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

A Love Affair with France: The Elizabeth Stafford Collection, Christie’s New York 1st November 2018

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Mimi Stafford in the Dining Room of her New York apartment. © Christie’s Images Limited 2018

I have known of this remarkable collection for nearly two decades and have caught fleeting glimpses of it from time to time in exhibition catalogues and elsewhere, I just wish I could have had the opportunity to meet Mrs Stafford. However, now we have the chance to encounter her and her discerning eye in this sale and some of the more important pictures will appear in specialist sales either just before the 1st November or later in that month.

Claude Lorrain

CLAUDE GELLÉE, CALLED LORRAIN (CHAMPAGNE 1600-1682 ROME landscape with Apollo guarding the herds of Admetus and Mercury stealing them oil on canvas 20 x 27.1/8 in. (50.8 x 68.8 cm.) $700,000 – $1,000,000 Old Masters, October 30 2018 © Christie’s Images Limited 2018

Elizabeth (Mimi) and her husband Frederick collected across a wide spectrum as the 1966-67 exhibition of their collection – “Odyssey of an art collector: unity in diversity -5,000 years of art” – at the Isaac Delgado Museum in New Orleans showed. Indeed in May this year Christie’s sold Brancusi’s La Jeune fille sophistiquée (Nancy Cunard) for US$ 71 million. It had been bought by them from the artist in 1955.

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Mimi Stafford’s Paris apartment. © Christie’s Images Limited 2018

Mimi’s abiding passion was the arts of 18th century France and it was this that formed the background to her daily life, first of all in a Maison Jansen designed apartment in Paris’s Avenue Foch and then later in a New York apartment that had been created for Mr and Mrs Robert R Young by Maison Jansen’s legendary Stéphane Boudin. Both apartments were the perfect backdrop for the paintings, porcelain, furniture and drawings she acquired with an unfailing eye. As her daughter E. Alexandra Stafford says in an interview with Christie’s that “the first questions new friends asked when they entered the apartment was how could she live in such a museum? As they hesitated before sitting down on the silk brocade-covered 18th-century gilded chaise à la Reine, she would answer: ‘No problem!’”

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Mimi Stafford’s Paris apartment. © Christie’s Images Limited 2018

That, of course, is how it should be as such things were made to be used and I am sure that Mimi Stafford would be excited and delighted that things she loved and cherished will be going on to new owners and enriching their lives.

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The niche in the Stéphane Boudin-designed New York apartment’s salon, or living room, displayed a selection of the Sèvres bleu céleste that forms the core of the porcelain collection — including an oval bottle cooler from the first service made for Louis XV. © Christie’s Images Limited 2018

 

Étienne Aubry

ÉTIENNE AUBRY (VERSAILLES 1745-1781 PARIS) ‘La Turque’, presumed portrait of Mademoiselle Duthé Oil on canvas 25 3/8 x 32 in. (64.3 x 81.3 cm.) $300,000 – 500,000 Old Masters, October 30 2018 © Christie’s Images Limited 2018

 

LOT 1229

Lot 1229 A LOUIS XV ENAMELLED GOLD CARNET DE BAL MARKED PARIS, 1773, WITH CHARGE MARK OF JULIEN ALATERRE, 1768-1775, AND DECHARGE MARK OF JEAN-BAPTISTE FOUACHE, 1775-1781 Rectangular with beaded borders, decorated with cornfower blue stripes, one side mounted with a miniature of a lady in white gown with gold embroidery, the other side with a locket of woven hair under a gold script monogram, the hinged cover mounted with gold words SOUVENIR D’AMITIE, interior ftted with gold pencil case 3 æ in. (95 mm.) high $4,000–6,000 © Christie’s Images Limited 2018

 

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Mimi Stafford’s Paris apartment © Christie’s Images Limited 2018

 

LOT 1212

1212 JEAN-AUGUSTE-DOMINIQUE INGRES (MONTAUBAN 1780-1867 PARIS) Portrait of Mrs. Jean-Pierre Granger, née Marie-Jeanne-Catherine Delaigle signed and dated in graphite ‘Ingres/ à Rome 1811’ (lower right) graphite 10 x 7æ in. (25.4 x 19 cm.) $200,000–300,000 © Christie’s Images Limited 2018

 

LOT 1963

Lot 1063 A PAIR OF FRENCH ORMOLU-MOUNTED CHINESE PORCELAIN TWO-LIGHT CANDELABRA THE PORCELAIN QIANLONG, THE MOUNTS PROBABLY BY ESCALIER DE CRYSTAL, 19TH CENTURY Each with a blue-glazed Chinese porcelain parrot on a rock work base fanked by coral-form ormolu branches. 9æ in. ( 25 cm.) high (2) $7,000–10,000 © Christie’s Images Limited 2018

 

Pissarro - Neige, soleil couchant, Eragny

CAMILLE PISSARRO (1830-1903) Neige, soleil couchant, Eragny signed and dated ‘C. Pissarro 94’ (lower left) oil on canvas 24 x 32 1/2 in. Painted in 1894 $2,000,000-3,000,000 Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale, November 2018 © Christie’s Images Limited 2018

 

Stafford Paris Apartment

Mimi Stafford’s Paris apartment © Christie’s Images Limited 2018

 

LOT 1041

Lot 1041 JEAN-BAPTISTE CHARPENTIER (PARIS 1728-1806) Portrait of a man, traditionally said to be M. Larchey, son-in-law of the painter Jean-Baptiste Greuze, bust-length oil on panel, oval 7æ x 6Ω in. (19.7 x 16.5 cm.) $8,000–12,000 © Christie’s Images Limited 2018

 

Boudin Panel from New York apartment c1959

A panel from a set of boiserie installed by Stephane Boudin, circa 1959, 900 Fifth Avenue, New York City. © Christie’s Images Limited 2018

 

christies.com

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.

