WADDESDON MANOR – 2

Fame and Friendship: Pope, Roubiliac and the Portrait Bust, until 26th October

Imagine the most dramatic part of a play about a family where there has just been an almighty row, during which a character who had appeared earlier returns to the stage. There is complete silence, as the characters turn towards him startled by his sudden reappearance, which is suddenly broken from the audience when a querulous voice says “Who’s he?”

View of the exhibition Fame and Friendship: Pope, Roubiliac and the Portrait Bust in Eighteenth-Century Britain at Waddesdon Manor, The Rothschild Collection (The National Trust). Photo: © Richard Bryant/arcaidimages.com

View of the exhibition Fame and Friendship: Pope, Roubiliac and the Portrait Bust in Eighteenth-Century Britain at Waddesdon Manor, The Rothschild Collection (The National Trust). Photo: © Richard Bryant/arcaidimages.com

Well this cannot be said about this exhibition which focuses on the poet Alexander Pope (1688-1744) because it is very clearly and elegantly presented. It looks at his work and how he was highly regarded at home and abroad. Physically challenged due to his debilitating illness (Pott’s disease) and by being a Roman Catholic in a Protestant country he still managed to triumph and is placed in the English literary canon between Milton and Wordsworth.

John Michael Rysbrack, Alexander Pope, 1730; Lent by the National Portrait Gallery, London. Purchased through the National Heritage Memorial Fund, 1986. Photo: © Richard Bryant/arcaidimages.com

John Michael Rysbrack, Alexander Pope, 1730; Lent by the National Portrait Gallery, London. Purchased through the National Heritage Memorial Fund, 1986. Photo: © Richard Bryant/arcaidimages.com

The centrepiece of the exhibition is the eight versions of the same bust by Louis François Roubiliac (1702-1762) who was the leading sculptor of the day. In the 18th century the portrait bust became the way to celebrate famous writers but in fact it was not a new concept as in antiquity writers had been honoured in this way.

View of the exhibition Fame and Friendship: Pope, Roubiliac and the Portrait Bust in Eighteenth-Century Britain at Waddesdon Manor, The Rothschild Collection (The National Trust).  Photo: © Richard Bryant/arcaidimages.com

View of the exhibition Fame and Friendship: Pope, Roubiliac and the Portrait Bust in Eighteenth-Century Britain at Waddesdon Manor, The Rothschild Collection (The National Trust).
Photo: © Richard Bryant/arcaidimages.com

Pope was quite adept in managing his private and public life and image and although these early busts were most likely meant for friends they represent the most well-known image of the writer. This can be seen in the selection of marble, plaster and ceramic period copies which clearly demonstrate the place of replication and repetition in sculptural practice of the time.

Statuette’s of Shakespeare and Pope by John Cheere and Louis-François Roubiliac on loan from the Castle Museum, York and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. Photo: © Richard Bryant/arcaidimages.com

Statuette’s of Shakespeare and Pope by John Cheere and Louis-François Roubiliac on loan from the Castle Museum, York and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. Photo: © Richard Bryant/arcaidimages.com

Among his friends was William Murray (he became the first Lord Mansfield) with whom he shared a common interest in the classics and arts. Murray had a bust of Pope which he later paired with a similarly posed bust of himself by the sculptor Joseph Nollekens at Kenwood House. They were there until 1796 and are now together again for the first time since then.

View of the exhibition Fame and Friendship: Pope, Roubiliac and the Portrait Bust in Eighteenth-Century Britain at Waddesdon Manor, The Rothschild Collection (The National Trust). Photo: © Richard Bryant/arcaidimages.com

View of the exhibition Fame and Friendship: Pope, Roubiliac and the Portrait Bust in Eighteenth-Century Britain at Waddesdon Manor, The Rothschild Collection (The National Trust). Photo: © Richard Bryant/arcaidimages.com

There are other sitters with whom one way or another Pope was associated. For example one bust of him was paired with one of Isaac Newton, and they too are reunited here.

