Sunday, 28 November 2010
Saturday, 20 November 2010
Review by Nicola Linza
It is quite amazing to stop and consider that in today's world almost anything - and I mean literally anything - if marketed properly and able to be sold for profit in a gallery (regardless of quality or creator's intelligence) is too often pawned off as fine art. Once sold those one trick ponies are ultimately meaningless, and worthless.
There was a time when art meant something. Having either a context of social or political meaning, an item of spirituality and beauty or even ugliness, art once stood for solid ideological principles which could always be backed by the creator's talent of hand, eye, and certainly mind. One of the greatest artists of the early Italian Renaissance, an accomplished mathematician, Piero della Francesca painted religious works that are marked by their simple serenity and clarity and by the pure virtue of his genius; he certainly ranks among one of the greatest men who ever created fine art.
Often in great works there are interesting connections between mathematics and art and Piero della Francesca - A Mathematician's Art clearly outlines that the work of della Francesca shows no exception to that connection. The book leaves the reader with an enhanced and enlightened understanding of his paintings and writings. A painter of the fifteenth century, della Francesca`s skills and talents are explored in this the first combined study of his career as both a mathematician, and as a painter.
Author J. V. Field is an honorary visiting research fellow at Birkbeck College, University of London. Field has done a stunning job of describing della Francesca's background as well as the artists interests and constant ability to create outstanding works of lasting artistic significance. Field goes in-depth into della Francesca's training as an artist and examines the powerful sense of his 3D forms, his abstraction abilities, and the often-solid geometry of his writings. Field also outlines della Francesca's treatise on perspective and paintings examining the all-important optical "rules" the artist followed in his pictorial placement.
The book concludes with an important consideration of the historical significance of della Francesca's tradition and connections to the Scientific Revolution. Through the art and Field's text Piero della Francesca is rightfully described as a man of intellectual strength. The book at 420 pages is beautifully illustrated with 32 color illustrations and 50 black and white.
Friday, 19 November 2010
Image of Paul Gunther provided for exclusive use by the Institute of Classical Architecture & Classical America. All rights reserved.
Classical Talks – Interviews with members of The Institute of Classical Architecture & Classical America
This exclusive interview with Paul Gunther, President of the Institute for Classical Architecture & Classical America was conducted by Nicola Linza and Cristoffer Neljesjö in New York during November 2010
Interview with Paul Gunther, President
As President of ICA &CA for those new to the institute can you please describe its mission?
To sustain the classical tradition in architecture, planning and associated fine arts and building crafts in type 21st century through academic courses, publications, and a broad diversity of public programs offered in New York and across the country via a network of regional chapters now numbering 14. Our web site at www.classicist.org tells the story best of all. It is our job whether volunteers or staff to stem the erosion of cultural memory in order the extend the resources available to all-- respecting always the marketplace of ideas and demand-- by providing lessons and experiences from the best as applicable assets in the present.
What are the great challenges the institute has faced? And still faces into the future?
Fund raising ! And clarity of message. We no longer exist in opposition to alternative points of view--that era happily is through-but in promulgating positive options within the realm that we know best . Like all organizations, it is finding the resources that match demand and potential. We hold our own thanks in generous part to our loyal and growing constituency of members and friends, but the demand for service always outstrips the capacity to respond. The advent we hope next fall of our first full-time classical design atelier--we're calling it the Beaux-Arts Atelier-- requires increased scholarship sport for example. We need donors especially at the direct service to prospective students who may not otherwise have the means especially as it involves a long stay in New York! Now that there's a thriving Florida Chapter let's hope that some there might look our way. That is always the biggest challenge to governance today.
People in the know view high quality traditional building and classical design (and the skills necessary for its execution) as having great value to society not only in terms of timeless beauty but also in terms of construction value in other words long-term sustainability, have you seen the recent environmental movement have a significant impact on the institute’s public profile and membership?