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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.

New Art Centre 1

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

Vivien Leigh – Sotheby’s

Vivien: The Vivien Leigh Collection, Sotheby’s, New Bond Street, London W1, 26th September 2017

 

Lot 14 A Large Collection of Photographs of Vivien and Larry
Estimate £800-1,200
Courtesy of Sotheby’s

Vivien Leigh was one of the most beautiful and talented actresses to ever grace both stage and screen and now she is once again the star of the show when Sotheby’s auctions hundreds of items belonging to her in London on 26 September.

Jewellery including a mid 19th-century diamond bow brooch, a gold ring given to Vivien Leigh by her husband Laurence Olivier and a 18th-century chrysoberyl devant de corsage.
(Photo by Tristan Fewings/Getty Images for Sotheby’s)

From Scarlett O’Hara in Gone With the Wind to Blanche Dubois in A Streetcar Named Desire and Karen Stone in The Roman Spring Of Mrs Stone Vivien almost reflected her own life in her films.  The feckless Scarlett ‘thinking about it tomorrow’ is Vivien in her early theatrical pursuits where she was a whirlwind jumping from (mainly) success to success then Blanche sadly shows us Vivien in her troubled years long before bi-polar personalities had been categorised.  Then finally we have Karen Stone a bewildered widow who falls for the ersatz charm of an Italian gigolo played by Warren Beatty complete with cod Italian accent.  Mrs Stone has found a new way of living and remains a sad but noble survivor.

Interior, Notley Abbey
Courtesy of Sotheby’s

When I was ten years old I saw Vivien on stage at the Kings Theatre in Glasgow in Noel Coward’s South Sea Bubble and can still recall the ‘presence’ that came across the footlights.

Lot 269 Vivien’s monogrammed luggage, all monogrammed V.L.O., and two black leather luggage labels with insert name cards printed Lady Olivier
Estimate £800-1,200
Courtesy of Sotheby’s

The items in this sale include diaries, family photographs, paintings as well as library and personal items – even the wig she wore as Blanche. I was quite surprised and delighted to see that Vivien possessed a similarly framed item exactly the same as one I recently bought in a charity shop.  It is a sketch by Ronald Searle published in Punch in January 1957 as part of his Heroes of our Time series entitled Sir Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh. – not Lady Olivier!  In it Vivien looks out from the sketch brightly and vivaciously whilst Sir Laurence is in the foreground in his Richard lll costume and make up,  including the hump, and looking out at us resignedly, cigarette clutched firmly between his fingers.

Vivien Leigh painting at an easel in a garden
Courtesy of Sotheby’s

The accompanying catalogue features many lovely photos of Vivien but then how could you take an unlovely one?

 

Lot 224 Vivien’s writing bureau, mid-18th century, acquired from Asprey in 1949
Estimate £600-900
Courtesy of Sotheby’s

 

http://www.sothebys.com/en/auctions/2017/vivien-leigh-collection

 

I am grateful to John Kirkwood for writing about this sale

THE LAPADA FAIR 2017

LAPADA Art & Antiques Fair, Berkeley Square, Mayfair, London W1, 15th-20th September 2017

Once again Mayfair’s Berkeley Square plays host to the LAPADA Fair – can you believe it’s their ninth year there, time really does go by quickly?

Among the 110 plus participants at the fair bringing a tempting mixture of art and antiques from all periods is Mackinnon Fine Furniture and I thought you would be interested to see this pair of George II chairs known as the Newhailes House Armchairs which they are showing at the Fair. Dating from c1750-55 their mahogany frames are beautifully carved and pierced and have Chinoiserie stretchers. They are upholstered in their original signed Aubusson tapestry covers.

The chairs, originally a set of four, were acquired by the first Lord Hailes at a sale of the contents of his aunt’s house in Greek Street and remained at Newhailes House until c1928. They were in various American collections, including the Walter P Chrysler Collection.

Slightly earlier in date are these very important George II mahogany armchairs of c1745 which come from Warwick Castle and were part of suite acquired in the 18th century for the castle and where some can still be seen in the Cedar Drawing Room. They are upholstered in early 18th century Genoese silk velvet.

Whoever buys these chairs is going to be very lucky and have many years pleasure in owning them.

 

www.mackinnonfineart.com

http://lapadalondon.com

The 2017 20/21 British Art Fair

The 20/21 British Art Fair, Mall Galleries, The Mall, London SW1, 13th– 17th September 2017

Rose Hilton – Self Portrait with Model,
Oil on Canvas, 72 x 92 cm.

After a year’s absence – its old venue was no longer available – this popular Fair returns to central London. Its new venue is the Mall Galleries so very central indeed.

Ken Smith – Free Fall,
Hopton Wood Stone, 25 x 10 x 10 cm

The thirty-three leading dealers taking part bring a fine selection of works, especially Modern and Post War pieces. I have taken this opportunity to show some works from Messum’s who were founded in 1963 and specialise in paintings and sculpture.

David Blackburn (1939 – 2016) Gasometer and Orange Sky,
Pastel, 37 x 41 cm

http://www.britishartfair.co.uk