NEW BOOK: THE CHINESE ART BOOK, PHAIDON

THE CHINESE ART BOOK, £39.95

Contributors: Katie Hill, Colin Mackenzie, Jeffrey Moser and Keith Pratt

 

 THE CHINESE ART BOOK flat cover

 

This book provides a wide-embracing introduction to the arts of China, encompassing as it does both the fine and decorative arts from the Neolithic period to the contemporary arts of today – a period of six thousand years.

Calligraphy, painting, bronzes, ceramics, jades, silks, photography, installations and performance art are all displayed in this fascinating book.  Works from all periods are shown side by side, emphasising the huge cultural role China has and continues to have in the arts.  It also clearly underlines how the past still influences some areas while in others the future is avidly embraced.

(Page 34) Liang Shaoji - Bed (Nature Series N0. 10) 1993-99 Charred copper and silk Shangh ART Gallery, Shanghai

(Page 34)
Liang Shaoji – Bed (Nature Series N0. 10) 1993-99
Charred copper and silk
Shangh ART Gallery, Shanghai

Each of the three hundred images has a concise text and there is also a useful glossary and timeline.  Colin Mackenzie’s introduction is helpful and sets the arts in the political times in which they were created.  Another useful section is the list of museums, galleries and collections.

(Page 35)  Vase in the form of fingered citrons, called foshou (Buddha's hand) in Chinese, carved Nephrite jade,  Qing Dynasty, China, 17th century   Photo Credit: [ The Art Archive / Victoria and Albert Museum London / V&A Images  ]

(Page 35)
Vase in the form of fingered citrons, called foshou (Buddha’s hand) in Chinese, carved Nephrite jade,
Qing Dynasty, China, 17th century
Photo Credit: [ The Art Archive / Victoria and Albert Museum London / V&A Images ]

This book provides a wonderful introduction to Chinese Art and is a must read for those interested in this art.

25 BLYTHE ROAD – A SPECIALIST AUCTION HUB

Elkington coolers 2

The specialist auction hub 25 Blythe Road was started in 2007 by Thomas Del Mar, an antique arms, armour and militaria expert.  Joined by other ex-Sotheby specialists and one from Christie’s  they now between them run auctions in five different areas, including Indian and Islamic art, silver and ceramics, paintings, maritime and scientific works of art, and, of course, antique arms and armour.

One of the great plusses in their favour is that they will take good, interesting lots with a low value (£50 +) as well as those worth many, many tens of thousands of pounds.

Their next sale is Matthew Barton’s Decorative Works of Art Sale on November 19th (see below).  It will be followed in December by Thomas Del Mar Antiques Arms and Armour Sale on 4th December and a British and Continental Paintings Online-only Auction on the 10th December.

 

The  November 19th Decorative Works of Art Auction organised by specialist Matthew Barton has over 350 lots and includes English and Continental Ceramics, Works of Art, silver, jewellery and Objects of Vertu. Among these lots are the following:

‘Colpi di Venti’ figure by Helen Konig Scavini for Lenci, Italy, in 1936. Estimate: £5000- £7000.

‘Colpi di Venti’ figure by Helen Konig Scavini for Lenci, Italy, in 1936. Estimate: £5000- £7000.

Decorative Works of ArtMatthew Barton

Public Exhibition

Sunday 17th November 12pm – 4pm

Monday 18th November 10am – 7pm

Tuesday 19th November 10am – 12pm (limited view)

Sale

Tuesday 19th November – 1pm

A pair of Victorian parcel-gilt-silver and enamel Graeco-Pompeian 1862 International Exhibition Wine Coolers, Elkington & Co, Birmingham.  Designed by August Adophe Willms (1827 – 1899). Estimate:  £20,000 - £30,000. (Image of one at the top of the page)

A pair of Victorian parcel-gilt-silver and enamel Graeco-Pompeian 1862 International Exhibition Wine Coolers, Elkington & Co, Birmingham. Designed by August Adophe Willms (1827 – 1899). Estimate: £20,000 – £30,000.
(Image of one at the top of the page)

www.matthewbartonltd.com

www.25BlytheRoad.com

Late 18th century Chinese cloisonné quail censers and covers Estimate:  £2000-3000

Late 18th century Chinese cloisonné quail censers and covers Estimate: £2000-3000

