19th Century

Ashmolean Pre-Raphaelites at the Watts Gallery

May 9 2022

Video: Watts Gallery

There's a new exhibition at the Watts Gallery, 'Pre-Raphaelite Treasures: Drawings and Watercolours on loan from The Ashmolean'. In the video above, curator Emily Burns give us a guided tour. Show till 12th June. More here.

Upcoming Release: Scented Visions

April 10 2022

Image of Upcoming Release: Scented Visions

Picture: Penn State University Press

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Here is a September release that will be worth keeping an eye out for. Scented Visions: Smells in Art 1850-1914 is the upcoming publication by Christina Bradstreet, Courses and Events Programmer at the National Gallery in London.

According to the book's blurb:

Smell loomed large in cultural discourse in the late nineteenth century, thanks to the midcentury fear of miasma, the drive for sanitation reform, and the rise in artificial perfumery. Meanwhile, the science of olfaction remained largely mysterious, prompting an impulse to “see smell” and inspiring some artists to picture scent in order to better know and control it. This book recovers the substantive role of the olfactory in Pre-Raphaelite art and Aestheticism.

Christina Bradstreet examines the iconography and symbolism of scent in nineteenth-century art and visual culture. Fragrant imagery in the work of John Everett Millais, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Simeon Solomon, George Frederic Watts, Edward Burne-Jones, and others set the trend for the preoccupation with scent that informed swaths of British, European, and American art and design. Bradstreet’s rich analyses of paintings, perfume posters, and other works of visual culture demonstrate how artworks mirrored the “period nose” and intersected with the most clamorous debates of the day, including evolution, civilization, race, urban morality, mental health, faith, and the “woman question.”

The book will be released in September 2022.

Musée des Beaux-Arts d'Orléans acquire Portrait of Princess Marie d'Orléans

April 7 2022

Image of Musée des Beaux-Arts d'Orléans acquire Portrait of Princess Marie d'Orléans

Picture: @OliviaVoisin

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Olivia Voisin, director of the Musée des Beaux-Arts d'Orléans, has announced that the museum have acquired Ary Scheffer's portrait of the sculptress Princess Marie d'Orléans. The Princess was the daughter of King Louis Philippe and a favoured pupil of Scheffer. There is another version of the painting in the Cleveland Museum of Art.

Temporary Export Bar on £10m Courtauld Cézanne

April 1 2022

Image of Temporary Export Bar on £10m Courtauld Cézanne

Picture: gov.uk

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The UK Goverment has placed a temporary export bar on a £10m Cézanne. The painting of Ferme Normande, Été (Hattenville) (1882) was acquired by Samuel Courtauld in 1937 for £2,500 and was later bequeathed to Christabel McLaren, Lady Aberconway. It seems that the work had been on loan to the gallery since the 1990s.

According to Committee Member Christopher Baker: 

“Paul Cézanne’s (1839-1906) status as a bridge between the traditions of 19th-century painting and modernism is unrivalled. In his delightful ‘Farm in Normandy, Summer (Hattenville)’ the artist employed intense, free brushstrokes to evoke the dappled light, shadows and myriad green hues of trees and a meadow, anticipating later, key developments in his artistic evolution, when the abstract structures underpinning nature were gradually given greater prominence. The picture is also significant in the context of the artist’s career, as the farm depicted was acquired in the year Cézanne painted it by Victor Chocquet (1821-1891), his first important patron and a key champion of impressionism. 

In addition to these themes, it forms part of the very important story of British taste for international art in the 20th century. Cézanne’s landscape was purchased in 1937 by Samuel Courtauld (1876-1947), as the last of a remarkable group of twelve paintings by the artist Courtauld acquired: he played a seminal role in establishing an enthusiasm for impressionist and post-impressionist painting in Britain both through his own collecting and generous funding of major pictures secured for the National Gallery in the 1920s. 

Because of its beauty, significance in the artist’s career, and role in the wider appreciation of such artistic achievements, it would be a profound misfortune if this beguiling work could not be retained in this country.”

Any interested institution will have until 31st July 2022 to find the £10m to keep it in the country.

Beckford's Deathbed Portrait purchased by Tower Museum

March 24 2022

Image of Beckford's Deathbed Portrait purchased by Tower Museum

Picture: Beckford's Tower and Museum

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Beckford's Tower and Museum on the edge of Bath have acquired its former owner's rather macabre Deathbed Portrait. The image of William Beckford (1760-1840), painted by Willes Maddox and dated to four years after his death, was purchased by the Bath Preservation Trust and will be put on display next month.

According to the accompanying press release:

The portrait, which has been in the same private collection for many years, is a gilt framed oval picture of William Beckford on his deathbed, surrounded by brass and giltwood decorations that match those used on his coffin.  It was made for Beckford’s daughter, Susan, Duchess of Hamilton following her father’s death in May 1844.

