Inspired by Rothschild Species

Creatures & Creations: Art by Platon H and designs by Mary Katrantzou inspired by Rothschild species, Waddesdon Manor, Waddesdon, Near Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, until 29th October 2017 (Wed-Sun)

Lionel Walter Rothschild and a tortoise, early 20th century;
Waddesdon (Rothschild Family) Photo © National Trust, Waddesdon Manor

The inspiration for this exhibition that combines digital art, fashion and animal specimens is Walter, 2nd Lord Rothschild and nephew of Waddesdon’s builder Ferdinand. Walter who lived at Tring Park. He was fascinated by natural sciences – birds, butterflies and giant tortoises. He even had zebras trained to draw his carriage. He was held in esteem and many species – creatures and plants – were named after him and known as ‘Rothschildi’.

Creatures & Creations, Waddesdon Manor.
Photo Derek Pelling (c) National Trust, Waddesdon Manor

 

Designs by Mary Katrantzou, Creatures and Creations, Waddesdon Manor.
Photo Mike Fear (c) National Trust, Waddesdon Manor (50)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fourteen Rothschild species – birds, butterflies and insects – have been the inspiration for the Greek artist Platon H’s digital collages which use their abstract natural patterns while the noted fashion designer Mary Katrantzou has created three couture gowns that celebrate the beauty of their nature. Combine this with specimens from the Natural History Museum at Tring, originally founded by Walter and opened in 1892 and it is an exhibition of wide appeal and imagination!

Galapagos Giant Tortoise from Tring Natural History Museum, Creatures and Creations, Waddesdon Manor.
Photo Mike Fear (c) National Trust, Waddesdon Manor (14)

waddesdon.org.uk

http://www.nhm.ac.uk/visit/tring

 

Power and Portraiture

Power and Portraiture: painting at the court of Elizabeth I, Waddesdon Manor, Waddesdon, Near Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, until 29th October 2017 (Wed-Sun)

 

Nicholas Hilliard’s portraits of Queen Elizabeth I and Sir Amias Paulet at the Hamilton Kerr Institute.
Rothschild Family. Photo Tristan Fewings, 2017 © Getty Images

 Power and Portraiture: painting at the court of Elizabeth I is an intriguing display because it reveals these two portraits of Queen Elizabeth I and Sir Amias Paulet and makes an attribution to Nicholas Hilliard (?1547-1619) as their creator. Hilliard is of course celebrated for the exquisite miniatures executed in watercolour and vellum but documents exist that refer to his making pictures ‘in greate’ which means full-scale oil portraits.  The Pelican and Phoenix portraits of Elizabeth I are thought by scholars to be examples of works he painted or was involved with.

Power & Portraiture, Waddesdon Manor.
Photo Derek Pelling (c) National Trust, Waddesdon Manor

This is arrived at by comparing the depiction of faces, jewels and lace with Hilliard miniatures but the difference in scale between the two types of work must be factored in. These two portraits, which come from a branch of the Rothschild family, share the same similarities in style and technique. However scientific analysis at the Hamilton Kerr Institute reveals that rather than being painted on Baltic oak used in England they are on French oak. Sir Amias Paulet was England’s ambassador to France between 1576-79 and during part of his posting Hilliard was part of his household. The presence of Hilliard in France and the stylistic similarities with his other known works allows these ‘in greate’ pictures to be confidently attributed to him.

 

waddesdon.org.uk

 

Glorious Years!

Glorious Years: French Calendars from Louis XIV to the Revolution, Waddesdon Manor, Waddesdon, Near Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, Wed-Sun – until 29th October 2017

P Thévenard, Almanac Titled ‘France thanks the sky for the Dauphin’s healthy recovery’, 1753.
Photo Mike Fear © National Trust, Waddesdon Manor

It is fortunate for later generations that Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild (1839-1898) not only collected 18th century French furniture and porcelain but also had an interest in social history of the period too, accumulating trade cards, lottery tickets and other ephemera such as the calendars that form the focus of this very special exhibition.

