Recalling the 18th Century!

© Alix de Montaigu-Sèvres-Cité de la Céramique

J. Paul Getty’s statement “For technical skill & perfection and for delicacy & taste Sèvres is unsurpassed” is in my view definitely true whether talking about 18th and 19th century pieces or something contemporary such as the items shown by the Sèvres Factory at the recent PAD show in Berkeley Square.

© Alix de Montaigu-Sèvres-Cité de la Céramique

I think that Getty would have been intrigued by the fact that as well as making striking modern designs they were also able, using the traditional methods, to recreate major pieces from the 18th century such as the boat-shaped Vaisseau à Mât.  Only twelve of these were created in the 18th century, of which ten are known to survive today, including one in the Royal Collection. It is therefore a remarkable achievement that the factory has produced this soft paste ‘copy’ of the Buckingham Palace example which was originally owned by the great supporter and patron of the Sèvres Factory Madame de Pompadour.

© Alix de Montaigu-Sèvres-Cité de la Céramique

 

© Alix de Montaigu-Sèvres-Cité de la Céramique

The images reflect both the production and resultant vase – a veritable tour de force!

© Alix de Montaigu-Sèvres-Cité de la Céramique

It can be seen at Thomas Goode in South Audley Street check for details 020 7499 2823; INFO@THOMASGOODE.COM)

 

sevresciteceramique.fr

 

thomasgoode.com

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

Beyond Caravaggio

Beyond Caravaggio, Sainsbury Wing, The National Gallery, London, until 15th January 2017

As I was unable to attend I asked John Kirkwood to go on my behalf – here are his thoughts:

Mattia Preti, called II Calabrese Draughts Players, about 1635 Oil on canvas 107.9 × 142.2 cm © Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford

Mattia Preti, called II Calabrese
Draughts Players, about 1635
Oil on canvas
107.9 × 142.2 cm
© Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford

This is a very powerful exhibition displaying as it does the amazing influence of the unveiling in Rome of Caravaggio’s first public commission in 1600.  Many artists were so taken with his naturalism and his treatment of light and shade that they went on to imitate him in a style that became known as Caravaggesque and here you will find many examples of this trend.  Some may find the effect of all the gloom of this Caravaggism a little repetitive but there is no denying the artistry on display.

Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio Boy peeling fruit, about 1592-3 Oil on canvas 63 × 53 cm Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016

Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio
Boy peeling fruit, about 1592-3
Oil on canvas
63 × 53 cm
Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016

http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk

Cecco del Caravaggio A Musician, about 1615 Oil on canvas 125 × 100 cm The Wellington Collection, Apsely House, London © Historic England

Cecco del Caravaggio
A Musician, about 1615
Oil on canvas
125 × 100 cm
The Wellington Collection, Apsely House, London
© Historic England

 

Guido Reni Lot and his Daughters leaving Sodom About 1615-16 Oil on canvas 111.2 x 149.2 cm The National Gallery, London © The National Gallery, London

Guido Reni
Lot and his Daughters leaving Sodom
About 1615-16
Oil on canvas
111.2 x 149.2 cm
The National Gallery, London
© The National Gallery, London

 

Dirck van Baburen Cimon and Pero (Roman Charity), 1622-3 Oil on canvas 127 x 151 cm York Art Gallery, York Museums Trust © Image courtesy of York Museums Trust

Dirck van Baburen
Cimon and Pero (Roman Charity), 1622-3
Oil on canvas
127 x 151 cm
York Art Gallery, York Museums Trust
© Image courtesy of York Museums Trust

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Artemisia Gentileschi Susannah and the Elders, 1622 Oil on canvas 161.5 × 123 cm © The Burghley House Collection

Artemisia Gentileschi
Susannah and the Elders, 1622
Oil on canvas
161.5 × 123 cm
© The Burghley House Collection

Queen Victoria in Paris

Queen Victoria in Paris: Watercolours from the Royal Collection, Compton Verney, Warwickshire, CV35 9HZ, until 11th December 2016

Antoine Léon Morel-Fatio (1810-71) Royal visit to Napoleon III: Queen Victoria landing at Boulogne, 18 August 1855 Watercolour © Royal Collection Trust 2016

Antoine Léon Morel-Fatio (1810-71)
Royal visit to Napoleon III: Queen Victoria landing at Boulogne, 18 August 1855
Watercolour
© Royal Collection Trust 2016

This special exhibition commemorates the State Visit of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert (with their two eldest children) to Paris in August 1855 and followed a State Visit to Windsor in April of that year by the Emperor Napoleon III and his consort the Empress Eugénie.  It was part of cementing the alliance between Britain and France in the Crimean War.  The forty-four watercolours, generously loaned by Her Majesty the Queen, depict the major events of the nine day visit from their arrival at Boulogne aboard the Royal Yacht onwards.

