OUT & ABOUT: Blain|Southern

Bernar Venet at Cliveden
©Courtesy the Artist and BlainSouthern, Photo Jonty Wilde

If you did not catch Benar Venet’s first solo exhibition in London since 1976 at Blain|Southern recently then you have an opportunity to see his works in the grounds of Cliveden, Buckinghamshire. Regarded by many as the foremost living French sculptor, ten large-scale works await discovery in the glorious formal gardens and spaces of Cliveden and can be seen there until mid-October.

 

nationaltrust.org.uk/cliveden

Bernar Venet at Cliveden
©Courtesy the Artist and BlainSouthern, Photo Jonty Wilde

 

http://www.blainsouthern.com/

Bouke de Vries

Bouke de Vries -“Fractured Images”, Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery Ltd., 533 Old York Road, London SW18, 8th June – 15th July 2017 

 

Grown from Chinese clay, 2017
18th century Chinese porcelain fragments and mixed media
150x120x580

I believe that we owe a great debt of gratitude to Bouke de Vries for his belief, which reflects that held in China and Japan, that broken important ceramic pieces are worthy of repair. He has said “I wanted to give these objects, which are regarded as valueless, a new story and move their history forwards. A broken object can still be as beautiful as a perfect object.” It is a great philosophy and thanks to his artistic imagination and great skill – he is a ceramics conservator – he has created some wonderful pieces.

Map of china of China, 2017
18th and 19th century Chinese porcelain fragments and mixed media
11220×960 mm

This show of works reflect the enduring role of China in the production of ceramics worldwide over the centuries. His works are thought-provoking, sometimes humorous, but always engrossing. He has specially created a new non-ceramic work for the exhibition – a plaster doll of a Chinese dancer which combines the old with the new through his use of computer circuit boards.

Jar carrier, 2017
Han dynasty figure and 15th century Chinese porcelain marine archaeology jars and marble
250x250x109 mm

 

www.kristinhjellegjerde.com

 

 

PS: You can also see:
Bouke De Vries: War and pieces, Berrington Hall, Herefordshire
Until 05 November 2017

 

Meet the Breugels!

Bruegel: Defining a Dynasty, The Holburne Museum, Great Pulteney Street, Bath BA2, until 4th June 2017

Pieter Brueghel the Younger, Wedding Dance in the Open Air, Oil on panel, 36.6 x 49cm, ©Holburne Museum. Photography by Dominic Brown

Pieter Brueghel the Younger, Wedding Dance in the Open Air,
Oil on panel, 36.6 x 49cm,
©Holburne Museum. Photography by Dominic Brown

This is a very special show for it reveals the Holburne’s Wedding Dance in the Open Air, following conservation and technical examination, to be by Pieter Brueghel the Younger and not as previously thought a work by a follower. Congratulations are due to their then Director Jennifer Scott (who is now Director of Dulwich Picture Gallery) who discovered it in the Museum’s store room and who co-curated this exhibition with Dr Amy Orrock.

Jan Brueghel the Elder, A Stoneware Vase of Flowers, c. 1607–1608, oil on panel, 56 × 89.5 cm, © The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridg

Jan Brueghel the Elder, A Stoneware Vase of Flowers, c. 1607–1608,
oil on panel, 56 × 89.5 cm,
© The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge

Visitors when they enter the exhibition can see a Bruegel family tree and the exhibition reveals the work of the family across four generations through thirty-five pictures drawn from the National Gallery, the Royal Collection Trust, the National Trust, the Fitzwilliam Museum, the Ashmolean Museum and the Barber Institute of Fine Arts.  The Holburne Museum with its three works by Pieter Brueghel the Younger holds the largest collection of his paintings in the UK.

Still Life with Cheese, circle of Jan Van Kessel II, c. 1650 Oil on copper, 16.5 x 20.3cm, © Holburne Museum

Still Life with Cheese, circle of Jan Van Kessel II, c. 1650
Oil on copper, 16.5 x 20.3cm,
© Holburne Museum

The exhibition starts with the Adoration of the Kings by Pieter Bruegel the Elder (note he did not spell his name with an h) which hangs alongside a similarly entitled work by his father-in-law Pieter Coecke van Aelst. It makes an interesting comparison. Bruegel’s sons Pieter and Jan and their descendants such as Jan van Kessel the Elder or David Teniers the Younger who married into the family are eloquently represented.