Boldini: Les plaisirs et les jours

March 9 2022

Image of Boldini: Les plaisirs et les jours

Picture: petitpalais.paris.fr

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Petit Palais in Paris are set to open what looks to be a sumptuous visual display of late nineteenth-century paintings at the end of this month. Boldini Les Plaisirs et les Jours is scheduled to run from 29th March 2022 until 24th July 2022.

According to the gallery's blurb:

This first retrospective is an opportunity for visitors to discover or to renew acquaintance with Giovanni Boldini, a virtuoso painter and figure on the social, artistic and literary scene of Belle Époque Paris.

Born in Ferrara, Italy in 1842, Boldini spent most of his career in Paris. He was a close friend of Degas and also of Proust, and moved in aristocratic and upper middle-class circles. During his lifetime, he enjoyed considerable success, becoming the favourite portraitist of a rich, international clientele. In Paris, the fashion capital of the world, he had no equal when it came to portraying princesses and rich heiresses – always wearing the most beautiful dresses. His inimitable style, which was modern but at odds with the avant-garde, has made his works captivating and moving testimonies of that lost era in Paris.

Rediscovered Gabriel Loppé Mountain Views up for Sale

March 9 2022

Video: Artcurial

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The French auction house Artcurial have made this video about a pair of monumental Mountain landscapes by Gabriel Loppé (1825-1913) in their upcoming sale. The canvases of The Matterhorn seen from the Gornergrat and The Mer de Glace and the Grands Charmoz, Chamonix both sent to London in 1874 where they were displayed in a gallery in Conduit Street. The paintings had been considered lost until they were rediscovered rolled up in cylindrical shipping boxes in 2014. The video features the independent expert William Mitchell who catalogued the pictures for auction.

They will be sold on 23rd March 2022 carrying estimates of €300k - €400k and €350k - €450k respectively.

Queen Victoria's Japanese Screens Rediscovered in the Royal Collection

March 8 2022

Image of Queen Victoria's Japanese Screens Rediscovered in the Royal Collection

Picture: The Evening Standard

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Evening Standard have shared news that several Japanese painted screens have been rediscovered in The Royal Collection. These large screens, which were part of a diplomatic gift received in 1860, will be put on display for the first time later in April.

According to the article:

Eight pairs of screen paintings were sent by the Japanese shogun Tokugawa Iemochi shortly after Japan’s reopening to the West, following more than two centuries of deliberate isolation. 

The opulent gift to Victoria marked a landmark treaty that reopened seven Japanese ports and cities to British trade and allowed a British diplomat to reside in Japan for the first time.

But the screens were wrongly catalogued as Japanese works by an unidentified artist when they arrived,  and their links to Shogun Iemochi and their historical significance were lost.

It was also found that the pieces – featuring two to three layers of paper rather than the usual six to nine – were hastily produced, probably due to a huge fire in Edo Castle in Tokyo which would have destroyed the original versions before they could be sent to Victoria.

The RCT's exhibition Japan: Courts and Culture will open at the Queen's Gallery on 8th April 2022 and run until 12th March 2023.

A pair of Turners returning to the UK for first time in 100 Years

March 8 2022

Image of A pair of Turners returning to the UK for first time in 100 Years

Picture: The Frick Collection

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Guardian have shared news that the Frick Collection in New York will be loaning two paintings by JMW Turner to the National Gallery which haven't been seen in the UK for 100 years. The temporary loan will include Cologne, the Arrival of a Packet-Boat: Evening (pictured) and Harbour of Dieppe: Changement de Domicile which were purchased by Henry Clay Frick in 1914. The free Turner on Tour exhibition will run from November 2022 until February 2023.


As it happens, the Cologne picture is the subject one of my favourite Ruskin anecdotes associated with the annual Royal Academy exhibitions. The following tale is said to have unfolded when the painting was hung in between two portraits by Sir Thomas Lawrence at the RA in 1826:

The sky of Turner's picture was exceedingly bright, but it had a most injurious effect on the colour of the two portraits. Lawrence naturally felt mortified... On the morning of the opening of the exhibition, at the private view, a friend of Turner's who had seen the Cologne in all its splendour, led a group of expectant critics up to the picture. He started back from it in consternation. The golden sky had changed to a dun colour. He ran up to Turner, who was in another part of the room. "Turner, what have you been doing to your picture?" "Oh," muttered Turner in a low voice, "poor Lawrence was so unhappy. It's only lamp-black. It'll all wash off after the exhibition" 

Gwrych Castle acquires Portrait

March 3 2022

Image of Gwrych Castle acquires Portrait

Picture: rhyljournal.co.uk

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Rhyl Journal in Wales have published news that the Gwrych Castle Preservation Trust has acquired a portrait which was previously thought to be lost. The picture depicts Marianne Jones-Bateman (1799-1874), a figure who played an important part in the local history of neighbouring Abergele.

