BOOK REVIEW: Fabergé Rediscovered

Fabergé Rediscovered

Wilfried Zeisler

ISBN: 978-1-911282-16-7

D Giles Ltd

In association with Hillwood Estate, Museum & Gardens

£35.00

9781911282167_FC

Catherine the Great Egg. Firm of Fabergé, 1914. Hillwood Estate, Museum & Gardens, acc. no. 11.81.1-2. © Hillwood Estate, Museum & Gardens / Photograph by Alex Braun

 

This new book focuses on the well-known collection of Fabergé at Hillwood and relates how new research and discovery of pieces thought to have been lost impact on items among the ninety or so pieces collected by Mrs Post.

We learn more about Fabergé’s firm in the 19th and early 20th centuries and its place in the world of goldsmithing and jewellery creation at that time.  It is a fascinating and beautifully illustrated study that will appeal to collectors and lovers of social history alike.

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Fig 143 (page 162) Marjorie Merriweather Post showing her Fabergé table clock to guests at Hillwood, Washington D.C., 1960s © Hillwood Estate, Museum & Gardens Archives

The chapter on Mrs Post as a collector of Fabergé is revealing and one understands what type of works appealed to her aesthetically and the reasons why some offers were turned down. She certainly had a discerning eye!

 

gilesltd.com

Lost Treasures of Strawberry Hill: Masterpieces from Horace Walpole’s Collection, Strawberry Hill, 268 Waldegrave Road, Twickenham TW1 4ST, until 24th February, 2019

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Anonymous artist, Staircase at Strawberry Hill, Ink wash with watercolour. Courtesy of The Lewis Walpole Library, Yale University

The 2010 exhibition ‘Horace Walpole and Strawberry Hill’ at the V&A was a wonderful celebration of the house, the collection and the collector so now imagine just quite how special this new exhibition is. You can feel the house responding to having over one hundred and fifty of its treasures within its walls once more with some in their original position.

From the early 18th century Chinese tub in which Walpole’s cat Selima drowned accidentally to a clock that had belonged to Henry VIII and Ann Boleyn, it is a veritable pot-pourri of objects and pictures that fascinate and show the breadth of Walpole’s interests, many reflecting the historic style of the building.

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Paul Sandby (1731 – 1809) ‘Strawberry Hill chiefly taken in the year 1769 by Mr. Sandby’, c. 1769. Drawing Watercolour on laid paper with wash-line Courtesy of The Lewis Walpole Library, Yale University.

Son of Sir Robert Walpole (Britain’s first Prime Minister), Horace created this first Gothick building with the help of friends. It was his summer home until he died in 1797 and eventually in 1842 there was a twenty-four day sale of its contents. Now YOU can see some of these original contents, back home until February of next year, in both the private rooms and the State rooms. By 1797 there were some four thousand pieces plus coins, drawings and prints in the collection

I am deliberately not illustrating any of the objects on show because I think it is so, so important that, if you can, you should see them in situ and thus hopefully get a sense of both Horace and his remarkable creation. I implore you to do so! You will regret it if you don’t. The stuff of dreams.

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John Carter, The Tribune at Strawberry Hill, c. 1789. Courtesy of The Lewis Walpole Library, Yale University.

 

Open 7 days a week

Monday – Friday: 12-6pm (Late opening until 10pm on Fridays)

Saturday – Sunday: 11am -6pm 

Final entry one hour before closing

Private guided tours available 10am-11am and 6pm, Monday to Friday

Public guided tours available 10am Saturday & Sunday

 

 

www.strawberryhillhouse.org.uk/losttreasures

Gainsborough and the Theatre, The Holburne Museum, Great Pulteney Street, Bath BA2, until 20th January 2019

Nathaniel Dance (1735 – 1811), ‘True but every goose can…’, c.1781, pencil, black chalk and coloured washes on laid paper©The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge

There is much to enjoy in this exhibition that links the world of 18th century theatre in Bath and London through portraits by Gainsborough, works on paper and contemporary theatrical ephemera. The portraits – hung correctly at chest height  – are “real” people rather than elegant society portraits as is often the case with Gainsborough’s depictions of musical and literary friends.