David Teniers the Younger, Boy Blowing Bubbles, c.1640, Oil on panel, 22 x 22cm, © Holburne Museum

David Teniers the Younger, Boy Blowing Bubbles, c.1640,
Oil on panel, 22 x 22cm,
© Holburne Museum

It is interesting to see how Pieter and Jan produced copies of their father’s compositions and variations of them.  Jan could arguably be said to be the first to have depicted floral studies in a style which continues to this day. This is an exhibition that celebrates Flemish painting and this prolific family whose works have not lost their appeal over the centuries.

Pieter Brueghel the Younger, Visit to a Farmhouse, c.1620-30, Oil on panel, 36.5 x 49.4cm, © Holburne Museum. Photograph by Dan Brown

Pieter Brueghel the Younger, Visit to a Farmhouse, c.1620-30,
Oil on panel, 36.5 x 49.4cm,
© Holburne Museum. Photograph by Dan Brown

http://www.holburne.org

Garnitures at the V&A

Garnitures: Vase Sets from National Trust HousesV&A Museum, Cromwell Road, London SW7, until 30th April 2017

Set of Chinese porcelain vases, 17th century, Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Set of Chinese porcelain vases, 17th century,
Victoria and Albert Museum, London

This exhibition is a partnership between the National Trust and the V&A and is well worth visiting.

It consists of a mixture of ceramic and silver vases that truly do reflect the wealth and taste of their original owners in the 17th to 19th centuries when the garniture had its heyday. Garnitures usually consist of an odd number of vases which are united by their decoration and they would be displayed symmetrically on mantelpieces, on door cases and on the top of furniture.

Covered pot-pourri vase from Upton House, Warwickshire, soft-paste porcelain, 1762 – 64, Chelsea factory, London, England. © National Trust. Photograph Robert Morris

Covered pot-pourri vase from Upton House, Warwickshire, soft-paste porcelain, 1762 – 64, Chelsea factory, London, England.
© National Trust. Photograph Robert Morris

The first such sets were made up from pieces of Chinese porcelain in the 17thcentury but eventually they were made as sets in both China and Japan and of course from the 18th century onwards by British and European porcelain factories.  The decline in the popularity of garnitures meant that many were split up – a Sevres set from Upton House proves this point – and so complete sets are rare nowadays.

Three-piece ‘Hamilton’ vases from Saltram, Devon, about 1770 – 80, black basalt, Wedgwood and Bentley, Etruria, Staffordshire, England. © National Trust. Photograph Robert Morris

Three-piece ‘Hamilton’ vases from Saltram, Devon, about 1770 – 80, black basalt, Wedgwood and Bentley, Etruria, Staffordshire, England.
© National Trust. Photograph Robert Morris

The National Trust’s External Adviser on Ceramics, Patricia Ferguson, who has worked alongside the V&A’s senior curator Reino Liefkes, said: : “This display promises to change the way you see historic vases; they were almost always designed to be part of a set”.  She is also the author of the accompanying V&A and National Trust exhibition book: Garnitures: Vase Sets from National Trust Houses.

Five-piece chimney garniture from Blickling Hall, about 1804 – 7, soft-paste porcelain, Barr, Flight and Barr factory, Worcester, England. © National Trust. Photograph Robert Morris

Five-piece chimney garniture from Blickling Hall, about 1804 – 7, soft-paste porcelain, Barr, Flight and Barr factory, Worcester, England.
© National Trust. Photograph Robert Morris

vam.ac.uk/exhibitions/garnitures

At home with the Gee Family

Lives, Loves and Loss: Traces at Fenton House, Fenton House and Garden, Hampstead Grove, London NW3, until 23rd December 2016

Lives Loves and Loss - Traces at Fenton House Photo by Sophia Schorr-Kon

Lives Loves and Loss – Traces at Fenton House
Photo by Sophia Schorr-Kon

Fenton House is a delightful 17th century brick merchant’s house with a walled garden that was left to the National Trust in 1952 by Lady Binning.  This month it has been transformed by Traces, a group of curators and makers, into a different multi-sensory world.

Lives Loves and Loss - Traces at Fenton House Photo by Sophia Schorr-Kon

Lives Loves and Loss – Traces at Fenton House
Photo by Sophia Schorr-Kon

They take us into the world of the Gee family in 1730. The family were important silk and linen merchants in London who resided at Fenton House at that time. The visitor equipped with a chamberstick (battery version) wanders through the abandoned rooms and learns, as the title suggests, about the goings on of their lives.  The rooms are specially lit to give an idea of how life was before gaslight or electricity. To help tell the story the work of eighty contemporary artists has been used and the good news is that these art works can be purchased.

