Treasures from Baron Ferdinand’s Smoking Room – from Waddesdon Manor to the British Museum.

A Rothschild Renaissance: Treasures from the Waddesdon Bequest, Room 2a, The British Museum, Great Russell Street, London WC1

The Smoking Room in Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild’s The Red Book, 1897; Waddesdon, The Rothschild Collection (The National Trust) Gift of Dorothy de Rothschild, 1971; acc. no. 54 © The National Trust, Waddesdon Manor

The Smoking Room in Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild’s The Red Book, 1897; Waddesdon,
The Rothschild Collection (The National Trust) Gift of Dorothy de Rothschild, 1971; acc. no. 54
© The National Trust, Waddesdon Manor

Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild emulated many of the Renaissance princely and noble collectors in creating his own Kunstkammern in the Tower Drawing Room at his country house Waddesdon Manor but in the late 1880s he had a New Smoking Room created in the Bachelors’ Wing which was decorated in the Renaissance style and suited the collection perfectly.

 The Waddesdon Bequest, Room 2a, British Museum. © The Trustees of the British Museum

The Waddesdon Bequest, Room 2a, British Museum.
© The Trustees of the British Museum

He bequeathed this Renaissance collection to the British Museum on his death in 1898 with the proviso that it was to be displayed in a separate room on its own. Having been displayed on the first floor of the museum for many years it is now housed, thanks to a generous donation from the Rothschild Foundation, in a stunning, specially created new gallery in what was the original Reading Room of the Museum.

Rosary bead or prayer-nut showing scenes of St Hubert The Waddesdon Bequest. © The Trustees of the British Museum

Rosary bead or prayer-nut showing scenes of St Hubert The Waddesdon Bequest.
© The Trustees of the British Museum

This is a special collection not only because it reflects the mind of a 19th century collector but also through the objects purchased reflects the art market of the day as well as the rise of forgery to meet the demand from the growing number of collectors in the 19th century.

The Aspremont Lynden Ewer and Basin, silver-gilt, 1545-50. The Waddesdon Bequest. © The Trustees of the British Museum

The Aspremont Lynden Ewer and Basin, silver-gilt, 1545-50. The Waddesdon Bequest.
© The Trustees of the British Museum

This is a collection that one has to visit so that one can get close to the objects and appreciate their fine detail and see the craftsmanship that went into their creation.  To me the exquisite Holy Thorn Reliquary still captures my imagination as it was made to hold a thorn believed to have come from Christ’s Crown of Thorns and was described by Neil MacGregor in the series “A History of the World in 100 Objects” as “a single-object museum”.

Holy Thorn Reliquary of Jean, duc de Berry, Paris, France, before AD 1397 © The Trustees of the British Museum

Holy Thorn Reliquary of Jean, duc de Berry, Paris, France, before AD 1397
© The Trustees of the British Museum

Footnote: The New Smoking Room at Waddesdon now houses a collection put together by Ferdinand’s sister Alice de Rothschild.  See my blog CHRISTMAS 2015 AT WADDESDON (21 November 2015) for an illustration, it is the room with the “Hanukkah” inspired lamp in it.

 The Waddesdon Bequest, Room 2a, British Museum. © The Trustees of the British Museum

The Waddesdon Bequest, Room 2a, British Museum.
© The Trustees of the British Museum

 

britishmuseum.org

 

http://www.waddesdon.org.uk

Christmas the Waddesdon Way!

CHRISTMAS 2015 AT WADDESDON, until 3rd January 2016

Joana Vasconcelos Lafite 2015 Waddesdon The Rothschild Collection (Rothschild Family Trusts) © Joana Vasconcelos. Photo Mike Fear © The National Trust Waddesdon Manor

Joana Vasconcelos Lafite 2015 Waddesdon The Rothschild Collection (Rothschild Family Trusts)
© Joana Vasconcelos. Photo Mike Fear © The National Trust Waddesdon Manor

The theme of Lights and Legends is one that transforms the interiors of some twenty rooms into a wintry wonderland that dazzles and enchants the visitor.  The unifying idea of light is evoked through different cultures, stories and myths from across the years. The front of the house will be the background to a son et lumière and is framed by Joanna Vasconcelos’s installation Lafite two 10 metre high candlesticks made from 574 wine bottles.

