Alma-Tadema!

Alma-Tadema: At Home In Antiquity, Leighton House Museum, 12 Holland Park Rd, London, W14,, until 29th October 2017

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

 

Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema, The Finding of Moses, 1904. © Private Collection

Unbelievably for such a well-known artist, this is the first exhibition of the works of Alma-Tadema in London since 1913. He was a great friend of Lord Leighton and will of course have visited the House which makes the placing of the exhibition here most fitting.

Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema,
Self-Portrait of Lourens Alma Tadema, 1852.
© Fries Museum, Collection Royal Frisian Society

A visit to Pompeii on his honeymoon inspired Alma-Tadema to depict carefully researched scenes of life in Ancient Rome which reminded me very much of scenes from the very popular spectacular epic films of the fifties and sixties such as Quo Vadis?, The Ten Commandments, The Fall of the Roman Empire and Ben-Hur and apparently Alma-Tadema had been an inspiration for some of the filmmakers even as late as Gladiator. Indeed many of his paintings are amazingly in the CinemaScope ratio!

Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema,
A Pyrrhic Dance, 1869.
© Guildhall Art Gallery, City of London

There are photographs, artefacts and drawings and paintings from his two houses, one close to the Regent’s Canal and the other in Grove End Road whose exterior remains largely unchanged.  There is also a selection of the panels painted by Alma-Tadema’s artist friends including Lord Leighton which hung in Alma-Tadema’s house and which are reunited for this exhibition. The Studio will also house the portrait of Leopold Lowenstam a friend of Alma-Tadema which was rediscovered on the Antiques Roadshow in 2016 and is on public display for the first time.

Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema,
Coign of Vantage, 1895.
© Ann and Gordon Getty

The exhibition is a wonderful journey through Alma-Tadema’s work displayed in a beautiful and atmospheric setting.

 

 

http://www.leightonhouse.co.uk

 

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

AT HOME: ‘Flaming June’

‘Flaming June: The Making of an Icon’, Leighton House Museum, 12 Holland Park Rd, London, W14, until 2nd April 2017

Flaming June: The Making of an Icon, installation shot at Leighton House Museum. Photo: Kevin Moran. Courtesy: Leighton House Museum

Flaming June: The Making of an Icon, installation shot at Leighton House Museum.
Photo: Kevin Moran. Courtesy: Leighton House Museum

What an exciting exhibition this is! Leighton’s iconic painting Flaming June has come back to the house where it was painted and not only that it is reunited with the other works that Leighton included in what was to be his last showing of work at the Royal Academy’s Summer Exhibition because he died in January 1896.

The original installation in Frederic Leighton's Studio, by Bedford Lemere, 1 April 1895. ©Historic England Archive. Image Courtesy of Leighton House Museum

The original installation in Frederic Leighton’s Studio, by Bedford Lemere, 1 April 1895.
©Historic England Archive. Image Courtesy of Leighton House Museum

If that were not enough on its own we are even more spoilt because it is being shown alongside other works (thanks to loans from private collections and the Metropolitan Museum of Art) that he showed at that year’s Summer Exhibition.

Frederic, Lord Leighton (1830-96), was one of the leading artists of his day and between 1878 and his death was President of the Royal Academy. Although not particularly well received at the exhibition Flaming June has become justly famous – its history is fascinating as this exhibition reveals – and is on loan from the Ponce Museum of Art in Puerto Rico.

Flaming June: The Making of an Icon, installation shot at Leighton House Museum. Photo: Kevin Moran. Courtesy: Leighton House Museum

Flaming June: The Making of an Icon, installation shot at Leighton House Museum.
Photo: Kevin Moran. Courtesy: Leighton House Museum

Thanks to the April 1895 photograph showing Flaming June and it’s fellow works before they were submitted to the Royal Academy it has been possible to give now an idea of what visitors on a studio open day would have seen.

Leighton House’s senior curator, Daniel Robbins, sums it up saying: “I am delighted that over 125 years on we can reunite these five paintings created by Leighton in the home and studio he cherished. This exhibition will be a chance for visitors to look more closely into this final body of work with Flaming June as its centrepiece and consider afresh Leighton’s achievements as an artist. I am extremely grateful to those who have loaned the works to us for the exhibition and to those who helped us track down the paintings held in private collections.”

Flaming June: The Making of an Icon, installation shot at Leighton House Museum. Photo: Kevin Moran. Courtesy: Leighton House Museum

Flaming June: The Making of an Icon, installation shot at Leighton House Museum.
Photo: Kevin Moran. Courtesy: Leighton House Museum

 

Open daily except Tuesdays, 10am – 5.30pm but check for opening times over the holiday period.

http://www.rbkc.gov.uk/FlamingJune

WILLER

“Micheluzzi: Mosaico”, Willer, 12-14 Holland Street, Kensington, London W8, until 30 July 2016

Michelluzi at Willer © Bill Batten

Michelluzi at Willer
© Bill Batten

This a wonderful celebration of the Venetian art of glass making by the famous Massimo Micheluzzi. As the images reveal he is a master of technique and has created these striking contemporary pieces which are inspired by the traditional terrazzo floors and mosaics of Venice, his native city.

