Redwood Library and Athenaeum in Newport, Rhode Island, with Harrison’s Mirror mounted on the front pediment of the 1750 building, designed by Peter Harrison; the mirror was one element of the installation exhibition To Arrive Where We Started by Peter Eudenbach (July 2012 — July 2013).
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From Art Daily (17 February 2016) . . .
The Redwood Library and Athenaeum—a hybrid historic site, museum, rare book repository, and the oldest continuously operating lending library in America (1747)—has acquired a comprehensive collection of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century British architecture books and building manuals from the antiquarian bookseller Charles Wood. Comprising 53 titles, the collection deepens the Library’s already significant holdings of material devoted to early modern architecture and design, one of its cornerstone collecting areas. The acquisition was made possible by a grant from the B.H. Breslauer Foundation, as well as from donations from a number of local and national benefactors.
“By virtue of what the Redwood is—the country’s oldest public Neo-Classic structure and a touchstone of the nation’s architectural patrimony—we are duty bound to remain a center for the study of early American architecture,” said Benedict Leca, Executive Director of the Redwood Library. “This collection dovetails perfectly with our existing holdings, notably the Cary Collection of supremely rare eighteenth-century pattern books, and exemplifies our commitment to the scholarly interpretation of our own building and those of colonial Newport.”
Newport’s historic center of learning and a designated national landmark, the Redwood Library has been serving New England and beyond as a resource supporting the range of intellectual pursuit for nearly three hundred years. In a city especially known today as a hub of historic preservation, garden design and place making, the Redwood endures as a locus of research in these domains through a constellation of related collections, making this acquisition especially pertinent.
The Redwood’s Newport Collection, an indispensable trove when researching Newport and Aquidneck Island, comprises over 5,000 books and hundreds of archives and manuscripts. The Doris Duke Preservation Collection focuses on New England colonial and nineteenth-century architecture, with an emphasis on the preservation and restoration of both the exterior architectural structure, including windows, doors and moldings, and on interior decorative elements, such as wallpaper and textiles. The Dorrance Hamilton Gardening Collection currently holds over 500 titles of landscape architecture, classic ‘how-to’ guides by important historic designers, such as Geoffrey Jellicoe and Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown, as well as a number of discerning treatments of historic world gardens. The Cynthia Cary Collection, collected over decades by Mr. and Mrs. Guy Fairfax Cary, Sr., contains nearly 200 fifteenth- to mid-nineteenth-century English and continental pattern books of furniture, decoration, and ornament. All of these collections are a resource for scholars from all over the world, and continue to grow through the acquisition of primary works and authoritative scholarly titles.
“This outstanding collection is particularly noteworthy as it is a blend of builder’s manuals on one hand, and of illustrated, so-called gentlemen’s folios on the other,” specified Benedict Leca. “It gives us a window not only on period building techniques, but also on the diffusion of architectural knowledge, its styles and fashions, by way of some real rarities. The Scamozzi Mirror of Architecture, for example, was often used practically by builders and thus literally consumed; for this reason it rarely survives complete. Of appeal to the connoisseur rather than the builder is a very rare suite of nine copperplate engravings of Chinese lattice designs by William Halfpenny, with the only two other known copies at the British and Avery libraries.”
Further highlights from the collection include a number of rare manuals and pamphlets, including Henry Cook’s Patent artificial slate manufactory (1786), one of only three copies listed in the National Union Catalog (NUC); Abraham Fletcher’s The Universal Measurer (1766), one of only six copies on OCLC; and The Rudiments of Architecture or the Young Workman’s Instructor (1775), one of only two known copies, the Redwood’s having an eighteenth-century Boston provenance. The folios include a copy of the now scarce pattern book produced by Abraham Swan, The British architect or the builder’s treasury of stair-cases (1765?); and Christopher Wren Jr’s Parentalia: or memoirs of the family of Wrens (1750), an exceptional copy complete with the often-missing mezzotint frontis portrait of Wren.
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Exploring Lee Priory: A Child of Strawberry Hill
Taddington Manor, Taddington, Near Cutsdean, Gloucestershire, 1 March 2016
Organized by Peter Lindfield
This study day, based at Architectural Heritage, Taddington Manor, Gloucestershire, explores the architecture of James Wyatt (1746–1813), the most famous architect of late Georgian Britain. The day will feature talks by experts on the architecture, interiors and furniture by James Wyatt, including the development of his architecturally-aware Gothic style at Lee Priory, Kent, before his most famous house, Fonthill Abbey, Wiltshire.
