Enfilade

Chawton House Appeal

Posted in on site, opportunities by Editor on November 10, 2017

From Chawton House Library:

We are launching an urgent, large-scale funding campaign to reimagine and enhance the manor house in Chawton that was as familiar to Jane Austen as her own village home.

We have ambitious plans for Jane Austen’s ‘Great House’ to reach its full potential as a major literary landmark. We want to expand our facilities to secure the house’s survival and provide an enhanced experience of the Chawton estate that was Jane Austen’s home throughout the final, productive years of her life.

We need your help to turn this vision into reality.

hen Jane’s brother Edward inherited the Chawton manor house from childless relatives, he offered a nearby cottage on the estate to his mother and two sisters.

Jane would spend the most productive years of her literary life there. She regularly came and went along the road between her cottage (now Jane Austen’s House Museum) to the Elizabethan property she called the ‘Great House’, where she dined with her family and happily ‘dawdled away’ much of her time.

The ‘Great House’ is now a fast developing visitor attraction complete with Austen family heirlooms, as well as a world-renowned research centre for early women’s writing. In 2018, the foundation that has funded us for many years is focusing its funding on other projects, and we are facing a shortfall of 65% of our income. We know Jane Austen’s ‘Great House’, should be a major historic literary landmark but it does not currently have the facilities to reach its full potential.

We have ambitious plans to create a cultural literary destination within the wider grounds of the ‘Great House’, offering larger and more extensive visitor facilities and providing an enhanced experience of the Chawton estate that was Jane Austen’s home throughout the final, productive years of her life.

The reimagining of Jane’s ‘Great House’ into a more recognised, commercially viable destination will help secure the house, the wider estate, and also our unique collection of early women’s writing and books we know Jane Austen read in her brother’s library. Our treasures include an original manuscript in Jane Austen’s own hand, first and early editions of all of her novels, and also works by important women writers who inspired her, and whom she inspired.

We need your help to turn this vision into reality. Please help see us through to the next chapter by donating to our appeal or by getting involved in our fundraising.

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Excavating the VOC ‘Rooswijk’, a 1740 Shipwreck

Posted in on site, the 18th century in the news by Editor on August 21, 2017

Pewter tankard found in the wreck of the Rooswijk, which sank in 1740
© Historic England/RCE

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As reported by AFP, via Art Daily (20 August 2017) . . .

Maritime archaeologists said Friday they have begun excavating the wreck of a Dutch ship that sank off the English coast in 1740, recovering leather shoes, silver and the bones of its lost crew. The Rooswijk, a Dutch East India Company ship, was on its way to what is now Jakarta when it went down with around 300 people and a large cargo of silver ingots and coinage aboard.

Following its discovery in 2005, most of the precious goods were removed, but a full excavation is now underway due to concerns it could be destroyed by shifting sands and currents.

Remains of some of the sailors who perished have been found preserved on the seabed 26 metres (85 feet) down, along with more coins, leather shoes, an oil lamp, glass bottles, pewter jugs and spoons, and ornately carved knife handles.

“It’s a snapshot of a moment in time,” said Alison James, a maritime archaeologist at Historic England, while one her colleagues said it was like “an underwater Pompeii.” . . .

The project is the largest of its scale on a ship from the Dutch East India Company [the VOC], which lost a total of 250 vessels to shipwreck—of which only a third have been located.

Reporting by Sarah Gibbens for National Geographic is available here»

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Exhibition | Stones Steeped in History

Posted in exhibitions, on site by Editor on August 13, 2017

GoMA and Royal Exchange Square taken from Grant Thornton offices on the 8th floor of 110 Queen Street. Photo by Jamie Simpson.

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Press release (9 August 2017) from GoMA:

Stones Steeped in History
Gallery of Modern Art, Glasgow, from August 2017

As Scotland’s most popular modern art gallery and one of the country’s top ten visitor attractions, the Gallery of Modern Art, Glasgow has opened a new display charting significant dates in the development of the site, together with important milestones in the cultural development of Glasgow. Stones Steeped in History tells the story from 1777, when the original building was commissioned as a mansion for tobacco merchant, William Cunninghame, until the present day. The permanent show will inform visitors of the history of the building and is also part of the city’s ambition to aid a deeper understanding of the role slavery played in the narrative of Glasgow. Images of beautiful old photographs, watercolours, and postcards complement nostalgic images of Glasgow throughout the years, which enhance the detailed timeline on display.

Stones Steeped in History begins with a brief account of the life of William Cunninghame and moves through times of great wealth, created by international trade. The building’s first commercial purpose was as a bank some forty years later, before becoming Glasgow’s Royal Exchange in 1827, where for over 100 years businessmen gathered to trade cotton, sugar, coal, and iron. Many, like Exchange founder James Ewing of Strathleven, owned or profited from the labour of enslaved people on the sugar and tobacco plantations in the American colonies and West Indies.

