He is Deputy Director of the Master of Science in Economics and Management for Arts, Culture, Media, and Entertainment (ACME) at Bocconi University where he also teaches courses related to Cultural Policies, Public Management, and Territorial Marketing. He holds a PhD in Marketing from the University of Valencia. He has been visiting scholar at SMU Dallas. Piergiacomo is also Head of the Milan Delegation of FAI – Fondo Ambiente Italiano.

Online Talk | Beckfords and the Transatlantic Slave Trade

Posted in books, on site, online learning, today in light of the 18th century by Editor on March 13, 2023

From The Salisbury Museum and Eventbrite:

Amy Frost, The Beckfords and the Transatlantic Slave Trade
Online, Thursday, 16 March 2023, 7.30pm (GMT)

Beckford’s Tower, 1826–27 (photo by Tom Burrows).

From the purchase of Fonthill in Wiltshire by William Beckford in 1744 to the death of his son in Bath 100 years later, the social advancements and retreats of the Beckford family relied upon the profits of transatlantic slavery. This talk will explore the extensive collecting and architectural creations of the Beckfords, and highlight how they were made possible by a vast fortune built from the stolen labour of thousands of enslaved Africans. This is a fundraising talk for The Salisbury Museum: £12 (£9 members).

Dr Amy Frost is an expert on the life and work of William Beckford and curator of Beckford’s Tower in Bath.

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Press release (7 March 2023) from the Bath Preservation Trust:

Alex Wheatle and State of Trust Join Forces with Beckford’s Tower

As part of the ‘Our Tower’ regeneration plan, Beckford’s Tower and State of Trust join forces with author Alex Wheatle to deliver interpretive dance performance of Wheatle’s prize-winning 2020 novel Cane Warriors.

book coverCane Warriors tells the story of Tacky’s Rebellion, an uprising of Akan people fighting for their freedom that took place in Jamaica in 1760, and included enslaved people on a plantation owned by the Beckford family. The new project will put a spotlight on the link between the Beckford family and the rebellion and engage with a wide cross section of people in the process, particularly young people in the community and online, in order to develop an interpretive dance performance of the novel. The research and development will build a team of exceptional performers. New choreography, music, photography, and film will be created, and there will also be a virtual gallery and film archive for future use.

The resulting performances will take place in March 2024. Beckford’s Tower will host one performance, with the other two to be held in other Bath and Bristol venues. The new production has been supported by The National Lottery Heritage Fund, thanks to money raised by National Lottery players.

The performance, which will be filmed for posterity, will encourage attendees to engage with one of the most troubling aspects of William Beckford’s legacy: his claiming in ownership enslaved people, which funded his lifestyle and his vast collections. The aim is to build awareness around the effects of enslavement and colonialism on the culture and psyche of modern Britain and improve community relations through greater understanding of the shared history.

Built between 1826 and 1827, Beckford’s Tower was intended to house the collections of books, furniture, and art that were owned by William Beckford, whose wealth was gained from his ownership of plantations and enslaved people in Jamaica. Beckford would ride up to the Tower from his townhouse in Bath’s Lansdown Crescent every morning before breakfast, and enjoyed its solitude and the panoramic views from the Belvedere at the top.

Today Beckford’s Tower is owned and run by Beckford Tower Trust, part of Bath Preservation Trust. The landmark is a Grade 1 listed monument and is the only museum in the world dedicated to the life and work of William Beckford. In 2019, the Tower was added to the National ‘At Risk’ Register, sparking a major project to raise the necessary funds to repair and restore the Tower, transform the museum, open up the landscape and create opportunities for volunteering, formal learning and community engagement. In 2022, thanks to a £3million grant from The National Lottery Heritage Fund, the fundraising target of £3.9 million was reached. £480,000 of partnership funding had already been secured, with support from Historic England, Garfield Weston Foundation, The Medlock Charitable Trust, Historic Houses Foundation, Pilgrim Trust, and several other organisations, as well as £50,000 in public donations. This second grant of £100,000 will enable Beckford’s Tower to deliver the Cane Warriors project, which will compliment the wider work taking place at the Tower.