©National Trust Waddesdon Manor photo Mike Fear

©National Trust Waddesdon Manor photo Mike Fear

 

©National Trust Waddesdon Manor photo Mike Fear

©National Trust Waddesdon Manor photo Mike Fear

 

©National Trust Waddesdon Manor photo Mike Fear

©National Trust Waddesdon Manor photo Mike Fear

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

©National Trust Waddesdon Manor photo Mike Fear

©National Trust Waddesdon Manor photo Mike Fear

 

©National Trust Waddesdon Manor photo Mike Fear

©National Trust Waddesdon Manor photo Mike Fear

 

©National Trust Waddesdon Manor photo Mike Fear

©National Trust Waddesdon Manor photo Mike Fear

 

©National Trust Waddesdon Manor photo Mike Fear

©National Trust Waddesdon Manor photo Mike Fear

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Outside in the garden, in this the last year of his residency, Bruce Munro takes us on a journey that reflects our current world but is through music and sound also nostalgic.  The visitor follows a winding path through the gardens, lined with illuminated tents, whose colours change, while music, voices and static remind us of tuning-in old radios. Periodically, in both sound and light, the international Morse code distress signal interrupts and reminds us that these tents are inspired by the work ShelterBox does to provide shelter and relief to those affected by disasters, natural or otherwise.

...---... SOS © Bruce Munro 2015, Waddesdon Manor photographer Mark Pickthall

…—… SOS
© Bruce Munro 2015, Waddesdon Manor photographer Mark Pickthall

 

...---... SOS © Bruce Munro 2015, Waddesdon Manor photographer Mark Pickthall

…—… SOS
© Bruce Munro 2015, Waddesdon Manor photographer Mark Pickthall

 

...---... SOS © Bruce Munro 2015, Waddesdon Manor photographer Mark Pickthall

…—… SOS
© Bruce Munro 2015, Waddesdon Manor photographer Mark Pickthall

http://www.waddesdon.org.uk

http://www.brucemunro.co.uk/

http://www.shelterbox.org/

 

 

 

 

 

 

©National Trust Waddesdon Manor photo Mike Fear

©National Trust Waddesdon Manor photo Mike Fear

Hair – The Art of Loss

JANE WILDGOOSE – BEYOND ALL PRICE, Waddesdon Manor, Waddesdon, Near Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, until 25th October 2015

Wildgoose hair mirror Jane Wildgoose, Beyond All Price, detail, 2015; hair-work flowers, feathers, mirror; © Jane Wildgoose; Photographed in the Green Boudoir, Waddesdon Manor by Mike Fear © The National Trust, Waddesdon Manor

Wildgoose hair mirror
Jane Wildgoose, Beyond All Price, detail, 2015; hair-work flowers, feathers, mirror; © Jane Wildgoose; Photographed in the Green Boudoir, Waddesdon Manor by Mike Fear © The National Trust, Waddesdon Manor

It is appropriate that the State Bedroom and the adjoining Green Boudoir should be the centre for this installation which emotively explores the theme of loss, mourning and love, as the bedroom was where Queen Victoria rested and received Baron Ferdinand privately during her visit on 14th May 1890.

Hair-work flowers, © Jane Wildgoose

Hair-work flowers, © Jane Wildgoose

While one may easily be forgiven for thinking that the idea of mourning could have originated with Queen Victoria’s grief following the death of her husband Prince Albert in 1861 this exhibition shows that in fact the origins are earlier.

The centrepiece in the Green Boudoir is a small photograph, perhaps from a locket, of Ferdinand’s wife Evelina and their stillborn child who both died in 1866 just eighteen months after their marriage.

One common theme in commemorating the departed was human hair and the artist Jane Wildgoose has created new works using hair and they are seen alongside items from Royal Collection, generously lent by Her Majesty The Queen, the Museum of London, the National Maritime Museum, the Victoria and Albert Museum, Waddesdon and private collections.

 

Green Boudoir Jane Wildgoose: Beyond all Price in the Green Boudoir at Waddesdon Manor.  © Jane Wildgoose. Photo: Mike Fear © The National Trust, Waddesdon Manor

Green Boudoir
Jane Wildgoose: Beyond all Price in the Green Boudoir at Waddesdon Manor.
© Jane Wildgoose. Photo: Mike Fear © The National Trust, Waddesdon Manor

Please note:

Artist’s Tour: Jane Wildgoose

Power House and House

Wednesday 9th September

10.45-12.15 (coffee on arrival 10.15)

Join artist Jane Wildgoose for an introduction to her exhibition Beyond all Price with a chance to view the installation in the Green Boudoir in her company.

£15.00

www.janewildgoose.co.uk

www.waddesdon.org.uk

Waddesdon Manor – The Riches Of The Earth

The Riches Of The Earth, Waddesdon Manor, Waddesdon, Near Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, until 25th October 2015

 

Guillaume Beneman, writing table, 1786;  oak carcass; veneered with purpleheart; with sycamore, ebony, boxwood and casuarina wood marquetry, gilt-bronze mounts and a leather top; 790 x 1902 x 895mm;  Waddesdon, The Rothschild Collection (The National Trust) Bequest of James de Rothschild, 1957; acc. no. 2575.  Photo: Mike Fear © The National Trust, Waddesdon Manor

Guillaume Beneman, writing table, 1786;
oak carcass; veneered with purpleheart; with sycamore, ebony, boxwood and casuarina wood marquetry, gilt-bronze mounts and a leather top; 790 x 1902 x 895mm;
Waddesdon, The Rothschild Collection (The National Trust) Bequest of James de Rothschild, 1957; acc. no. 2575.
Photo: Mike Fear © The National Trust, Waddesdon Manor

Over the coming weeks I shall be writing from time to time about this spectacular Rothschild house which I first visited some fifty years ago and to which I always look forward to returning to whenever possible.