Meissen.  Chinoiserie teapot and cover, 1723- 1724.  Estimate:  £12,000 - £18,000

Meissen. Chinoiserie teapot and cover, 1723- 1724. Estimate: £12,000 – £18,000

Mid 16th century Castel Durante Isoriato dish.  'Shooting the Dead Body' shows King Solomon judging two brothers. Estimate: £5000 - £8000

Mid 16th century Castel Durante Isoriato dish. ‘Shooting the Dead Body’ shows King Solomon judging two brothers. Estimate: £5000 – £8000

18th century tankard with ivory sleeve carved with an interpretation of 'The Element of Earth' after the original by Francesco Albani (1578-1660) depicting Cybele, Bacchus, Ceres and Flora on a chariot drawn by lions.  Esimate:  £1000-£1500

18th century tankard with ivory sleeve carved with an interpretation of ‘The Element of Earth’ after the original by Francesco Albani (1578-1660) depicting Cybele, Bacchus, Ceres and Flora on a chariot drawn by lions. Esimate: £1000-£1500

WARTS AND ALL – Philip Mould & Company

WARTS AND ALL – The Portrait Miniatures of Samuel Cooper (1609-1672), until 7th December, Philip Mould & Company

 

In his lifetime Cooper was described as both the ‘the prince of limners’ and ‘Vandyck in little’.  This remarkable loan exhibition fully allows us to celebrate the life and output of this highly skilled painter of miniatures.

Samuel Cooper, Self-Portrait, 1644, Oval, 74mm (2 7/8 inches) high,  Royal Collection.

Samuel Cooper, Self-Portrait, 1644, Oval, 74mm (2 7/8 inches) high,
Royal Collection.

His career spanned nearly fifty years at a time when England  was in political upheaval, working for the court of Charles I, Oliver Cromwell and then Charles II.  His work was eagerly sought after and not all were successful in becoming sitters.  Samuel Pepys wrote on 2nd January 1661/2 “I went forth by appointment to meet with Mr. Grant, who promised to bring me acquainted with Cooper, the great limner in little, but they deceived me.  It was not until 16th July, 1668 that he was able to write “Thence to Cooper’s and saw his advance on my wife’s picture which will indeed be very fine.”

Samuel Cooper, Margaret Lemon, c.1635, Oval, 121 mm (4 ¾)inches high. Fondation Custodia, Paris.

Samuel Cooper, Margaret Lemon, c.1635, Oval, 121 mm (4 ¾)inches high.
Fondation Custodia, Paris.

As the exhibition’s curator, Emma Rutherford, says “it is impossible to imagine charting this significant period of British history without these memorable private images.”  What a variety there is.  Among them is a c1635 miniature of Van Dyck’s mistress, Margaret Lemon, in cavalier dress (male), one of Cromwell’s wife and daughter and one of Charles II’s illegitimate son James Scott, Duke of Monmouth and Buccleuch 1649-83. Cooper’s sketches are very rare, with only a handful surviving, but one from 1655 of the young Thomas Alcock is on display.

Samuel Cooper, James Scott, Duke of Monmouth and Buccleugh (and detail), 124mm (4 7/8 inches),  Royal Collection.

Samuel Cooper, James Scott, Duke of Monmouth and Buccleugh (and detail), 124mm (4 7/8 inches),
Royal Collection.

The Duke of Buccleuch has loaned the famous portrait of Oliver Cromwell and the exhibition sets out to confirm that Cooper was the recipient of Cromwell’s wish to be depicted “warts and all”.  Nearby, will be Lely’s identical portrait as well as Cromwell’s death mask.

Samuel Cooper, Oliver Cromwell, c.1650, Oval, 79mm (3 1/8 inches) high.  By kind permission of the Duke of Buccleuch and Queensberry KBE.

Samuel Cooper, Oliver Cromwell, c.1650, Oval, 79mm (3 1/8 inches) high.
By kind permission of the Duke of Buccleuch and Queensberry KBE.

This is the first show dedicated to Samuel Cooper since 1974 and its significance is clearly underlined by the many lenders, which in addition to the aforementioned includes, Her Majesty the Queen, Castle Howard, Burghley House, Warwick Castle , The Ashmolean Museum, The Fitzwilliam Museum, the Victoria and Albert Museum, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery and the National Portrait Gallery.

