BOOK REVIEW: Marjorie Merriweather Post The Life Behind the Luxury

Marjorie Merriweather Post: The Life Behind the Luxury

Estella M. Chung

UK£24.95 / US$29.95 Hardback
ISBN 978-1-911282-45-7 200
D Giles Limited in association with Hillwood Estate, Museum & Gardens, Washington, DC, 2019

MMP

 

Complementing Chung’s first book Living Artfully: At Home with Marjorie Merriweather Post this richly illustrated volume takes a wider look at Mrs Post’s life from her birth in 1887 to her death in 1973. Hers was, thanks to her great wealth, a life that attracted press interest in her four marriages, social life, clothes and homes. Her father’s suicide was also another source of interest but her resulting ownership of the Postum Cereal Company was the start of her business interests and she amply proved that she was a capable and knowledgeable business woman. She was deeply philanthropic in both war and peacetime and Estella Cheung reveals this eloquently.

We join Mrs Post aboard her plane and yacht as she travels to either her Adirondack camp or cruises the Mediterranean and elsewhere but what particularly intrigued me was the 1904 journey taken with her father around southern England in a specially hired horse-drawn Stage Coach during which they visited Salisbury a place I know well.

Although she enjoyed a life of luxury and wealth it becomes clear that whatever her financial status Mrs Post would have been successful at anything she turned her hand to. That drive combined with her care and concern for others makes her a remarkable and memorable woman.

 

gilesltd.com

 

BOOK REVIEW: Duveen Brothers And the Market for Decorative Arts, 1880–1940

Duveen Brothers And the Market for Decorative Arts, 1880–1940

Charlotte Vignon

UK£44.95 / US$59.95
Hardback ISBN 978-1-911282-34-1
D Giles Limited in association with The Frick Collection, New York, 2019

 

Duveen.jpg

 

The name of Duveen is well-known in the annals of the American trait of collecting European art treasures in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Their story has previously been related in various volumes written by others, some of whom were family members or involved with the company. Understandably paintings predominated in these previous works but wonderfully at last the decorative arts get their well-deserved centre stage spot.

 

French 18th century furniture, tapestries, Sèvres and Chinese porcelains and medieval and Renaissance works of art were among the items sold to the eager, wealthy American collectors. Relating the story from the firm’s point of view Charlotte Vignon looks at the pricing of the objects and the Duveen’s run-ins with the US tax authorities in which Duveen succeeded and was able to continue to enhance the lives and homes of collectors such as J P Morgan, John D Rockefeller Jnr, Marjorie Merriweather Post, Anna Thomson Dodge and Henry Clay Frick. Thanks to the firm’s records and archives held at the Getty Research Institute, one gets a good understanding of how Duveen functioned in New York, London and Paris and obtained such beautiful treasures at a time when the owners of English and European family collections were selling parts of their heritage for financial reasons. The importance of the house of Duveen was reflected in 1937 when they loaned tapestries to decorate an annexe at Westminster Abbey for the Coronation of King George VI.

 

It’s a remarkable story of connoisseurship and reveals to present day visitors to American museums and collections how these remarkable objects came to be there. Perfect!

 

 

 

gilesltd.com

BOOK REVIEW: Gouthière’s Candelabras

Gouthière’s Candelabras (Frick Diptych Series)

Charlotte Vignon and Edmund de Waal

UK£14.95 / US$19.95
Hardback ISBN 978-1-911282-47-1
D Giles Limited in association with The Frick Collection, New York, 2019

Frick

The combining of the contemporary artist and writer Edmund de Waal with the Frick’s Charlotte Vignon brings the tale of these candelabra to present day life. Two small white Meissen vases were mounted in late 18th century France by the remarkable chaser and gilder Pierre Gouthière and transformed into stunning candelabra that were originally purchased by the celebrated collector the duc d’Aumont.

It is a tale which considers the desire and wish for such objects in that 18th century period and then goes on to examine how that desire was turned into a reality that endures to the present time. It’s a great story beautifully told.

gilesltd.com

Boilly: Scenes of Parisian Life

Boilly: Scenes of Parisian Life, National Gallery, (Room 1), Trafalgar Square, London WC2, until 19th May 2019

A Carnival on the Boulevard du Crime 1832

Louis-Léopold Boilly A Carnival Scene, 1832 Oil on canvas 60.3 × 106.5 cm The Ramsbury Manor Foundation Photo © courtesy the Trustees

It wasn’t that this exhibition was free or the first of its kind in this country that impelled me to make a special trip to London to come and see it, it was the skill and talent of the artist Louis-Léopold Boilly (1761 – 1845) that was my driving force.

 

I had often seen the three Boilly paintings in the Wallace Collection, depicting scenes from everyday life in the more upper-middle class homes of late 18th century France but in this exhibition at the National Gallery one sees how he “triumphed” as an artist in the ever-changing world of Paris from the French Revolution to the July Monarchy of Louis Philippe.

 

Boilly’s paintings are a revelation whether genre scenes whose style recalls Dutch artists of the 17th century or a trompe l’oeil painting that looks exactly like a print. He set a trend with his small portraits and his everyday street scenes. I chose the image above because it represents elements of his work from all periods. Most importantly look at it closely for the elements of humour that can be found in such works by him.

