18th Century

New Release: Painted out of History: Ellen and Rolinda Sharples

October 22 2021

Image of New Release: Painted out of History: Ellen and Rolinda Sharples

Picture: redcliffepress.co.uk

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Here's a new release that might be of interest. Painted out of History: Ellen and Rolinda Sharples is the latest publication of the author Hazel Gower for Redcliffe Press in Bristol.

According to the book's blurb:

Daughter of a Lancashire blacksmith, Ellen Sharples was the driving force behind a remarkable family of artists.  Based in Bath and Bristol, she sailed to America twice, was imprisoned during the French Revolution and painted the first five US presidents.  She supported the family financially, educated her daughter Rolinda and trained her to become a painter of contemporary events.  Though her life and her legacy are little known, Ellen was a Georgian era pioneer.   She created one of the early Academies of Art, where for the first time women could study on equal terms with men. 

Author Hazel Gower quotes from Ellen’s journal to explore this unusual mother daughter relationship, presenting an inspiring portrait of the pair.   Chronicling their passion, commitment and resourcefulness, this is the forgotten story of two women artists and their adventurous lives on both sides of the Atlantic.

Restoration of Nasher Museum 'Wright of Derby'

October 21 2021

Video: Nasher Museum of Art

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Here's a recent video made by the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, North Carolina, describing the restoration of a painting Attributed to Joseph Wright of Derby. The process involved in its restoration and research is featured in a small exhibition at the museum entitled Off the Map: The Provenance of a Painting which runs until 9th January 2022.

Anne Seymour Damer display at Strawberry Hill House

October 19 2021

Image of Anne Seymour Damer display at Strawberry Hill House

Picture: Stawberry Hill House

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Strawberry Hill House, the former home of Horace Walpole, has installed a new display dedicated to the artist Anne Seymour Damer (1748-1828). The display will include a recently rediscovered bust of a Niobid and John Downman's portrait of Damer loaned from a private collection (pictured).

According to their website:

The central object in the new display is Damer’s marble bust of her mother, Caroline Campbell, Lady Ailesbury, probably made in the late 1780s. The bust – today owned by a private collector, was until recently on display in New York’s Metropolitan Museum. Campbell’s serene and composed expression evoke the ideals of ancient sculpture, a connection further echoed by Damer’s dual signatures in Latin and Greek. On the reverse, is a personal dedication of the work to her ‘friend and mother’. Damer kept this bust throughout her life and carved another version in Portland stone for her mother’s tomb in Saint Mary’s Church, Sundridge, Kent, where Damer herself is buried. 

A second marble bust, a Niobid, which was until recently thought to be lost, can be seen at Strawberry Hill for the very first time. In Greek mythology, Niobid was one of Niobe’s daughters, who were slain by Apollo and Artemis after Niobe boasted of having more children than their mother, the goddess Leto. In his Book of Visitors, Walpole reported this was the first marble bust ever sculpted by Damer: “Bust of Niobe in marble. Her first attempt”, which is confirmed by the inscription on the back of the bust, ‘Opus Primum’, first work. 


As part of the In Focus display, there is a chance to see a rare portrait of Anne as a sculptress, by John Downman (1750-1824). In his drawing, on loan from a private collection, we see her working on a bust of the Polish Prince Lubomirski, as the young Bacchus (the bust is today held at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford). Downman’s portrait, dated 1793, represents Anne at the age of 43 and is the most detailed representation of her while at work.

The display will last until 3rd January 2022.

Update - A reader has been in touch with the following information about the origins of the Niobid:

Sorry to be a pedantic pain but Niobid is not the name of a daughter of Niobe. A niobid is a common noun referring to any and all of the children of Niobe. According to the Larousse Encyclopedia of Mythology, pp. 131-2 she had six sons as well as six daughters and all twelve were killed by Artemis/Diana and Apollo her brother in revenge for Niobe’s hubris in taunting their mother Leto for having had fewer children than herself.  The subject gets quite complicated. The Wikipedia page on the Niobids lists their names and all the variations.