The relationship between Lee Priory and the most famous Gothic Revival house in Georgian Britain, Horace Walpole’s Strawberry Hill, will also be addressed. The conservator who worked on Strawberry Hill and a second, previously unknown, room saved from Lee Priory before its demolition in 1953, will speak about Wyatt’s work.
The highlight of the day will be the close examination of the second surviving room from Lee Priory, the Library Ante-Chamber. This room is currently for sale and the study day offers perhaps the last chance to be able to get up close and examine, under the guidance of experts, one of the most exciting Wyatt-related discoveries of the recent past.
Registration (£25) includes lunch and refreshments at Taddington Manor. Please do not hesitate to get in contact with the organiser, Dr Peter N. Lindfield, at: email@example.com. At time of booking, please advise of dietary or access requirements. Tuesday, 1 March 2016 from 10:30 to 16:30.
Interior of the African Meeting House in Boston, completed in 1806,
as restored by Shawmut to its 1855 state.
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As noted at History of the Book at Harvard:
Freedom Rising: Reading, Writing, and Publishing Black Books
African Meeting House, Museum of African American History, Boston, 8 January 2015 — May 2016
The Museum of African American History’s Black Books exhibition and complementary programming examine historical and cultural implications of learning to read and write, as well as publishing the works of free and formerly enslaved African American voices. Free black communities from Boston and beyond began sharing books, newspapers, periodicals, poems, and other writings to advance campaigns for freedom from the Colonial period through the 19th century and for personal expression and enjoyment. These pioneering wordsmiths continue to inspire gifted writers to use their published works as agents for social change. To celebrate their passion for free speech and draw parallels across the ages, Black Books places 18th- and 19th-century African American authors from the Museum’s collection of rare books in dialogue with more contemporary works. The exhibit and programs feature a wide array of selected genres, including poetry, fiction, autobiography, medicine, military experience, sociology, and music. Lead partners: National Park Service, Boston African American National Historic Site and Suffolk University’s Mildred F. Sawyer Library, where the Museum’s book collection is housed.
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From a November 2011 press release, celebrating the restoration and reopening of the African Meeting House:
The African Meeting House, built and opened in 1806, is the oldest extant African American church building in the nation constructed primarily by free black artisans. Over more than 200 years, this three-story brick structure has served diverse communities in Boston, as a church, school, and vital meeting place in the 1800s, and a synagogue in the 20th century. In 1967, Sue Bailey Thurman, wife of the Rev. Dr. Howard Thurman, founded the Museum of African American History, which acquired the African Meeting House in 1972. This National Historic Landmark is the crown jewel in the Museum’s collection of historic sites on Boston’s Beacon Hill and Nantucket. . . .
The Museum of African American History is New England’s largest museum dedicated to preserving, conserving and accurately interpreting the contributions of people of African descent and those from Boston and across the nation who found common cause with them in the struggle for liberty, dignity, and justice for all. Founded in 1967 and opened in 1986, its Boston and Nantucket campuses feature two Black Heritage Trails and four historic sites; three are National Historic Landmarks. They tell the story of organized black communities from the Colonial Period through the 19th century. Exhibits, programs, and educational activities showcase the powerful history of individuals and families who worshipped, educated their children, debated the issues of the day, produced great art, organized politically, and advanced the cause of freedom through a strategic network of Northern coastal communities. . . .
Richard Samuel Coade, Belmont (Lyme Regis, Dorset), 1785, the home of Eleanor Coade; appropriately the house showcases the eponymous artificial stone she pioneered.