Beauvais, designed by François Boucher, Fontaine d’Amour, 1755-1775;  wool and silk; 3365 x 3469mm;  Waddesdon, The Rothschild Collection (The National Trust) Bequest of James de Rothschild, 1957; acc. no. 2438.3.  Photo: P J Gates © The National Trust, Waddesdon Manor

Beauvais, designed by François Boucher, Fontaine d’Amour, 1755-1775;
wool and silk; 3365 x 3469mm;
Waddesdon, The Rothschild Collection (The National Trust) Bequest of James de Rothschild, 1957; acc. no. 2438.3.
Photo: P J Gates © The National Trust, Waddesdon Manor

The collections whether paintings, furniture, porcelain, books or textiles are really superb and as a “themed exhibition” this year the visitors attention is drawn to the works and interior features that reflect the wealth of the earth be it as clay, wood, metals, marble or the plants and minerals used for dyes in textiles. You will follow a special trail through the house to a display in the Exhibition Room upstairs.

Chandelier (detail), late 17th century- early 18th century; France; steel, rock crystal and cut glass; Waddesdon, The Rothschild Collection (The National Trust) Bequest of James de Rothschild, 1957; acc. no. 2741.  Photo: Mike Fear © The National Trust, Waddesdon Manor

Chandelier (detail), late 17th century- early 18th century; France; steel, rock crystal and cut glass; Waddesdon, The Rothschild Collection (The National Trust) Bequest of James de Rothschild, 1957; acc. no. 2741.
Photo: Mike Fear © The National Trust, Waddesdon Manor

Shown here is just a small selection that celebrates not only the gifts of the earth but also the family’s collecting over the years.

Table, c 1710-1720; Augsburg, Germany; wood, metal, tortoiseshell;  Waddesdon, The Rothschild Collection (The National Trust) Bequest of James de Rothschild, 1957; acc.no. 2227.1.  Photo: John Bigelow Taylor © The National Trust, Waddesdon Manor

Table, c 1710-1720; Augsburg, Germany; wood, metal, tortoiseshell;
Waddesdon, The Rothschild Collection (The National Trust) Bequest of James de Rothschild, 1957; acc.no. 2227.1.
Photo: John Bigelow Taylor © The National Trust, Waddesdon Manor

 

Four large panels symbolising the seasons (detail); 1720-1750;  France; oak;  Waddesdon, The Rothschild Collection (The National Trust) Bequest of James de Rothschild, 1957; acc. no. 3565.7.  Photo: Mike Fear © The National Trust, Waddesdon Manor

Four large panels symbolising the seasons (detail); 1720-1750;
France; oak;
Waddesdon, The Rothschild Collection (The National Trust) Bequest of James de Rothschild, 1957; acc. no. 3565.7.
Photo: Mike Fear © The National Trust, Waddesdon Manor

 

Pot-pourri vase, Sèvres Manufactory, 1761,  Waddesdon, The Rothschild Collection (The National Trust). Bequest of James de Rothschild, 1957.  Photo: Hugo Maertens © The National Trust, Waddesdon Manor

Pot-pourri vase, Sèvres Manufactory, 1761,
Waddesdon, The Rothschild Collection (The National Trust). Bequest of James de Rothschild, 1957.
Photo: Hugo Maertens © The National Trust, Waddesdon Manor

 

Joshua Reynolds, Lady Anne Luttrell, The Duchess of Cumberland (1743-1809), 1772-1773;  oil on canvas; 2490 x 1620mm;  Waddesdon, The Rothschild Collection (The National Trust) Bequest of James de Rothschild, 1957; acc. no. 2303  © The National Trust, Waddesdon Manor

Joshua Reynolds, Lady Anne Luttrell, The Duchess of Cumberland (1743-1809), 1772-1773;
oil on canvas; 2490 x 1620mm;
Waddesdon, The Rothschild Collection (The National Trust) Bequest of James de Rothschild, 1957; acc. no. 2303
© The National Trust, Waddesdon Manor

 

Savonnerie, Duvivier workshop, carpet, 1753-1757;  wool; 312 x 285cm;  Waddesdon, The Rothschild Collection (The National Trust) Bequest of James de Rothschild, 1957; acc. no. 2757.  Photo: © The National Trust, Waddesdon Manor

Savonnerie, Duvivier workshop, carpet, 1753-1757;
wool; 312 x 285cm;
Waddesdon, The Rothschild Collection (The National Trust) Bequest of James de Rothschild, 1957; acc. no. 2757.
Photo: © The National Trust, Waddesdon Manor

Lastly a view of the Grey Drawing Room which I am sure will give a very clear view of what makes this such a special place. Indeed I am tempted to paraphrase Dr Johnson and say that when one is tired of Waddesdon, one is tired of life. I most certainly look forward to my next visit.

