BOOK REVIEW: The Long Weekend: Life in the English Country House 1918-1939

The Long Weekend: Life in the English Country House 1918-1939

Adrian Tinniswood

Jonathan Cape
£25
ISBN: 9780224099455

The Long Weekend

This book is a must read and must have for anyone interested in social history and the English Country House of the period between the two World Wars.  Adrian Tinniswood has delved into various memoirs, letters and diaries to portray a time of change for both owners and servants and to give a thoroughly detailed account of these fascinating times and the dramatis personae involved.

The cover illustration of Mr and Mrs Robert Tritton at Godmersham by Rex Whistler to me aptly sums up the country house of the period.  Everything looks rather idyllic but there is a sense of brittleness and theatricality hinting at the non-permanence of the idyll which was soon to be changed for a second time within fifty years by the Second World War.

 

http://www.vintage-books.co.uk

BOOK REVIEW: Watteau’s Soldiers: Scenes of Military Life in Eighteenth-Century France

Watteau’s Soldiers: Scenes of Military Life in Eighteenth-Century France

Aaron Wile

Published by GILES in association with The Frick Collection, New York
PRICE — UK£25.00 / US$39.95
ISBN — 978-1-907804-79-3

9781907804793

France’s involvement in the War of the Spanish Succession (1701-14) unwittingly provided Watteau (1684-1721) with an opportunity to produce a little-known body of work depicting military subjects. As one might expect the military glories of battles or the generals and kings involved were not the subject matter Watteau chose as he preferred the more run-of-the mill scenes of marches, encampments and bivouacs and showing soldiers at rest and play.

Antoine Watteau was a master draughtsman and the book reveals this through the images of the beautiful chalk drawings as well as finished paintings.  Watteau would take a figure from a drawing and with almost the idea of the ‘cut and paste’ technique use it in the composition of a painting as author Aaron Wile explains.

This book is a delightful and erudite composition which is easily accessible to all but is combined with a catalogue raisonné of Watteau’s military works, including drawings now only known from prints.

While the book was published in conjunction with the exhibition Watteau’s Soldiers: Scenes of Military Life in Eighteenth-Century France, at The Frick Collection, until 2ndOctober 2016, it will have a very long shelf life and be much read and sought after by all interested in the arts of early 18th century France.

gilesltd.com

300 Years!

‘Capability’ Brown – a new bulb

Narcissus 'Capability Brown' credit: Ron Scamp

Narcissus ‘Capability Brown’
credit: Ron Scamp

Well today is the 300th anniversary of Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown’s baptism in St Wilfrid’s Church in Kirkharle, Northumberland and is also the date for officially marking this important tercentenary.  What better way than to unveil a new bulb named by the RHS as Narcissus ‘Capability Brown’.

It is particularly appropriate as Brown is known to have used a double jonquil, Narcissus ‘Telamonius Plenus Van Sion’ in his designs. The 300th Anniversary Festival’s director Ceryl Evans sums it up by saying: ‘Our hope is that many of Capability Brown attributed sites will be interested in planting this beautiful spring bulb, as a seasonal reminder every year of the remarkable Capability Brown Festival introducing Brown’s amazing legacy landscapes to a much wider audience’.

I heartily concur.

 

http://www.capabilitybrown.org

The 2016 Tribal Art London

Tribal Art London, Mall Galleries, The Mall, London SW1, 1st– 4th September 2016

Jeremy Sabine A 19th century Zulu wooden vessel carved from a single block of wood with no joins, half a metre tall

Jeremy Sabine
A 19th century Zulu wooden vessel carved from a single block of wood with no joins, half a metre tall

Here is a selection of items for sale at this year’s Tribal Art London fair which features twenty two international dealers and is the only specialist fair of its kind in the UK.

Arjmand Aziz A contemporary work interpreting the Songlines traced by women making their way to the important Western Desert Ancestral site of Munni Munni, by Marlene Young Nungurrayi, born 1971

Arjmand Aziz
A contemporary work interpreting the Songlines traced by women making their way to the important Western Desert Ancestral site of Munni Munni, by Marlene Young Nungurrayi, born 1971

 

David Malik A powerfully abstract mbulu ngulu reliquary figure of the Kota people, Gabon, West Africa

David Malik
A powerfully abstract mbulu ngulu reliquary figure of the Kota people, Gabon, West Africa

 

Kapil Jariwala A remarkable Peruvian tapestry surviving from the middle centuries of the first millennia, woven from alpaca wool and cotton, made by the people of the Chimu culture of Lambayeque, on the Northern coast of Peru