State of Trust Cane Warriors Meeting

Commenting on the new project, Director of Museums Claire Dixon said: “One of our main priorities at Beckford’s Tower is to ensure the transparent and sensitive portrayal of William Beckford’s troubling legacy; as his building and collecting was funded through his ownership of plantations it is vital that this is made clear in the regeneration of the Tower and its new exhibition. We approached State of Trust owing to their reputation for delivering powerful performances that tackle challenging social themes, and we look forward to working with them on this exciting project. It will enable us to explore more creative and artistic events, engage new and more diverse audiences, and embed this approach in the new museum programme when it opens in 2024. I would like to thank The National Lottery Heritage Fund and National Lottery players for their support in helping us to fully contextualise and reconfigure the story of Beckford’s Tower for a modern-day audience.”

Deborah Baddoo MBE and Steve Marshall, the Directors at State of Trust and State of Emergency Limited, said: “We are delighted that Heritage Lottery has agreed to fund the R&D phase of Cane Warriors. When Alex Wheatle first approached us, nearly three years ago, with a view to our making a dance interpretation of his novel, we didn’t realise what an uphill struggle it would be to achieve funding. Thanks to Bath Preservation Trust, and the synergy between the story and the history of Beckford’s Tower, we are now able to start working on what we believe will be an important work of African contemporary dance theatre. This production will allow us to pursue a long-term artistic vision, which began with the foundation of State of Emergency Limited in 1986, and to hone our skills as directors and performers. For us Cane Warriors is the natural progression of all that has gone before. Working alongside the history of Beckford’s Tower, this project can make the connection between historic buildings in our local communities and the transatlantic slave trade, and reveal their hidden histories. We feel it is very important to reach and engage with people, particularly young people, on this subject, and through a range of activities, including workshops in schools, and online events, we know we can make a difference. Through the media of dance, music, and film, we aim to bring the story to life, to animate history in a way that is relevant and impactful to our contemporary lives, to get beyond the facts and to achieve a level of understanding and truth.”

author headshot

Alex Wheatle MBE

Alex Wheatle MBE, author of Cane Warriors, said: “The real story of Chief Tacky’s rebellion has been passed down through generations of my mother’s family who resided in Richmond, St Mary’s parish in Jamaica—very close to the plantations where Chief Tacky and his Cane Warriors toiled and planned their Easter rebellion in 1760. I was simply compelled to relate this story to the wider world, and I’m very proud that State of Emergency will tell the story in the art form of dance. Indeed, the Cane Warriors will be honoured.”

Stuart McLeod, Director England – London & South at The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: “Inclusive heritage is very important to us at The National Lottery Heritage Fund which is why we are proud to support projects that engage people with the complexity of our history. This project will help broaden everyone’s understanding of Beckford and tell his story and its significance to Bath. Our history can teach us a great deal about ourselves and who we want to be, and we encourage people to explore, understand, and learn from it.”

Conference | Rethinking British and European Romanticisms

Posted in conferences (to attend), on site by Editor on March 4, 2023

From ArtHist.net and Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena:

Rethinking British and European Romanticisms in Transnational Dimensions
Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena, Rosensäle, 28–30 March 2023

Organized by Elisabeth Ansel, Johannes Grave, Richard Johns, Christin Neubauer, and Elizabeth Prettejohn

Watercolor with a steamboat painted in the lower left-hand corner, and a blue storm moving across the center of the sheet toward the right.

J.M.W. Turner, A Paddle-steamer in a Storm, ca. 1841, watercolor, graphite, and scratching out on medium, slightly textured, cream wove paper (New Haven: Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection, B1977.14.4717).

The workshop is a first-time cooperation between the History of Art Departments of the University of York and the Friedrich Schiller University Jena. Considering the institution’s main research areas, the event aims to discuss the different concepts of Europe present in the art and culture of Romanticism.

In recent years, national tendencies have challenged the European idea, exemplified by the wake of Brexit and its aftermath. In this context, the question arises to what extent European and national identity concepts can be reconciled. Today’s debate between Britain and Europe still roots in the divergent notions of national identity that manifested in several European countries in the 1800s. This workshop, therefore, addresses the relationship between visual images and constructions of nationality and questions how European Romanticism can be understood. In contrast to literary studies, investigating transnational transfer processes of Romantic movements has been a desideratum in art historical research. Considering transcultural methods, the participants will reflect national patterns of thought and Romantic identities not as fixed but as processual and hybrid phenomena within the framework of the binational exchange. Based on individual case studies, the event aims to reevaluate the complex interplay of alterity and reciprocity of the relations between cultural spaces. For questions or more information, please contact, europaeischeromantik@uni-jena.de.

Funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation)

T U E S D A Y ,  2 8  M A R C H  2 0 2 3

9.00  Welcome and Introduction — Elisabeth Ansel and Christin Neubauer

9.30  Introductory Lecture
• Johannes Grave (Jena) — Romantic Temporalities

10.15  Early Romantic Relations
• Johannes Rößler (Jena) — Towards a Modern Theory of Illustration: August Wilhelm Schlegel on John Flaxman
• Tilman Schreiber (Jena) — Gavin Hamilton and the Aesthetics of Dilettantism

12.15  Transcultural Romanticism and Peripheries
• Helena Cox (York) — Bohemian Romanticism

13.00  Lunch

14.30  Transcultural Romanticism and Peripheries, continued
• Elisabeth Ansel (Jena) — Visual Ossianism: Artistic Circulations, Transculturality, and Romanticism
• Rhian Addison (York) — George Morland’s ‘Emblematic Palette’: The Afterlives of Self-Fashioning Landscape Artist
• Lars Zieke (Jena) — Becoming Watteau: Artistic Self-Definition and Painted Art Theory in Turner’s Watteau Study by Fresnoy’s Rules

17.15  Evening Lecture
• Richard Johns (York) — Art of the Living Dead

20.00  Dinner

W E D N E S D A Y ,  2 9  M A R C H  2 0 2 3

9.15  Greeting

9.30  Aesthetic Discourses and Translation Processes
• Sonja Scherbaum (Jena) — ‘Great Beyond All Comparison’: The Sublime as a Comparative Aesthetic Experience
• Miguel Gaete Caceres (York) — The German Picturesque: Between a (British) Landscape Aesthetic Category, a Scientific Method, and a Racial Label

11.00  Coffee

11.30  Origins and Afterlives
• David Grube-Palzer (Jena) — Copy and Self-Repetition in the Age of Genius: Using the Example of Caspar David Friedrich
• Sammi Lukic-Scott (York) — Images into Objects: Reproductions and Translations

13.00  Lunch

14.30  Romanticism in the Context of New Turns
• Marte Stinis (York) — Depicting Romantic Music-Making
• Mira Claire Zadrozny (Jena) — European Romantic Ruins? The ‘Architectural Uncanny’ in Nineteenth-Century French and British Landscape Painting
• Caitlin Doley (York) — Venerable Vulnerability? Violence against Animals in Romantic Artwork

18.30  Reception at Schillers Gartenhaus, home of the poet, ca. 1800

T H U R S D A Y ,  3 0  M A R C H  2 0 2 3

9.15  Greeting

9.30  The Late Romantics
• Nicholas Dunn-McAfee (York) — Breath, Flesh, Warmth: The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood’s Immortal Keats
• Kayleigh Williams (York) — Picturing John Keats
• Christin Neubauer (Jena) — The Romantic Embodiment in Pre-Raphaelite Visual Art

12.15  Concluding Discussion

Afternoon Field Trip to Weimar

14.30  Graphische Sammlung, Vulpius-Galerie, Herzogin Anna Amalia Bibliothek

18.00  Goethes Wohnhaus, Goethe’s home from 1782 until his death in 1832

20.00  End of Workshop

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View into the oval hall of the Anna Amalia Library.

Herzogin Anna Amalia Bibliothek, Rokokosaal (Photo by Maik Schuck).

The Herzogin Anna Amalia Bibliothek in Weimar was named in 1991 for Anna Amalia who in the 1760s moved the ducal book collection to the newly constructed Rococo library—famous since then for its oval hall—within the Grünes Schloss (‘Green Palace’). The Vulpius Gallery honors Goethe’s wife, Christiane Vulpius, and brother-in-law, Christian August Vulpius, the latter having worked at the library from 1797 to 1826. Much of the library was destroyed by fire in 2004; it reopened in October 2007 following an $18million restoration. CH

Current Archaeology Awards, 2023

Posted in on site, the 18th century in the news by Editor on February 15, 2023

From the magazine Current Archaeology (with awards announced February 25) . . .