Sculpture was not the only way in which Pope was depicted and there are portraits by artists, including Jonathan Richardson the Elder, Jean-Baptiste van Loo, and Sir Godfrey Kneller, on show. There are also printed texts of his works and the differing typefaces, illustrations and ornamental features show the author’s involvement with his work reflecting that he was an independent writer and not reliant on noble patrons.

Books on display from the Waddesdon Collection with a portrait of Alexander Pope, c 1737 by Jonathan Richardson hanging above. On loan from the National Portrait Gallery, London. Photo: © Richard Bryant/arcaidimages.com

Books on display from the Waddesdon Collection with a portrait of Alexander Pope, c 1737 by Jonathan Richardson hanging above. On loan from the National Portrait Gallery, London. Photo: © Richard Bryant/arcaidimages.com

The exhibition is curated by Professor Malcolm Baker, Distinguished Professor in the Department of History of Art at California University Riverside, USA, an eminent sculpture scholar who I warmly recall from his days at the V&A. The loans come from the Yale Center for British Art, with which this exhibition is a joint collaboration, and from other major collections including the British Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Louvre, National Portrait Gallery, British Library as well works from Waddesdon.

By the way if you thought like me you could not quote Pope? Well I am pretty sure that you will have come across these phrases written by him:


To err is human; to forgive, divine

Fools rush in where angels fear to tread

 

www.waddesdon.org.uk

Louis-François Roubiliac, Bust of Alexander Pope, 1741 , Shipley Art Gallery, Gateshead. Photo: © Richard Bryant/arcaidimages.com

Louis-François Roubiliac, Bust of Alexander Pope, 1741 , Shipley Art Gallery, Gateshead. Photo: © Richard Bryant/arcaidimages.com

 

 

ONE IN A THOUSAND – THE RARE AQUAMARINE RAISING FUNDS FOR A UNIQUE PRISON CHARITY

ONE IN A THOUSAND – THE RARE AQUAMARINE RAISING FUNDS FOR A UNIQUE PRISON CHARITY

Fine Cell Work aquamarine - Top Stone 2Fine Cell Work aquamarine -Stone side

 

Here is a rare opportunity to take part in a raffle whose prize is a beautiful £40,000* aquamarine which is multi-faceted, unheated and cushion-cut. The raffle is being held to raise funds for the prison charity Fine Cell Work and as gem merchant Guy Clutterbuck admires the work that they do for prison rehabilitation he has most generously donated this outstanding gemstone.

The winner of the draw on 20th November not only wins the stone but can also take up an offer of leading jewellery designer Georgina Skan (previously at Garrard and Asprey) to design a setting for the stone. Fine Cell Work is donating £1500 towards the cost of the setting.

The ‘One In A Thousand’ Aquamarine draw will take place on 20 November at a reception at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office. Visit http://www.finecellwork.co.uk for more details about how to buy a ticket and the great work the charity does.

 

* The gem’s value has been verified by James Riley, the CEO of The Gemmological Association of Great Britain (Gem-A).

WADDESDON MANOR – 1

Waddesdon Manor, near Aylesbury, is a veritable treasure house of paintings, furniture, ceramics, and objets d’art, particularly from the French 18th century. Each year they have special exhibitions which can be drawn either from the collections or are of a more contemporary nature. This year is particularly fruitful so I thought I would share three elements of them with you over the coming days.

 

Predators and Prey: A Roman Mosaic from Lod, Israel, until 2nd November

The Lod floor mosaic, late third C.E., Israel Antiquities Authority.  Photo: © Israel Antiquities Authority / Nicky Davidov

The Lod floor mosaic, late third C.E., Israel Antiquities Authority.
Photo: © Israel Antiquities Authority / Nicky Davidov

This really exciting Roman mosaic pavement forms the centrepiece of a very special exhibition in the Stables Coach House at Waddesdon Manor.