Eugène-Charles-François Guérard (1821-66) Royal visit to Napoleon III: Queen Victoria's entry into Paris, 18 August 1855 Watercolour © Royal Collection Trust 2016

Eugène-Charles-François Guérard (1821-66)
Royal visit to Napoleon III: Queen Victoria’s entry into Paris, 18 August 1855
Watercolour
© Royal Collection Trust 2016

The watercolours, half of which are being publicly shown for the first time, were either presented to or commissioned by Queen Victoria and became one of her ‘Souvenir Albums’ that recorded events in her marriage to Prince Albert.  I find them all of great interest but am specially drawn to those of her apartments in the Palais de Saint Cloud.

Jean-Baptiste-Fortuné De Fournier (1798-1864) Royal visit to Napoleon III: Queen Victoria's dressing-room at St Cloud Watercolour © Royal Collection Trust 2016

Jean-Baptiste-Fortuné De Fournier (1798-1864)
Royal visit to Napoleon III: Queen Victoria’s dressing-room at St Cloud
Watercolour
© Royal Collection Trust 2016

The significance of the Queen’s visit is summed up by Rosie Razzall, Curator of Prints and Drawings, Royal Collection Trust: “This was a pivotal period in British and French history. After centuries of enmity, France and Britain were never again to fight on opposing sides. A visiting head of state was not received with such popular fervour in France until the Kennedys in 1961, and has been unmatched since.

Max Berthelin (1811-77) Royal visit to Napoleon III: illuminations at the Hôtel de Ville, 23 August 1855 Watercolour © Royal Collection Trust 2016

Max Berthelin (1811-77)
Royal visit to Napoleon III: illuminations at the Hôtel de Ville, 23 August 1855
Watercolour
© Royal Collection Trust 2016

After Compton Verney this touring exhibition goes on to the Royal Albert Memorial Museum, Exeter; The Wilson: Cheltenham Museum and Art Gallery; and the Bowes Museum, County Durham.

Eugène Louis Lami (1800-90) Royal visit to Napoleon III: the supper in the Salle de Spectacle, Versailles, 25 August 1855 Watercolour © Royal Collection Trust 2016

Eugène Louis Lami (1800-90)
Royal visit to Napoleon III: the supper in the Salle de Spectacle, Versailles, 25 August 1855
Watercolour
© Royal Collection Trust 2016

http://www.comptonverney.org.uk

‘Gibson of Rome’

John Gibson RA: A British Sculptor in Rome, Tennant Gallery and Council Room, Royal Academy of Arts, Burlington House, Piccadilly, London W1, until 18th December 2016

John Gibson, R.A. (1790-1866) Sleeping Shepherd Boy 1818 Bequeathed by John Gibson, R.A., 1866 Plaster 110.50 x 47.0 x 94.0 cm Photo credit: (c) Royal Academy of Arts, London

John Gibson, R.A. (1790-1866)
Sleeping Shepherd Boy
1818
Bequeathed by John Gibson, R.A., 1866
Plaster
110.50 x 47.0 x 94.0 cm
Photo credit: (c) Royal Academy of Arts, London

It is a hundred and fifty years since the death of John Gibson RA (1790-1866) who was a leading neoclassical sculptor of his time. He was born in the Welsh town of Conwy but when still a child moved with his family to Liverpool. He was enthralled by Ancient Greek and Roman Art from an early age and his artistic talent and enthusiasm was recognised by a group of supporters who raised the wherewithal for him to go on a study trip to Italy in 1817.

