Matisse in the Studio

Matisse in the Studio, The Sackler Wing, Royal Academy of Arts,  Burlington House, Piccadilly, London, W1, until 12th November 2017

 

© John Kirkwood

I am grateful to John Kirkwood to visiting and writing about this exhibition:

 

It isn’t often that one can visit an exhibition of works by a master such as Matisse and also see the subjects of the work on view alongside them as well. This exhibition brings together 35 objects alongside 65 paintings, sculptures, drawings, prints and cut-outs and it is startling to see the very objects represented, as Tommy Cooper might have said ‘before your very eyes!’

© John Kirkwood

This is the first exhibition to show that such treasures as are on display were often both the inspiration and the subject matter for the work and we must be grateful for their survival. Some of the objects are represented as you will see them but others get an interpretation from Matisse which shows his imagination and skill in transforming them into works of art.  Altogether a fascinating visit to his studio.

 

© John Kirkwood

http://www.royalacademy.org.uk

Plywood Triumphant!

PLYWOOD: MATERIAL OF THE MODERN WORLD, Victoria and Albert Museum, Cromwell Road, London SW7, until 12th November 2017

 

I am grateful to John Kirkwood to visiting and writing about this exhibition:

 

© John Kirkwood

Perhaps not surprisingly this is a world-first exhibition featuring as it does the many uses to which plywood has been put.

 

Like me, I’m sure you thought it was a twentieth century invention but apparently fragments of layered board have been found in Egyptian tombs – perhaps they thought if the mummies came back to life they might fancy a bit of DIY to amuse themselves – but it really came into its own in the late nineteenth century with the advent of mass production.

 

Plywood’s ubiquity has been embraced by furniture makers, manufacturers of surfboards and skateboards, designers, architects and engineers and this very interesting exhibition takes visitors through plywood’s many transformations from a cheap product to material prized by mid-century modernists and by today’s flourishing maker movement.

©John Kirkwood

I so enjoyed the exhibition that I left feeling that ‘plywood is my wood!’

 

http://www.vam.ac.uk

Royal Gifts

Royal Gifts – the Summer Opening of the State Rooms, Buckingham Palace, until 1st October 2017

Australian State Coach
Royal Collection Trust/© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2017. Photographer: David Cripps

From the moment you arrive at the Grand Entrance and espy the Australian State Coach, a gift to Her Majesty in 1988 from the people of Australia to mark the Australian Bicentenary, you know you are in for something rather exciting. Indeed many of the State Rooms are transformed by special displays of over two hundred gifts that have been presented to The Queen in the sixty-five years of her reign.

‘Royal Gifts’, the special exhibition at the Summer Opening of Buckingham Palace.
Credit: Royal Collection Trust / (c) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2017.

You will discover a remarkable cross section of items and every gift reflects the donor whether a town, organisation or country.  Each in its own way is uniquely special. I am not going to mention examples because it is something to be experienced in person. I found it all fascinating and engrossing in a way that I had not expected but will remember for a long time.

A Royal Collection Trust member of staff adjusts the Vessel of Friendship, a model of the ‘treasure ship’ sailed by the 15th-century Chinese navigator and diplomat Zeng He. The model was presented to Her Majesty by President Xi Jinping of the People’s Republic of China during the State Visit to Buckingham Palace in October 2015.
Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2017.

 

Members of Royal Collection Trust staff put the finishing touches to a display of gifts from around the United Kingdom as part of ‘Royal Gifts’, the special exhibition at the Summer Opening of Buckingham Palace.
Credit: Royal Collection Trust / (c) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2017.

In the Music Room is a charming display to mark the twentieth anniversary of the death of Diana, Princess of Wales. Many of the objects and mementos on and around her desk from her Sitting Room in Kensington Palace were chosen by the The Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry.

A tribute to Diana, Princess of Wales in the Music Room, one of the State Rooms open to the public as part of the Summer Opening of Buckingham Palace. The centrepiece of the display is the desk at which The Princess worked in her sitting room at Kensington Palace, writing letters and reading official briefings and correspondence.
Credit: Royal Collection Trust / (c) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2017

www.royalcollection.org.uk

Alma-Tadema – a footnote

Alma-Tadema – a footnote

 

Johnstone, Jupe & Co., London
“Jupe’s Patent” Extending Dining Table
c. 1839
Mahogany
Apter–Fredericks Ltd., London

There is an exhibition at the Clark Institute in Williamstown, Massachusetts entitled “Orchestrating Elegance: Alma-Tadema and the Marquand Music Room.” The American industrialist Henry Gurdon Marquand asked Alma-Tadema in 1884 to design a Music Room for his Madison Avenue mansion in New York. The favoured style was Greco-Pompeian and Alma-Tadema skill’s as a designer were well displayed in the room. The furniture he designed, including a grand piano with matching stools, were made in London by Johnstone, Norman & Co.