Almanac Titled ‘Conquest of the island of Grenada from the English’, 1780.
Photo Mike Fear © National Trust, Waddesdon Manor

The twenty-six calendars or as they were originally called ‘almanacs’ are having their public debut as they have not been exhibited before.  They are a strong reminder of the power of imagery as an educational and propaganda tool from the time of Louis XIV up until the French Revolution when the calendar and time were ‘re-invented’.

Philibert Louis Debucourt, Almanac Titled ‘Republican calendar’, 1794.
Photo Mike Fear © National Trust, Waddesdon Manor

The large single-sheet prints features scenes of victories, royal events and peace treaties while the smaller bound pocketbook versions – think the 18th century equivalent of the smartphone – could contain a variety of useful facts,  including lists of the royal households, postal service schedules, songs, poetry and some even had erasable pages for note-taking or recording gambling debts.

The Mother of Parliaments Annual Division of Revenue, A Print for The British Electorate by Adam Dant, 2017
(c) Adam Dant

Alongside these 18th century examples is a specially commissioned 21st century almanac created by the British artist Adam Dant.  Using the 18th century examples as an example, Dant has amusingly re-interpreted them by depicting modern British MPS and ministers. It may well indeed gain extra significance as a political snapshot of early 2017 given the forthcoming General Election.

www.waddesdon.org.uk

A Cautionary Tale

Emma Hamilton: Seduction and Celebrity, National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London SE 10, until 17th April 2017

'Emma as La Penserosa', 1791-92 by Sir Thomas Lawrence ® The Abercorn Heirloom Settlement Trustees; Bryan F. Rutledge B.A.

‘Emma as La Penserosa’, 1791-92 by Sir Thomas Lawrence
® The Abercorn Heirloom Settlement Trustees; Bryan F. Rutledge B.A.

This is an exhibition that has exceeded my expectations and one I had been looking forward to since I learnt of it.

It is I think very much a story of a beautiful young woman that has resonance today – a tale of humble beginnings, of becoming a “celebrity” but ending in disillusionment and obscurity.

Berlin service: Teapot depicting Emma Hamilton ® National Maritime Museum, London. From the Clive Richards Collection

Berlin service: Teapot depicting Emma Hamilton
® National Maritime Museum, London. From the Clive Richards Collection

Born in Cheshire in 1765, daughter of a struggling blacksmith Emma came to London in her thirteenth year and became part of the Covent Garden world which mixed high society with the sexual underworld. Aged sixteen she became the mistress of Sir Harry Fetherstonhaugh and as readers of my blog ‘Unravelling Uppark’ (06/06/14) will know Emma danced naked on the dining room table there to entertain his friends. However when she fell pregnant Fetherstonhaugh chucked her out and she returned to Cheshire and gave birth to a daughter.

'Emma dancing the tarantella' c.1791 by William Lock ® The Jean Kislak Collection

‘Emma dancing the tarantella’ c.1791 by William Lock
® The Jean Kislak Collection

Fortunately she had made the acquaintance of Charles Greville, a son of the Earl of Warwick, and he took her under his wing, installing her in his house just off the Edgware Road in London, an area more rural then than it is today. It was there that Greville introduced her to the painter George Romney.  She was, as the wonderful paintings shown in the exhibition amply prove, a perfect Muse for the artist.

Emma as Circe, 1782, by George Romney ® The National Trust, Waddesdon Manor

Emma as Circe, 1782, by George Romney
® The National Trust, Waddesdon Manor

She also met Greville’s uncle Sir William Hamilton and it was on to him that Greville passed Emma when he tired of her by sending her to Naples where Hamilton was British envoy. Naples was a major stopping-off place on the Grand Tour and thanks to Hamilton’s patient teaching and her own talent she created her famous “Attitudes” which brought scenes from paintings and sculpture to life. She achieved even more of a celebrity status which was crowned when Hamilton married her in 1791.