A Rediscovered Reynolds (?) Unveiled at Art Fair

October 14 2021

Image of A Rediscovered Reynolds (?) Unveiled at Art Fair

Picture: The Telegraph

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Daily Telegraph have published news today of a rediscovered painting reputedly by Joshua Reynolds which has been unveiled at the Cotswold Antique Dealers Association Fair this week. The painting has been researched by the dealer Russell Strachan who purchased the picture at auction and has since had the picture conserved.

In terms of the authentication of the picture, the article reads:

Mr Strachan said that two Reynolds experts had looked at the painting, with one telling him "he found no reason to think it was not by Reynolds".

As it happens, I was contacted by the writer of the article late last night. My first question was, who exactly were the experts that were consulted? As the published article suggests, no details were supplied which does not bode particularly well. If one really wants to make a splash with a discovery, the credentials of experts need to be disclosed to give weight to such claims, in my opinion.

Experience Goya in Lille

October 13 2021


Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Palais des Beaux-arts de Lille will be opening their latest exhibition later this week. Experience Goya will feature more than 80 original works, half by the artist, in what it describes as an 'immersive, aesthetic and sensory experience [with] (videos and soundscapes etc.)'. The exhibition will also include later piece that show a response to Goya's work, including examples from Delacroix, Manet, Dali and many other artists running up to the present day.

The show will run until 14th February 2022.


Speaking as someone who is rather sensitive to music, I do wonder if the soundtrack to the video above is enhancing or off putting...

Tiepolo Discovered in Weston Hall Attic

October 12 2021

Video: Dreweatts

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The UK Press has shared news of a rediscovered drawing by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo has been discovered in a safe at Weston Hall. The auctioneers Dreweatts discovered the drawing as part of cataloguing the contents of the house for general sale.

The drawing will be offered for sale in November carrying an estimate of £150,000 - £200,000.

Yale Center Seeks Identity of Black Child in Painting

October 7 2021

Image of Yale Center Seeks Identity of Black Child in Painting

Picture: TAN

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Art Newspaper have published an interesting piece of research being undertaken by the Yale Center for British Art Studies into the identity of a black child. The boy appears in A portrait of Elihu Yale with Members of His Family and an Enslaved Child (around 1719), attributed to John Verelst, from the center's collection.

According to the article:

Homing in on the depiction of the enslaved child, the YCBA’s research team enlisted a pediatrician to estimate the boy’s likely age, which was determined to be around 10, says Martin. Drawing on records from the early 1700s, the curatorial investigators note that it was then routine to ship boys of African descent under 10 years of age to Britain to serve as domestic servants in affluent households. The child would probably have served as a so-called page in the household of one of the men depicted.

Regularly readers might remember this brief story I published last October, showing results from a similar piece research into a seventeenth century picture from Warwick Castle.

MET Conserve Cosway's Mrs. Dalrymple

October 6 2021

Image of MET Conserve Cosway's Mrs. Dalrymple

Picture: MET

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Conservators of The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York have recently restored Richard Cosway's portrait of Marianne Dorothy Harland (1759–1785), Later Mrs. William Dalrymple.

According to the museum's catalogue note:

When this portrait was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1779, an art critic decried Cosway’s “painful and minute attention to little Circumstances,” which gave his work “a coxcomical and ridiculous air.” Indeed, the painting does reveal Cosway’s minute attention to the furnishing of a fashionable, feminine interior, emphasizing such features as the dressing table bearing a pincushion, scent bottles, and powder puff. 

Here is what the picture looked like before conservation treatment:

Arnold Houbraken text Translated and Digitized

October 6 2021

Image of Arnold Houbraken text Translated and Digitized

Picture: abebooks

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

CODART (Dutch and Flemish Art Curators Network) has shared news that the RKD (Netherland's Institute for Art History) have translated into English and digitized Arnold Houbraken's Groote schouburgh der Nederlantsche konstschilders en -schilderessen. This important eighteenth century text, which provides a history of Dutch painters, will feature on the RKD's Study Series. The online publication will be celebrated with a lecture (in Dutch) on 14th October 2021.