The display continues with innovations such as one of Glasgow’s first telephone exchanges, housed in the building from 1880 and records the iconic Duke of Wellington statue being erected outside in 1884. Glasgow Corporation purchased the building in 1954. Its first civic use was as a library, containing both the Stirling and Commercial Library collections. Stones Steeped in History then chronicles the building’s key role in Glasgow’s rise as a centre for art and culture, which began in the 1970s.

Chair of Glasgow Life, Councillor David McDonald, said: “We are pleased to open Stones Steeped in History and share a few of this historic building’s stories, including its undeniable ties to slavery. GoMA has been a home, a bank, an exchange, a library, and is now a respected gallery of modern and contemporary art. This building’s stones really are steeped in history. This exhibition records some of the key events in the cultural development of Glasgow. Importantly it continues to tell the story of Glasgow’s links to the slave trade, by providing a fuller appreciation of the part slavery played in the narrative of the city and how important that is not only to the past, but also to the future.”

Glasgow had a reputation as a tough city, but always running alongside this has been a history of innovation and creativity. In the 1970s, Glasgow City Council recognised how culture could be used to re-frame the city’s reputation. The first major project was the creation of a new museum to hold Sir William Burrell’s gift to the city—his collection of over 9,000 objects. The Burrell Collection opened in 1983, to international acclaim. The Garden Festival followed in 1988, attracting over 4 million visitors and in 1990 Glasgow won the title of European Capital of Culture, changing its cultural standing forever. Glasgow and the artists who have emerged from it are now acknowledged around the world and the city boasts one of the finest civic art collections in Europe.

The Mitchell Library opened in 1911, incorporating much of the book collection housed in the building. Stirling’s Library remained until work began on the Gallery of Modern Art in 1994. GoMA opened in 1996, under the leadership of then Director of Museums Julian Spalding. It had six galleries, five showing works from the permanent collection, with one for exhibitions. Spalding’s vision was quite radical—to display only works by living artists—but his selection of artists was met with dismay by the artistic community. Glasgow Museums’ current approach to collecting and commissioning is quite different and now focuses on building the collection and important social justice and human rights issues. Curators continue to collect and commission work by artists with a Glasgow connection. Visitors can see displays of local and international artworks from the collection as well as temporary exhibitions and artist events across the building’s four galleries. The basement is home to a library and café; there is a shop and artists workspace on the top floor.

Stones Steeped in History is located on two balconies across level 1 and 2 at GoMA. The display covers the period from when the first building appeared in the 1700s up to the opening of the Gallery of Modern Art in 1996. It highlights some of the significant dates and functions in the history of the venue, alongside some key points in the cultural development of Glasgow. It is open now. The exhibition was made possible thanks to the generous donations from the 3.1 million visitors who visit Glasgow Museums every year.

 

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Excavating the Burial Ground at St James’ Gardens in London

Posted in on site by Editor on June 26, 2017

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With thanks to Nick Grindle for noting this work:

St James’ Gardens—the former site of a late 18th- and 19th-century burial ground—will be excavated this summer in connection with the construction of Britain’s ‘High Speed 2′ (HS2) rail link from Euston to Birmingham, Manchester, and Leeds. The burial ground was used by the parish of St James’ Piccadilly, with the first recorded burial taking place in 1790. The burial ground was closed in 1853 and turned into public gardens in August 1887. Notable internees in St James’ Gardens include Lord George Gordon, Matthew Flinders, and the painter George Morland.

Wired reported on the project in September 2015.

More information on the archaeological work is available here»

 

 

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Bedford Square Festival, 2017

Posted in on site by Editor on June 23, 2017

From the Paul Mellon Centre:

Bedford Square Festival
London, 28 June — 1 July 2017

The Paul Mellon Centre is part of in the inaugural Bedford Square Festival taking place in and around the Square between 28th June and 1st July 2017.

Bedford Square Festival is a collaboration between five of the cultural institutions that reside on Bedford Square, Bloomsbury. In September of 2016, representatives from these institutions—Paul Mellon Centre, Architectural Association, Sotheby’s Institute of Art, Yale University Press, and New College of Humantities met to the discuss the idea of putting on a free collaborative event in the Square.

The aim was to work together to create a series of free events to promote the culture based around the Square whilst collaborating with each other to create a sense of community. We wanted to open the doors of the grand facades of the buildings in the Square and celebrate the themes that the Institutions are known for—Art, Publishing, Architecture, Culture, Education, Writing, and more.

