Early Maiolica

Maiolica before Raphael, Sam Fogg, 15D Clifford Street, London, W1, 8th May – 16th June 2017

A three-colour jug showing a
half-length figure in profile
Florentine district, Montelupo or Bacchereto
c. 1420–40

It will come as no surprise that it has taken leading medieval art specialist and dealer Sam Fogg many years to bring together the more than forty examples of late-medieval and early Renaissance pieces of maiolica which make up this important exhibition. The first such show for a hundred years!

Large dish with a bust-length portrait
of a young man
Deruta
c. 1470–80

Most of use when thinking of maiolica bring to our mind the istoriato pieces with their decoration of mythological, historic or religious scenes but this exhibition reveals the earlier period before Raphael – the era of Donatello, Mantegna and Botticelli.

Large albarello with an owl and a stork
Montelupo
c. 1430–50

The tin white glaze applied to the earthenware pieces was decorated with motifs inspired by textiles, metalwork and the lusterware of Islamic Spain.  These were exciting and original and one can easily understand why some contemporary buyers valued them more highly than precious metals.

Inkstand with figures of the Virtues
Probably Faenza
c. 1480–90

The accompanying catalogue celebrates contemporary scholarship with a foreword by Timothy Wilson, and essays by Elisa Sani and Justin Raccanello which look at both the evolution of the pottery and the story of the collecting of Italian pre-Renaissance pottery up until the present day.

 

http://www.samfogg.com

An artist re-visited!

Winifred Knights (1899-1947), Dulwich Picture Gallery, Gallery Road, London SE21, until 18th September 2016

Winifred Knights, The Marriage at Cana, 1923, Oil on canvas, 184 x 200 cm, Collection of the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. Gift of the British School at Rome, London, 1957. © The Estate of Winifred Knights

Winifred Knights, The Marriage at Cana, 1923,
Oil on canvas, 184 x 200 cm,
Collection of the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. Gift of the British School at Rome, London, 1957.
© The Estate of Winifred Knights

It seems quite surprising that an artist who was a star at the Slade School and went on to be the first British woman to win the Prix de Rome is not better known. However thanks to the Dulwich Gallery and the exhibition’s curator Sacha Llewellyn this is very eloquently being put right.

Winifred Knights, Full-length Seated Female Nude, three-quarter view, 1917, 39 x 31.5 cm, UCL Art Museum, 6055, University College London. © The Estate of Winifred Knights

Winifred Knights, Full-length Seated Female Nude, three-quarter view, 1917,
39 x 31.5 cm,
UCL Art Museum, 6055, University College London.
© The Estate of Winifred Knights

Knights’ inspiration was the Italian Quattrocento and this is very clearly reflected in her detailed work which while being of her time recalls palette-wise the frescoes of the early Renaissance. The exhibition follows her life chronologically and features drawings, studies and large works.

Winifred Knights, Scenes from The Life of Saint Martin of Tours, c.1928-33, Oil (or possibly tempera) on canvas with glazing, 73 x 159.5 cm, Milner Memorial Chapel, Canterbury Cathedral. Reproduced courtesy of the Dean and Chapter, Canterbury Cathedral. © The Estate of Winifred Knights

Winifred Knights, Scenes from The Life of Saint Martin of Tours, c.1928-33,
Oil (or possibly tempera) on canvas with glazing, 73 x 159.5 cm,
Milner Memorial Chapel, Canterbury Cathedral. Reproduced courtesy of the Dean and Chapter, Canterbury Cathedral.
© The Estate of Winifred Knights

The exhibition, which I warmly recommend to you, is perhaps best summed up by Sacha Llewellyn who says: “Although never part of the modernist avant-garde, Knights engaged with modern-life subjects, breathing new life into figurative and narrative painting to produce an art that was inventive and technically outstanding. She explored form and colour to create a mood of calmness and reflection that impacts directly on our senses. Like so many women artists, heralded and appreciated in their own day, she has disappeared into near oblivion. This exhibition, in bringing together a lifetime of work, will create an irrefutable visual argument that she was one of the most talented and striking artists of her generation.”
Please do go and see for yourself!

Winifred Knights, Cartoon for The Deluge, 1920, Pencil on paper, squared, 147.3 x 177.8 cm, The Wolfsonian – Florida International University, Miami Beach, Florida, The Mitchell Wolfson, Jr Collection. © The Estate of Winifred Knights

Winifred Knights, Cartoon for The Deluge, 1920,
Pencil on paper, squared, 147.3 x 177.8 cm,
The Wolfsonian – Florida International University, Miami Beach, Florida, The Mitchell Wolfson, Jr Collection.
© The Estate of Winifred Knights

http://www.dulwichpicturegallery.org.uk