Mrs Siddons, Thomas Gainsborough, 1785 © The National Gallery, London

Mrs Siddons, Thomas Gainsborough, 1785 © The National Gallery, London

Among them you will discover David Garrick, Thomas Linley, Auguste Vestris and Sarah Siddons. Near to the latter’s ravishing portrait are some contemporary small sketches of the work which are interesting since as a print was never made of the portrait those making the drawings had to have seen the original work. Sarah Siddons is buried in the churchyard (open space) near Paddington Green Church just near the Marylebone Flyover in London.

I was especially delighted to meet up with Richard Tickell once more as I had seen his beautiful portrait on visits to Phoebe, Lady Hillingdon many years ago. It is an image that has remained in my memory ever since. Tickell was born in Bath and married Mary, Thomas Linley’s daughter and so were they a part of this group of friends which also included Sheridan.

Thomas Gainsborough, Thomas Linley the elder, c. 1770, oil on canvas. By Permission of the Trustees of Dulwich Picture Gallery, London

Thomas Gainsborough, Thomas Linley the elder, c. 1770, oil on canvas, 76.5 x 63.5, DPG140. By Permission of Dulwich Picture Gallery, London

The singer Petula Clark in her 1998 poem ‘The Theatre’ says in the last verse:

“So here we are in this hallowed place, sharing a special time and space.
I hadn’t realized before, but maybe that’s what the theatre is for,
to bring us together, to make us see that the magic is not just some fantasy
tho’ we all need some fantasy.
No, the magic you see is in you, in me.
It’s a funny thing, the theatre. “

Well to my mind this exhibition does just that with the 18th century theatrical world of Gainsborough’s Bath and London.

 

www.holburne.org

A Love Affair with France: The Elizabeth Stafford Collection, Christie’s New York 1st November 2018

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Mimi Stafford in the Dining Room of her New York apartment. © Christie’s Images Limited 2018

I have known of this remarkable collection for nearly two decades and have caught fleeting glimpses of it from time to time in exhibition catalogues and elsewhere, I just wish I could have had the opportunity to meet Mrs Stafford. However, now we have the chance to encounter her and her discerning eye in this sale and some of the more important pictures will appear in specialist sales either just before the 1st November or later in that month.

Claude Lorrain

CLAUDE GELLÉE, CALLED LORRAIN (CHAMPAGNE 1600-1682 ROME landscape with Apollo guarding the herds of Admetus and Mercury stealing them oil on canvas 20 x 27.1/8 in. (50.8 x 68.8 cm.) $700,000 – $1,000,000 Old Masters, October 30 2018 © Christie’s Images Limited 2018

Elizabeth (Mimi) and her husband Frederick collected across a wide spectrum as the 1966-67 exhibition of their collection – “Odyssey of an art collector: unity in diversity -5,000 years of art” – at the Isaac Delgado Museum in New Orleans showed. Indeed in May this year Christie’s sold Brancusi’s La Jeune fille sophistiquée (Nancy Cunard) for US$ 71 million. It had been bought by them from the artist in 1955.

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Mimi Stafford’s Paris apartment. © Christie’s Images Limited 2018

Mimi’s abiding passion was the arts of 18th century France and it was this that formed the background to her daily life, first of all in a Maison Jansen designed apartment in Paris’s Avenue Foch and then later in a New York apartment that had been created for Mr and Mrs Robert R Young by Maison Jansen’s legendary Stéphane Boudin. Both apartments were the perfect backdrop for the paintings, porcelain, furniture and drawings she acquired with an unfailing eye. As her daughter E. Alexandra Stafford says in an interview with Christie’s that “the first questions new friends asked when they entered the apartment was how could she live in such a museum? As they hesitated before sitting down on the silk brocade-covered 18th-century gilded chaise à la Reine, she would answer: ‘No problem!’”

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Mimi Stafford’s Paris apartment. © Christie’s Images Limited 2018

That, of course, is how it should be as such things were made to be used and I am sure that Mimi Stafford would be excited and delighted that things she loved and cherished will be going on to new owners and enriching their lives.