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The 2015 Georgian Group Architectural Awards were announced earlier in December. This year two joint winners share the award for Restoration of a Georgian Interior: the private apartment at Sir John Soane’s Museum and the Soane Tribune at Wotton House. The award for Restoration of a Georgian Building in an Urban Setting recognizes Belmont House in Lyme Regis (hooray for Eleanor Coade and the eponymous artificial stone she pioneered!). –CH
From The Georgian Group:
Belmont House in Lyme Regis is a 1785 maritime villa looking out over the Cobb. John Fowles wrote The French Lieutenant’s Woman here. By the time he died it was in a bad state, the gardens overgrown and the structural condition of the building poor. The Landmark Trust acquired it and took the decision, at once brave and controversial, to restore it to the form known by Mrs Coade, creator of the artificial stone that bears her name. That involved demolishing what was left of the substantial Victorian and later extensions in order to make it a villa in the round. The project has been informed by meticulous building analysis and documentary research and the building is now again a thing of real beauty, a delightful monument to one of the great female entrepreneurs of the Georgian period.
The full list of awards is available here»
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From the November issue of WoI:
Valérie Lapierre, with photographs by Roland Beaufre, “Dutch Originals: The Frits Lugt Collection,” The World of Interiors (November 2015), pp. 108–17.
A connoisseur like no other, Frits Lugt was just 15 when he bought his first Rembrandt sketch (he’d already written a book). Fifty years on, he opened the Fondation Custodia in Paris [housed in the eighteenth-century Hôtel Turgot], so that generations of experts and laymen alike could share his collection of Golden Age art for free. With brocatelle-lined walls and Vermeer-inspired floors, it’s ‘the place to see drawings in Paris’, as Valérie Lapierre learns.
More information is available from the Fondation Custodia.
Marie-France Boyer, with photographs by Olivia Froudkine, “Splendour in the Grass: The Pars Museum,” The World of Interiors (November 2015), pp. 152–59.
The garden of Nazar (meaning ‘dazzling’) in the Iranian city of Shiraz is home to the jewel-like Pars Museum. Decorated with vibrant panels of tiles, this octagonal pavilion incorporates a sparkling collection of pottery, glassware and bronze work. It also houses the tomb of an enlightened ruler who oversaw an era of urban development and artistic outpouring.
Pars Museum of Shiraz, Iran, The octagonal structure, called the Kolah Farangi (‘foreign hat’) was built by Karim Khan Zand (ca. 1705–79), who is buried there (Photo: Wikimedia Commons, February 2013).
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From the Wikipedia entry for the Pars Museum:
The Pars Museum is a museum in Shiraz, Fars Province, southern Iran and is located in Nazar Garden. The octagonal building was the place in which royal guests were hosted during the Zand dynasty of Iran. It was also used for holding official ceremonies. It is also the burial place of Karim Khan Zand.
The old Nazar Garden was one of the largest gardens of Shiraz during the Safavid rule (1501–1722). During Zand dynasty (1750–1794) Karim Khan built an octagon structure which was called Kolah Farangi. It was used to receive and entertain foreign guests and ambassadors and hold official ceremonies. In 1936 the pavilion became a museum. It was the first museum which was located outside the capital city of Tehran. The brick designs, tiling, pictures and big stone dadoes are among the architectural features of the building. . . .
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Audio Reconstruction of Eighteenth-Century Paris
A team from Université Lyon-2, led by Mylène Pardoen (Department of Music and Musicology), has reconstructed the soundscape of eighteenth-century Paris.
From Le Journal CNRS (Centre national de la recherche scientifique). . .
La musicologue Mylène Pardoen a reconstitué l’ambiance sonore du quartier du Grand Châtelet à Paris, au XVIIIe siècle. Présenté au salon de la valorisation en sciences humaines et sociales, à la Cité des sciences et de l’industrie, son projet associe historiens et spécialistes de la 3D.
Paris comme vous ne l’avez jamais entendu ! C’est l’expérience que propose la musicologue Mylène Pardoen, du laboratoire Passages XX-XXI, à travers le projet Bretez. Un nom qui n’a pas été choisi par hasard : la première reconstitution historique sonore conçue par ce collectif associant historiens, sociologues et spécialistes de la 3D1, a en effet pour décor le Paris du XVIIIe siècle cartographié par le célèbre plan Turgot-Bretez de 1739 – Turgot, prévost des marchands de Paris, en étant le commanditaire, et Bretez, l’ingénieur chargé du relevé des rues et immeubles de la capitale.