Michelluzi at Willer © Bill Batten

Michelluzi at Willer
© Bill Batten

He says of his new collection “Glass is a complex and surprising material. There’s a form of alchemy involved in working with this material and countless secrets to be discovered. My work recalls the atmosphere of Venice, the lagoon, the silvery waterways and the cloudy skies. I use glass to convey a feeling of motion.”

Michelluzi at Willer © Bill Batten

Michelluzi at Willer
© Bill Batten

 www.willer.co.uk

Advance Warning – Ceramics, 25th June 2016

Prestige Ceramic Fairs – London Fair, Kensington Town Hall, Conference Events Centre, Hornton Street, Kensington, London W8, 25th June 2016

Juno Antiques Early London decorated small Chinese teapot and cover, enamelled with white flower heads on a green seeded ground, surrounded by red and gilt tramline cartouches, c.1740.

Juno Antiques
Early London decorated small Chinese teapot and cover, enamelled with white flower heads on a green seeded ground, surrounded by red and gilt tramline cartouches, c.1740.

This twice yearly fair is a must do for those who collect ceramics whether 18th and 19th century British porcelain and pottery or their oriental equivalent.  It is nice that such a fair with its twenty plus specialist dealers still exists in the capital.

http://www.prestigeceramicfairs.com

www.junoantiques.com 

Chelsea Porcelain

 Sir Hans Sloane’s Plants On Chelsea Porcelain – A Loan Exhibition, Stockspring Antiques, 114 Kensington Church St, London W8, 2nd – 16th June 2015

Corallodendron: A Chelsea plate with a wavy brown-edged rim, painted with a Corallodendron flower, leaves, floret, seed pod and seeds, and two butterflies. c. 1753-56                                     Mark: red anchor over 34,  Diam: 24.5 cm          Private Collection

Corallodendron:
A Chelsea plate with a wavy brown-edged rim, painted with a Corallodendron flower, leaves, floret, seed pod and seeds, and two butterflies.
c. 1753-56
Mark: red anchor over 34, Diam: 24.5 cm
Private Collection

This exhibition celebrates the physician and collector Sir Hans Sloane who was a great patron of the Chelsea Physic Garden. The garden was a great centre of botanical research at a time when ships returning to London from Asia, Africa and the New World were bringing many unknown plants back with them. Sloane, himself, collected plants and animals and studied botany.

Trew C. J., Plantae Selectae, dec. I, Tab. VIII;

Trew C. J., Plantae Selectae, dec. I, Tab. VIII;

The chief gardener at the Chelsea Physic Garden from 1722 was Philip Miller who in 1731 published the Gardener’s Dictionary and later Figures of Plants, which showed the new plants in illustrations by Georg Dionysius Ehret. Ehret was the botanical artist of the time and had also provided illustrations for other books, including Plantae Selectae by Trew and Phytanthoza Iconographia by Weinmann.

Dodecatheon meadia: A plate with a wavy brown-edged rim, painted with a Dodecatheon Meadia, two seed heads, an immature seed head and three flying insects. c. 1755-57                                        Mark: red anchor, Diam: 21.6 cm Private Collection

Dodecatheon meadia:
A plate with a wavy brown-edged rim, painted with a Dodecatheon Meadia, two seed heads, an immature seed head and three flying insects.
c. 1755-57
Mark: red anchor, Diam: 21.6 cm
Private Collection

These and other published works were the source for the wonderful botanical decoration found on Chelsea porcelain in the 1750s and which are known as Sir Hans Sloane plants. This special exhibition, thanks to the loans from museums and private collections, brings together over seventy pieces of Chelsea porcelain which are shown alongside images of their source engravings.

 

Trew C. J., Plantae Selectae, dec. I, Tab. XII;

Trew C. J., Plantae Selectae, dec. I, Tab. XII;

The exhibition is accompanied by a highly detailed hardback catalogue (£30 + postage) by Sally Kevill-Davies and is the fruit of her research into identifying the plants found on Chelsea porcelain. Thanks are due to the Cadogan Estate for their sponsorship of it.

 

Opening Times:

Weekdays: 10 -5.30pm, Saturdays: 10 – 4pm. Sundays: Closed.

 

 

http://www.antique-porcelain.co.uk

A CHRISTMAS MESSAGE

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

Xmas 2014

Many thanks to you all for your interest in my blog and for the many likes, comments and endorsements in 2014
Warm good wishes

Tim Forrest

PS: Will be posting again next week

 

(IMAGE: Churchill Arms, Kensington Church Street, London W8. Kensington Church Street offers one of the largest selections of Art and Antiques in London  – http://www.antiques-london.com)