Samuel Cooper, Sarah Foote, later Mrs. John Lewis, 1647, 54mm (2 1/8 inches) high.  Private Collection.

Samuel Cooper, Sarah Foote, later Mrs. John Lewis, 1647, 54mm (2 1/8 inches) high.
Private Collection.

As the gallery’s owner Philip Mould rightly says ‘We are overwhelmed by the generosity of private and public owners whose willingness to lend will allow us to graphically express how the British born Samuel Cooper is one of the greatest portrait painters in European art history.’

You know what?  I totally agree!

philipmould.com

A Marylebone Duo – Two exhibitions off Marylebone High Street

Simon Garden – Successive Approximations, until 24th November, Thompson’s London

Now having his sixth exhibition with the gallery, Simon Garden’s work is highly imaginative and somewhat surreal.  He paints in oil on board , priming the surface to create the furrow-like look his works have and which contributes greatly to the dreamlike quality of his work.

Simon Garden Pilgrimage

Simon Garden
Pilgrimage

www.thompsonsgallery.co.uk

 

Patricia Swannell: Memories for the Time Being, until 30th November, jaggedart.

Although she has exhibited at the gallery since 2007, this is Swannell’s first solo exhibition. Her works reflect her concerns with time and nature and suggest how a particular moment allows us to look both forwards and backwards but with the caveat that these special glimpses of the beauty and balance found in nature may be fading and even eventually lost.  Her works are lyrical and elegant statements of this point of view.

Patricia Swannell Ebb             Unique Aquatint on Somerset 45 x 45 cm

Patricia Swannell
Ebb
Unique Aquatint on Somerset
45 x 45 cm

www.jaggedart.com

‘Victoriana: The Art of Revival’, Guildhall Art Gallery,

‘Victoriana: The Art of Revival’, Guildhall Art Gallery, City of London, until 8 December 2013

 

Yumiko Utsu, 'Octopus Portrait' (2009). C-type print.  Copyright the artist.

Yumiko Utsu, ‘Octopus Portrait’ (2009). C-type print.
Copyright the artist.

Queen Victoria’s reign saw the ever growing expansion of empire and industry which in turn led to both economic and social changes. We see the legacy of these times in our architecture, arts, literature and possibly still our moral viewpoint.  Of course, the Victorian age was not perfect and there was a dark underbelly, in which events such as the Ripper murders still fascinate today.

 

Dan Hillier, 'Mother' (2006). Altered engraving.  Copyright the artist.

Dan Hillier, ‘Mother’ (2006). Altered engraving.
Copyright the artist.

The 19th century was an age of revivalism of styles past, and in this quirky, whimsical exhibition noted contemporary artists have done their take on what our forbears enjoyed.  Be prepared for a multi-media and multi-sensory “Neo-Victorian” show that embraces ceramics, photography, fine art, textiles, furniture and taxidermy.  It certainly is not Great-Great Aunt Agatha’s parlour recreated!

Miss Pokeno, (Allanah Curry), Trophy Chair (2009). Chair with taxidermy. Copyright the artist. Photograph copyright Tim Walker

Miss Pokeno, (Allanah Curry), Trophy Chair (2009). Chair with taxidermy.
Copyright the artist. Photograph copyright Tim Walker

http://www.guildhallartgallery.cityoflondon.gov.uk

Elizabeth I & Her People – National Portrait Gallery, London

Elizabeth I & Her People, until 5 January 2014, National Portrait Gallery, London

The glorious era of the first Elizabethan age is very well evoked in this exhibition which includes not only portraits but also over a hundred objects, such as costume, accessories, jewellery, coins and crafts to give a flavour of the period.

Queen Elizabeth I ('Elizabeth I and the Three Goddesses') c. 1590, attrib. Isaac Oliver.   © National Portrait Gallery, London, Purchased with the support of Mark Weiss

Queen Elizabeth I (‘Elizabeth I and the Three Goddesses’) c. 1590, attrib. Isaac Oliver.
© National Portrait Gallery, London, Purchased with the support of Mark Weiss

And what a time it was! Elizabeth I’s reign saw the rise of prosperity and economic stability as well as successes in overseas exploration and indeed in the defence of the realm against Spain.  The growth of trade and the development of new industries saw a flourishing middle class and the expansion of literature and the arts.