70 tableaux sonores
C’est plus précisément dans le quartier du Grand Châtelet, entre le pont au Change et le pont Notre-Dame, que la vidéo de 8 minutes 30 transporte le visiteur. « J’ai choisi ce quartier car il concentre 80 % des ambiances sonores du Paris de l’époque, raconte Mylène Pardoen. Que ce soit à travers les activités qu’on y trouve – marchands, artisans, bateliers, lavandières des bords de Seine… –, ou par la diversité des acoustiques possibles, comme l’écho qui se fait entendre sous un pont ou un passage couvert… » S’il existe déjà des vidéos sonorisées, c’est la première fois qu’une reconstitution en 3D est bâtie autour de l’ambiance sonore : les hauteurs des bâtiments comme les matériaux dans lesquels ils sont construits, torchis ou pierre, tiennent compte des sons perçus – étouffés, amplifiés… – et inversement. . . .
More information is available here»
The Alamo, San Antonio
(Wikimedia Commons, 18 April 2007)
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As reported by Reuters, via The Guardian (5 July 2015). . .
Alamo Named First World Heritage Site in Texas after Nine-Year Campaign
Spanish colonial missions in San Antonio chosen as part of 23rd US site deemed of ‘outstanding importance’ to human heritage
A United Nations agency on Sunday [5 July 2015] named the Alamo and the four Spanish colonial Catholic missions in San Antonio a World Heritage Site, making them the first places in Texas deemed to be of “outstanding cultural or natural importance to the common heritage of humanity.”
The decision capped a nine-year campaign by San Antonio and Texas to have the early 18th-century missions listed alongside world treasures such as Stonehenge, the Taj Mahal and Angkor Wat. The missions are now the 23rd World Heritage Site in the US.
“The city of San Antonio is delighted with Unesco’s decision today and the recognition that our Spanish colonial missions are of outstanding value to the people of the world,” mayor Ivy Taylor said from Bonn, Germany, where the announcement was made.
Sarah Gould, archivist at the Institute of Texan Cultures, said there were many reasons for the listing of the four missions, which are still used as Catholic churches, and the Alamo, a fortified church, barracks and other buildings that was the scene of the 1836 battle for Texan independence. . . .
But the designation has not been entirely embraced in Texas, where the phrase ‘United Nations’ provokes suspicion among some. . . .
The full article is available here»
Thomas Luny, Table Bay Cape Town, 1790s, oil on panel (Iziko Social History Collections). Depiction of the port of Cape Town, South Africa where the São José slave ship planned to stop before continuing to Brazil. The ship wrecked near the Cape of Good Hope before arriving in Table Bay. Photo by Pam Warne.
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Press release (1 June 2015) from The Smithonian:
National Museum of African American History and Culture To Display Objects from Slave Shipwreck Found Near Cape Town, South Africa
Museum Joins Iziko Museums of South Africa and George Washington University in Slave Wrecks Research Project
Objects from a slave ship that sank off the coast of Cape Town in 1794 will be on long-term loan to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC). The announcement, scheduled for Tuesday, June 2, will take place at a historic ceremony at Iziko Museums of South Africa. The discovery of the ship marks a milestone in the study of the trans-Atlantic slave trade and showcases the results of the Slave Wrecks Project, a unique global partnership among museums and research institutions, including NMAAHC and six partners in the U.S. and Africa.
Objects from the shipwreck—iron ballast to weigh down the ship and its human cargo and a wooden pulley block—were retrieved this year from the wreck site of the São José-Paquete de Africa, a Portuguese slave ship that sank off the coast of Cape Town on its way to Brazil while carrying more than 400 enslaved Africans from Mozambique.
Lonnie G. Bunch III, founding director of NMAAHC, and Rooksana Omar, CEO of Iziko Museums, will join in the announcement of the shipwreck’s discovery and the artifact loan agreement.
“Perhaps the single greatest symbol of the trans-Atlantic slave trade is the ships that carried millions of captive Africans across the Atlantic never to return,” said Bunch. “This discovery is significant because there has never been archaeological documentation of a vessel that foundered and was lost while carrying a cargo of enslaved persons. The São José is all the more significant because it represents one of the earliest attempts to bring East Africans into the trans-Atlantic slave trade—a shift that played a major role in prolonging that tragic trade for decades.”