Johnstone, Jupe & Co., London
“Jupe’s Patent” Extending Dining Table
c. 1839
Mahogany
Apter–Fredericks Ltd., London

The celebrated London antique furniture firm Apter-Fredericks were approached by the Clark’s decorative arts curator and acting senior curator Kathleen Morris who asked whether they had an example of the expanding telescoping patented dining tables which Johnstone’s, in their various business partnerships, were renowned for making? Fortunately Apter -Fredericks were able to help and the table is on loan until the exhibition ends on 4th September 2017.

Johnstone, Jupe & Co., London
“Jupe’s Patent” Extending Dining Table
c. 1839
Mahogany
Apter–Fredericks Ltd., London

 

clarkart.edu

https://apter-fredericks.com/

 

Enlightened Princesses

Enlightened Princesses: Caroline, Augusta, Charlotte and the Shaping of the Modern World, Kensington Palace, until November 2017

Queen Caroline of Ansbach, Joseph Highmore c.1735,
Royal Collection Trust c Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2017

This fascinating exhibition has come to Kensington Palace from the Yale Center for British Art where it understandably attracted so much interest while there. It considers the part played by three German Protestant princesses at the court of the Hanoverian Kings who ruled 18th century Britain. A legacy that can still be seen in today’s monarchy.

Enlightened Princesses – Installation view
(c) Historic Royal Palaces

The three princesses concerned are Caroline, consort of George II; her daughter-in-law Augusta, who was married to Frederick Prince of Wales and Charlotte (Augusta’s daughter-in-law), consort of George III. In many senses they were the right women in the right place as Britain was embracing the ideas of the Enlightenment and the princesses’ intelligence and curiosity combined with their exalted status allowed them to foster and support the new ideas.

Queen Charlotte, Johann Joseph Zoffany 1771,
Royal Collection Trust c Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2017

Scientists, authors and even musicians such as Handel were all drawn to their drawing rooms. They encouraged medical advances such as inoculation and were involved in the establishment of London’s Foundling Hospital. Plants and wildlife were another interest that all three shared and Kew Gardens is part of that legacy. They also supported British trade and manufacturing.

Enlightened Princesses – Installation view
(c) Historic Royal Palaces

The exhibition succeeds in bringing both their private and public world to life.  The Yale Center for British Art’s director Amy Meyers sums it up: “Caroline, Augusta, and Charlotte had sweeping intellectual, social, cultural, and political interests, which helped to shape the courts in which they lived, and encouraged the era’s greatest philosophers, scientists, artists, and architects to develop important ideas that would guide ensuing generations”.

The Flying Squirrel, Plate T-77, Mark Catesby
c The Royal Board of Trustees of Royal Botanic Gardens Kew

www.hrp.org.uk

Christening robe made for future George IV, ivory silk satin c. 1760
(c) Historic Royal Palaces

Gilded Furniture!

Gilded: Golden Treasures of Georgian Furniture, Mackinnon Fine Furniture, 5 Ryder Street,
St. James’s, London SW1

A George I Giltwood Secretaire Cabinet attributed to James Moore made for the Portuguese Royal Court, England circa 1720

This beautiful display of gilded furniture is an absolute joy to behold.  We are more used to gilded arms and legs on chairs and stools or gilt mirror and picture frames but this collection includes furniture where the whole piece is gilded such as this outstanding bureau cabinet. C1720. Originally one of a pair intended for the Portuguese royal court it is attributed to James Moore who worked for George I. It really is as good as it looks.

A George I Giltwood Secretaire Cabinet attributed to James Moore made for the Portuguese Royal Court, England circa 1720 – Interior

As Charlie Mackinnon rightly says: ‘Gilt furniture is synonymous with Georgian elegance and glamour.  Bringing this group of pieces together is a rare opportunity to explore the style in depth and understand its value and attraction—especially for contemporary collectors.’

A Pair of George III Giltwood Armchairs attributed to John Linnell, England, circa 1775

 

A George I Carved Gilt Gesso Settee of Rare Small Proportions, England circa 1720

 

A George II Giltwood Table in the manner of William Kent, England circa 1730

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

http://www.mackinnonfineart.com

Masterpiece London 2017 – Butchoff Antiques

Butchoff Antiques at Masterpiece London 2017, until 5th July 2017

A Royal Cabinet for Prince Albert Edward by Holland & Sons, Circa 1865

Butchoff have exhibited regularly at the Fair and this year their stand evokes the feel and flavour of an interior in a 19th century chateau. It is the perfect backdrop for their choice selection of 19th century English and Continental furniture and objects. Many are signed by their makers or have an interesting provenance.

An Impressive Large Ormolu Mirror Signed Henry Dasson et Cie, 1889

Ian Butchoff sums it up: “We are proud to be one of the original exhibitors at Masterpiece, and as always will bring a range of statement pieces appealing to the diverse, international crowd at the fair.”

Pair of Urns Signed by Ferdinand Barbedienne, Circa 1880

www.butchoff.com

www.masterpiecefair.com