More goodies at 'Art World in Britain'

December 14 2012

Image of More goodies at 'Art World in Britain'


Dr Richard Stephens has been in touch with news of important additions to The Art World in Britain 1660-1735. Highlights include documents relating to the 10th Earl of Derby's intensive collecting:

The papers of one of the great early 18th century art collectors have been published on The art world in Britain 1660 to 1735 website. The 56 letters, 87 bills and receipts, and miscellaneous accounts, inventories and other documents of James Stanley, 10th Earl of Derby (1664-1736) of Knowsley Hall, comprise the largest archive yet found of the early 18th century art trade. Most of these papers remain at Knowsley Hall.

Derby's collecting can be reconstructed in amazing detail and he emerges as one of the most ambitious connoisseurs of his age. His London agent's account books document a decade of copious and self-assured expenditure, and there is a complete paper trail describing the importation of artefacts from Italy. The best documented agents are two painter dealers, Thomas Wright and Hamlet Winstanley, whose activities on Derby's behalf in London and Italy in the mid 1720s are described in many letters.

The papers are also an important source for the study of the early 18th century art world. They deal with the acquisition of prints, drawings, paintings and sculpture; purchases both in London and abroad; from dealers and at auction; purchases on the secondary market as well as direct commissions from painters; and not only the direct costs of art works, but also framing, colours and other studio materials, customs duties and packaging. They feature painters, picture sellers, importers, print sellers, sculptors, frame makers, shippers and carriers.

Excellent stuff. For full details of the latest update, click here.

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