Current Archaeology has announced nominees for its fifteenth annual awards. The 2023 awards celebrate the projects and publications that made the pages of the magazine over the past 12 months, and the people judged to have made outstanding contributions to archaeology. These awards are voted for entirely by the public—there are no panels of judges—so we encouraged you to get involved and choose the projects, publications, and people you wanted to win.

Nominees appeared in the following categories:
• Archaeologist of the Year
• Book of the Year
• Research Project of the Year
• Rescue Project of the Year

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Campaign chest of abolitionist activist Thomas Clarkson, which included West African textiles and other objects that he used to argue against the slave trade. It was given to Wisbech & Fenland Museum in 1870 (Photo: Wisbech & Fenland Museum, Sarah Cousins).

Among the Nominees for Research Project of the Year:

From West Africa to Wisbech: Analysing 18th-Century Textiles in Thomas Clarkson’s Campaign Chest
Margarita Gleba (University of Padua), Malika Kraamer (University of Leicester), and Sarah Coleman (formerly Wisbech & Fenland Museum, now National Horseracing Museum), Current Archaeology, issue 383
Can the study of an abolitionist collection of West African textiles weave new threads into the story of cross-cultural contacts in the era of the Atlantic slave trade?

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Exterior view of the house.

Roger Morris, Marble Hill House, Twickenham, 1724–29. As noted at Wikipedia, “the compact design soon became famous and furnished a standard model for the Georgian English villa and for plantation houses in the American colonies.” Having opened in May 2022 following the restoration, Marble Hill House is currently closed for the winter, with plans to reopen in April.

Among the Nominees for Rescue Project of the Year:

Restoring Marble Hill: How Archaeology Helped Revive a Georgian Gem
English Heritage, Current Archaeology, issue 388
Ongoing restoration work at Marble Hill in Twickenham and recent investigations of its grounds have revealed the fabric of the Georgian building alongside the story of its owner, Henrietta Howard.

HMS Invincible: Excavating a Georgian Time Capsule
Daniel Pascoe / Bournemouth University, Current Archaeology, issue 389
Investigations of the wreck of HMS Invincible, which sank off Portsmouth in 1758, have shed illuminating light on what life was like on board this 18th-century warship, and within the Georgian Royal Navy.

Lessons from Canterbury: Saving Heritage with New Approaches to Urban Development
SAVE Britain’s Heritage, Current Archaeology, issue 389
SAVE Britain’s Heritage have recommended a more historically sympathetic approach to urban development in response to the scale and height of new buildings proposed for Canterbury’s city centre.


At Sotheby’s | From the Collection of Jacques Garcia

Posted in Art Market, on site by Editor on February 4, 2023

Salon-Tapisseries in the Château du Champ de Bataille
(Photo from Sotheby’s)

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Auction puffery is always interesting. The press release (via Art Daily) for the sale explains that Garcia’s “perfect knowledge of history is treasured by some of the greatest museums and institutions . . . [including] Versailles” and declares that the sale will “present the most important group of Sèvres ever to appear on the market.” We’re likely to hear a lot about it between now and May. [Note (added 22 May 2023) — Sale results are summarized in this press release, via Art Daily.]CH

At Auction: Jacques Garcia, Intemporel, Sale PF2361
Sotheby’s, Paris, 16 May 2023 (works on view in Paris, 11–15 May 2023)

Enfilade at Château du Champ-de-Bataille (Photo from Sotheby’s).

“The power of exceptional residences lies in the unforgettable feeling that stays with those who have visited them. As with all of Jacques Garcia’s creations, Champ de Bataille is one such memorable place. This setting leaves an indelible mark from the first visit, from the initial shock of its beauty to the awe when you realise the mammoth effort that has gone into its construction and renovation. Nowhere is Garcia’s mastery of atmosphere more evident.”  –Mario Tavella, Président of Sotheby’s France, Chairman of Sotheby’s Europe

On 16 May, 75 prestigious works of art—handpicked by French interior designer and collector Jacques Garcia from the project of a lifetime—will be offered at Sotheby’s in Paris. The proceeds will benefit Champ de Bataille, preserving its legacy for future generations. Garcia is the creative force behind many of the most lavish and opulent settings in the world—from the La Mamounia Hotel in Marrakech and Hotel Costes in Paris, to painstakingly decorated rooms in the Louvre and Versailles. Most recently in the limelight has been his Villa Elena in Noto, a magnificent Sicilian villa featured in the US series The White Lotus, a labour of love for Garcia who painstakingly restored the baroque interiors, which were destroyed by an earthquake in 1693.