Kapil Jariwala
A remarkable Peruvian tapestry surviving from the middle centuries of the first millennia, woven from alpaca wool and cotton, made by the people of the Chimu culture of Lambayeque, on the Northern coast of Peru

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bryan Reeves An early hyena mask from Bambara, Mali

Bryan Reeves
An early hyena mask from Bambara, Mali

 

Marcuson & Hall A rare sleeping mat depicting trains, carriages and people woven by the Yombe, Democratic Republic of Congo

Marcuson & Hall
A rare sleeping mat depicting trains, carriages and people woven by the Yombe, Democratic Republic of Congo

tribalartlondon.com

Illumination of the Written and Scientific Kind

COLOUR: The Art and Science of Illuminated Manuscripts, The Fitzwilliam Museum, Trumpington Street, Cambridge, until 30th December 2016

Historiated initial from an Antiphoner, St Lawrence holding a palm branch, the gridiron and a book (c. 1390) Don Silvestro dei Gherarducci, Niccolo Rosselli, Cenni di Francesco di Ser Cenni Florence, Italy © The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge.

Historiated initial from an Antiphoner, St Lawrence holding a palm branch, the gridiron and a book (c. 1390) Don Silvestro dei Gherarducci, Niccolo Rosselli, Cenni di Francesco di Ser Cenni Florence, Italy
© The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge.

In this the Museum’s bicentenary year visitors have a wonderful opportunity to learn and understand more about the world of Illuminated Manuscripts. The exhibition combines the art of the original creators of these works with up-to-the minute research into the technique and ingredients used. Some one hundred and fifty manuscripts and fragments, with many of the exhibits being drawn from the Museum’s own collection, are displayed and date from the tenth to the sixteenth centuries. Those from the Viscount Fitzwilliam Founder’s bequest cannot be loaned out to other museums.

Book of Hours c. 1480 – c. 1490 Illuminated by Vante di Gabriello di Vante Attavanti (active c. 1480 – 1485) Florence, Italy © The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge.

Book of Hours c. 1480 – c. 1490 Illuminated by Vante di Gabriello di Vante Attavanti (active c. 1480 – 1485) Florence, Italy
© The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge.

Over the last four years research has covered many interesting facts such as the use of smalt (ground blue glass) on a Venetian illumination book indicates that the artist had contact with the nearby glass-makers on the island of Murano and interestingly enough it pre-dates the use of smalt by Venetian artists by fifty years. It has been discovered that egg yolk, more usually associated with artists working on panel who used it as a binder, was also sometimes used in the production of these ravishing manuscripts.

Historiated initial from a Gradual, Louis XII healing the sick (c. 1500) Paris, Northern France © The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge.

Historiated initial from a Gradual, Louis XII healing the sick (c. 1500) Paris, Northern France
© The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge.

The exhibition takes us to the artistic centres where they were created in Europe and also dispels the belief that most manuscripts were produced by monks since from the eleventh century scribes and professional artists were involved in the production of manuscripts.  It also looks at later alterations to manuscripts and how some have been faked in later times.

The Macclesfield Psalter c. 1330 – 1340 The Anointing of David East Anglia (probably Norwich), England © The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge.

The Macclesfield Psalter c. 1330 – 1340 The Anointing of David East Anglia (probably Norwich), England
© The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge.

It is a revealing and fascinating exhibition that draws (no pun intended) the viewer in and allows them to understand the magnificent, rich and colourful world of Illuminated Manuscripts.

Miniature, Pentecost showing the Virgin surrounded by the twelve apostles. Hainaut, Valenciennes, circa 1480-1490. Marmion, Simon (follower or assistant of). © The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge.

Miniature, Pentecost showing the Virgin surrounded by the twelve apostles. Hainaut, Valenciennes, circa 1480-1490. Marmion, Simon (follower or assistant of).
© The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge.

http://www.fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk/

Historiated initial mounted within a roundel with medallion scenes, John the Baptist, Hermit Saints and scenes of Christ’s Passion. Bologna, Parma, Italy, 1490-1500. © The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge.

Historiated initial mounted within a roundel with medallion scenes, John the Baptist, Hermit Saints and scenes of Christ’s Passion. Bologna, Parma, Italy, 1490-1500.
© The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge.