Nature in Image: Austrian Baroque landscapes

September 17 2021

Image of Nature in Image: Austrian Baroque landscapes

Picture: domquartier.at

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Residenzgalerie in Salzburg, Austria, opened a rather interesting exhibition over the summer. Nature in Image: Austrian Baroque landscapes examines Austrian landscape paintings from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

According to their website:

Nature as fine art. Landscape as motif. Trees bowed by the wind, the play of colours through the leaves of forests bathed in light, an approaching storm, the hazardous path over a mountain pass, the hunting party resting in a secluded spot, the cheerful bustle of a country fair set in a landscape – Austrian baroque painters between 1600 and 1800 captured all this and much more on canvas, copper plates and wood panels. The formats ranged from postcard-sized cabinet pieces to canvases more than 2m wide. 18th-century collectors from aristocratic, ecclesiastical and bourgeois circles were great admirers of these diverse renderings. The presentation is rounded off by a comparison with Dutch, Italian and French models, and examples of the change in style around 1800. 

The first comprehensive exhibition of Austrian baroque landscapes takes into account the increased interest in the subject shown in recent years.

The exhibition will run until 31st January 2022.

Venetian Drawings at the Castello Sforzesco in Milan

September 16 2021

Image of Venetian Drawings at the Castello Sforzesco in Milan

Picture: lamilano.it

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

A new exhibition of Venetian drawings from the eighteenth century has opened in the Castello Sforzesco in Milan. The exhibition contains 48 works by the likes of Giovanni Battista and Giandomenico Tiepolo, Giovanni Battista Piazzetta, Antonio Canaletto and Bernardo Bellotto. The works have been drawn from the city's collection of works, many of which were initially assembled in Milanese aristocratic collections.

Oppenheimer Collection Soars

September 15 2021

Image of Oppenheimer Collection Soars

Picture: Sotheby's

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

It seems that there were some extremely promising results for the decorative arts market yesterday. Sotheby's New York's Oppenheimer sale of Important Meissen soared past its pre-sale estimates to achieve $15,039,540 (inc. fees). Many of the lots doubled, tripled or quadrupled their estimates in this 'white-glove' sale.

€5m Chardin coming up at Christie's

September 13 2021

Image of €5m Chardin coming up at Christie's

Picture: Christie's

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Christie's Paris have announced that they will be offering an important and 'untouched' Chardin in their November sale. Experts at the auction house believe their version of Woman Drawing Water from a Water Urn to be the first presented by Chardin at the 1747 salon. It was purchased in 1848 by the French collector François Marcille (1790-1856) and has been in a private collection ever since.

The painting will be offered for sale on 22nd November carrying an estimate of €5m - €8m.

Frick Hogarth to be loaned to Tate

September 6 2021

Image of Frick Hogarth to be loaned to Tate

Picture: The Frick Collection

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Guardian have published an article on news that the Frick Collection will be loaning their William Hogarth portrait of Mary Edwards of Kensington to an upcoming exhibition at the Tate Gallery in London. This is said to be the first time the painting has returned to London in a century.

The article quotes Assistant Curator Alice Insley:

She trod her own path and contravened the social mores of the time. Mary will be a highlight of the exhibition and it is the kind of loan from the Frick Collection in New York that only happens in exceptional circumstances. Luckily for us, there is building work at the gallery and so the painting cannot be displayed there.

The Tate's upcoming exhibition Hogarth and Europe, which will feature 60 works by the artist, will be opening on 3rd November 2021 and run until 20 March 2022.

Burlington Article Reveals Jacques-Louis David Secrets

September 6 2021

Image of Burlington Article Reveals Jacques-Louis David Secrets

Picture: MET

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

September's edition of The Burlington Magazine contains a fascinating article on recent discoveries made on Jacques-Louis David's 1788 Portrait of Antoine Laurent Lavoisier (1743–1794) and Marie- Anne Lavoisier (Marie-Anne Pierrette Paulze, 1758– 1836). This study was undertaken by staff at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

Vast technical analysis has shown the many changes were undertaken during its early history. This included the removal of a fancy hat, now missing of course, and the fact that their scientific instruments were a later addition. It is believed that these alterations were made to try and distance the sitters from looking too much like tax-collectors, a profession which ultimately led Lavoisier to the guillotine in 1794.