The Grey Drawing Room, Waddesdon Manor, The Rothschild Collection (The National Trust). ©The National Trust, Waddesdon Manor

The Grey Drawing Room, Waddesdon Manor, The Rothschild Collection (The National Trust).
©The National Trust, Waddesdon Manor

www.waddesdon.org.uk

The Duchess – II

The Duchess – Property & Precious Objects from the Estate of Mary, Duchess of Roxburghe, Sotheby’s, 34-35 New Bond Street, London W1, 27th – 28th May 2015

Mary Crewe-Milnes before her marriage to the Duke of Roxburghe, age 19, wearing the Cartier diamond ring (Lot 662)

Mary Crewe-Milnes before her marriage to the Duke of Roxburghe, age 19, wearing the Cartier diamond ring (Lot 662)

In my previous blog I gave some of the story of Mary Roxburghe’s life and showed views of West Horsley Place. This wonderful, historic house has not been fully used for many decades and so now restoration is an urgent issue as Bamber Gascoigne explains: “West Horsley Place played an integral part in my aunt Mary Roxburghe’s fascinating life. It was completely unexpected by me that I would be heir to her estate. She had expressed that, given the work required to restore the house, she expected I would sell it. But having spent many memorable times with my aunt here, and knowing how special the house was to her and her family, together with my wife I decided to take up the challenge of carrying out the essential work to the house to ensure that it can withstand what may lie ahead over the course of its future, and continue to stand as a monument of its remarkable past.

Lot 224 GLYN PHILPOT, R.A. 1884-1937 PORTRAIT OF MARGARET (PEGGY) CREWE-MILNES, MARCHIONESS OF CREWE Signed and dated 1917 oil on canvas 120 by 79cm. 47 by 31in. Estimate : £10,000-15,000

Lot 224
GLYN PHILPOT, R.A.
1884-1937
PORTRAIT OF MARGARET (PEGGY) CREWE-MILNES, MARCHIONESS OF CREWE
Signed and dated 1917
oil on canvas
120 by 79cm. 47 by 31in.
Estimate : £10,000-15,000

“The history of West Horsley Place dates back as far as the 11th century, and the 16th century reconstruction of the house hosted notable guests including Henry the XVII. It also carries the legend of Sir Walter Raleigh’s embalmed head being buried in the garden from the time his wife and son lived there, and the house was also the depository for the famed papers of Sir Edward Nicholas, Secretary of State to Charles I, which are now largely among the Egerton manuscripts in the British Museum. With this and the other literary associations of the house in mind, my aunt left Trinity College Cambridge their choice of books from the three miles of book shelves to their library.”

Below is a small selection of some of the lots being auctioned. Sadly while none of them will be a “starter for ten” there will be many lots of an affordable nature.

Lot 466 A GEORGE V SILVER BISCUIT SERVER, H.H. PLANTE, LONDON, 1935 31cm., 12 1/8 in. wide 1648gr., 52oz. 19dwt. Estimate:  £500-700  This was a Wedding Present (24th October 1935), described as 'Biscuit Toaster', given by the Princess Royal and Countess of Harewood, and the Earl of Harewood

Lot 466
A GEORGE V SILVER BISCUIT SERVER, H.H. PLANTE, LONDON, 1935
31cm., 12 1/8 in. wide
1648gr., 52oz. 19dwt.
Estimate: £500-700
This was a Wedding Present (24th October 1935), described as ‘Biscuit Toaster’, given by the Princess Royal and Countess of Harewood, and the Earl of Harewood

 

Lot 51  AN AXMINSTER CARPET, ENGLAND  Approximately 800 by 432cm; 26ft 3in., 14ft 1in. circa 1765/80  Estimate:  £50,000-80,000 Formerly in the Red Drawing Room and then later the North Drawing Room at Crewe House, London

Lot 51
AN AXMINSTER CARPET, ENGLAND
Approximately 800 by 432cm; 26ft 3in., 14ft 1in.
circa 1765/80
Estimate: £50,000-80,000
Formerly in the Red Drawing Room and then later the North Drawing Room at Crewe House, London

 

Lot 349 A SET OF NINE GEORGE III BLUE AND WHITE PAINTED ARMCHAIRS, AND ONE SIDE CHAIRCIRCA 1775, IN THE MANNER OF MAYHEW & INCE Estimate: £15,000-25,000  Although thought to have been commissioned or purchased for Crewe Hall in the 18th century several of them appear in a 1934 drawing of the State Drawing Room at Crewe House, London.