São José Wreck
The São José’s voyage was one of the earliest in the trans-Atlantic slave trade from East Africa to the Americas, which continued well into the 19th century. More than 400,000 East Africans are estimated to have made the Mozambique-to-Brazil journey between 1800 and 1865. The ship’s crew and some of the more than 400 enslaved on board were rescued after the ship ran into submerged rocks about 100 meters (328 feet) from shore. Tragically, more than half of the enslaved people perished in the violent waves. The remainder were resold into slavery in the Western Cape.
The São José wreck site is located between two reefs, a location that creates a difficult environment to work in because it is prone to strong swells creating challenging conditions for the archaeologists. To date, only a small percentage of the site has been excavated; fully exploring the site will take time.
Even the smallest artifact gives a clue into the shipwreck’s story:
1980s: Local amateur treasure hunters discovered a wreck near Cape Town and mistakenly identified it as the wreck of an earlier Dutch vessel. They applied for a permit under the legislation of the time and had to report their findings.
2008–2009: The Slave Wrecks Project (SWP) staff identified the São José as a target for location in its pilot project.
2010–2011: Jaco Boshoff, the co-originator of SWP, served as lead archaeologist for Iziko and primary investigator for the São José project. He discovered the captain’s account of the wrecking of the São José in the Cape archives. New interest was developed on the site. Copper fastenings and copper sheathing indicated a wreck of a later period, and iron ballast—often found on slave ships and other ships as a means of stabilizing the vessel—was found on the wreck.
2012–2013: SWP uncovered an archival document in Portugal stating that the São José had loaded iron ballast before she departed for Mozambique, further confirming the site as the São José wreck. Archaeological documentation of the wreck site began in 2013.
2014–2015: Some of the first artifacts are brought above water through a targeted retrieval process according to the best archaeological and preservation practices. Using CT scan technology because of the fragility of the site, the SWP identified the remains of shackles on the wreck site, a difficult undertaking because of extreme iron corrosion. Archival research locates a document in which a slave is noted as sold by a local sheikh to the São José’s captain before its departure, definitively identifying Mozambique Island as the port of departure for the slaving voyage. Archival and archaeological prospecting work was launched in Mozambique and Brazil in order to identify sites related to the São José story for future research.
2015–ongoing: Full archaeological documentation and retrieval of select items to help to tell of the São José wreck site continue; the search for descendant communities of Mozambicans from the wreck also continues.
A selection of artifacts retrieved from the São José wreck will be loaned by Iziko Museums and the South African government for display in an inaugural exhibition titled Slavery and Freedom at NMAAHC, opening fall 2016. Iziko Museums also plans an exhibition.
On Tuesday, June 2, soil brought from Mozambique Island, the site of the São José’s embarkation, will be deposited on the wreck site by a team represented by divers from Mozambique, South Africa and the United States. A solemn memorial service will also be held close by and on shore honoring the 500 enslaved Mozambicans who lost their lives or were sold into slavery. SWP researchers, Cape Town dignitaries and delegations from the U.S. Consulate and South African government will attend the private ceremony.
A daylong public symposium, Bringing the São José into Memory, will be held June 3 featuring a series of panel discussions focusing on the wreck, the slave trade, slavery, history and memory. The panels will take place at the Iziko Museums’ TH Barry Lecture Theatre and feature discussions and performances by scholars, curators, heritage activists, artists, hip-hop musicians and slave descendants from various academic, heritage and religious institutions, including Iziko, St. George’s Cathedral, NMAAHC, George Washington University, Syracuse University, Brown University, University of Western Cape, Cape Family Research Forum among others.
Maritime Archaeology and Conservation Workshop
The week’s activities will also include a conservation workshop for archaeologists, researchers and museum professionals from Mozambique, Senegal and South Africa to learn techniques in conservation and care for marine materials. This workshop, co-taught by Boshoff and George Schwarz of the U.S. Naval Heritage Command, is an opportunity to advance professional training and capacity for individuals and institutions, a core component of SWP’s mission. Representatives from Eduardo Mondlane University in Maputo, Mozambique, and Cheik Anta Diop University in Dakar, Senegal, will join with Smithsonian and Iziko professionals in a dialogue about current and future research and searches in their respective regions.