John Gibson, R.A. (1790-1866) Cupid pursuing Psyche Before 1843 Bequeathed by John Gibson, R.A., 1866 Marble relief 72.40 x 103.50 x 10.50 cm Photo credit: (c) Royal Academy of Arts, London

John Gibson, R.A. (1790-1866)
Cupid pursuing Psyche
Before 1843
Bequeathed by John Gibson, R.A., 1866
Marble relief
72.40 x 103.50 x 10.50 cm
Photo credit: (c) Royal Academy of Arts, London

In Rome he was able to study under the leading sculptor of the day, Antonio Canova and was urged by him to set up a studio in Rome.  Gibson did so and thanks to a European clientele decided to settle there saying: ‘In England my life would be spent in making busts and statues of great men in coats and neckties; here I am employed upon poetical subjects which demand the exercise of the imagination, and the knowledge of the beautiful.’.  His sculptures were also popular in this country where he was known as ‘Gibson of Rome’ and by 1844 (the year of his first return visit) he counted the Queen and Prince Albert among his patrons. In 1836 he was elected as a Royal Academician.

Sir Edwin Landseer, R.A. (1802-1873) Portrait of John Gibson, R.A. ca.1850 Bequeathed by Sir Edwin Landseer, R.A., 1874 92.50 x 72.0 x 2.50 cm Oil on canvas Photo credit: (c) Royal Academy of Arts, London; Photographer: John Hammond

Sir Edwin Landseer, R.A. (1802-1873)
Portrait of John Gibson, R.A.
ca.1850
Bequeathed by Sir Edwin Landseer, R.A., 1874
92.50 x 72.0 x 2.50 cm
Oil on canvas
Photo credit: (c) Royal Academy of Arts, London; Photographer: John Hammond

He had bequeathed his artworks to the Royal Academy on his death in 1866 and works on show in this exhibition and others on display at Bodelwyddan Castle, Denbighshire, Wales are part of this significant bequest.

John Gibson, R.A. (1790-1866) Monument to Lady Leicester: Angel carrying infant and leading mother to heaven ca.1844 Bequeathed by John Gibson, R.A., 1866 Plaster cast 181.0 x 126.50 x 18.0 cm Photo credit: (c) Royal Academy of Arts, London

John Gibson, R.A. (1790-1866)
Monument to Lady Leicester: Angel carrying infant and leading mother to heaven
ca.1844
Bequeathed by John Gibson, R.A., 1866
Plaster cast
181.0 x 126.50 x 18.0 cm
Photo credit: (c) Royal Academy of Arts, London

This exhibition is complemented by a virtual exhibition ‘The Gibson Trail’ which has images and information on over one hundred and fifty objects in the collections of the Royal Academy, the Victoria & Albert Museum, Tate Britain, the Palace of Westminster, Westminster Abbey, the National Portrait Gallery and Buckingham Palace. The website www.gibson-trail.uk includes an interactive map showing the locations of Gibson’s works in the capital.

The Tennant Gallery and Council Room Dates and Opening Hours Exhibition open to the public: 8 September – 18 December 2016 Tuesday – Friday, 10am – 4pm Saturday – Sunday, 10am – 6pm Closed Monday

 www.royalacademy.org.uk

Beguiling Butterflies

Maria Merian’s Butterflies, The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace, London SW1, until 9th October 2016

Branch of West Indian Cherry with Achilles Morpho Butterfly, 1702-03 Royal Collection Trust (C) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016.

Branch of West Indian Cherry with Achilles Morpho Butterfly, 1702-03
Royal Collection Trust (C) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016.

This is an exquisite gem of an exhibition that delights the eye and informs the mind. The German-born Maria Sibylla Merian (1647–1717) was both an artist and entomologist whose enquiring mind took her and her youngest daughter on the challenging two month voyage across the Atlantic to Suriname, a Dutch colony in South America in 1699. No mean feat at the age of fifty-two, especially as she had had to raise the funds to cover the cost herself. Already known for her 1679 tome on butterflies and moths, her purpose was to study its insects in their natural habitat.

Pineapple with cockroaches, 1702-03 Royal Collection Trust / (C) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016.

Pineapple with cockroaches, 1702-03
Royal Collection Trust / (C) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016.

She and her daughter resided in the hot and humid climate of Paramaribo, the Colony’s capital, and went into the surrounding forests to garner specimens.  These they watched transform into butterflies, accurately recording the process in detailed drawings, which also include their host plants.  She also studied the lizards, snakes and crocodiles she came across too.

Cassava with White Peacock Butterfly and young Golden Tegu, 1702-03 Royal Collection Trust (C) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016.

Cassava with White Peacock Butterfly and young Golden Tegu, 1702-03
Royal Collection Trust (C) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016.