Lot 349
A SET OF NINE GEORGE III BLUE AND WHITE PAINTED ARMCHAIRS, AND
ONE SIDE CHAIRCIRCA 1775, IN THE MANNER OF MAYHEW & INCE
Estimate: £15,000-25,000
Although thought to have been commissioned or purchased for Crewe Hall in the 18th century several of them appear in a 1934 drawing of the State Drawing Room at Crewe House, London.

 

Lot 662 DIAMOND RING, CARTIER, 1930S set with two pear-shaped diamonds weighing 2.31 and 2.34 carats respectively, further accented with two marquise-shaped diamonds, size L, signed Cartier London, case stamped Cartier Paris. ESTIMATE 8,000-12,000 GBP

Lot 662
DIAMOND RING, CARTIER, 1930S
set with two pear-shaped diamonds weighing 2.31 and 2.34 carats respectively, further
accented with two marquise-shaped diamonds, size L, signed Cartier London, case
stamped Cartier Paris.
ESTIMATE 8,000-12,000 GBP

 

Lot 519 A CHRISTMAS PRESENT FROM JAMES DE ROTHSCHILD A GOLD-MOUNTED LACQUE BURGAUTÉ VASE, MADE BY LAVABRE FOR CARTIER PARIS, 1926 12.8 cm., 5 in., high Estimate: £2,500-3,500  This was a Christmas present in 1926 from Baron James de Rothschild (1878-1957) of Waddesdon Manor.

Lot 519
A CHRISTMAS PRESENT FROM JAMES DE ROTHSCHILD
A GOLD-MOUNTED LACQUE BURGAUTÉ VASE, MADE BY LAVABRE FOR
CARTIER PARIS, 1926
12.8 cm., 5 in., high
Estimate: £2,500-3,500
This was a Christmas present in 1926 from Baron James de Rothschild (1878-1957) of Waddesdon Manor.

Frederic, Lord Leighton Study for Flaming June ESTIMATE 40,000 - 60,000 This the only known head study for one of the most famous 19th century pictures.  It used to hang in an ante-room to the Duchess's bedroom and was last publicly seen in an art magazine in 1895. It will be auctioned in London on 15th July, 2015

Frederic, Lord Leighton
Study for Flaming June
ESTIMATE 40,000 – 60,000
This the only known head study for one of the most famous 19th century pictures. It used to hang in an ante-room to the Duchess’s bedroom and was last publicly seen in an art magazine in 1895. It will be auctioned in London on 15th July, 2015

 

 

http://www.sothebys.com

BRUCE MUNRO AT WADDESDON AND SALISBURY

Winter Light at Waddesdon: Bruce Munro

North Front, Waddesdon Manor ©National Trust, Waddesdon Manor Photo : Mike Fear

North Front, Waddesdon Manor ©National Trust, Waddesdon Manor Photo : Mike Fear

It has become a custom to celebrate Christmas at Waddesdon in a very special way both indoors and outdoors and this year is certainly no exception. Following on from Waddesdon’s interest in the artistic effect of light it is totally appropriate that in the rooms of the East and the Bachelors’ Wings there are enchanting displays of myths, rituals and stories from around the globe. Entitled Lights and Legends, the displays encompass Yuletide, Chinese New Year, Babushka, St Lucy and more.

Billiard Room, Waddesdon Manor ©National Trust, Waddesdon Manor Photo : Mike Fear

Billiard Room, Waddesdon Manor ©National Trust, Waddesdon Manor Photo : Mike Fear

Now in the second year of his residency the noted international artist Bruce Munro has again installed special light pieces in the garden but this time also indoors in the White Room. As befits the room’s name the installation is called Snow Code and consists of messages in Morse code which are conveyed in pulses of light falling like snow. It is a very sensual experience as the mirrors of the room also reflect the messages.

©Bruce Munro, Snow Code, Waddesdon Manor 2014 photograph by Mark Pickthall

©Bruce Munro, Snow Code, Waddesdon Manor 2014 photograph by Mark Pickthall

The trail of light through the gardens is quite special and as you progress along it you will come across light works that immediately capture your attention and interest. Among them is Beacon (2013) a geodesic dome of coloured light, which he created originally for the benefit of the charity ‘Cancerkin’ and it certainly is a perfect “beacon” of hope. Eden Blooms (2013) relates to Munro’s recent works in botanical gardens in the USA and his Field of Light (2004 -2014) which he considers as his “personal symbol for the good things in life” is this year his way of marking the First World War