The Lod floor mosaic (detail), late third C.E., Israel Antiquities Authority.  Photo: © Israel Antiquities Authority / Nicky Davidov

The Lod floor mosaic (detail), late third C.E., Israel Antiquities Authority.
Photo: © Israel Antiquities Authority / Nicky Davidov

In 1996 a discovery was made in the Israeli city of Lod (known as Lydda in Ancient Times) of a series of Roman Mosaic floors but they were not actually excavated until 2009. The largest floor of this group has been on a loan tour of various European and US Museums and now can be seen at Waddesdon. As the images suggest there is an element of humour and wit in the depiction of the subject matter. It is so worth seeing.

The Lod floor mosaic (detail), late third C.E., Israel Antiquities Authority.  Photo: © Israel Antiquities Authority / Nicky Davidov

The Lod floor mosaic (detail), late third C.E., Israel Antiquities Authority.
Photo: © Israel Antiquities Authority / Nicky Davidov

What makes this find so significant is that Lod has been occupied since antiquity but with so far relatively little excavation work no one knows what further treasures may await.

The Lod floor mosaic (detail), late third C.E., Israel Antiquities Authority. Photo: © Israel Antiquities Authority / Nicky Davidov

The Lod floor mosaic (detail), late third C.E., Israel Antiquities Authority.
Photo: © Israel Antiquities Authority / Nicky Davidov

To set the mosaic in context a group of contemporary and other relevant objects have been lent by the British Museum to give a wider background to the items from Lod. Material from the Waddesdon archive and collection also shows the family’s long interest in similar archaeological projects in that area.

 

As you can see below the mosaic has provided the inspiration for this year’s carpet bedding of the Parterre.

 Carpet Bedding, South Front, ©National Trust, Waddesdon Manor.

Carpet Bedding, South Front, ©National Trust, Waddesdon Manor

(The Lod Mosaic is on loan from the Israel Antiquities Authority and the Shelby White and Leon Levy Lod Mosaic Centre.)

www.waddesdon.org.uk

 

FAKE BY JOHN MYATT

FAKE BY JOHN MYATT at Castle Fine Art, 24 Bruton Street, London W1, until 10th August

 

View Of Antibes, In the style of Claude Monet. Oil on canvas.

View Of Antibes, In the style of Claude Monet. Oil on canvas.

I think that the King in The King and I might also find this “a puzzlement” as John Myatt was sentenced for one year in prison for his part in a conspiracy to defraud the art world. He served four months of his sentence and turned legitimate.

He says:  “I know that I’ll always be known as the art forger who duped the experts but while that period of my life is definitely over, it set me on a path I never knew would be possible.”

Constallation, In the style of Joan Miro. Oil on canvas.

Constallation, In the style of Joan Miro. Oil on canvas.

The fruits of his labours can be seen in this show which includes not only works that mimic the style of masters old and new but also includes his own originals. Judging by the red dots on the opening night this could be a format that like The King and I will have a long run.

Sail On Silver Bird/ Storm At Sea, In the style of John Myatt. Oil on canvas.

Sail On Silver Bird/ Storm At Sea, In the style of John Myatt. Oil on canvas.

As Ian Weatherby-Blythe, managing director of Castle Fine Art, said: “John’s exciting works challenge the art world because they dare to blur the edges between real and fake.”

 

castlegalleries.com

All images are copyright

Femme A L’Echarpe, In the style of Henri Matisse. Oil on canvas.

Femme A L’Echarpe, In the style of Henri Matisse. Oil on canvas.

PAUL JENKINS -on canvas and paper – 1989-2009, The Redfern Gallery

PAUL JENKINS -on canvas and paper – 1989-2009, The Redfern Gallery, until 29th August 2014

 

This exhibition concentrates on two decades which for the American abstract expressionist, Paul Jenkins (1923-2012) were a period of intense productivity and reflection.

Phenomena Jean-Paul Riopelle in the Last Laugh 1989 Acrylic on canvas 81 x 100 cm

Phenomena Jean-Paul Riopelle in the Last Laugh 1989
Acrylic on canvas
81 x 100 cm

This is an exciting exhibition for it is the first retrospective to look closely at this period and most of the works have never been shown in the UK and some have never have been seen outside of the artist’s studio.

