Enfilade

New Exhibitions at Monticello Include Life of Sally Hemings

Posted in museums, on site by Editor on June 17, 2018

Sarah Stockman reports on the Sally Hemings exhibition for The New York Times (16 June 2018), and the Monticello website now provides extensive information on Hemings. From the press release (7 June 2018) from Monticello:

On June 16, in conjunction with national Juneteenth events, Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello will welcome a gathering of descendants of enslaved families, commemorate 25 years of its Getting Word Oral History Project, and unveil new exhibits and restored spaces, including a groundbreaking exhibit on Sally Hemings.

The opening marks the conclusion of a five-year restoration initiative, known as The Mountaintop Project. Initiated by a transformational gift from David M. Rubenstein in 2013, the project has made possible a total of nearly 30 new restored or recreated spaces and exhibits. Iconic rooms, on every level of the house, received updated interpretation or were restored for the first time. On Mulberry Row, buildings were physically and virtually restored or reconstructed. Together, these spaces illuminate the stories of individuals and families, and reveal how the lives of the free and enslaved were interwoven.

“In Jefferson’s words, we ‘follow truth wherever it may lead,’” said Leslie Greene Bowman, president and CEO of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation. “This transformation of Monticello—made possible by decades of research, hundreds of descendants, and thousands of donors—brings forward a more honest, relevant, and inclusive view of our history.”

On June 16, six new exhibits and restored spaces will open for the first time, including:
The Life of Sally Hemings — an immersive digital exhibit, anchored in the South Wing where she once lived, that relies on the words of her son, Madison, to explore her life and legacy;
The Getting Word Oral History Project — an exhibit on the enslaved families of Monticello and their descendants;
Martha Wayles Skelton Jefferson — an exhibit which provides fresh insights into the life of Jefferson’s wife, located in the first building erected at Monticello;
The Granger-Hemings Kitchen — an exhibit on Monticello’s first kitchen and new archaeological discoveries that reveal the stories of enslaved cooks, Ursula Granger, James Hemings, and Peter Hemings;
The Dairy — a restored, period room where enslaved workers made cream, butter and soft cheese for the household; and
The Textile Workshop — a restored ca. 1775 structure featuring an exhibit about Mulberry Row and a room depicting the factory where enslaved women and children turned cotton, hemp, and wool into cloth for enslaved people and enterprise.

For years, visitors have learned about Sally Hemings on tours of Monticello. Now, for the first time, her story will have a dedicated physical space on the mountaintop.

“It represents a different chapter in public history at Monticello,” said Annette Gordon-Reed, author of The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family and professor of history at Harvard University. “It will have a ripple effect on the way people think about slavery on the mountain overall and that’s actually very exciting.”

To commemorate the occasion and celebrate 25 years of the Getting Word Oral History Project, Monticello is hosting a free public event and a gathering for descendants of enslaved families. The gathering is expected to be the largest reunion of descendants of enslaved families in modern history.

The Look Closer opening event will feature Pulitzer Prize-winning authors Annette Gordon-Reed and Jon Meacham, violinist Karen Briggs, patriotic philanthropist David M. Rubenstein, national policy analyst Melody Barnes, and more. Visitors will also have the opportunity to see a rare version of the Emancipation Proclamation, signed by Abraham Lincoln and generously loaned by David M. Rubenstein. It will be on view in the Robert H. and Clarice Smith Gallery at the David M. Rubenstein Visitor Center from June 11 through July 11, 2018.

Bedford Square Festival, 2018

Posted in lectures (to attend), on site by Editor on May 19, 2018

From the Paul Mellon Centre:

Bedford Square Festival: Share the Square
London, 4–7 July 2018

The Paul Mellon Centre is proud to be taking part in the Bedford Square Festival for the second year. Weaving together literature, art, architecture, history, film, theatre, and education, Share the Square is composed of more than forty free events taking place between July 4 and 7.

As its title suggests, this year’s theme aims to encourage greater engagement within the local community of Bloomsbury and beyond, with a focus on inspiring new creative collaborations between institutions, businesses, and individuals in this pocket of London. Bedford Square’s beautifully preserved Georgian buildings and garden are not usually open to the public, but this annual festival represents a chance for the Square’s residents to throw open their doors, revealing a fascinating enclave that is full of artistic and scientific knowledge, beautiful spaces, amazing stories and remarkable histories.

The Paul Mellon Centre will host over 15 events during the four-day festival. A full list is available here.