©Bruce Munro, Eden Blooms, Waddesdon Manor 2014 photograph by Mark Pickthall’

©Bruce Munro, Eden Blooms, Waddesdon Manor 2014 photograph by Mark Pickthall’

 

Until: 4th January 2015

©Bruce Munro, Field of Light, Waddesdon Manor 2014 photograph by Mark Pickthall

©Bruce Munro, Field of Light, Waddesdon Manor 2014 photograph by Mark Pickthall

www.waddesdon.org.uk

 

_____________________________________

 

 

‘Star’ to Shine at Salisbury Cathedral

Aerial view of Star of Bethelehem by Bruce Munro at Salisbury  Cathedral - photo by Ash Mills

Aerial view of Star of Bethelehem by Bruce Munro at Salisbury Cathedral – photo by Ash Mills

The Star of Bethlehem is projected from above onto the still water of the font below and continues spilling over the sides. Once again using the dots and dashes of Morse code Munro tells the story of the wise men following the star to find the infant Christ and is based on Matthew 2: 1-12 from the New Testament.

Star of Bethelehem by Bruce Munro at Salisbury Cathedral - photo by  Ash Mills

Star of Bethelehem by Bruce Munro at Salisbury Cathedral – photo by Ash Mills

It takes 2minutes 20 seconds for it reach to its maximum extent and remains like that for 70minutes with the text scrolling to each point of the star. A very spiritual experience to behold.

 

Until: 4th February 2015

 

http://www.salisburycathedral.org.uk

 

 

www.brucemunro.co.uk

 

Art Dealing in the Gilded Age – a one day conference

Art Dealing in the Gilded Age – A Window on the Art Market: Colnaghi and their Associates c1890 – c 1940 on September 26th at Waddesdon Manor nr. Aylesbury

 

This one day conference has been arranged by Colnaghi, Waddesdon Manor (The Rothschild Foundation and the National Trust) and the University of Buckingham.

Punch cartoon of the threatened sale of Holbein’s Christina Duchess of Milan to Henry Clay Frick in 1909

Punch cartoon of the threatened sale of Holbein’s Christina Duchess of Milan to Henry Clay Frick in 1909

From c 1890 to 1940 Colnaghi was a key player in the international art market selling major works to some of the most important American collectors as well as to those in Europe, including public collections.

Fortunately their fascinating archive has survived and is currently stored in the Waddesdon archive on the estate. The conference will bring international scholars researching the art market together and as well as Colnaghi their competitors including Agnew’s, Duveen and Knoedler. Waddesdon is, of course, the perfect venue for such a conference as it houses a collection built up from the 19th century by four generations of the Rothschild family, with some purchases from both Agnew’s and Colnaghi.

Henry Clay Frick, one of the greatest American millionaire collectors of the Gilded Age

Henry Clay Frick, one of the greatest American millionaire collectors of the Gilded Age

 

http://www.waddesdon.org.uk 

Booking Office 01296 653226

WADDESDON MANOR – 3

Although not an exhibition as such this is an important and happy tale.


A One-time Pair of Paintings by a Master of the Dutch Golden Age

 

Thanks to the Rothschild Foundation acquiring this year An Encampment with Soldiers Gambling by Philips Wouwerman (1619-1668) it has now been reunited with a painting by the same artist with which it was originally paired in the18th century – A Hawking Party Resting outside an Inn.

Philips Wouwerman; Dutch; b.1619, d.1668, An Encampment with Soldiers Gambling on a Drum, c 1655 – c 1657; oil on oak panel; 350 x 410; Waddesdon, The Rothschild Collection (Rothschild Family Trusts) On loan since 2014; accession number 28.2013. Photo: Mike Fear © The National Trust, Waddesdon Manor

Philips Wouwerman; Dutch; b.1619, d.1668, An Encampment with Soldiers Gambling on a Drum, c 1655 – c 1657; oil on oak panel; 350 x 410; Waddesdon, The Rothschild Collection (Rothschild Family Trusts) On loan since 2014; accession number 28.2013. Photo: Mike Fear © The National Trust, Waddesdon Manor

Both hung in the collection of Paul Randon de Boisset (1710-1776), Receveur Géneral des Finances, who was a keen promoter of the vogue for 17th century Dutch pictures in 18th century Paris. It was customary to hang them alongside works by contemporary artists such as Boucher, Greuze and Fragonard.

Philips Wouwerman; Dutch; b.1619, d.1668, A Hawking Party Resting outside an Inn, 1655-57; oil on panel; 362 x 413; Waddesdon, The Rothschild Collection (The National Trust) Bequest of James de Rothschild, 1957; accession number 2567. Photo: Mike Fear © The National Trust, Waddesdon Manor

Philips Wouwerman; Dutch; b.1619, d.1668, A Hawking Party Resting outside an Inn, 1655-57; oil on panel; 362 x 413; Waddesdon, The Rothschild Collection (The National Trust) Bequest of James de Rothschild, 1957; accession number 2567. Photo: Mike Fear © The National Trust, Waddesdon Manor

Although less highly regarded today than he was in the 18th and 19th centuries Wouwerman was appreciated for his depictions of horses and scenes of everyday life and highly valued, especially for the contrast between light and shade and the complex compositions.