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Lots of the events look fascinating, such as this one at Sotheby’s Institute of Art:

Kiddell Collection: An Object Handling Session with Elisabeth Bogdan
Sotheby’s Institute of Art, London 29 June 2017, 10am

This session is an introduction to the Kiddell Collection (also colloquially known as ‘The Black Museum’). The Collection is a fascinating accumulation of fakes, forgeries and reproductions that was built up over a number of decades by Sotheby’s Auction House former Director, Jim Kiddell, and now on permanent loan to Sotheby’s Institute. Originally formed as a pedagogic handling tool for auction house specialists, the Collection today continues to support student enquiry. Importantly, it also is of scholarly interest to specialists, scholars and collectors, who regularly use the Collection to further their knowledge, and who contribute to its evolving interpretation and authentication.

Lis Bogdan’s specialist teaching includes 18th- to 20th-century European and American design, decorative arts, and architectural history. Previously Lis was senior lecturer at Southampton Solent University, and has taught at Oxford Brookes University, the University of Wales Institute, Cardiff, and the Victoria and Albert Museum. Bogdan is a former Trustee of the Design History Society.

More information, including a full schedule, is available here»

 

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New Railings at Monticello

Posted in on site by Editor on May 9, 2017

As Gardiner Hallock explained last year on Monticello’s website, “Jefferson’s Terrace Railings to be Reconstructed” (3 March 2016),

The Chinese-inspired railings around Monticello’s terraces date to ca. 1940. After almost 80 years the elaborate wooden panels have weathered to the point where repairs are no longer feasible. While the existing railings will be missed, the project is an exciting opportunity to accurately reconstruct an important Jefferson-era feature. . .

Gil Schafer includes a photo (shown above from a screen shot) of the new railings via Instagram:

The new terrace railings at @tjmonticello, built to replicate Jefferson’s original design, in his original color, are finally complete. They replace the white Chippendale railings that had been there for decades, but actually not what Jefferson had designed and built there originally. As a board member who loved the old (but not authentic) design, it was a hard decision at first. But the truth of history must always prevail and I now love the Thomas Jefferson Foundation’s restoration of them. It allows the dependencies to visually separate from the house, which perhaps was Jefferson’s original idea in painting the railings green and making them distinct from those on the house itself.
#Monticello #thomasjefferson #gastonandwyatt #restoration

 

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Study Day | Owen Hopkins on Hawksmoor

Posted in on site by Editor on April 29, 2017

Study day arranged by Martin Randall Travel:

Owen Hopkins | Hawksmoor: The Six London Churches (LD296)
London and Greenwich, 16 May 2017

Christ Church Spitalfields (Hawksmoor), from Some London Churches, illustrated by G. M. Ellwood (1911).

From the West End to Greenwich by coach to see all six extant churches: St George’s Bloomsbury, St Mary Woolnoth, Christ Church Spitalfields, St George-in-the-East, St Anne’s Limehouse, and St Alfege. Also visit Thomas Archer’s contemporaneous St Paul’s Deptford. 9:20am to approximately 5:20pm; return to central London by river bus; from £210.

Nicholas Hawksmoor (1661–1736) dropped from public consciousness while Wren and Vanbrugh did not. In so far as he was known before the 20th century he was reviled for just those qualities which lead to passionate attachment to his creations now—boldness, massiveness, Baroque vigour, dissident classicism, and sculptural imagination.

Yet he is probably an even greater architect than his documented buildings show; it is highly likely that he is the author of some of the finer parts of buildings long attributed to others. He was Wren’s assistant for over twenty years and also collaborated with Vanbrugh. The Baroque flowering of Wren’s late works should probably be ascribed to Hawksmoor, while his professionalism and artistry were key to turning the soldier-playwright into a great architect.

Taken together, his greatest achievement remains the six London churches built in accordance with the 1711 Act of Parliament. This specified fifty new churches; only twelve were built, not least because Hawksmoor’s extravagant ambition absorbed an undue proportion of the funds. Remarkably, they all survive, though one is a (well-preserved) shell after the Blitz. The journey by coach takes in St George’s Bloomsbury, St Mary Woolnoth, Christ Church Spitalfields, St George-in-the-East Stepney, St Anne’s Limehouse, and St Alfege Greenwich. Thomas Archer’s contemporaneous St Paul’s Deptford is also included.

Owen Hopkins is Senior Curator of Exhibitions and Education at Sir John Soane’s Museum and former Architecture Programme Curator at the Royal Academy of Arts where his exhibitions included Urban Jigsaw, Mavericks: Breaking the Mould of British Architecture, and Nicholas Hawksmoor: Architect of the Imagination. He is author of four books including The Architecture and Afterlife of Nicholas Hawksmoor.