Goodness yes, Green is good for us as we're the traditional source. The greener the better. Density too is high on our list of priorities -- America whether in its cars or fighting its waistlines needs traditional town planning more than ever, for example we cannot continue to tear up the rural landscape, moreover the price of fuel holds the potential to inevitably rise inexorably as countries like China and India continue to emulate our unsustainable suburban sprawl example. Classicism is the original green! Its forms and contours and respect for place, positioning a building in the prevailing winds for example preceded air conditioning by 4,000 years. And yet it is imperative on our part that we seek out new technologies and materials in full-throttled embrace of modernity, as frankly the two are not mutually exclusive-- Woe to any on any polemical side that thinks otherwise. Again, we exit not to oppose or condemn but to set an example based on tradition -- which as others have said is innovation that has succeeded. The environmental is our friend.
Interest in educational programs for classical architecture has been expanding? And how does the institute participate in that evolution?
We are as they say the only game in town. Unique is often a dangerous adjective, but in our case it holds true. Notre Dame has a fine graduate degree program in classical architecture, and we're honored to work with them, but to a large extent we've maintained the academic possibilities even as the overall marketplace has sought traditional responses. In the absence of good training, we're left with the all too often hideous MacMansion-- No wonder when not produced properly so many denounce"classicism!" It is practiced all too often so very very poorly with the vulgar proportions and ignorant details. Size is no substitute for design excellence. We are trying to fill that void so that essential lessons obviate costly permanent scars on the built landscape.
You can visit one spot this week where would it be? And why?
Besides New York--I live here as I love it, and as it is so easy to love compared really to every other place I have known in North America --Life here is like a well-designed cruise ship despite all that goes wrong along the way - I suppose it would be Paris -- for all kinds of reasons but above its humanistic core revealing as it does what mankind is capable of achieving, even sometimes at the cost of individual license. Sometimes we all gain from sensible rules and an abiding vision.
The above interview with Paul Gunther 2010 © Manner of Man Magazine/Welldressed. All rights reserved. Reproduction is strictly prohibited without written permission from the publisher. -
Wednesday, 17 November 2010
Tuesday, 16 November 2010
Monday, 15 November 2010
Image of John Blades provided for exclusive use by John Blades/Studio Palm Beach. All rights reserved.
This exclusive interview with John Blades, Executive Director of the Flagler Museum Whitehall was conducted by Nicola Linza and Cristoffer Neljesjö in Palm Beach during November 2010
For those who have not had the privilege yet to visit Flagler Museum (aka Whitehall,) please briefly describe it and the significance it holds for both Palm Beach and the Nation.
Originally the winter home of Henry Morrison Flagler, a founding partner in Standard Oil, today Whitehall (the Flagler Museum) is a National Historic Landmark visited by millions from around the world since it was opened to the public more than half a century ago. Whitehall was designed in the Beaux Arts tradition by Carerre and Hastings and was completed in 1902. The design was meant to evoke the sense that one was approaching a temple to the sun god Apollo. In keeping with the untamed or Bacchanalian world one expected to find surrounding a temple to Apollo, the grounds around Whitehall are not formal or highly manicured. In fact originally, Whitehall was situated in a coconut grove. Further reinforcing that temple concept, as one approaches Whitehall there are two very large marble urns carved with Bacchanalian scenes. Appropriately, the building's massive Doric columns face the east and Lion heads (ancient symbols of the sun) are the central feature of it's huge bronze doors. Just in side the bronze doors lies the largest room in any Gilded Age home of the period, the Grand Hall, which is nearly 5,000 square feet. Everywhere the Grand Hall and throughout the first floor of Whitehall there are symbols and references to Apollo's Muses of arts and literature. In the truest sense of the word, Whitehall was indeed built as home for the Muses and was thus Florida's first museum.
Preservation and continual exhibitions and events are always an issue for any museum, taking climactic conditions into consideration both the Florida climate and the general economy how does this play into the scheme of things at Flagler? And in terms of physical preservation with the amount of antiques, marble and gilding at Flagler exemplifying some of the finest architectural detailing of any grand house in the country, what is the greatest challenge to the building and the archives? In terms of both maintenance and upkeep?