The pictures remained together until 1812 when they were sold at auction but ended up in different Rothschild collections. The Encampment was in the collection of Alfred de Rothschild while the Hawking Party was acquired by Anselm de Rothschild and left to his son Ferdinand de Rothschild who built Waddesdon. Now happily they can be seen together again in the Blue Dining Room. Long may it be thus.

Blue Dining Room, Waddesdon Manor  ©National Trust, Waddesdon Manor photo : John Bigelow Taylor’

Blue Dining Room, Waddesdon Manor
©National Trust, Waddesdon Manor photo : John Bigelow Taylor’

 

http://www.waddesdon.org.uk

WADDESDON MANOR – 2

Fame and Friendship: Pope, Roubiliac and the Portrait Bust, until 26th October

Imagine the most dramatic part of a play about a family where there has just been an almighty row, during which a character who had appeared earlier returns to the stage. There is complete silence, as the characters turn towards him startled by his sudden reappearance, which is suddenly broken from the audience when a querulous voice says “Who’s he?”

View of the exhibition Fame and Friendship: Pope, Roubiliac and the Portrait Bust in Eighteenth-Century Britain at Waddesdon Manor, The Rothschild Collection (The National Trust). Photo: © Richard Bryant/arcaidimages.com

View of the exhibition Fame and Friendship: Pope, Roubiliac and the Portrait Bust in Eighteenth-Century Britain at Waddesdon Manor, The Rothschild Collection (The National Trust). Photo: © Richard Bryant/arcaidimages.com

Well this cannot be said about this exhibition which focuses on the poet Alexander Pope (1688-1744) because it is very clearly and elegantly presented. It looks at his work and how he was highly regarded at home and abroad. Physically challenged due to his debilitating illness (Pott’s disease) and by being a Roman Catholic in a Protestant country he still managed to triumph and is placed in the English literary canon between Milton and Wordsworth.

John Michael Rysbrack, Alexander Pope, 1730; Lent by the National Portrait Gallery, London. Purchased through the National Heritage Memorial Fund, 1986. Photo: © Richard Bryant/arcaidimages.com

John Michael Rysbrack, Alexander Pope, 1730; Lent by the National Portrait Gallery, London. Purchased through the National Heritage Memorial Fund, 1986. Photo: © Richard Bryant/arcaidimages.com

The centrepiece of the exhibition is the eight versions of the same bust by Louis François Roubiliac (1702-1762) who was the leading sculptor of the day. In the 18th century the portrait bust became the way to celebrate famous writers but in fact it was not a new concept as in antiquity writers had been honoured in this way.

View of the exhibition Fame and Friendship: Pope, Roubiliac and the Portrait Bust in Eighteenth-Century Britain at Waddesdon Manor, The Rothschild Collection (The National Trust).  Photo: © Richard Bryant/arcaidimages.com

View of the exhibition Fame and Friendship: Pope, Roubiliac and the Portrait Bust in Eighteenth-Century Britain at Waddesdon Manor, The Rothschild Collection (The National Trust).
Photo: © Richard Bryant/arcaidimages.com

Pope was quite adept in managing his private and public life and image and although these early busts were most likely meant for friends they represent the most well-known image of the writer. This can be seen in the selection of marble, plaster and ceramic period copies which clearly demonstrate the place of replication and repetition in sculptural practice of the time.

Statuette’s of Shakespeare and Pope by John Cheere and Louis-François Roubiliac on loan from the Castle Museum, York and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. Photo: © Richard Bryant/arcaidimages.com

Statuette’s of Shakespeare and Pope by John Cheere and Louis-François Roubiliac on loan from the Castle Museum, York and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. Photo: © Richard Bryant/arcaidimages.com

Among his friends was William Murray (he became the first Lord Mansfield) with whom he shared a common interest in the classics and arts. Murray had a bust of Pope which he later paired with a similarly posed bust of himself by the sculptor Joseph Nollekens at Kenwood House. They were there until 1796 and are now together again for the first time since then.

View of the exhibition Fame and Friendship: Pope, Roubiliac and the Portrait Bust in Eighteenth-Century Britain at Waddesdon Manor, The Rothschild Collection (The National Trust). Photo: © Richard Bryant/arcaidimages.com

View of the exhibition Fame and Friendship: Pope, Roubiliac and the Portrait Bust in Eighteenth-Century Britain at Waddesdon Manor, The Rothschild Collection (The National Trust). Photo: © Richard Bryant/arcaidimages.com

There are other sitters with whom one way or another Pope was associated. For example one bust of him was paired with one of Isaac Newton, and they too are reunited here.