Gold and micro-mosaic necklace belonging to Emma ® National Maritime Museum, London

Gold and micro-mosaic necklace belonging to Emma
® National Maritime Museum, London

Her new position as an envoy’s wife meant that she had to play a political role too and in this Emma was fortunate that the Neapolitan King’s wife Maria Carolina, a sister of Marie Antoinette, liked her and made a confidante of her.

Horatio Nelson, 1758 -1805, Vice Admiral of the White by Johann Heinrich Schmidt ® National Maritime Museum, London

Horatio Nelson, 1758 -1805, Vice Admiral of the White by Johann Heinrich Schmidt
® National Maritime Museum, London

However in 1798 the arrival of Admiral Nelson, following his victory at the Battle of the Nile, was the beginning of what would be one of the great love affairs of history.  It was one fraught with dangers as her infidelity rocked society and it was not helped by Emma’s giving birth to Nelson’s child whom they named Horatia.

Emma, Lady Hamilton, 1761 - 1815 by Johann Heinrich Schmidt ® National Maritime Museum, London

Emma, Lady Hamilton, 1761 – 1815 by Johann Heinrich Schmidt
® National Maritime Museum, London

They acquired a house at Merton in Surrey and set up home their but because of Nelson’s naval duties he was frequently away.  His death at the Battle of Trafalgar 21st October 1805 brought it all crashing down. Life became difficult in every way and her attempts to maintain her lifestyle and position led to her being imprisoned for debt in 1813 in the King’s Bench Prison.  Thanks to funds being provided she was released but had to flee to Calais to escape her creditors and it was there in January 1815 she died after months of illness in the same poverty as she had been born.

Gold 'fede' or betrothal ring, one of a pair exchanged by Vice-Admiral Horatio Nelson and Emma ® National Maritime Museum, London

Gold ‘fede’ or betrothal ring, one of a pair exchanged by Vice-Admiral Horatio Nelson and Emma
® National Maritime Museum, London

This somewhat salutary tale is beautifully told through pictures, objects, jewellery, furniture, prints, costumes and personal letters.  It really does give a wonderful insight into her life and times and explains why she remains so beguiling a figure. She is one of those people from history you would really want to meet!

'View of Merton House showing Lady Hamilton and Horatia in the grounds' ® National Maritime Museum, London

‘View of Merton House showing Lady Hamilton and Horatia in the grounds’
® National Maritime Museum, London

 

http://www.rmg.co.uk/emmahamilton

Throwing light on Art

TM Lighting

(Before) The East Gallery, Waddesdon Manor, The Rothschild Collection (The National Trust). Photo Paul Barker © Paul Barker

(Before) The East Gallery, Waddesdon Manor, The Rothschild Collection (The National Trust).
Photo Paul Barker © Paul Barker

 

(After)The East Gallery, Waddesdon Manor, The Rothschild Collection (The National Trust). Photo Mike Fear © The National Trust, Waddesdon Manor

(After)The East Gallery, Waddesdon Manor, The Rothschild Collection (The National Trust).
Photo Mike Fear © The National Trust, Waddesdon Manor

 

 

 

 

Visitors to Waddesdon Manor this year will notice that the paintings have been re-lit most effectively and this is due to the specialist lighting company TM Lighting who have worked on this project. Founded in 2012 by Andrew Molyneux and Harry Triggs who have twenty years combined experience in lighting design, TM Lighting can transform homes and commercial spaces showing them to greater advantage.  Their approach takes into account both the current energy-saving legislation and the environmental factors of the space they are lighting.

Private Commissions: Marcus Lyon’s Studio

Private Commissions: Marcus Lyon’s Studio

The company provides a bespoke service using the very latest LED technology to achieve the correct light distribution which as these images confirm works wonderfully well in bringing both the art and the rooms into focus. Miranda Rock, Guardian of Burghley House, says of their work in lighting the notable collection of paintings at Burghley that “they are not over-lit and the atmosphere of the house has not been compromised”. LED bulbs are cooler than halogen ones and last much longer.