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Chatsworth House Acquires Bird’s Eye View of the Estate

Posted in on site by Editor on April 27, 2017

Jan Siberechts, A View of Chatsworth, ca. 1703; the painting is now on display at Chatsworth in the Green Satin Room
(Chatsworth House Trust)

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Press release, via Art Daily:

Visitors can now discover how Chatsworth appeared in the early eighteenth century thanks to the acquisition of an important major landscape painting giving a detailed bird’s eye view of the estate. The Directors of the Chatsworth House Trust announced the arrival of an important addition to the Devonshire Collection: A View of Chatsworth by Jan Siberechts, painted circa 1703. Until now a painting of the house and garden in the 1st Duke’s time was missing from the collection. This large scale, detailed painting is now on display at Chatsworth, with a series of landscape paintings of the house and garden detailing major changes through the past 400 years.

The Duke of Devonshire said, “I am extremely excited that this landscape has joined the Devonshire Collection. It will be of great interest to our visitors as it portrays on a grand scale a complete view of Chatsworth, house, garden and park as built and laid out by the 1st Duke and this enables us all to know so much more about Chatsworth at the very beginning of the eighteenth century.”

Jan Siberechts, A View of Chatsworth, ca. 1703 (Chatsworth House Trust).

This bird’s eye view of Chatsworth originally belonged to Admiral Edward Russell, later 1st Earl of Orford, a close friend and political colleague of the 1st and 2nd Dukes of Devonshire. It passed by descent to his great-niece Letitia Tipping who married the 1st Lord Sandys in 1725 and has remained in the Sandys family until now. Previously catalogued as by an unknown late seventeenth-century English artist, A View of Chatsworth has recently been reattributed by Omnia Art to Jan Siberechts, who specialised in painting bird’s eye views of English country houses in this period. Siberechts is known to have worked for the 1st Duke of Devonshire as payments to the artist are recorded in the Chatsworth archives, and a number of watercolours by Siberechts exist showing views of Derbyshire near Chatsworth.

His view of Beeley near Chatsworth of 1699, which shows the meeting of the rivers Derwent and Wye, is in The British Museum.

Chatsworth’s Curator of Fine Art, Charles Noble advised the Directors of the Chatsworth House Trust said, “I am absolutely thrilled to have been a part of this acquisition from a leading landscape artist working in England at the turn of the eighteenth century. It is of historical importance both in art and to Chatsworth.”

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Buckingham Palace Slated for £369Million Renovation

Posted in museums, on site by Editor on November 22, 2016

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Buckingham Palace, London. The East Front, originally constructed by Edward Blore and completed in 1850, acquired its present appearance following a remodeling in 1913 by Sir Aston Webb (Photo by David Iliff, April 2009, License: CC-BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons).

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As reported by Stephen Castle for The New York Times (19 November 2016) . . .

The boilers are shot, the water pipes sag, and the 60-year-old cabling is a fire hazard. Buckingham Palace, home to Queen Elizabeth II, may not exactly be falling down, but it badly needs refurbishing, the British government said on Friday, citing “a serious risk of fire, flood and damage.” Renovations on the building will start in April and will take a decade to complete, at a cost of £369 million ($456 million). The announcement adds to the list of prestigious structures in Britain that need work, including the crumbling Palace of Westminster, home of the British Parliament.

The building that would become Buckingham Palace was built in the early 1700s and became a royal residence when George III bought it in 1761. The queen carries out most of her official ceremonial and diplomatic duties as head of state in the palace. She would not have to move out while the work was in progress, officials said. . . .

The full article is available here»

Writing for The Guardian, Caroline Davies addresses in more detail the financial arrangements, including the controversies around spending £369 million in a time of austerity.

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London’s Blue Plaques Turn 150

Posted in anniversaries, on site by Editor on November 12, 2016

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From English Heritage:

London’s famous blue plaques link the people of the past with the buildings of the present. Now run by English Heritage, the London blue plaques scheme is thought to be the oldest of its kind in the world and celebrates its 150th anniversary this year. Across the capital over 900 plaques, on buildings humble and grand, honour the notable men and women who have lived or worked in them.

The official blue plaques app is now available to download for free for iPhone and Android. Use the app to follow guided walks around Soho and Kensington, or explore all of the 900 plaques by finding ones nearby and searching for your favourite figures from history. From Sylvia Pankhurst’s former home in Chelsea to Jimi Hendrix’s flat in Mayfair, let English Heritage’s blue plaques guide you through the streets of London. Download the free app now from the Apple App Store for iPhone or the Google Play Store for Android.

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Frank and Sue Ashworth have been making the Blue Plaques from their home since 1986; for photos, see The Daily Mail (2 May 2016).

Katie Engelhart recently wrote about the Blue Plaques for The New York Times (10 November 2016).

 

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