Preserving a National Historic Landmark, like Whitehall, and keeping it open to the public is extremely challenging. A colleague of mine once remarked, ""Running a house museum is not rocket science. It's harder than rocket science!" And, he was right!
During the late 19th century American business titans made sense their astonishing wealth (mostly the result of new technologies) as a Darwinian product of thousands of years of western cultural development that was finally fully realized in this "New World" where individual freedom and capitalism produced technological wonders that seemed destined to free the average person from the daily drudgery of survival allow each person to live up to their potential. For business titans like Flagler and Carnegie, who came from extremely humble origins, their lives seemed to be proof that finally America was, or at least was destined to be, the full realization of western cultural development. Furthermore, they believed that the traits that suited them to be leaders in business suited them to be society's leaders as well and as such they began to see themselves as Trustees of the Nation's wealth. They readily adopted businessman and philanthropist, Peter Cooper's view that, "The purpose of business is to make money. The purpose of life is to do good." Their approach was to apply the lessons learned when they created the corporate world to doing good by created a parallel nonprofit corporate world that's mission was to do good, rather than to make money. And, then to plow the bulk of the huge fortunes they had made in the for-profit corporate world into their new nonprofit corporate world.
More than a century later, no American pays the actual cost to visit a museum, attend a classical music concert, enroll in a university, or enjoy opera or a play. All of those cultural and educational activities, and many more, are largely underwritten, even today, by investments made by those 19th century titans of business. As a result, Americans have access to education and cultural opportunities the likes of which never seen before - anywhere else on earth or anywhere else in time.
So then, why should running a house museum, or any other kind of museum be that difficult? The difficulty lies in the short-term memory of we Americans. We've all grown up with these wonderful opportunities, having long forgotten how they came about and how it all works. While we happily spend more than $80 to visit a theme park, we are unaware and cannot imagine that, on average, it actually costs about $55 per visitor to a museum, yet no museum charges anything like what it actually costs. In fact, we often crumble if admission to a museum is more than a few dollars. The challenge all museums face, particularly those like Whitehall, that represent the wealth of American both culturally and monetarily, is to educate visitors, the community, and potential members and donors about America's tradition of business and individual philanthropy in hopes they continue the tradition that has underwritten so many cultural opportunities for all of society, and one hopes, will continue to. In the case of Whitehall, the daily cost to operate the Museum is about $13,500 - seven days a week, 52 weeks a year.
There are a great many challenges to preserving and operating a museum like Whitehall. This public trust is charged with preserving Whitehall for hundreds of years to come, which means that dozens of things, big and small, must be done right every day and from one administration to the next. But we humans, particularly we humans of the American persuasion, find it very difficult to maintain that kind of daily focus over any length of time. The only hope, it seems to me, lies in visionary leadership from generation to generation by both the Governing bodies and directors.
Here in Florida, the greatest challenge to long-term preservation, beyond the day-to-day care of the building and collections, is high humidity. Consequently in 1999 the Museum invested in a state-of-the art climate control system that maintains an interior climate of 73 degrees F and 55% relative humidity year 'round. The climate control system is the most sophisticated in the Southeast and its operation and maintenance are very expensive.
As executive director (and coming with experience at another major house museum Hearst Castle (aka San Simeon,) what changes if any have you seen occur in the house museum environment in the past two decades?
There are about 20,000 museums nationwide. Of those, about 16,000 are house museums. House museum are far and away the most typical kind of museum, but most are small and volunteer-driven. And, nearly all struggle to find the considerable resources needed to operate even at the minimum level. Most are far too dependent on admissions income, which as we have already seen cannot be expected to cover anymore than a small fraction of the operating costs. Over the last two decades the situation has grown even more challenging as attendance to historic sites nationwide has declined. The constant strain and lack of sufficient resources has meant that the majority of house museums have turned themselves inside out trying to bring in more visitors and in doing so they risk losing the integrity and identity that makes them appealing. The fact is that it is far too easy to establish a house museum and extremely difficult to actually sustain one. In my opinion, a great many house museums cannot be sustain themselves over a long period and therefore will not survive, at least as museums.