The Procession Portrait of Queen Elizabeth, Unknown Anglo-Netherlandish artist, c.1600-03  ©Sherborne Castle, Dorset

The Procession Portrait of Queen Elizabeth, Unknown Anglo-Netherlandish artist, c.1600-03
©Sherborne Castle, Dorset

At the centre of it all was the Queen, whose power and authority was clearly expressed through her portraits be they owned by nobles or institutions.  The Queen ruled. Ok!

Her courtiers were also captured in paint, such as William Cecil (Lord Burghley) and Bess of Hardwick, but what is particularly interesting about this time is that members of the middle classes be they lawyers, goldsmiths, financiers, merchants, playwrights or butchers and artists, also wanted their images to be recorded for posterity. They, after all, were contributors to the growing economic and political security of England.

William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley (1520/21–1598) by an unknown artist  © The Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford

William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley (1520/21–1598) by an unknown artist
© The Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford

Nor were the explorers such as Drake and Frobisher ignored.  In a newly restored portrait Sir Walter Raleigh’s devotion to the Queen is expressed though the colour of his costume and by the symbolic crescent moon above the blue sea waves depicted in the picture’s top left-hand corner.

Sir Walter Ralegh Unknown English artist, 1588 (c) National Portrait Gallery, London

Sir Walter Ralegh Unknown English artist, 1588
(c) National Portrait Gallery, London

You will no doubt have gathered by now that the only class of Elizabethan England not represented in portraits was, of course, the lower classes.  Their time had not yet come.

A hugely enjoyable, informative exhibition which gives us a fresh look at life in the first Elizabeth’s reign.  A friend said, reading the introductory board to the show, that some of the things expressed there were not dissimilar to the present Elizabethan age.  I will leave it to you to agree or not.

A Fête at Bermondsey by Joris Hoefnagel, c.1569–70, Reproduced by permission of the Marquess of Salisbury, Hatfield House

A Fête at Bermondsey by Joris Hoefnagel, c.1569–70, Reproduced by permission of the Marquess of Salisbury, Hatfield House

http://www.npg.org.uk

The 2013 Olympia Winter Fine Art & Antiques Fair

The 2013 Winter Fine Art & Antiques Fair, Olympia, 5th – 10th November

 Unbelievably now in it twenty-third year this year’s Fair’s dates have been moved to coincide with Asian Art in London 2013, which does seem a sensible move.  An expected twenty-two thousand visitors will be able to browse and purchase on the stands of the hundred and thirty exhibitors participating at the Fair.  One can confidently buy there as all items are strictly vetted by a team of experts.  It would be difficult to write about the gamut of different, interesting items on show but here is a small selection.

On the stand of Wakelin & Linfield you will come across this rather fine George I (c1720) bow back Windsor type ash chair.GEORGE I CHAIR highres

Portraits are always popular and there is a selection being shown by Nicholas Bagshawe Fine Art, including this depiction of Wilhelmina Bowlby (1798-1834) by Sir Thomas Lawrence.

Lawrence - Wilhemina (Bagshawe) While unfinished it still has the great style and appeal associated with his oeuvre. 

Items in silver are always popular and I can well imagine that this c1880 silver-plated lemon squeezer made by the noted firm of Hukin & Heath will soon go to a new home.  It is being offered by Hampton Antiques.

Squeezer

Finally a touch of Hollywood history and style is being shown by Mark J West.  He has a group of six small glasses and five large glasses all engraved with the initials HB, rightly so as they belonged to Humphrey Bogart.

hb

They were given by Bogart to Bill Rowland Hill as a thank you for his help with the publicity during the filming of the ‘The African Queen’.  They are accompanied by a letter on 20th Century Fox paper from Pinewood.  Bogart signed it Bogie, a form of signature he only used for friends.

hb1

It reads:

My Dear Bill.

Before I leave for home I want to say, one big ‘thank you’ from the bottom of my heart for all you have done Publicity wise both on the set, and in Africa. In addition thanks for all the other little things you have done that have helped so much. I wanted to send you some Hootch but on second thoughts I want you to have something to put it in. Will you call at that fancy store (Heal’s) on Tottenham Court Street and see a guy called Gaylard. Choose yourself a dozen glasses from the suite I have had made. They have my initials on them which are the same as yours.

 Once again sport, thanks a million.

hb2

Quite a provenance!

Images are copyright