 

 

Throwing light on Art

TM Lighting

(Before) The East Gallery, Waddesdon Manor, The Rothschild Collection (The National Trust). Photo Paul Barker © Paul Barker

(Before) The East Gallery, Waddesdon Manor, The Rothschild Collection (The National Trust).
Photo Paul Barker © Paul Barker

 

(After)The East Gallery, Waddesdon Manor, The Rothschild Collection (The National Trust). Photo Mike Fear © The National Trust, Waddesdon Manor

(After)The East Gallery, Waddesdon Manor, The Rothschild Collection (The National Trust).
Photo Mike Fear © The National Trust, Waddesdon Manor

 

 

 

 

Visitors to Waddesdon Manor this year will notice that the paintings have been re-lit most effectively and this is due to the specialist lighting company TM Lighting who have worked on this project. Founded in 2012 by Andrew Molyneux and Harry Triggs who have twenty years combined experience in lighting design, TM Lighting can transform homes and commercial spaces showing them to greater advantage.  Their approach takes into account both the current energy-saving legislation and the environmental factors of the space they are lighting.

Private Commissions: Marcus Lyon’s Studio

Private Commissions: Marcus Lyon’s Studio

The company provides a bespoke service using the very latest LED technology to achieve the correct light distribution which as these images confirm works wonderfully well in bringing both the art and the rooms into focus. Miranda Rock, Guardian of Burghley House, says of their work in lighting the notable collection of paintings at Burghley that “they are not over-lit and the atmosphere of the house has not been compromised”. LED bulbs are cooler than halogen ones and last much longer.

Burghley House

Burghley House

 

New Masters Exhibition by Darwin, Sinke & Van Tongeren at Jamb and exclusively lit by TM Lighting CREDIT: Ilvy Njiokiktjien

New Masters Exhibition by Darwin, Sinke & Van Tongeren at Jamb and exclusively lit by TM Lighting
CREDIT: Ilvy Njiokiktjien

Among other clients TM lighting have worked for are Weston Park House, Apsley House, the National Gallery, Goodwood, Hampton Court Palace and Armourers’ Hall. They also work with private collectors, dealers and other commercial businesses.  I hope you will agree that they are really rather good at what they do.

Commercial Commission: Fera at Claridges Hotel

Commercial Commission: Fera at Claridges Hotel

 

Apsley House

Apsley House

 

 

 

 

tmlighting.com

 

 

 

(Before) The Dining Room, Waddesdon Manor, The Rothschild Collection (The National Trust). Photo Mike Fear © The National Trust, Waddesdon Manor

(Before) The Dining Room, Waddesdon Manor, The Rothschild Collection (The National Trust).
Photo Mike Fear © The National Trust, Waddesdon Manor

 

(After) The Dining Room, Waddesdon Manor, The Rothschild Collection (The National Trust). Photo Mike Fear © The National Trust, Waddesdon Manor

(After) The Dining Room, Waddesdon Manor, The Rothschild Collection (The National Trust).
Photo Mike Fear © The National Trust, Waddesdon Manor

BBC Faces of Comedy

BBC Faces of Comedy, Compton Verney, Warwickshire, CV35 9HZ, until 2nd October 2016

Victoria Woods Sketch Show Story, Julia Walters (Mrs Overall) Duncan Preston (Mr. Clifford) Victoria Wood (Bertha) Celia Imrie (Miss Babs), 2001, Copyright BBC

Victoria Woods Sketch Show Story,
Julie Walters (Mrs Overall) Duncan Preston (Mr. Clifford) Victoria Wood (Bertha) Celia Imrie (Miss Babs), 2001,
Copyright BBC

To some extent this exhibition is a curtain raiser for a landmark sitcom season that the BBC will be airing across BBC One, BBC Two and BBC Four later in the year.

The Goon Show, Harry Secombe, Peter Sellers and Spike Milligan, 1956 Copyright BBC

The Goon Show,
Harry Secombe, Peter Sellers and Spike Milligan, 1956
Copyright BBC

This exhibition which has been guest curated by Paul Merton (Have I Got News for You) and Adil Ray (Citizen Khan) features nearly one hundred images garnered from the BBC photo library from the 1950s onward with many familiar faces.  It’s great fun and will appeal to many whatever their own sense of humour.

Absolutely Fabulous, Jane Horrocks and Joanna Lumley, 2001, Copyright BBC

Absolutely Fabulous,
Jane Horrocks and Joanna Lumley, 2001,
Copyright BBC

http://www.comptonverney.org.uk

Steptoe and Son, Harry H. Corbett as Harold Steptoe, Wilfrid Brambell as Albert Steptoe & Duncan Wood with various cast members & studio crew, 1965, Copyright BBC

Steptoe and Son,
Harry H. Corbett as Harold Steptoe, Wilfrid Brambell as Albert Steptoe & Duncan Wood with various cast members & studio crew, 1965,
Copyright BBC