Boilly: Scenes of Parisian Life

Boilly: Scenes of Parisian Life, National Gallery, (Room 1), Trafalgar Square, London WC2, until 19th May 2019

A Carnival on the Boulevard du Crime 1832

Louis-Léopold Boilly A Carnival Scene, 1832 Oil on canvas 60.3 × 106.5 cm The Ramsbury Manor Foundation Photo © courtesy the Trustees

It wasn’t that this exhibition was free or the first of its kind in this country that impelled me to make a special trip to London to come and see it, it was the skill and talent of the artist Louis-Léopold Boilly (1761 – 1845) that was my driving force.

 

I had often seen the three Boilly paintings in the Wallace Collection, depicting scenes from everyday life in the more upper-middle class homes of late 18th century France but in this exhibition at the National Gallery one sees how he “triumphed” as an artist in the ever-changing world of Paris from the French Revolution to the July Monarchy of Louis Philippe.

 

Boilly’s paintings are a revelation whether genre scenes whose style recalls Dutch artists of the 17th century or a trompe l’oeil painting that looks exactly like a print. He set a trend with his small portraits and his everyday street scenes. I chose the image above because it represents elements of his work from all periods. Most importantly look at it closely for the elements of humour that can be found in such works by him.

 

What makes this ravishing, must see exhibition particularly special are the twenty works from an English private collection which are both being shown and published for the first time. The collection was put together by the late Harry Hyams (1928-2015) and I count myself fortunate that I met him at a porcelain exhibition in London in 2010 and could appreciate the knowledge and connoisseurship he had of art and antiques during our enjoyable conversation.

 

 

http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk

http://www.wallacecollection.org

ENVOI
Among the exhibitions this year at Waddesdon Manor is Brought to life: Eliot Hodgkin Rediscovered (25 May – 20 October) which will feature paintings from Mr Hyams’ collection.
1964_09_00_The_Maids_Room_Eliot_Hodgkin

The Maids Room Eliot Hodgkin © The Estate of Eliot Hodgkin © Photo: The Ramsbury Manor Foundation, photo by AJ Photography

 

waddesdon.org.uk

BOOK REVIEW: The Orléans Collection

The Orléans Collection

Edited by Vanessa I. Schmid

D Giles Limited in association with the New Orleans Museum of Art

£44.95

ISBN 978-1-911282-28-0

9781911282280_FC

 

I remember when visiting Castle Howard in Yorkshire as a child that one of the rooms was then known as the Orléans Room marking the fact that the 5th Earl of Carlisle was part of a syndicate that acquired a portion of the already legendary Orléans Collection.

Philippe II, Duke of Orléans (1674– 1723) had started forming the collection in the second decade of the 18th century when he became Regent of France, following Louis XIV’s death. It was a way of expressing his connoisseurship and taste and included artists such as Raphael, Titian, Veronese, Correggio, Poussin, Rubens, and Rembrandt.

This informative volume looks not only at the component parts of the collection but also at the contemporary Paris art market.  The display of the paintings within the Palais Royale and their overall impact on the collectors and tastes of the day are considered too.

It is a real celebration of early 18th century taste and style and while one can be truly grateful that many pictures may still be seen in museums and galleries today one could be tempted to regret that the collection is no longer one single entity. The book however gives us the chance to relive that experience in a vibrant and enjoyable way.

 

gilesltd.com

BOOK REVIEW: MAISON: Parisian Chic at Home

 MAISON:  Parisian Chic at Home

By Ines de la Fressange & Marin Montagut

Photography by Claire Cocano

Published by Flammarion

£30

ISBN 978-2-08-020367-0

MaisonParisianChicatHome_cover

 

It’s always good to change one’s own point of view and this book has had that effect on me. While I always look at books such as this I rarely want to have a copy but the authors of this book have achieved this desire through the text, photographs and delightful watercolours.

The authors Ines de la Fressange and Marin Montagut introduce us to a total of fifteen apartments, including their own.  They are places which draw the reader in and stimulate the eye and mind. The mixture of old and new, practical and frivolous remind us that our homes should be ever evolving, living entities that reflect our lives and interests. The “Get the Look” pages are very useful.

This is one to keep!

 

editions.flammarion.com

BOOK REVIEW: Masterpieces of French Faience

Masterpieces of French Faience

Selections from the Sidney R. Knafel Collection

Charlotte Vignon With Sidney R. Knafel

The Frick Collection, New York in association with D Giles Limited London

 UK£19.99

ISBN 978-1-911282-31-0

9781911282310_FC

This is a great introduction to the world of French faience up to the mid-18th century.  Faience, whose name is derived from the Italian city of Faenza, was first made in France in the mid-16th century by Italian immigrants skilled in the manufacture of maiolica. What the examples, from what is probably the best collection of French faience in private ownership, clearly reveal is the quality of design and decoration which was derived from a variety of sources, including oriental porcelain, prints and silver. By the mid-18th century European ceramics were becoming an additional inspiration for form and decoration.

French porcelain production centred on the King and court circles at Versailles and Paris so faience was the preferred choice for the local aristocracy and merchants around the country. This book introduces us to important centres of production such as Rouen, Moustiers and Marseilles. All in all this is a very enjoyable and useful tome.

 

 

gilesltd.com

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.

fig145_Marjorie-Merriweather-Post-showing-clock-MA jpeg

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.

n.6

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