Burghley House

Burghley House

 

New Masters Exhibition by Darwin, Sinke & Van Tongeren at Jamb and exclusively lit by TM Lighting CREDIT: Ilvy Njiokiktjien

New Masters Exhibition by Darwin, Sinke & Van Tongeren at Jamb and exclusively lit by TM Lighting
CREDIT: Ilvy Njiokiktjien

Among other clients TM lighting have worked for are Weston Park House, Apsley House, the National Gallery, Goodwood, Hampton Court Palace and Armourers’ Hall. They also work with private collectors, dealers and other commercial businesses.  I hope you will agree that they are really rather good at what they do.

Commercial Commission: Fera at Claridges Hotel

Commercial Commission: Fera at Claridges Hotel

 

Apsley House

Apsley House

 

 

 

 

tmlighting.com

 

 

 

(Before) The Dining Room, Waddesdon Manor, The Rothschild Collection (The National Trust). Photo Mike Fear © The National Trust, Waddesdon Manor

(Before) The Dining Room, Waddesdon Manor, The Rothschild Collection (The National Trust).
Photo Mike Fear © The National Trust, Waddesdon Manor

 

(After) The Dining Room, Waddesdon Manor, The Rothschild Collection (The National Trust). Photo Mike Fear © The National Trust, Waddesdon Manor

(After) The Dining Room, Waddesdon Manor, The Rothschild Collection (The National Trust).
Photo Mike Fear © The National Trust, Waddesdon Manor

Gilles-Marie Oppenord & Juste-Aurèle Meissonnier

BOUNTIFUL INVENTION: Drawings by Gilles-Marie Oppenord (1672-1742) and Juste-Aurèle Meissonnier (1695-1750), Waddesdon Manor, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, until 23rd October 2016

 

Gilles-Marie Oppenord, Design for a salon chimney-piece, presumed to be for the Palais-Royal, Paris, c 1717; Photo Mike Fear (c) The National Trust, Waddesdon

Gilles-Marie Oppenord,
Design for a salon chimney-piece, presumed to be for the Palais-Royal, Paris, c 1717;
Photo Mike Fear (c) The National Trust, Waddesdon

Oppenord and Meissonnier are celebrated exponents of the Rococo Style that reached its apogee in France in the reign of Louis XV.  In this exhibition, chiefly drawn from Waddesdon’s own collection – there is a loan each from the Courtauld Gallery and the V&A – we get a chance to understand why they are held in such high esteem and why their designs were so eagerly sought after even in their own time.

Juste-Aurèle Meissonnier, Design for the lid of a gold box; c 1732-c 1733; The Rothschild Collection (The National Trust) . Photo Mike Fear © The National Trust, Waddesdon Manor

Juste-Aurèle Meissonnier,
Design for the lid of a gold box; c 1732-c 1733;
The Rothschild Collection (The National Trust) .
Photo Mike Fear © The National Trust, Waddesdon Manor

On view there are sketches and highly finished drawings as well as working drawings and copies for use in printmaking. Their subject matters range from architectural and ecclesiastical subjects to designs for box lids, interiors and so forth.  Some were pure whimsy but many others were created by all types of craftsmen into real and usable entities.

Gilles-Marie Oppenord, Design for a garden pavilion, for the Elector of Cologne, c 1720. The Rothschild Collection (The National Trust). Photo Mike Fear © The National Trust, Waddesdon Manor

Gilles-Marie Oppenord,
Design for a garden pavilion, for the Elector of Cologne, c 1720.
The Rothschild Collection (The National Trust).
Photo Mike Fear © The National Trust, Waddesdon Manor

Oppenord’s and Meissonnier’s designs spread throughout Europe thanks to the prints made of their drawings and they remained a source of inspiration for successive generations.

