Canaletto & the Art of Venice

Canaletto & the Art of Venice, The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace. London SW1, until 12th November 2017

Canaletto, Piazza San Marco looking west towards San Geminiano, c.1723-4, part of a set of six views of Venice.
Royal Collection Trust/(c) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2017

The two key figures in this remarkable show are Joseph Smith, British Consul in Venice, and George III. The former was also Canaletto’s agent and dealer encouraging the artist to depict Venetian life for the Grand Tour visitors, especially the English ones, in the first half of the 18th century. The latter in 1762 bought almost all of Smith’s collection of paintings, drawings, medals and books which included Canaletto paintings, drawings and etchings as well as the works of other Venetian painters of the day.

Canaletto, The Pantheon, 1742, part of a set of five Roman views.
Royal Collection Trust/(c) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2017

This superb exhibition proves how wise George III was and how fortunate we are to be able to see it brought together – it is the best group of Canaletto’s works in the world! Alongside his paintings of Venice are the series of 5 large-scale Roman views which Canaletto painted in 1742.  I particularly liked the smaller view of the Grand Canal (The Grand Canal looking north-west from near the Rialto) showing Smith’s palazzo with its new classical façade altered later by the artist.

Rosalba Carriera,’Winter’, c. 1726
Royal Collection Trust/(c)Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016

Add to this works by Sebastiano and Marco Ricci, Francesco Zuccarelli, Rosalba Carriera, Pietro Longhi and Giovanni Battista Piazzetta and one really gets an absorbing picture of life in 18th century Venice. I loved the Sebastiano Ricci of The Adoration of the Kings (1726) because of the way Christ’s arm and hand are outstretched touching one of the king’s heads in benediction.

Canaletto, The Mouth of the Grand Canal looking West towards the Carita, c.1729-30, from a set of 12 paintings of the Grand Canal.
Royal Collection Trust/(c) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2017

This exhibition should not be missed!

http://www.royalcollection.org.uk

Marco Ricci, Farinelli in walking dress, c.1729-30
Royal Collection Trust/(c)Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016

BOOK REVIEW: Villa Astor

VILLA ASTOR Paradise Restored on the Amalfi Coast

Introduction by The Right Honourable the Lord Astor of Hever

Text by Curt DiCamillo, Suzanne Tise-Isoré, Alexandra Campbell and Rita Vessichelli Pane Photography by Eric Sander

£40
Flammarion 
ISBN 978-2-08-137592-5

The Villa Astor has, as the cover illustration suggests, rather a splendid location in the town of Sorrento overlooking the Bay of Naples. A former American ambassador to Italy William Waldorf Astor (1848-1919) acquired the Villa and its surrounding properties in 1905 and then went on to transform it. He was certainly well practiced in such matters for in the United Kingdom he had an office at 2, Temple Place, and also homes at Hever Castle and Cliveden (he gave the latter to his son as a wedding present in 1906). As well as building up a large collection of classical sculpture at the Villa Astor he also had a Pompeian-style villa built on the east side of the gardens. Following Astor’s death the Italian government stepped in and said the sculpture collections and gardens should be protected and remain part of the villa.

 

It is a great survival having withstood different owners and World War II – and now following a restoration by the new owners, with the help of the famous French decorator Jacques Garcia. this extensively illustrated book celebrates the Villa in its full glory while telling the tale of its intriguing history. Can’t ask for much more really.

editions.flammarion.com

Sublime joy!

Raphael: The Drawings, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, until 3rd September 2017

Study for Adam in the Disputa, c. 1508–10
Chalk and/or charcoal with white heightening, 35.7 x 21.2 cm
© Gallerie degli Uffizi, Gabinetto dei Disegni e delle Stampe, Florence

Did you know that the Ashmolean’s fifty Raphael drawings are the most significant group in the world? They have been supplemented by a further twenty-five from Vienna’s Albertina Museum and the rest of the total group of one hundred and twenty drawings come from international collections. The result is an absolutely stunningly memorable exhibition which is a joy to visit.

Study for the Massacre of the Innocents, c. 1509–10
Pen and brown ink over red chalk and geometrical indications in stylus, selectively pricked for transfer, 23.2 x
37.7 cm
© Trustees of the British Museum

Raphael (1483 – 1520) has long held the reputation of being the pre-eminent artist of the Renaissance and through these drawings which take us from the early days in Umbria to Florence and then on to Rome where he was at his very best we can see why.

Study for Charity, c. 1519
Black chalk with very few touches of white heightening, 31.3 x 15.2 cm
© Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford

The exhibition also reminded me why I am always attracted to drawings since they allow glimpses into the mind and vision of the artist – ideas that both intrigue and excite – but which may not always be translated into the finished work.  Please, please make every effort to see this show.  The Museum’s director Dr Xa Sturgis says: ‘The generosity of lenders and supporters has enabled us to give people a ‘once in a generation’ opportunity – that of experiencing the visual and emotive power of Raphael’s hand, and of understanding Raphael’s genius.’