According to the article:

Mark Baker, chairperson of the trust, said: “She was a force of nature locally and her diaries, which are in the National Library of Wales, are a great source for learning about life in Abergele nearly 200 years ago.

“This portrait hung at Gwrych Castle from 1902 and disappeared from the records in 1928. 

“We believe it dates to about 1825 and the time of Marianne's marriage. 

“In the 1870s, the house was said to house 'many interesting works of art, including several family portraits by Richard Wilson, and one by Beechey of Barbara Lisle Bowles, the great-great-great niece of Sir Isaac Newton'. 

“We believe Marianne's portrait is by an artist called Henry William Pickersgill RA (1782-1875), who was a noted painter, and his sitters were all the notables of the day.

Musée des beaux arts de Lyon conserve and redisplay picture acquired in 1875

March 3 2022

Image of Musée des beaux arts de Lyon conserve and redisplay picture acquired in 1875

Picture: Musée des beaux arts de Lyon via. Jean-Christophe Stuccilli

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The art historian and heritage conservation officer of the Musée des beaux arts de Lyon Jean-Christophe Stuccilli has shared news that the museum has conserved and redisplayed Sébastien-Melchior Cornu's (1804 - 1870) Augustus giving the constitution to Gaul. The work, dated to 1869, was acquired by the museum in 1875 but has never been on public display before.

Mather Brown's rediscovered Death of Nelson up for sale

March 2 2022

Image of Mather Brown's rediscovered Death of Nelson up for sale

Picture: newsanyway.com

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

A rediscovered painting showing the Death of Nelson by Mather Brown (1761-1831) is to be unveiled at the The Chelsea Antiques & Fine Art Fair in London later this month. The picture was rediscovered in a private collection by the Nelson specialist and former-Sotheby's director Martyn Downer.

To quote the article linked above:

Martyn Downer explains: “Mather Brown was one of a small group of artists – such as his fellow American Benjamin West, who were well known to Nelson in London. That familiarity is evident in Brown’s vivid and theatrical representation of Nelson receiving his fatal wound at the battle of Trafalgar which, amid the smoke of conflict, offers us one of the most compelling and well-informed late portraits of the admiral. The re-discovery of Brown’s bold attempt to win the 1805 competition for the best painting of the dramatic scene is an exciting moment for Nelson enthusiasts and for scholars of eighteenth-century art, especially for followers of this fascinating and complex artist.”  

The picture will be displayed at the Chelsea fair with an asking price of £350,000.

The Musée d'Orsay conserve a Monet

March 1 2022

Video: Musée d'Orsay

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Musée d'Orsay in Paris have just redisplayed a recently conserved painting by Claude Monet. Femmes au jardin (1866) has experienced a hard life, especially after being damaged several times and thus was covered by old campaigns of restoration. Fortunately, the work into researching and conserving the painting has been completed, nearly all of which can be accessed through the following webpage. The work was carried out by the Center And Search Restoration Musées De France (C2RMF)

Le décor impressionniste at the Musée de l'Orangerie

February 28 2022

Video: Musée de l'Orangerie

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Another exhibition that is opening on Wednesday is the Musée de l'Orangerie's show entitled Le décor impressionniste: Aux sources des Nymphéas. As the name of the exhibition suggests, it aims to show the relationship the Impressionists had with notions of the 'decorative' in art.

The exhibition will run from 2nd March 2022 until 11th July 2022.

'Renoir: Rococo Revival' in Frankfurt

February 28 2022

Image of 'Renoir: Rococo Revival' in Frankfurt

Picture: Städel Museum

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Städel Museum in Frankfurt will be opening their latest exhibition on Wednesday. Renoir Rococo Revival explores the connections between French impressionism and eighteenth-century rococo art and will feature no fewer than 120 paintings (!)

According to the museum's website:

Whereas Rococo painting was considered frivolous and immoral after the French Revolution, it underwent a revival in the nineteenth century and was widely visible in Renoir’s lifetime. Having trained as a porcelain painter, he was also intimately acquainted with the imagery of artists such as Antoine Watteau, Baptiste Siméon Chardin, François Boucher and Jean-Honoré Fragonard. He shared the Rococo’s predilection for certain subjects, among them promenaders in the park and on the riverbank, moments of repose in the outdoors, and the garden party. Renoir also frequently devoted himself to the depiction of domestic scenes and family life as well as intimate moments such as bathing, reading or making music. Yet he not only took orientation from the motifs of the Rococo, but also particularly admired its loose and sketchy manner of painting as well as its brilliant palette, aspects that would have a formative influence on him and many other artists in the Impressionist circle. 