Juste-Aurèle-Meissonnier Design-for-a-Monstrance, 1727 Waddesdon, The-Rothschild Collection

Juste-Aurèle-Meissonnier
Design-for-a-Monstrance, 1727
Waddesdon, The-Rothschild Collection

http://www.waddesdon.org.uk

From Versailles to Waddesdon

A Closer Look: Spotlight on French Royal Furniture by Jean-Henri Riesener (1734-1806) Waddesdon Manor, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire until 23rd October 2016

Riesner Exhibition, The White Drawing Room, Waddesdon Manor. Photo Mike Fear (C) National Trust, Waddesdon Manor

Riesner Exhibition, The White Drawing Room, Waddesdon Manor.
Photo Mike Fear (C) National Trust, Waddesdon Manor

Among its treasures Waddesdon Manor has twelve pieces of furniture that were originally part of the furnishings at Versailles and many of them were made in the workshops of the celebrated royal cabinetmaker Jean-Henri Riesener (1734-1806) who worked for both Louis XVI and his wife Marie Antoinette.

Henri-François Riesener, Portrait of Jean-Henri Riesener, 1800; Waddesdon Manor, Photo Mike Fear © The National Trust, Waddesdon Manor

Henri-François Riesener,
Portrait of Jean-Henri Riesener, 1800;
Waddesdon Manor, Photo Mike Fear © The National Trust, Waddesdon Manor

This year two commodes which are normally in the Red Drawing Room are with a third Riesener commode the subject of a special display upstairs in the White Drawing Room. One was made for Louis XVI’s sister Madame Elisabeth, another for Louis XVI’s sister-in-law, the Comtesse de Provence and while the first owner of the third commode remains unknown it is very similar to one provided for Louis XVI’s study at the Petit Trianon.

Long-sayers cutting timber from L'Art du menuisier by André-Jacob Roubo (1739-1791), published between 1769-1774. Bibliothéque nationale de France, département Réserve des livres rares, V-3972

Long-sayers cutting timber from L’Art du menuisier by André-Jacob Roubo (1739-1791), published between 1769-1774. Bibliothéque nationale de France, département Réserve des livres rares, V-3972

 

'Fret-work' marquetry Jean-Henri Riesener, Chest of drawers, 1776. Photo Mike Fear © The National Trust, Waddesdon Manor

‘Fret-work’ marquetry Jean-Henri Riesener, Chest of drawers, 1776.
Photo Mike Fear © The National Trust, Waddesdon Manor

 

Engraving from Roubo's L'Art de Menuisier. Bibliothéque nationale de France, département Réserve des livres rares, V-3975 (1)

Engraving from Roubo’s L’Art de Menuisier.
Bibliothéque nationale de France, département Réserve des livres rares, V-3975 (1)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This fascinating display allows visitors to view these splendid pieces of furniture – originally intended for linens and clothes – from all angles.  One can truly appreciate the quality of their design, the marquetry inlays and the stunning gilt bronze mounts that make these such an important component in the design and furnishing of 18th century French rooms.

Riesener Exhibition, The White Drawing Room at Waddesdon Manor. Photo Stuart Bebb (c) National Trust, Waddesdon Manor

Riesener Exhibition, The White Drawing Room at Waddesdon Manor.
Photo Stuart Bebb (c) National Trust, Waddesdon Manor

http://www.waddesdon.org.uk

Jean-Henri Riesener, Chest of drawers, 1778. Photo Hugo Maertens © The National Trust, Waddesdon Manor

Jean-Henri Riesener, Chest of drawers, 1778.
Photo Hugo Maertens © The National Trust, Waddesdon Manor

 

Jean-Henri Riesener, Chest of drawers, 1776. Photo Hugo Maertens © The National Trust, Waddesdon (2)

Jean-Henri Riesener, Chest of drawers, 1776.
Photo Hugo Maertens © The National Trust, Waddesdon (2)

 

Jean-Henri Riesener, Chest of drawers, 1778; Photo Jérôme Letellier © The National Trust, Waddesdon Manor

Jean-Henri Riesener, Chest of drawers, 1778;
Photo Jérôme Letellier © The National Trust, Waddesdon Manor