London History Day 2018 — 31 May 2018

Posted in lectures (to attend), on site by Editor on May 1, 2018

From Historic England:

London History Day 2018
31 May 2018

On Thursday 31 May 2018, more than 70 of London’s museums, galleries, and cultural spaces will open their doors to reveal special behind the scenes tours, rarely seen exhibits and one off events, celebrating the capital’s unique identity. 2018 is the year of courage, with many special events for London History Day touching on the pioneering spirit, heroism, initiative, and kindness layered in our history.

An example of programming as presented by the Mellon Centre:

Mark Hallett | The Suffering Soldier: Depictions of Courage in Eighteenth-Century British Art
Paul Mellon Centre, London, 31 May 2018, 12.30–14.00

The Paul Mellon Centre is taking part in London History Day by offering a special talk by the Director of the Centre, Mark Hallett. His lecture will focus on a few especially powerful examples of eighteenth-century British art to explore the ways in which artists dealt with, and depicted, the subject of courage. Mark Hallett, a leading authority on art in the Georgian period, will concentrate in particular on images of the heroic, tragic, and pitiful soldier, produced by artists as varied as John Singleton Copley, Benjamin West, and Joseph Wright of Derby. Doing so will reveal the very different ways in which courage could be conceptualised and represented during a century in which Britain was regularly at war. This talk is free and a light lunch is provided. Booking details are available here.

Newly Redeveloped RA Campus Opens on 19 May 2018

Posted in museums, on site by Editor on April 27, 2018

From the press release:

The Royal Academy of Arts, the world’s foremost artist and architect-led institution, will open its new campus to the public on Saturday 19 May 2018 as part of the celebrations of its 250th anniversary year. Following a transformational redevelopment, designed by internationally- acclaimed architect Sir David Chipperfield CBE RA and supported by the National Lottery, the new Royal Academy will open up and reveal more of the elements that make the RA unique—sharing with the public historic treasures from its Collection, the work of its Royal Academicians and the Royal Academy Schools, alongside its world-class exhibitions programme.

One of the most significant outcomes of the redevelopment is the link between Burlington House and Burlington Gardens, uniting the two-acre campus. This will provide 70% more space than the RA’s original Burlington House footprint, enabling the RA to expand its exhibition programme and to create new and free displays of art and architecture across the campus for visitors year-round. From dedicated galleries to surprising interventions, a dynamic series of changing exhibits and installations will present the living heritage of the Royal Academy; exploring its foundation and history in training artists as well as showcasing contemporary works by Royal Academicians and students at the RA Schools. To animate the displays, a new range of free tours, taster talks and object handling stations will be available to visitors.

Tacita Dean: LANDSCAPE (19 May — 12 August 2018) will inaugurate the new Gabrielle Jungels-Winkler Galleries in Burlington Gardens. With Art Fund support, the exhibition is part of an unprecedented collaboration with the National Portrait Gallery and the National Gallery in London. It will showcase the internationally-renowned visual artist and Royal Academician Tacita Dean who will explore the genre of landscape in its broadest sense: intimate collections of natural found objects, a mountainous blackboard drawing and a major new, two screen 35mm film installation, Antigone, that uses multiple exposures to combine places, people and seasons into the single cinematographic frame. Antigone was funded in part through the support of the Laurenz Foundation-Schaulager and its founder Maja Oeri; and VIA Art Fund.

The magnificent new Royal Academy Collection Gallery will present The Making of an Artist: The Great Tradition highlighting works from the RA Collection, including the Taddei Tondo by Michelangelo and the RA’s almost full-size sixteenth-century copy of Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper, along with paintings by Reynolds, Kauffman, Thornhill, Constable, Gainsborough, and Turner. Selected by the President of the Royal Academy, Christopher Le Brun, it will focus on the first sixty years of the RA, juxtaposing masterpieces from the RA’s teaching collection with Diploma Works by past Royal Academicians. The display of the RA Collection has been supported by the Blavatnik Family Foundation.

The Architecture Studio within The Dorfman Senate Rooms will provide a creative space that invites audience engagement with innovative and critical ideas on architecture and its intersection with the arts. It will open with Invisible Landscapes (19 May 2018 — March 2019), explored in three ‘Acts’ of immersive interventions looking at the impact and future of technology in people’s environments. In contrast, recently conserved historical architectural casts on display in The Dorfman Architecture Court will convey the history of teaching architecture: the tradition of learning to draw from casts of buildings.

Located at the entrance to the Weston Bridge, which connects Burlington Gardens into Burlington House, The Ronald and Rita McAulay Gallery will stage site-specific installations by Royal Academicians. The first major work will be Tips for a Good Life by Bob and Roberta Smith RA (September 2018 – September 2019), on the subject of gender in the history of the RA.