Phenomena Guide to See By 1994 Ink on paper 62.5 x 47.5 cm

Phenomena Guide to See By 1994
Ink on paper
62.5 x 47.5 cm

As well as seminal works, such as Phenomena Gemini Encounter East 2001 and Phenomena Initiation 2007 there are his rarely seen collages, drawings and watercolours. He first started using acrylics in 1960, attracted by their opacity and translucency. His use of the word Phenomena in the titles of his paintings was derived from his interest in the colour theories of Goethe.

 

Phenomena Magnetic Meridian 2005 Acrylic on canvas 101 x 91.4 cm

Phenomena Magnetic Meridian 2005
Acrylic on canvas
101 x 91.4 cm

 

 

 

http://www.redfern-gallery.com

All images are copyright

A Tale of Two Secrétaires at The Wallace Collection, London

A Tale of Two Secrétaires, The Wallace Collection, until 29th August

 

The love and high regard for 18th century French furniture led to furniture makers in Paris and London copying many of the best pieces for wealthy clients in the 19th and early 20th centuries.  These pieces were greatly prized by their owners and indeed could cost more than original pieces. At the Wallace Collection there is a copy of the Louis XV “bureau de roi” and another of the writing-table of the Elector of Bavaria which are very fine examples of this kind of commission.

untitled-4

However the focus of this piece is the showing in the museum’s Conservation Display area of the Collection’s 18th century Secrétaire à Abattant by Pierre-Antoine Foullet (c1777) and a 19th century version by Maison Rogié of Paris (c1880).  As the image shows they are featured side by side and it allows a great opportunity to see the differences in the techniques in their construction and finish.  The 19th century Secrétaire is loaned by Butchoff Antiques who are celebrating their fiftieth anniversary this year.

 

www.butchoff.com

http://www.wallacecollection.org

The image is copyright

In Homage, Skarstedt London

In Homage, Skarstedt London, 23 Old Bond Street, London W1, until 8th August, 2014

 

This rather special exhibition focuses on six specifically chosen artists and shows how in certain works the artists have and can be influenced by those who have preceded them.

  In Homage at Skarstedt London installation view,  Sigmar Polke, This is How You Sit Correctly (left), 1982,  Francis Bacon, Study for a Pope III (right), 1962,  Image courtesy of Skarstedt

In Homage at Skarstedt London installation view,
Sigmar Polke, This is How You Sit Correctly (left), 1982,
Francis Bacon, Study for a Pope III (right), 1961,
Image courtesy of Skarstedt

In the case of Francis Bacon it is Velázquez; Picasso’s Neo-classical style works are clearly the influence for George Condo. Martin Kippenberger’s picture reflects a contemporary and fellow German Georg Baselitz. In Sigmar Polke’s work one sees references to Goya and Ernst while Richard Prince salutes de Kooning and Andy Warhol de Chirico.

In Homage at Skarstedt London installation view,  Andy Warhol, Disquieting Muses (after de Chirico), 1982,  Image courtesy of Skarstedt

In Homage at Skarstedt London installation view,
Andy Warhol, Disquieting Muses (After de Chirico), 1982,
Image courtesy of Skarstedt

It is a process perhaps best expressed and summed up by Picasso who said “We, the painters, are the true heirs, those who continue to paint. We are heirs to Rembrandt, Velázquez, Cézanne, Matisse. A painter always has a father and a mother; he doesn’t emerge out of nothing.

 

I am sure many you will not disagree.

 

   In Homage at Skarstedt London installation view,  George Condo, Portrait of a Woman (right), 2002,  Francis Bacon, Study for a Pope III (left) 1962,  Image courtesy of Skarstedt

In Homage at Skarstedt London installation view,
George Condo, Portrait of a Woman (right), 2002,
Francis Bacon, Study for a Pope III (left) 1961,
Image courtesy of Skarstedt

 www.skarstedt.com