Sculpture was not the only way in which Pope was depicted and there are portraits by artists, including Jonathan Richardson the Elder, Jean-Baptiste van Loo, and Sir Godfrey Kneller, on show. There are also printed texts of his works and the differing typefaces, illustrations and ornamental features show the author’s involvement with his work reflecting that he was an independent writer and not reliant on noble patrons.

Books on display from the Waddesdon Collection with a portrait of Alexander Pope, c 1737 by Jonathan Richardson hanging above. On loan from the National Portrait Gallery, London. Photo: © Richard Bryant/arcaidimages.com

Books on display from the Waddesdon Collection with a portrait of Alexander Pope, c 1737 by Jonathan Richardson hanging above. On loan from the National Portrait Gallery, London. Photo: © Richard Bryant/arcaidimages.com

The exhibition is curated by Professor Malcolm Baker, Distinguished Professor in the Department of History of Art at California University Riverside, USA, an eminent sculpture scholar who I warmly recall from his days at the V&A. The loans come from the Yale Center for British Art, with which this exhibition is a joint collaboration, and from other major collections including the British Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Louvre, National Portrait Gallery, British Library as well works from Waddesdon.

By the way if you thought like me you could not quote Pope? Well I am pretty sure that you will have come across these phrases written by him:


To err is human; to forgive, divine

Fools rush in where angels fear to tread

 

www.waddesdon.org.uk

Louis-François Roubiliac, Bust of Alexander Pope, 1741 , Shipley Art Gallery, Gateshead. Photo: © Richard Bryant/arcaidimages.com

Louis-François Roubiliac, Bust of Alexander Pope, 1741 , Shipley Art Gallery, Gateshead. Photo: © Richard Bryant/arcaidimages.com

 

 

WADDESDON MANOR – 1

Waddesdon Manor, near Aylesbury, is a veritable treasure house of paintings, furniture, ceramics, and objets d’art, particularly from the French 18th century. Each year they have special exhibitions which can be drawn either from the collections or are of a more contemporary nature. This year is particularly fruitful so I thought I would share three elements of them with you over the coming days.

 

Predators and Prey: A Roman Mosaic from Lod, Israel, until 2nd November

The Lod floor mosaic, late third C.E., Israel Antiquities Authority.  Photo: © Israel Antiquities Authority / Nicky Davidov

The Lod floor mosaic, late third C.E., Israel Antiquities Authority.
Photo: © Israel Antiquities Authority / Nicky Davidov

This really exciting Roman mosaic pavement forms the centrepiece of a very special exhibition in the Stables Coach House at Waddesdon Manor.

The Lod floor mosaic (detail), late third C.E., Israel Antiquities Authority.  Photo: © Israel Antiquities Authority / Nicky Davidov

The Lod floor mosaic (detail), late third C.E., Israel Antiquities Authority.
Photo: © Israel Antiquities Authority / Nicky Davidov

In 1996 a discovery was made in the Israeli city of Lod (known as Lydda in Ancient Times) of a series of Roman Mosaic floors but they were not actually excavated until 2009. The largest floor of this group has been on a loan tour of various European and US Museums and now can be seen at Waddesdon. As the images suggest there is an element of humour and wit in the depiction of the subject matter. It is so worth seeing.

The Lod floor mosaic (detail), late third C.E., Israel Antiquities Authority.  Photo: © Israel Antiquities Authority / Nicky Davidov

The Lod floor mosaic (detail), late third C.E., Israel Antiquities Authority.
Photo: © Israel Antiquities Authority / Nicky Davidov

What makes this find so significant is that Lod has been occupied since antiquity but with so far relatively little excavation work no one knows what further treasures may await.

The Lod floor mosaic (detail), late third C.E., Israel Antiquities Authority. Photo: © Israel Antiquities Authority / Nicky Davidov

The Lod floor mosaic (detail), late third C.E., Israel Antiquities Authority.
Photo: © Israel Antiquities Authority / Nicky Davidov

To set the mosaic in context a group of contemporary and other relevant objects have been lent by the British Museum to give a wider background to the items from Lod. Material from the Waddesdon archive and collection also shows the family’s long interest in similar archaeological projects in that area.

 

As you can see below the mosaic has provided the inspiration for this year’s carpet bedding of the Parterre.

 Carpet Bedding, South Front, ©National Trust, Waddesdon Manor.

Carpet Bedding, South Front, ©National Trust, Waddesdon Manor

(The Lod Mosaic is on loan from the Israel Antiquities Authority and the Shelby White and Leon Levy Lod Mosaic Centre.)

www.waddesdon.org.uk