Moving through to Burlington House, visitors will arrive at the Weston Studio. Located within the heart of the Royal Academy Schools, the Weston Studio will bring the ethos and thinking of the RA Schools’ postgraduate programme to a changing contemporary series of two displays a year and projects developed by students and graduates. It will open with a group exhibition of works by first year students, revealing their rich use of subjects, approaches, methods, and materials.

Going back in time, The Vaults will exhibit The Making of an Artist: Learning to Draw a formidable selection of plaster casts from the early years of the RA Schools displayed together with works on paper from the RA’s teaching collection, illustrating the RA’s role in the teaching of art since the RA Schools’ foundation in 1769. Works will include anatomical casts and casts of antique sculptures, such as the Venus de Milo and Farnese Hercules, juxtaposed with recent works on related themes by RA Schools graduates. Works on paper include a special display From the Child to the President by John Everett Millais PRA, who aged 11 started in the RA Schools where he was known as ‘The Child’.

Further interventions in Burlington House will include:
• An impressive installation of three dimensional details from buildings designed by current architect Academicians, curated by Spencer de Grey RA, which will be displayed across a three-story vertical wall, an affirmation of British architecture both today and in the future.
• Yinka Shonibare’s Cheeky Little Astronomer, 2013, which will take pride of place in the sculpture niche outside the Grand Café.
An Allegory of Painting: A Project by Sarah Pickstone, which will feature two new wall and ceiling paintings by Sarah Pickstone (September 2018 – September 2019). A graduate of the RA Schools, she will celebrate the work of Angelica Kauffman RA, one of the two female founding members of the Academy.
• Already open to the public, Richard Deacon RA Selects presents his own selection of sculptures by Royal Academicians from the RA Collection, spanning over 200 years.

Alongside the transformation of the RA’s physical space, the first phase of a new online platform has launched to open up the RA Collection to be more accessible to audiences worldwide. Comprising paintings, sculptures, artists’ letters and books from the RA Collection, over 10,000 items have been newly digitised with the support of the National Lottery. The RA worked with Fabrique, the award-winning designers of the Rijksmuseum’s website.

 

Chatsworth Reopens after £33m Restoration

Posted in exhibitions, on site by Editor on March 26, 2018

Before and after restoration at Chatsworth, from Treasure House of England.

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Press release, via Art Daily (24 March 2018) . . .

Chatsworth Renewed: The House Past, Present, and Future
Chatsworth, 24 March — 21 October 2018

With its gold leaf and pale yellow stonework glinting in the spring sunshine, Chatsworth reopens on 24 March 2018 following the biggest restoration and conservation of the house, garden, and park since the 1820s. The 10-year long programme, costing more than £32m, sees Chatsworth restored to its full glory, inside and out. The Chatsworth Renewed exhibition, running between March and October, highlights the work of those involved in the restoration process. From rebuilding the Belvedere turrets to replacing vast tracts of lead on the roof, carving the tiniest details in stone using dentistry tools to replacing huge blocks in the walls, careful restoration of priceless artworks to the renovation of famous water features in the garden, over the last decade Chatsworth has been fully restored and made ready for the next century.

The Duke of Devonshire: “The level of forensic research, expertise, and craftsmanship applied by so many people has been absolutely inspiring. It has always been a thrilling moment to see the house come into view as you drive across the park and now that view has been made even more magical. With the years of blackened grime now removed from the stone, it looks truly magnificent.”

In 1981, the charitable Chatsworth House Trust was set up by the 11th Duke to ensure the long-term survival of the house and collection. Since 1949 the entrance money paid by more than 25 million visitors has made a vital contribution to the maintenance of the house and garden, and it is this income, rather than any public funding, that has enabled the current restoration works to be completed.

Visitors will also be able to see the artwork of Linder Sterling, artist-in-residence at Chatsworth and a Paul Hamlyn Foundation award winning artist.

Linder Sterling, Eidothea (left), 2017, and Latona, 2018 (right).

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Her Grace Land by Linder Sterling
Chatsworth, 24 March — 21 October 2018

Award-winning artist Linder Sterling (b. 1954) spent several months over winter 2017 immersing herself in the life of the Chatsworth Estate as the inaugural artist-in-residence. As well as creating a new image bank for future photo montages to take Chatsworth ‘out into the world’, some of the pieces created during her residency will go on display at Chatsworth. Her Grace Land features four installations exploring the female voice at Chatsworth in the centenary year of the Act of Representation.

N.B. — At the risk of puncturing the joke with an explanation, I would note that the former Duchess of Devonshire, Deborah Cavendish nee Mitford (1920–2014), was an ardent Elvis fan. CH

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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