Coustou Sculptures Restored

September 2 2021

Image of Coustou Sculptures Restored

Picture: rue89lyon.fr

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

News from France that two sculptures representing allegories of the Rhône and the Saône by Nicolas and Guillaume Coustou have been restored. The large early eighteenth century bronzes had originally adorned a statue of Louis XIV at the Place Bellecour in Lyon. Their restoration has taken place in the Museum of Fine Arts in Lyon where they will be displayed at the foot of a staircase.

'L'art de paraître au 18e siècle' in Nantes

August 19 2021

Image of 'L'art de paraître au 18e siècle' in Nantes

Picture: museedartsdenantes.nantesmetropole.fr

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Musée d'arts de Nantes will be opening a rather interesting exhibition this November. L'art de paraître au 18e siècle will investigate the history of costume and its representation during the age of the enlightenment.

The exhibition will bring together nearly 200 objects from the spheres of textiles and the fine arts, drawing on artworks loaned from the Musée de la Mode de la Ville de Paris, Musée des tissus de Lyon, Musée de la toile de Jouy, Musée de la Chemiserie et de l'Elegance Masculine, the Nationalmuseum of Stockholm, Rijksmuseum of Amsterdam, Victoria and Albert Museum of London, Versailles, Louvre, and regional museums in Ecouen, Nantes, Dijon, Tours and Orléans.

The show will run from 26th November 2021 till 6th March 2022.

'Lost' Canaletto Discovered in East Sussex Home

August 18 2021

Image of 'Lost' Canaletto Discovered in East Sussex Home

Picture: Gorringes

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The UK press have published news from the Auction House Gorringes that a 'lost' Canaletto of the Dogana da Mar in Venice has been discovered in a house in East Sussex. The painting emerged during a valuation undertaken by specialists from the auction house.

According to the article:

The back of the canvas is inscribed with the name of Auguste Chatelain, a 19th century Swiss psychiatrist and historian who is known to have owned at least one other similar work by Canaletto. 

It also has a label on the reverse for the Mayfair art dealer Arthur Tooth and Sons, where the late owner's mother originally bought the painting 101 years ago.

Although the owners are said to have known the work was by Canaletto, the painting seems to have been kept in private hands for a century.

The painting will be put up for sale on 28th September 2021 with an estimate of around £150,000.

Opie's Reynolds Doubles Low-Estimate

August 13 2021

Image of Opie's Reynolds Doubles Low-Estimate

Picture: Woolley and Wallis

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Auctioneers Woolley and Wallis in Salisbury sold this Laughing Girl by Sir Joshua Reynolds yesterday for £37,000 (hammer price) over its £15k - £20k estimate. The painting was rediscovered by specialists in a private collection, whose owners had thought that the work was a mere copy. Furthermore, they were unaware of the painting's illustrious provenance. Reynolds had created the work for the Polygraphic Society in 1787. It was eventually purchased by the artist John Opie and later came into the collection of the Earls of Lonsdale. The last time the work was displayed in public was in 1937.

Young Gainsborough: Rediscovered Landscape Drawings

August 13 2021

Image of Young Gainsborough: Rediscovered Landscape Drawings

Picture: York Art Gallery

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The York Art Gallery have announced a new exhibition which will open on 1st October 2021. Young Gainsborough: Rediscovered Landscape Drawings will be the first time that the twenty-five drawings recently rediscovered in the Royal Collection will be on display.

According to the gallery's website:

They will be presented alongside paintings and works on paper borrowed from collections across the UK and Ireland, including the National Gallery’s recently conserved masterpiece Cornard Wood (1748). Together, they will shed new light on Gainsborough’s early landscape practice and the techniques which made him one of the country’s most significant and influential artists.

The show will run until 13th February 2022.

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