Lives Loves and Loss - Traces at Fenton House Photo by Sophia Schorr-Kon

Lives Loves and Loss – Traces at Fenton House
Photo by Sophia Schorr-Kon

National Trust London’s Creative Director, Joseph Watson, comments: “Known for its rich history and inspiring collections the best of contemporary craft, design and art seemed the perfect way to tell this part of Fenton House’s story. Offering an escape from the bustle of Christmas, we are certain visitors will be amazed by the transformation that Traces have brought to this historic London home.”

Diana Bliss Annies Apron Lives Loves and Loss - Traces at Fenton House Photo by Sophia Schorr-Kon

Diana Bliss Annies Apron Lives Loves and Loss – Traces at Fenton House
Photo by Sophia Schorr-Kon

 

Opening Hours
Saturday 3rd – Sunday 4th, 11am – 5pm (last admission at 4.30pm)
Thursday 8th, Thursday 15th, 5.30pm – 8.30pm (last admission at 8pm)
Saturday 10th – Sunday 11th, 11am – 5pm (last admission at 4.30pm)
Saturday 17th – Friday 23rd, 11am – 5pm (last admission at 4.30pm)
All tickets must be booked in advance, including for National Trust members, from http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/fenton-house-and-garden, 0344 249 1895
Admission National Trust members – free
Adult day – £10
Child day – £5
Adult evening (includes complimentary drink) – £15
Please note that the evening openings are not suitable for children under the age of 18. Ticket price applies to all, including National Trust members, for evening admission.
Lives Loves and Loss - Traces at Fenton House Photo by Sophia Schorr-Kon

Lives Loves and Loss – Traces at Fenton House
Photo by Sophia Schorr-Kon

 

@NTLovesLondon, @NTFentonHouse, @traceslondon

Diplomatic Residences revealed

National Trust ‘opens’ three London embassies to celebrate Heritage Open Days, Friday 9th– Saturday 10th September 2016

National Trust Embassies Tours - Portuguese Embassy

National Trust Embassies Tours – Portuguese Embassy

Although it appears to be fully booked I thought I would still share this with you. The opening of embassy residences (Portuguese, French and Danish) provides visitors with a chance to see and appreciate the fine and decorative arts of the countries concerned.

National Trust Embassies Tours - Danish Embassy

National Trust Embassies Tours – Danish Embassy

These are often important pieces such as the Dame Paula Rego masterpiece at the Portuguese Embassy or the tapestries in the French residence – interestingly enough two Hubert Robert paintings from there are in the Hubert Robert exhibition in Washington DC.  The Danish Embassy is the last work by their celebrated designer and architect Arne Jacobsen.

National Trust Embassies Tours - French Embassy

National Trust Embassies Tours – French Embassy

If this is as successful as I am sure it will be then let us hope that more embassy residences will open their doors so that it becomes a regular feature of London’s diplomatic life.

 

http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/embassy-openings

Three Cs – ‘Capability’, Coventry, Croome

‘Expect the Unexpected’, Croome Court, near High Green, Worcester, Worcestershire, WR8 9DW

The south front of the house seen across the lake at Croome Court Credit: Andrew Butler

The south front of the house seen across the lake at Croome Court
Credit: Andrew Butler

What a lovely co-incidence that in this ‘Capability’ Brown’s 300th Anniversary year I am fortunate enough to be able to write about Croome Court which as well as being Brown’s first major commission was a complete project due to the fact that he was asked in 1751 by the 6th Earl of Coventry to create a house and estate that would be the dernier cri.  The photographs show the resulting building and landscape. Although the outside design and some of the interiors are Brown’s work the Earl later commissioned Robert Adam to design some of the rooms – the Long Gallery, the Library and Tapestry Room.

The Original tapestry Room Credit: The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Original tapestry Room
Credit: The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Tapestry Room, now in the Metropolitan Museum in New York, featured a specially commissioned set of Gobelins tapestries and seat covers. Coventry was one of the great 18th century English collectors of Vincennes and Sèvres porcelains and he asked Adam to design a tripod stand to hold a Sevres jug and basin whose colours reflected those of the room.

Artist Will Datson with ‘Chair Play’ and two of the original chairs Credit: Jack Nelson

Artist Will Datson with ‘Chair Play’ and two of the original chairs
Credit: Jack Nelson

In1948 the family disposed of the house and many of its contents were sold by auction and thus nowadays only about twenty percent of the collection remains.  There are plans to bring these pieces back to the house later this year. The National Trust bought the park in 1996 and started on its restoration and in 2007 the house was purchased by the Croome Heritage Trust and they have granted a long lease to the National Trust.

