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

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/

Masterpiece London 2018, Royal Hospital Chelsea, South Grounds, London SW3 4LW, 28th June – 4th July 2018 (Preview: Wednesday 27th June)

Chelsea Pieta RW (1) a

A CHELSEA PIETA Circa 1761 Modelled by Joseph Willems (born in Brussels, 1715, died in Tournai, Belgium, 1766) 38.5 cm high Gold Anchor mark to reverse. E & H Manners

It really shows how time flies when one considers that the first Masterpiece was held in 2010 and hasn’t it continued to provide a scintillating cross-section of all the arts whether ancient, contemporary, fine or decorative? This year’s Fair, with its ‘reworked layout’ will no doubt see many collectors, curators and first-time buyers visit as well as those who just want to experience seeing the best on offer.

I have included a small selection of pieces which have particularly caught my eye.

hurst

An 18th Century German ormolu mounted marquetry commode in the manner of DavidRoentgen, the marble a later replacement, c. 1780. Measurements: w: 52.8” (134cm), h: 34.6” (88cm), d: 28.7” (73cm). Edward Hurst Ltd

 

Opening hours:

Preview (by invitation) on Wednesday 27 June, 11am – 9pm

Thursday 28 June, 11am – 9pm

Friday 29 June, 11am – 9pm

Saturday 30 June, 11am – 7pm

Sunday 1 July, 11am – 7pm

Monday 2 July, 11am – 9pm

Tuesday 3 July, 11am – 9pm

Wednesday 4 July, 11am – 9pm

RBC are the Principal Sponsor of Masterpiece London 2018.

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William Turnbull, Pandora, 1958-62, 156.2 x 120.6 x 22.9 cm. New Art Centre

 

3. SJP - 18th century German carved gold mounted quartz box, attributed to Hoffmann

An 18th century German gold mounted quartz box, attributed to Friedrich Ludwig Hoffmann, Berlin c.1760. S. J. Phillips

 

Mario_Dilitz_No174_2_S

Mario Dilitz, Austrian, b.1973 Boxing Boy with long Shorts (Artwork No. 174), Oak and red glue, 2018, 6 unique versions 96cm h x 35cm w x 20cm d, Sladmore Contemporary

 

Egyptian bust of bes

An Egyptian Limestone Bust of Bes Ptolemaic, Circa 3rd – 2nd Century BC? Kallos Gallery

 

49 - Monet

Claude Monet Le Bassin Aux Nymphéas Painted: circa 1918-20 Medium: Oil on canvas Size: 381⁄4” x 51” / 97cm x 130cm. Gladwell & Patterson

 

4. KRA - Pair of Louis XVI dishes on stands, Paris, 1785

A striking pair of Louis XVI dishes on stands made in Paris in 1785 and 1789 by the French silversmiths Henri Auguste and Robert Joseph Auguste. Engraved with the coronet and monogram of the infamous Harriet, Duchess of St Albans. Warmers added by Paul Storr in 1811. Koopman Rare Art

 

Apter-Fredericks

An exceptional and large pair of nodding figures which are one of a very small number of known pairs retaining their original costumes. Chinese, Circa 1821-1850. Height 26” 66cm. Apter-Fredericks Ltd

 

http://www.masterpiecefair.com;

Instagram: @masterpiecelondon; Twitter: @MasterpieceFair;

Facebook: Masterpiece London

Westminster’s Church Street, London NW8 – Present (24th June) and Past (Salisbury Cathedral)

Antiques Anonymous 2017 - image courtesy of Aerial Storytelling (Instagram @joelelman) (7)_preview

Antiques Anonymous 2017 – image courtesy of Aerial Storytelling (Instagram @joelelman) (7)

 Last September I had the pleasure of writing about a new antiques event taking place in the antique hub that is Church Street NW8 – the Antiques Anonymous Flea Market – and as the photographs show it was a successful and well-attended event. I am delighted to be able to tell you that a second edition takes place on Sunday, 24th June 2018 (11am-5pm, free entry). So do get along there for there is much to discover and enjoy, including food and music.

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Salisbury Cathedral – Moses and the Brazen Serpent Window. Courtesy of Salisbury Cathedral

I am unable to be there this time for I no longer live nearby but here in Salisbury there is a direct connection with Church Street which dates back to the late 18th century. In Salisbury Cathedral, above the High Altar, is a triple window depicting Moses and the Brazen Serpent which was given by the second Earl of Radnor, who lived in nearby Longford Castle. The scene, after a picture by John Hamilton Mortimer ARA, is a work in ‘pot-metal glass, enamel and stains’ * executed by Richard Askew who was working in Church Street for the glass painters James Pearson and his wife Eglington Margaret Paterson. What makes the window special is the technique used which was enamelling directly on to plain glass sheets before firing them. Askew also worked for William Duesbury at the Derby porcelain factory.

* Richard Askew – Derby Artist by Major W. H. Tapp, M.C.; The Antique Collector, April 1936.

 

 

http://www.antiquesanonymous.london

www.salisburycathedral.org.uk

BOOK REVIEW: Longford Castle

Longford Castle: The Treasures & The Collectors

Amelia Smith

 ISBN: 9781910787687

Publisher: Unicorn

£40.00

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I first learnt about Longford Castle and some of its treasures in an article in the 1968 Country Life Annual and have wanted to know more about it ever since. Well now both you and I can find out more in this fascinating book which is both well-written and well-illustrated.

 

Dating from Elizabethan times the house was acquired by the Bouverie family in 1717 and the story of how they built up the outstanding art collection which consists of Old Masters and family portraits – think Holbein, Claude, Reynolds and Gainsborough – is skilfully interwoven with the tale of the furnishings and decorations of the castle’s rooms which form the backdrop to the paintings.  It really is a celebration and a history of this great collection and house and is such a delight. It is a book I will return to time and time again!

 

http://unicornpublishing.org/

‘The sounds of Music’

Brian Graham – Towards Music, The Salisbury Museum, The King’s House, 65 The Close, Salisbury SP1 2EN, until 12th May 2018

 

30 Fanfare SMALL 72dpi

Brian Graham Fanfare for the Common Man for Aaron Copland, 2014 Mixed media on board 26cm x 34cm

In this show of some forty works the Dorset-born artist takes us on a journey into history with his ideas of how music-making and dance may have started. These painted reliefs reflect his long-held interest in the worlds of archaeology, anthropology and science and this juxtaposition with their titles which are either taken from notable works or figures in music and dance fire the viewer’s imagination to picture the past. It’s a show where – as the song says – “the melody lingers on”!

1 La Mer small 72dpi

Brian Graham La Mer for Claude Debussy, 2014 Mixed media on board 34cm x 26cm

www.salisburymuseum.org.uk

Feline remembrances!

The Art of Steven Campbell, Marlborough Fine Art, Albemarle Street, London W1, until 21st October 2017

Steven Campbell,
Alice in Ruins, 1992-93,
oil on canvas, 269.9 x 263.7 cm,
Copyright the Estate of Steven Campbell, Courtesy Marlborough Fine Art

The retrospective on this highly acclaimed Scottish artist who sadly died in 2007 amply proves why he is so highly regarded by his peers and critics alike.  I was particularly drawn to this picture.

The look on the cat’s face so reminded me of a cat I used to have.  It is the look I would get just before he would attempt to climb the bedroom curtains if he thought he was not getting the attention he deserved at 6.30am. Both curtains and cat survived for many years!

 

http://www.marlboroughlondon.com