In 1992, Garcia acquired the Château du Champ de Bataille, one of the most charming and inventive buildings of its kind, designed by Louis le Vau (the architect behind Versailles) and boasting the grandest private garden in Europe. By the late twentieth century, only two of the rooms were in usable condition; and so, began a titanic project of renovating the site spanning the next three decades and then opening its doors to the public.

The collection assembled by Jacques Garcia for the Champ de Bataille is a tribute to the finest decorative arts of the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, bringing together exceptional furniture, porcelain, and sculpture. Among the many masterworks are items that belonged to royalty and nobility—including Kings Louis XV and Louis XVI, Queens Marie Leszczynska and Marie-Antoinette, King William III and Queen Mary II, the Count of Provence, and the Dukes of Penthièvre and Lorraine. The selection continues into the 19th century with provenances including the Emperor Napoleon and dynastic collectors such as the Rothschilds.

The sale’s 75 lots will mark Garcia’s 75th birthday. Many pieces within the collection have a royal provenance, with Kings Louis XV and Louis XVI and Queens Marie Leszczynska and Marie-Antoinette among the previous owners (Photo from Sotheby’s).

The sale will offer several pieces of Neoclassical furniture crafted by prominent Parisian maker Georges Jacob and delivered for Queen Marie-Antoinette. These include two pairs of armchairs and a canapé thought to have been ordered for Marie-Antoinette’s Turkish Boudoir at Fontainebleau (each estimated at €400,000–600,000).

Among the most remarkable pieces is a console table by Parisian marchand-mercier and ébéniste Adam Weisweiler (estimated €1–2 million). The magnificent piece of furniture bears the hallmarks of the innovations towards the end of Louis XVI’s reign, bringing together precious materials such as Japanese lacquer and porcelain plates. The use of painted sheet metal, juxtaposed with the marble top, is unique in Weisweiler’s corpus, whilst paying homage to the work of his predecessor Martin Carlin.

A floral marquetry commode from the Louis XV period, attributed to Antoine-Robert Gaudreau (the principal supplier of furniture for the royal châteaux early in the reign of Louis XV), bears the mark of Louis XIV’s grandson, the Duke of Penthièvre (estimated at €400,000–700,000). Penthièvre was one of the wealthiest men of his day, living in the Château de Bizy in Normandy, which he partly decorated with furniture from the Marquise de Pompadour.

The sale also offers a daybed likely made for the wedding of Napoleon Bonaparte to Empress Marie-Louise in 1810 (estimated €100,000–200,000). Attributed to Jacob Desmalter, it follows the design from a drawing by French architects Percier and Fontaine and decorated with a medallion by Bertrand Andrieu (created to commemorate the marriage and associated Napoleon with a centuries-old dynasty).

A pair of cabinets, decorated with remarkable finesse with Japanese laquer and silver mounts from the Edo period (ca. 1640–80), hail from the collection of King William III and Queen Mary II of England (estimated €800,000–1,200,000). The decor reflects the strong Flemish and Dutch influences during their reign, as well as a penchant for East Asian elements.

The table service featured in the sale is decorated with images of 400 different birds after drawings by Buffon (Photo from Sotheby’s).

The sale will present the most important group of Sèvres ever to appear on the market. Among them is a pair of vases with Turkish-inspired decor from 1773, the compositions inspired by painter Jean-Baptiste Le Prince (estimated €200,000–300,000)—reflecting the contemporary craze of transposing fashionable artworks onto vases intended for the royal court. The collection also includes part of a table service with the Suddell family coat of arms, decorated with more than 400 different birds after the natural history drawings by Georges-Louis Le Clerc de Buffon, keeper of the Royal Garden in Paris (estimated €600,000– 1,000,000). Among the most spectacular of all is a pair of large ‘Lagrenée’ vases, with a vibrant purple background, dated 1797 (estimated €800,000– 1,200,000). Over its long history, this pair has belonged to a number of the most prestigious European collections: purchased at the Sèvres factory in December 1799 before being presented to King Charles IV of Spain in about 1800, acquired by Alexander Hamilton (the 10th Duke of Hamilton) in 1807–08, and passed on by descent to the 12th Duke of Hamilton, William Alexander Louis Stephen Douglas-Hamilton.