Slave Wrecks Project History
Founded in 2008, SWP brings together partners who have been investigating the impact of the slave trade on world history. It spearheaded the recent discovery of the São José wreck and the ongoing documentation and retrieval of select artifacts. In addition, extensive archival research was conducted on four continents in six countries that ultimately uncovered the ship captain’s account of the wrecking in the Cape archives as well as the ship’s manifest in Portuguese archives. Core SWP partners include George Washington University, Iziko Museums of South Africa, the South African Heritage Resource Agency, the U.S. National Park Service, Diving With a Purpose, a project of the National Association of Black Scuba Divers, and the African Center for Heritage Activities.
SWP, established with funding from the Ford Foundation, set a new model for international collaboration among museums and research institutions. It has been combining groundbreaking slave shipwreck investigation, maritime and historical archeological training, capacity building, heritage tourism and protection, and education to build new scholarship and knowledge about the study of the global slave trade.
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From the Irish Georgian Society:
Conservation without Frontiers: Historic Buildings of Armagh and Monaghan in Context
Armagh and Monaghan, 25–27 June 2015
For the first time, the joint Ulster Architectural Heritage Society and Irish Georgian Society summer school will bring together students, enthusiasts and practitioners to explore, discuss and debate issues relating to our shared Irish heritage in the context of Armagh and Monaghan. A key theme of the event is conservation and regeneration for community benefit which will demonstrate the critical importance of built heritage in maintaining the distinctive qualities of the region and supporting the growth of tourism, economic development and prosperity. The summer school will provide a platform to showcase the best that both counties have to offer in terms of their history and heritage. Leaders will include well known academics, architectural historians, architects, planners, conservation and heritage officers. The support of both councils will also reinforce the positive developing relationship between them and our respective organisations. An Eventbrite payment has been set up to facilitate online bookings in euro or sterling. The summer school director is Kevin V. Mulligan, author of The Buildings of Ireland: South Ulster.
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T H U R S D A Y , 2 5 J U N E 2 0 1 5
• Conservation Areas — the legislation and implementation
• New work and reordering: current practice in England
• Tour of cathedrals with Alistair Rowan
• Tour of Mall and Market Square with Alastair Coey
• Presentation on the work of Thomas Cooley and Francis Johnston by Judith Hill at Armagh Public Library
• Tour of Palace Demesne with Edward McParland
Speakers: Patrick Duffy, Michael O’Neill, Frederick O’Dwyer, Andrew Derrick, Marcus Patton
F R I D A Y , 2 6 J U N E 2 0 1 5
• Tour of Castle Leslie
• Introduction to heritage and housing
• Discussion on cross border heritage initiatives
• The Buildings of Ireland Series
• Tour of Glaslough
• Visit Lady Anne Dawson Mausoleum, Dartrey, St. Peter’s Church, Laragh and St. Macartan’s Cathedral, Monaghan
• Walking tour of Monaghan with Kevin Mulligan
• Discussion and debate at Market House, Monaghan
Speakers: Dawson Stelfox, Andrew McClelland, Alistair Rowan, Bishop Joseph Duffy
S A T U R D A Y , 2 7 J U N E 2 0 1 5
• Tour of Annaghmakerrig House
• Debate: Contemplating the Contemporary — Modernist vs. traditional approach to building in the historic environment in the 21st century, chaired by Frank McNally with speakers Aidan McGrath, Liam Mulligan, Nicholas Groves-Raines
• Results and viewing of student competition
• Presentation of Summer School Student Awards
• Conclusion with celebratory lunch
This course is approved for CPD by the Royal Institute of Architects of Ireland; the programme is subject to change.
From Sir John Soane’s Museum:
Soane Tour: Private Apartments and Model Room
Sir John Soane’s Museum, London, starting May 19
Explore Soane’s unique house-museum with our expert staff on the Soane Highlights Tour. Be transported back to Regency London as we guide you through Sir John Soane’s extraordinary home, including Soane’s fully-restored private apartments and Model Room, not seen by the public for 160 years. Offering a fascinating insight into his work and family life, the tour will show you the highlights amongst the many treasures on display, including paintings by Canaletto and J.M.W. Turner, the 3,000 year-old sarcophagus of Egyptian King Seti I, and William Hogarth’s complete A Rake’s Progress. Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, 12:00, £10.
Coverage from The Guardian is available here»