 

Studies of heads and hands, and sketches after Leonardo, c. 1505–7
Metalpoint with white heightening, partially oxidised, on white prepared paper, 21 x 27.4 cm
© Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford

www.ashmolean.org

The heads and hands of two apostles, c. 1519–20
Black chalk with over-pounced underdrawing with some white heightening, 49.9 x 36.4 cm
© Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford

Treasure Houses: The homes of the Dukes of Buccleuch and Queensberry

 

BOUGHTON

The House, its People and its Collections

By Richard, Duke of Buccleuch and Queensberry

Photographs by Fritz von der Schulenburg

Published by Caique Publishing Ltd
ISBN 978 0 9565948 5 3 
£17.95 / $21.80 / 81.41 TL 

 

 

 

BOWHILL

The House, its People and its Paintings

Introduced by Richard, Duke of Buccleuch and Queensberry

Edited by John Montagu Douglas Scott

Photographs by Fritz von der Schulenburg

Published by Caique Publishing Ltd
ISBN 978 0 9565948 2 2
£12.95 / $15.73 / 58.73 TL
 

 

DRUMLANRIG

The Castle, its People and its Paintings

By Richard, Duke of Buccleuch and Queensberry

Photographs by Fritz von der Schulenburg

Published by Caique Publishing Ltd
ISBN 978 0 9565948 4 6
£10.95 / $13.30 / 49.66 TL
Paperback, 96 pages, Second Edition
 

These three guidebooks are much more than just that as they provide a fascinating introduction to the houses and collections of the incumbent Dukes.  You will encounter Rembrandt, Canaletto, Van Dyck and El Greco, as well as family portraits by Gainsborough, Reynolds and Ramsay, There are miniatures, French and English furniture, Sèvres made for Louis XV, items commemorating Sir Walter Scott and the Duke of Monmouth, silver and a huge variety of textiles and rugs. It is an extensive and engaging collection in three very different houses, two, Bowhill and Drumlanrig, are in Scotland and then Boughton in England which the late John Cornforth once described as ‘the English Versailles’.

These books are of serious appeal to anyone interested in the fine and decorative arts, architecture and historic interiors.

http://www.bowhillhouse.co.uk

http://www.boughtonhouse.co.uk

http://www.drumlanrigcastle.co.uk

http://www.caiquepublishing.com

 

‘Designing the Future’

Giacomo Balla: Designing the Future, Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art, 39a Canonbury Square, London N1, until 25th June 2017

Giacomo Balla
Iridescent Interpenetrations, 1913
Watercolour on paper, 24 x 18 cm
Courtesy The Biagiotti Cigna Foundation

This special show focuses on Giacomo Balla (1871-1958) a self-taught artist who was one of the founding figures of the Futurist movement but in 1937 moved away from its mainstream. The 116 works on show come from the Biagiotti Cigna Collection and give a full picture of Balla’s work which included furniture and clothing design

Giacomo Balla
Expansion of Spring, 1918
Oil on board, 45 x 55 cm
Courtesy The Biagiotti Cigna Foundation

 

Giacomo Balla
Lines of Force of an Enamelled Landscape, 1917-18
Oil and enamel on paper, 41 x 56 cm
Courtesy The Biagiotti Cigna Foundation

 

 

 

 

 

 

www.estorickcollection.com

Lord Weidenfeld

The Collection of The late Lord Weidenfeld GBE: A Life of Ideals and Ideas, Christie’s, 8 King Street, St James’s, London SW1, 18th May 2017

Lot 509
Bernardo Cavallino (Naples 1616–?1656)
Saint Dorothy
oil on canvas
27.7/8 x 22.7/8 in. (72 x 58 cm.)
Estimate: £150,000-200,000
© Christie’s Images Limited 2017

This is a very rare and final chance to see the private world of the publisher and philanthropist George Weidenfeld (1919-2016). He was created Baron Weidenfeld of Chelsea in 1976. He had co-founded the famous publishing firm Weidenfeld and Nicolson in 1948. It was after the War too that he started collecting and this auction reveals his many interests – Old Master paintings, 20th century works on paper, furniture, sculpture and the decorative arts. His collection of books is left to the National Library of Israel in Jerusalem.

The dining room of Lord Weidenfeld’s Bennison decorated Chelsea apartment
© Christie’s Images Limited 2017

The setting for this very personal collection was Lord Weidenfeld’s Chelsea Embankment apartment which had been wonderfully decorated for him by the famous antique dealer and decorator Geoffrey Bennison and which remained virtually unchanged for over forty years!

Lot 569
A REPOUSSÉ PARCEL-GILT COPPER BUST OF POPE URBAN VIII
WORKSHOP OF GIAN LORENZO BERNINI, ROME, MID-17TH CENTURY
30 in. high, 24 in. wide, the bust and socle
Estimate: £30,000-50,000
© Christie’s Images Limited 2017

 

Lot 577
A REGENCY BRASS-INLAID INDIAN ROSEWOOD LIBRARY TABLE
CIRCA 1810-20, ATTRIBUTED TO GILLOWS
31.1/4 in. (79 cm.) high; 76.1/2 in. (194.5 cm.) wide; 48.1/2 in. (123.5 cm.) deep
Estimate: £40,000-60,000
© Christie’s Images Limited 2017

 

Lot 582
A LARGE CHINESE BLUE AND WHITE BALUSTER VASE FITTED AS A TABLE LAMP
19TH CENTURY
The porcelain, 17.1/4 in. (44 cm.) high
Estimate: £2,000-4,000
© Christie’s Images Limited 2017

 

 

 

 

http://www.christies.com