Recognised the world-over, Jacques Garcia has long been one of the most sought-after interior designers, reinventing himself with each project and dedicated to innovation through the bringing together of the classic and the modern. His influence is multi-faceted, spanning interior design, patronage of the arts, and technical and artistic advisor. Garcia was awarded the Legion of Honour in 1997, before being made a Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters in 2002, as well as the Knight of the Order of Agricultural Merit.

From the 1990s, Garcia has worked for major international hoteliers, from Barrière-Desseigne to Costes; his standout achievements include La Réserve in Paris (a 5-star palace voted as the best hotel in the world in 2017) and the mythic La Mamounia in Marrakech. His innate talent for matching styles and his perfect knowledge of history is treasured by some of the greatest museums and institutions, many of which have entrusted him with their spaces. These include the Musée de la Vie Romantique in Paris, the grand apartments of Versailles, and the rooms of François I at the Château de Chambord. He has also played the rôle of scenographer for several exhibitions, the most spectacular of which was a recreation of the throne room in Versailles’ Hall of Mirrors in 2007.

Château du Champ-de-Bataille, built 1653-65 (Photo from Sotheby’s).

An art lover from his childhood, Garcia is also an eminent collector, buying his first works at the age of 25. His erudition, curiosity, and encyclopedic knowledge of inventories, as well as an overriding quest for excellence, has enabled him to assemble the finest examples of art and antiques. In 1992, Garcia acquired the Château de Champ de Bataille and set about on the project of a lifetime, renovating the residence in the image of the Grand Siècle. Inspired by the Universal Exhibitions, he also populated the garden with multiple follies, bringing together influences from China and India.

Built in the 17th century, the Château du Champ de Bataille is one of the most beautiful estates in France. Its first proprietor, Count Alexandre de Créqui, was exiled from court and placed under house arrest by Cardinal Mazarin during the Fronde (a series of civil wars in France between 1648 and 1653). De Créqui set upon building this home on his land in Normandy to remind himself of the splendour of the French court.

The castle then passed through the hands of a number of different families, including several cousins of the noble Harcourt family, each of whom made profound changes. In the 19th century, the almost derelict castle even became a hospital and then a prison.

At the time that Jacques Garcia acquired the property, only two of the rooms had retained their original decor. Remaining true to the grand spirit of the 17th and 18th centuries, Garcia redesigned and restored all of the other rooms, acquiring a wealth of furniture, paintings, and works of art from great collections to furnish and bring the space to life.

Alongside the interiors, Garcia also completely recreated the gardens, with the assistance of master landscaper Patrick Pottier. The result is a marriage of a historic garden and a contemporary vision, drawing inspiration from ancient and philosophical themes. The garden presents several architectural follies, including the ‘Temple of Leda’ and the ancient theatre or ‘Pavillion of Dreams’ (inspired by Mughal India and furnished with original pieces from Indian palaces). Today, the Champ de Bataille estate—covering an area of 45 hectares—is the largest private park in Europe, its gardens recognised for their wonder by the French government.

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For more information on the house, see Jacques Garcia and Alain Stella, with photographs by Eric Sander, Jacques Garcia: Twenty Years of Passion: Chateau du Champ de Bataille (Paris: Flammarion, 2014), 400 pages, ISBN: 978-2080201690.

Dulwich Loans over 50 Paintings to Strawberry Hill

Posted in museums, on site by Editor on January 18, 2023

From the press release, via Art Daily and Richmond.gov.uk:

Interior view of Strawberry Hill House

The Tribune, Strawberry Hill House, with loans from Dulwich Picture Gallery (Photo by Matt Chung).

Over fifty Old Master paintings on long-term loan from Dulwich Picture Gallery—and a further eight works from a private English collection—have just gone on display at Strawberry Hill House, helping to recreate the atmosphere of how the house would have appeared over 250 years ago.