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The niche in the Stéphane Boudin-designed New York apartment’s salon, or living room, displayed a selection of the Sèvres bleu céleste that forms the core of the porcelain collection — including an oval bottle cooler from the first service made for Louis XV. © Christie’s Images Limited 2018

 

Étienne Aubry

ÉTIENNE AUBRY (VERSAILLES 1745-1781 PARIS) ‘La Turque’, presumed portrait of Mademoiselle Duthé Oil on canvas 25 3/8 x 32 in. (64.3 x 81.3 cm.) $300,000 – 500,000 Old Masters, October 30 2018 © Christie’s Images Limited 2018

 

LOT 1229

Lot 1229 A LOUIS XV ENAMELLED GOLD CARNET DE BAL MARKED PARIS, 1773, WITH CHARGE MARK OF JULIEN ALATERRE, 1768-1775, AND DECHARGE MARK OF JEAN-BAPTISTE FOUACHE, 1775-1781 Rectangular with beaded borders, decorated with cornfower blue stripes, one side mounted with a miniature of a lady in white gown with gold embroidery, the other side with a locket of woven hair under a gold script monogram, the hinged cover mounted with gold words SOUVENIR D’AMITIE, interior ftted with gold pencil case 3 æ in. (95 mm.) high $4,000–6,000 © Christie’s Images Limited 2018

 

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Mimi Stafford’s Paris apartment © Christie’s Images Limited 2018

 

LOT 1212

1212 JEAN-AUGUSTE-DOMINIQUE INGRES (MONTAUBAN 1780-1867 PARIS) Portrait of Mrs. Jean-Pierre Granger, née Marie-Jeanne-Catherine Delaigle signed and dated in graphite ‘Ingres/ à Rome 1811’ (lower right) graphite 10 x 7æ in. (25.4 x 19 cm.) $200,000–300,000 © Christie’s Images Limited 2018

 

LOT 1963

Lot 1063 A PAIR OF FRENCH ORMOLU-MOUNTED CHINESE PORCELAIN TWO-LIGHT CANDELABRA THE PORCELAIN QIANLONG, THE MOUNTS PROBABLY BY ESCALIER DE CRYSTAL, 19TH CENTURY Each with a blue-glazed Chinese porcelain parrot on a rock work base fanked by coral-form ormolu branches. 9æ in. ( 25 cm.) high (2) $7,000–10,000 © Christie’s Images Limited 2018

 

Pissarro - Neige, soleil couchant, Eragny

CAMILLE PISSARRO (1830-1903) Neige, soleil couchant, Eragny signed and dated ‘C. Pissarro 94’ (lower left) oil on canvas 24 x 32 1/2 in. Painted in 1894 $2,000,000-3,000,000 Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale, November 2018 © Christie’s Images Limited 2018

 

Stafford Paris Apartment

Mimi Stafford’s Paris apartment © Christie’s Images Limited 2018

 

LOT 1041

Lot 1041 JEAN-BAPTISTE CHARPENTIER (PARIS 1728-1806) Portrait of a man, traditionally said to be M. Larchey, son-in-law of the painter Jean-Baptiste Greuze, bust-length oil on panel, oval 7æ x 6Ω in. (19.7 x 16.5 cm.) $8,000–12,000 © Christie’s Images Limited 2018

 

Boudin Panel from New York apartment c1959

A panel from a set of boiserie installed by Stephane Boudin, circa 1959, 900 Fifth Avenue, New York City. © Christie’s Images Limited 2018

 

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BOOK REVIEW: Henri Samuel

Henri Samuel: Master of the French Interior

Written by Emily Evans Eerdmans, Foreword by Jacques Grange and Eva Samuel

Rizzoli

 ISBN: 978-0-8478-6186-6

 £57.95

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For someone who described himself as “a twentieth-century eclectic” Henri Samuel’s skill at historic design was truly remarkable. It was an innate skill since his interiors are not readily identifiable because they seamlessly blend the lifestyle, art and antiques of the very wealthy clients who used him, such as the Rothschilds, the Wrightsmans and the Gutfreunds. He learnt his craft with Jansen and Alavoine before setting up on his own when aged sixty-six.

We see the interiors he created for his clients on both sides of the Atlantic and remarkably they look as inviting and usable today as when first created.  He achieved this by acknowledging that however marvellous his clients’ collections may be they were in rooms that were meant to be lived in and so personal items and the occasional modern touch were subtly incorporated into the overall scheme. This is a book which has been long overdue because Henri Samuel certainly deserves to be in the Pantheon of the great interior designers.