 

What makes this ravishing, must see exhibition particularly special are the twenty works from an English private collection which are both being shown and published for the first time. The collection was put together by the late Harry Hyams (1928-2015) and I count myself fortunate that I met him at a porcelain exhibition in London in 2010 and could appreciate the knowledge and connoisseurship he had of art and antiques during our enjoyable conversation.

 

 

http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk

http://www.wallacecollection.org

ENVOI
Among the exhibitions this year at Waddesdon Manor is Brought to life: Eliot Hodgkin Rediscovered (25 May – 20 October) which will feature paintings from Mr Hyams’ collection.
1964_09_00_The_Maids_Room_Eliot_Hodgkin

The Maids Room Eliot Hodgkin © The Estate of Eliot Hodgkin © Photo: The Ramsbury Manor Foundation, photo by AJ Photography

 

waddesdon.org.uk

BOOK REVIEW: The Orléans Collection

The Orléans Collection

Edited by Vanessa I. Schmid

D Giles Limited in association with the New Orleans Museum of Art

£44.95

ISBN 978-1-911282-28-0

9781911282280_FC

 

I remember when visiting Castle Howard in Yorkshire as a child that one of the rooms was then known as the Orléans Room marking the fact that the 5th Earl of Carlisle was part of a syndicate that acquired a portion of the already legendary Orléans Collection.

Philippe II, Duke of Orléans (1674– 1723) had started forming the collection in the second decade of the 18th century when he became Regent of France, following Louis XIV’s death. It was a way of expressing his connoisseurship and taste and included artists such as Raphael, Titian, Veronese, Correggio, Poussin, Rubens, and Rembrandt.

This informative volume looks not only at the component parts of the collection but also at the contemporary Paris art market.  The display of the paintings within the Palais Royale and their overall impact on the collectors and tastes of the day are considered too.

It is a real celebration of early 18th century taste and style and while one can be truly grateful that many pictures may still be seen in museums and galleries today one could be tempted to regret that the collection is no longer one single entity. The book however gives us the chance to relive that experience in a vibrant and enjoyable way.

 

gilesltd.com

BOOK REVIEW: MAISON: Parisian Chic at Home

 MAISON:  Parisian Chic at Home

By Ines de la Fressange & Marin Montagut

Photography by Claire Cocano

Published by Flammarion

£30

ISBN 978-2-08-020367-0

MaisonParisianChicatHome_cover

 

It’s always good to change one’s own point of view and this book has had that effect on me. While I always look at books such as this I rarely want to have a copy but the authors of this book have achieved this desire through the text, photographs and delightful watercolours.

The authors Ines de la Fressange and Marin Montagut introduce us to a total of fifteen apartments, including their own.  They are places which draw the reader in and stimulate the eye and mind. The mixture of old and new, practical and frivolous remind us that our homes should be ever evolving, living entities that reflect our lives and interests. The “Get the Look” pages are very useful.

This is one to keep!

 

editions.flammarion.com

Lost Treasures of Strawberry Hill: Masterpieces from Horace Walpole’s Collection, Strawberry Hill, 268 Waldegrave Road, Twickenham TW1 4ST, until 24th February, 2019

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Anonymous artist, Staircase at Strawberry Hill, Ink wash with watercolour. Courtesy of The Lewis Walpole Library, Yale University

The 2010 exhibition ‘Horace Walpole and Strawberry Hill’ at the V&A was a wonderful celebration of the house, the collection and the collector so now imagine just quite how special this new exhibition is. You can feel the house responding to having over one hundred and fifty of its treasures within its walls once more with some in their original position.

From the early 18th century Chinese tub in which Walpole’s cat Selima drowned accidentally to a clock that had belonged to Henry VIII and Ann Boleyn, it is a veritable pot-pourri of objects and pictures that fascinate and show the breadth of Walpole’s interests, many reflecting the historic style of the building.

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Paul Sandby (1731 – 1809) ‘Strawberry Hill chiefly taken in the year 1769 by Mr. Sandby’, c. 1769. Drawing Watercolour on laid paper with wash-line Courtesy of The Lewis Walpole Library, Yale University.

Son of Sir Robert Walpole (Britain’s first Prime Minister), Horace created this first Gothick building with the help of friends. It was his summer home until he died in 1797 and eventually in 1842 there was a twenty-four day sale of its contents. Now YOU can see some of these original contents, back home until February of next year, in both the private rooms and the State rooms. By 1797 there were some four thousand pieces plus coins, drawings and prints in the collection

I am deliberately not illustrating any of the objects on show because I think it is so, so important that, if you can, you should see them in situ and thus hopefully get a sense of both Horace and his remarkable creation. I implore you to do so! You will regret it if you don’t. The stuff of dreams.

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John Carter, The Tribune at Strawberry Hill, c. 1789. Courtesy of The Lewis Walpole Library, Yale University.

 

Open 7 days a week

Monday – Friday: 12-6pm (Late opening until 10pm on Fridays)

Saturday – Sunday: 11am -6pm 

Final entry one hour before closing

Private guided tours available 10am-11am and 6pm, Monday to Friday

Public guided tours available 10am Saturday & Sunday

 

 

www.strawberryhillhouse.org.uk/losttreasures