As part of an ambitious project—through acquisitions and loan agreements, including the partnership with Dulwich Picture Gallery—Strawberry Hill House, the remarkable former home of the writer, antiquarian, and politician, Horace Walpole (1717–1797) is endeavouring to return some of the 6000 objects from the collection that Walpole amassed during his lifetime and, where possible, to recreate the original atmosphere of the house, when the rooms were filled with fantastic works of art.

In 1842, following Walpole’s death, the contents of the house were dispersed in a famous auction, known as the Great Sale. Since then, it has been a long-held desire of the Strawberry Hill Trust to bring as many pieces possible back to the historic villa in Twickenham. Indeed, its efforts have recently seen the acquisitions of an extraordinary portrait of Catherine de Medici and a celebrated Chinese ceramic fish tub with a macabre past. This appetite to acquire original objects and to display contemporaneous artworks has helped to create an atmosphere that would be familiar to Walpole were he alive today.

Interior view of Strawberry Hill House.

Detail of the Tribune, Strawberry Hill House, with loans from Dulwich Picture Gallery (Photo by Matt Chung).

The relationship between Strawberry Hill House and Dulwich Picture Gallery began in 2011 with the long-term loan of the portrait of Dorothy, Viscountess Townshend, ca. 1718 by Charles Jervas. Dorothy Walpole (1628–1726) was the sister of Sir Robert Walpole, Horace’s father. This portrait of his great aunt now hangs in its original position in the Great Parlour, where Walpole displayed portraits of both his family and some of his closest friends.

Among the paintings from the latest loan is a set of twenty-six British monarchs, assembled by the founder of Dulwich College, Edward Alleyn. These include Henry VIII, ca. 1618; Queen Anne Boleyn, ca. 1618; and Queen Mary, ca. 1618. These royal portraits have been hung in the Holbein Chamber, reflecting Walpole’s passion for history and its protagonists, which also influenced the overall arrangement of the artworks throughout the house. As an antiquarian and writer possessed of a vivid imagination, Walpole had a deep interest in royal and historical figures, evident throughout his collection, as well as in the designs of the house itself. The ceiling in the Holbein Chamber is a copy of the Queen’s Dressing Room in Windsor Castle, while the one in the Library is decorated with heraldic emblems, mythical beasts, coats of arms, and images of mounted crusaders, all reflecting Walpole’s various interests in the medieval period.

Dr Silvia Davoli, Strawberry Hill House Curator says: “Our collaboration with Dulwich Picture Gallery offers us the unique opportunity to borrow a substantial number of paintings that are very similar in style, period, and schools to those once collected by Horace Walpole; and it is thanks to these artworks that the rooms of Strawberry Hill finally appear to us in all their glory, much as they did in Walpole’s time.”

Dyrham Park (NT) Acquires Painting of the Port of Bridgetown, Barbados

Posted in on site by Editor on December 17, 2022

A View of the Port of Bridgetown, Barbados with Extensive Shipping, Anglo-Dutch or Anglo-Flemish School, 1695–1715, oil on canvas, 112 × 282 cm (National Trust, Dyrham Park, acquired in 2022). The painting hung at Dyrham Park, the home of William Blathwayt (c.1649–1717), the leading colonial administrator of his age, in a house intended to project his colonially derived status and prestige.

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Rupert Goulding’s catalogue entry for the painting, an extract of which appears here, was prepared with assistance from Phillip Emanuel, Peter van der Merwe, Louis Nelson, and Gabriella de la Rosa.

This large panorama depicts Bridgetown, the principal port city of Barbados, the most prosperous English Caribbean colony of the early eighteenth century. It was an economy based on sugar—visible through the presence of wind-powered cane mills, warehouses, wharves, and ships—and the toil of enslaved Africans, who are notably absent from the scene.