 

 

https://www.rizzoliusa.com/

Prized Possessions: Dutch Masterpieces from National Trust Houses, The Holburne Museum, Great Pulteney Street, Bath BA2, until 16th September 2018

A Magus at a Table by Jan Lievens (Leyden 1607 ¿ Amsterdam 1674)

A Magus at a Table, Jan Lievens, 1631-2 © National Trust Images – Angelo Hornak

What a glorious summer but regrettably mine was less so as for the last 8 + weeks have been lost to a persistent, debilitating infection which has taken ever stronger courses of antibiotics to overcome – so fingers crossed victory is in sight.  It has meant that I am very behind in my writing. I should perhaps remember to ‘take the waters’ when next visiting Bath!

ST KATHERINE'S CHURCH, UTRECHT by Pieter Jansz Saenredam (1597-1665), at Upton House, Warwickshire

St Catherine’s Church Utrecht, Pieter Jansz Saenredam, 1636 © National Trust Images

I have visited six of the dozen houses from which this delicious selection of Dutch paintings has been garnered but sadly, so far, not the rest of them. Seeing those pictures that I know again was very much a journey into the past because in some cases it is almost fifty years since I first saw them and yet their beauty and the skill of the artist’s use of paint – for example Ter Borch’s exquisite rendering of a dress (Polesden Lacey) or Cuyp’s Dordrecht sky (Ascott) – has kept them fresh in my mind’s eye.

SELF PORTRAIT WEARING A WHITE FEATHERED BONNET by Rembrandt van Rijn.

Self-Portrait Wearing a White Feathered Bonnet, Rembrandt van Rijn, 1635 © National Trust Images – Chris Titmus

Portraits (people and houses), landscapes, genre scenes, interiors and still-lifes are among the subjects that make up the works on view. In some cases artists collaborated such as in the landscape from Petworth where the painter Hobbema has worked with Adriaen van de Velde who contributed the figural elements to the composition.

The Duet ('Le corset bleu') by Gabriel Metsu (Leyden 1629 ¿ Amsterdam 1669)

The Duet, Gabriel Metsu, 1660-7 © National Trust Images – Christopher Hurst

It is a wonderful journey back into the Dutch 17th century and it makes it easy to understand why ever since they were first painted such works have been so avidly collected and admired, including by  Sir Thomas William Holburne, founder of the Museum.

 

After the Holburne the exhibition will move on to the Mauritshuis in The Hague in October 2018, and then come to Petworth House in West Sussex in January 2019.

 

 

www.holburne.org

Chippendale at Wilton

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South East facade of Wilton House. Copyright (c) Wilton House

Wilton House, near Salisbury, is an absolute delight combining architecture, fine interiors, paintings, sculpture and furniture with elegant gardens and the earliest Palladian Bridge in England. It has been the home of the Herbert family (Earls of Pembroke) since 1544.  It is famous for its suite of State Rooms which were designed by Inigo Jones and Isaac de Caux in the 17th century – many of you will recognise the Double Cube Room which has been used as a location for many films and television programmes but nothing quite prepares you for the wow factor of entering it for the first time.

In celebration of the Chippendale tercentenary the Earl and Countess have commissioned a small booklet that highlights Chippendale pieces within the house, including those which can be firmly attributed to his workshop. You will see many of these as you go around the house.

Chippendale at Wilton

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The 10th Earl commissioned the architect Sir William Chambers to rebuild his London home, Pembroke House and also to provide designs for rooms. It is known from Chippendale’s Director that he provided furniture for these rooms.

Sadly the family papers no longer have any itemized accounts from Chippendale but a receipt for fifteen hundred pound eleven shillings certainly indicate the furniture maker had had a major commission. Other bills show that the firm was still patronised after Chippendale’s death when it was being run by his son Thomas Chippendale the Younger.

Among the items that are definitely ascribed to Chippendale’s workshop are the pair of bookcases in the Large Smoking Room which are en suite with the superb ‘Violin’ bookcase which can be seen in the view of the room. Elsewhere chairs, sofas, hall lanterns, tables, picture frames and pelmet boards remind us of Chippendale’s great design talent.

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The Large Smoking Room at Wilton House. Copyright (c) Will Pryce.

All in all I think the best word to sum up Wilton House is sublime!

 

http://www.wiltonhouse.co.uk/