Trenchant juxtapositions of Renoir’s art with works of the eighteenth century as well as his own contemporaries – Edgar Degas, Édouard Manet, Claude Monet and Berthe Morisot – will provide an overview of Impressionism’s intense artistic examination of the Rococo. 

The exhibition will show a total of some 120 outstanding paintings, works on paper and handcrafted objects from international museums such as the National Gallery in Washington, D.C., the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, the National Gallery in London, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, as well as private collections.

The show will run from 2nd March 2022 until 19th June 2022.

The Port of Cork Collection on display in Cork

February 25 2022

Image of The Port of Cork Collection on display in Cork

Picture: @crawfordartgall

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Crawford Art Gallery in Cork, Ireland, will be opening a new display tomorrow dedicated to a collection of 17 maritime painting the gallery was gifted in November 2021. It seems that the collection had been amassed by the company in charge of the city's Port, a site which has a long and rich history.

According to the gallery's website:

This significant collection consists of 17 maritime paintings, a ship’s register (1912) from The Cork Harbour Commissioners referencing both the Titanic and Lusitania, an illuminated address to Charles Stewart Parnell (1846-1891), and a silver Admiralty Oar from 1686. 

Now visitors will have the opportunity to encounter a selection of paintings from the Port of Cork collection, including works by George Mounsey Wheatley Atkinson (1806-1884), Henry Albert Hartland (1840-1893), Robert Lowe Stopford (1813-1898), and Seán Keating (1889-1977).  Although not attending to certain social or political realities of late nineteenth-century Ireland, these artworks do act as a visual reminder of that time.

They also underscore Cork Harbour's links with empire, its international significance for commerce and trade, and ever-present story of migration. Glimpses of half-remembered histories are framed within these heritage views of Cork Harbour. Each artist provides an insight into the Port of Cork's operations, from Atkinson's extraordinary rendering of naval vessels to Hartland and Stopford's depictions of commercial shipping and leisure craft. Perhaps unexpectedly, Keating's elevated View of the Port of Cork draws us into Cork City itself and remembers the busy working quays of recent memory.

Modern Pre Raphaelite Visionaries in Leamington Spa

February 24 2022

Image of Modern Pre Raphaelite Visionaries in Leamington Spa

Picture: Leamington Spa Art Gallery & Museum

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Leamington Spa Art Gallery & Museum have won a significant grant from the Weston Loan Programme (with the Art Fund) for their upcoming exhibition Modern Pre Raphaelite Visionaries.

According to the exhibition's blurb:

Our summer blockbuster exhibition offers you the chance to rediscover a host of 'forgotten' British artists working at the turn of the twentieth century, including Frederick Cayley Robinson (pictured), Evelyn Pickering de Morgan and Charles Ricketts. These artists sought to understand their place in the changing modern world by re-examining the nostalgic and romantic art of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. The exhibition is a rare opportunity to see the Gallery's important collection of Modern Pre-Raphaelite artwork in the context of significant loans from around the country including works from Tate, the British Museum, the Fitzwilliam Museum, Manchester Art Gallery and many more.

The show is scheduled to run between 13th May 2022 until 18th September 2022.

Louvre Acquires Bust of Architect Hector Lefuel

February 23 2022

Image of Louvre Acquires Bust of Architect Hector Lefuel

Picture: Artcurial

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Louvre in Paris has pre-empted (acquired after auction for the French nation) Francisque Duret's (1804-1865) bust of the architect Hector Lefuel at Artcurial's auction in Paris earlier this week. Lefuel had been a winner of the Prix de Rome in 1839 and later worked on completing Napoleon III's reconstruction of the Louvre itself.

Art Institute of Chicago's Lawrence Mid-Clean

February 23 2022

Image of Art Institute of Chicago's Lawrence Mid-Clean

Picture: Instagram via. @emersonbowyer

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Emerson Bowyer, Senior curator of European Painting & Sculpture at the Art Institute of Chicago, has shared these rather pleasing mid-clean pictures of Thomas Lawrence's Anna Maria Dashwood, later Marchioness of Ely. As you can see, Lawrence's vibrant colours really do shine when those layers of murky varnish are removed.

Here is what the picture looked like before conservation:

We'll await the finished results with great anticipation (!)


As an aside, what I would give to see the Wallace Collection's early Lawrence in the Front State Room cleaned. The transformation would surely be most impressive.

Examining Watts's Lady Dalrymple

February 4 2022

Image of Examining Watts's Lady Dalrymple

Picture: @WattsGallery

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Watts Gallery in Compton, Surrey, have published an interesting blog regarding the recent technical examination of GF Watts's Lady Sophia Dalrymple. The work has been scanned and analysed before it heads off to the RA's Whistler exhibition set to open later this month.

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