Illness forced her to return to Amsterdam in 1701, bringing specimens back with her.  Over the next four years she worked to bring her findings to publication with Metamorphosis Insectorum Surinamensium being published in 1705 to great and deserved acclaim. The vellum plates on display – a mixture of printing and hand-painting – were luxury versions of the plates in Metamorphosis and were acquired by George III for his library.

Grape Vine with Vine Sphinx Moth and Satellite Sphinx Moth, 1702-03 Royal Collection Trust (C) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016.

Grape Vine with Vine Sphinx Moth and Satellite Sphinx Moth, 1702-03
Royal Collection Trust (C) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016.

http://www.royalcollection.org.uk

 

 

From Caledonia to the Continent

Scottish Artists 1750 – 1900: From Caledonia to the Continent¸The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace, London SW1, until 9th October 2016

Allan Ramsay, Queen Charlotte with her two Eldest Sons, c.1764-9 Royal Collection Trust (C) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016.

Allan Ramsay, Queen Charlotte with her two Eldest Sons, c.1764-9
Royal Collection Trust (C) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016.

This is a somewhat personal exhibition in the fact that it reveals royal patronage of Scottish artists starting with George III’s of Allan Ramsay who painted the King’s well known State portrait and was appointed Principal Painter in Ordinary to His Majesty.  He also painted a delightful picture of Queen Charlotte and her Two Eldest Sons which conveys an atmosphere of domesticity in what is obviously a royal portrait.

Sir David Wilkie, The Penny Wedding, 1818 Royal Collection Trust (C) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016.

Sir David Wilkie, The Penny Wedding, 1818
Royal Collection Trust (C) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016.

One can easily see why George IV, as Prince Regent and King, liked the work of Sir David Wilkie since his scenes of everyday Scottish life echo the Dutch genre paintings so loved by the monarch. Following Wilkie’s trip to Continental Europe after a nervous breakdown he returned with a much more open style of painting and in 1828 George purchased five of his continental works, including ones set in Spain and appointed him as his Principal Painter in Ordinary. A post that Wilkie continued to hold under William IV and Queen Victoria until his death in 1841.

James Giles, A View of Balmoral,1848 Royal Collection Trust (C) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016.

James Giles, A View of Balmoral,1848
Royal Collection Trust (C) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016.

 

David Roberts, A View of Cairo, 1840 Royal Collection Trust (C) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016.

David Roberts, A View of Cairo, 1840
Royal Collection Trust (C) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016.

Queen Victoria and her husband Prince Albert (Prince Consort) were active supporters of the Arts and some Scottish artists such as Sir Joseph Noël Paton (1821–1901), David Roberts (1796–1864), James Giles (1801–1870) and John Phillip (1817–1867) painted pictures that were Christmas and birthday presents between the couple.  Queen Victoria favoured Scottish landscapes while Prince Albert, an admirer of early Italian art, was impressed by the works of William Dyce. Their interests also included works depicting the Middle East and Spanish life.

William Dyce, The Madonna and Child, 1845 Royal Collection Trust (C) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016.

William Dyce, The Madonna and Child, 1845
Royal Collection Trust (C) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016.

 

John Phillip, The Letter Writer of Seville, 1854 Royal Collection Trust (C) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016.

John Phillip, The Letter Writer of Seville, 1854
Royal Collection Trust (C) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016.

In 1888 the future Edward VII was presented with two albums of works by member of the Glasgow Art Club when he went to open the Glasgow International Exhibition of Science, Art and Industry in the city’s Kelvingrove Park, including the one shown here.

Roberts Macaulay Stevenson, Romance, 1888 Royal Collection Trust (C) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016.

Roberts Macaulay Stevenson, Romance, 1888
Royal Collection Trust (C) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016.

There is also a group of furniture – a writing table and a pair of tables – supplied by the Edinburgh firm of Young, Trotter and Hamilton to the Palace of Holyroodhouse for the comte d’Artois, younger brother of Louis XVI and the future Charles X of France.  Fleeing from large debts on the Continent he was offered shelter at Holryroodhouse in 1796 and remained there until 1803.

Writing table, 1796, mahogany and boxwood Royal Collection Trust © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016.

Writing table, 1796, mahogany and boxwood
Royal Collection Trust © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016.

 

www.royalcollection.org.uk