Substantial in scale, the painting is amongst very few known paintings depicting Barbados from the early eighteenth century. [1] It shows the second largest city in the English colonies, after Boston, and the town before it was partially destroyed by fire in 1766. [2]

The view is landward, showing the town and harbour beneath green hills with sugar processing windmills. Three land defences are identified with flags: James Fort to the left, Willoughby Fort in the centre, and to the right at the end of Needham’s Point lies Charles Fort jutting into Carlisle Bay. The townscape includes wharfs, stores, houses, and some substantial buildings including the Nidhe Israel Synagogue (left of centre) and St Michael’s church (right of centre). There are small rowing boats aside the shore, but no people are represented. Within the harbour are multiple armed galleons or warships, most at anchor, and flying English flags except a single Spanish ship at the centre of the composition, identifiable by the Cross of Burgundy naval, mercantile, and colonial ensign. Several ships have numerous people standing on their decks depicted in simple silhouette form, with occasional flashes of colour to indicate hats and dress. Some of the ships appear to be firing cannon in salute; they may represent a Barbados-based naval squadron or warships protecting merchant convoys. Amongst them small boats move passengers and goods in bales and barrels.

The painting is by an unknown Anglo-Dutch or Anglo-Flemish School artist of the early eighteenth century. There is a possible association with an engraving by Johannes Kip (1653–1722) A Prospect of Bridgetown in Barbados, drawn by Samuel Copen in 1695, considered the earliest view of an English Caribbean colony, which offers a similar perspective and composition. [3] Little is known about Copen, who may be part of a Flemish ‘Coppens’ family of artists active at this date. It may be coincidental that Kip also engraved Dyrham Park for inclusion in Sir Robert Atkyn’s The Ancient and Present State of Glostershire (1712), with Kip’s fee paid by William Blathwayt. [4] . . . .

The full essay is available here»

Provenance: Likely acquired by William Blathwayt as Auditor General of Plantation Revenues; potentially listed in a sale catalogue of 1765 as ‘A View of a Sea Port, Large’ (Lot 14, Day 2), or related to ‘A View of a Sea Port with Carriages, Horses, and Figures, Bridge-town, Barbados’ (Lot 21, Day 2), or to ‘A Sea View, very large, with Shipping, also Figures’ (Lot 30, Day 3); by descent to Justin Blathwayt (1913–2005), who sold Dyrham Park to the Ministry of Works in 1956; Private Collection; purchased  in 2022 with support from the Art Fund, Arts Council England/V&A Purchase Grant Fund, a fund set up by the late Hon. Simon Sainsbury, and Mr John Maynard.

1. A picture was sold from Dyrham Park in 1765 with a similar description: A View of a Sea Port with Carriages, Horses, and Figures, Bridge-town, Barbados (Lot 21, Day 2); see the provenance above for other possible matches (it seems that not everything in the catalogue sold, and some items that did sell may have returned to the house later). A painting similar to the new acquisition—and of similar size—is in the Barbados Museum and Historical Society collection: Governor Robinson Going to Church, by an unknown early eighteenth-century artist, oil on canvas, 124 × 297 cm.
2. See Frederick Smith and Karl Watson, “Urbanity, Sociability, and Commercial Exchange in the Barbados Sugar Trade: A Comparative Colonial Archaeological Perspective on Bridgetown, Barbados in the Seventeenth Century,” International Journal of Historical Archaeology 13.1 (2009): 63–79.
3. Examples found within the Library of Congress and John Carter Brown Library at Brown University.
4. NT 452643.

Dr Rupert Goulding, FSA is Senior National Curator for Research, and the South West at the National Trust. He is the author of the guidebook William Blathwayt and Dyrham Park (National Trust, 2018); he co-edited (with David Taylor) the exhibition catalogue Prized Possessions: Dutch Paintings from National Trust Houses (National Trust, 2018); and he contributed a chapter to the collected volume Interim Report on the Connections between Colonialism and Properties Now in the Care of the National Trust, Including Links with Historic Slavery (National Trust, 2020). More recently, he co-authored, with Phillip Emanuel, “‘The Whole Story of the Cocoa’: Dyrham Park and the Painting and Planting of Chocolate in Jamaica,” Arts, Buildings, and Collections Bulletin (Autumn 2021): 5–9 (available for free download from the National Trust here); and, with Louis Nelson, the forthcoming essay “Cartography, Collecting, and the Construction of Empire at Dyrham Park,” in Global Goods and the Country House, c.1650–1800, edited by John Stobart (UCL Press, 2023). Rupert also serves on the editorial board for the National Trust’s Cultural Heritage Publishing.


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