‘Chair Play’ in the Entrance Hall Credit: Jack Nelson

‘Chair Play’ in the Entrance Hall
Credit: Jack Nelson

Contemporary art installations have been placed in the house to evoke the idea of ‘expect the unexpected’ but are inspired by and use pieces that were originally in the house. Upon entering the building one sees the artist Will Datson’s original take on the idea of hall chairs through his 2.5 metre high installation. He says of it “It was my task to display the original hall chairs in a new way. We all see chairs every day, and usually ignore them, so I’ve attempted to create something out-of-the-ordinary, dramatic and playful, that’s hard to ignore.”

The ‘Golden Box’ in the Dining Room at Croome Credit: Jack Nelson

The ‘Golden Box’ in the Dining Room at Croome
Credit: Jack Nelson

In the dining room, whose plasterwork was painted by members of the Hare Krishna Movement who used the house as their headquarters (1979-84), visitors are confronted by a 2 metre high golden box which contains beautiful examples of Meissen, Worcester and Sèvres porcelains from Croome’s remarkable collection which have been installed by the noted artist Bouke de Vries to form a dazzling ceramics treasury. He simply sums it up saying “It’s been extraordinary to work on this project with the amazing team at Croome”.

Artist Bouke de Vries making the final finishing touches to the ‘Golden Box’ Credit: Jack Nelson

Artist Bouke de Vries making the final finishing touches to the ‘Golden Box’
Credit: Jack Nelson

In the Lord’s Dressing Room you will discover two 18th century Adam-style commodes made for the house by the celebrated firm of Mayhew & Ince who also supplied the seat furniture for the Tapestry Room.  It is worth remembering that the 6th Earl also bought French furniture for Croome in Paris from A la Couronne d’Or, the shop of the renowned marchand-mercier Simon-Philippe Poirier. There is also a portrait of Barbara St John, the Earl’s second wife.

Beautifully crafted 18th century Adamesque commodes with the portrait of Barbara St John in the background. Credit: Jack Nelson

Beautifully crafted 18th century Adamesque commodes with the portrait of Barbara St John in the background.
Credit: Jack Nelson

While Croome’s Tapestry Room is now bare of its glorious contents it inspired the idea of bringing Grayson Perry’s tapestries ‘The Vanity of Small Differences’ to Croome (until 11th September 2016). The six large-scale works, inspired by Hogarth’s A Rake’s Progress, tell the story of Tim Rakewell and many of the people and things depicted reflect events that Perry encountered in his life. A 1994 earthenware vase by Perry, entitled Spirit Jar is also on show.

Visitors looking at the Grayson Perry Tapestries Credit: Peter Young

Visitors looking at the Grayson Perry Tapestries
Credit: Peter Young

‘Capability’ Brown and the Earl had become friends and thirty years after he started his transformation at Croome he still visited there and indeed Croome was described as his ‘first and most favourite child’.

Visitors looking at the Grayson Perry Tapestries Credit: Peter Young

Visitors looking at the Grayson Perry Tapestries
Credit: Peter Young

In 1783 Brown died while on his way home from dining with the Earl at his London residence. The Earl had a monument erected in Brown’s memory and it bears the inscription:

To the Memory of Lancelot Brown

Who by the powers of his inimitable and creative genius formed this garden scene out of a morass.

The Coade stone monument to Lancalot "Capability" Brown by the lake at Croome Court.The memorial was erected in 1797 following the death of Brown in 1783.

The Coade stone monument to Lancalot “Capability” Brown by the lake at Croome Court.The memorial was erected in 1797 following the death of Brown in 1783.

http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/croome

Inside the Golden Box is an amazing collection of porcelain Credit: Jack Nelson

Inside the Golden Box is an amazing collection of porcelain
Credit: Jack Nelson

For those of you interested in learning more about the 6th Earls collection Sèvres I recommend:

THE SIXTH EARL OF COVENTRY’S PURCHASES OF SÈVRES PORCELAIN IN PARIS AND LONDON IN THE 1760s by Rosalind Savill in the French Porcelain Society Journal, Volume V 2015

A further display of porcelain in the Dining Room Credit: Peter Young

A further display of porcelain in the Dining Room
Credit: Peter Young

 

Grayson Perry (b. 1960), The Upper Class at Bay, 2012 Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre, London and British Council. Gift of the artist and Victoria Miro Gallery with the support of Channel 4 Television, the Art Fund and Sfumato Foundation with additional support from Alix Partners.

Grayson Perry (b. 1960), The Upper Class at Bay, 2012 Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre, London and British Council. Gift of the artist and Victoria Miro Gallery with the support of Channel 4 Television, the Art Fund and Sfumato Foundation with additional support from Alix Partners.

 

Croome Court Credit: David Norton

Croome Court
Credit: David Norton