In terms of exhibitions what is your vision for Flagler Museum today? And going into the future.
Of course, the Museum and its collections will always be the primary exhibition. However, the Museum mounts two temporary exhibitions each year that are intended to augment the visitors' understanding of America's Gilded Age. The era was so prolific that there are more potential subjects for exhibitions than the Museum could ever exhaust. The current exhibition is on Addison Mizner and his influence on Palm Beach. The Winter exhibition, which will open February 1, 2011, will feature the work of Joseph Urban.
If you could visit one spot this week where would it be? And why?
I would love to go back to October of this year to see the temporary reinstallation of Alva Vanderbilt's collection of Medieval and Renaissance paintings, sculptures, ceramics and decorative works original to Marble House in Newport, RI, which were removed 80 years ago and will not likely be seen again in that environment. But alas, I missed it!
The above interview with John Blades 2010 © Manner of Man Magazine/Welldressed. All rights reserved. Reproduction is strictly prohibited without written permission from the publisher. -
Sunday, 14 November 2010
Friday, 12 November 2010
Image of Fabio Borrelli and H.R.H. the Principe of Piedmont and Venice Emanuele Filiberto di Savoia is provided for exclusive use by Fabio Borrelli. All rights reserved.
This exclusive interview with Fabio Borrelli owner of Luigi Borrelli was conducted by Nicola Linza and Cristoffer Neljesjö in Naples during November 2010
What do you feel is the main factor that distinguishes the Borrelli brand today?
The main theme is the quality. Borrelli is a product totally made by hand and in my opinion this is a peculiarity in a period in which the most important thing is the average price.
Who is the ideal Borrelli customer?
The Borrelli customer is an executive, a man who lives a very busy day, a frequent traveller he is used to facing different cultures of the world.
As a cult object, Borrelli is an object of passion and desire, what inspires new pieces to a collection?
Borrelli is a cult object as it is a product which represents the transition from the real classic to a younger world.
What are the differences between the Luigi Borrelli and the Luxury Vintage collections?
The Luigi Borrelli collection is intended for a formal man who winks at fashion; whereas the Luxury Vintage collection is intended for a more casual man but with a tailoring DNA.
It is 1970 and we are meeting in Rome for a private party hosted by Luchino Visconti. What are you wearing? In addition, whom do you want to meet?
If in summer I would wear white trousers, brown suede loafers, a blue royal double breasted unlined jacket with a narrow and high revere, a filfil linen and cotton light blue shirt, a blue tie and I would love to be the partner of Claudia Cardinale.
The above interview with Fabio Borrelli 2010 © Manner of Man Magazine/Welldressed. All rights reserved. Reproduction is strictly prohibited without written permission from the publisher. -
Image shown Ordination by Nicolas Poussin (1594-1665) Estimate: £15 million to £20 million provided by Christie's UK. All rights reserved.
A MASTERPIECE FROM ONE OF THE MOST CELEBRATED SERIES OF PAINTINGS IN EUROPEAN ART HISTORY, IT IS EXPECTED TO REALISE £15 MILLION TO £20 MILLION
On 7 December 2010 in London, Christie’s will offer a masterpiece from one of the most celebrated groups of paintings in European history. Ordination by Nicolas Poussin (1594-1665) will highlight the Old Masters and 19th Century Art Evening Sale where it will be presented for sale for the first time in over 225 years by the Trustees of the Belvoir Estate. It is expected to realise £15 million to £20 million.
Richard Knight, International Co-Head of Old Masters and 19th Century Art at Christie's, said: “We are honoured to have been entrusted with the sale of Nicolas Poussin's 'Ordination'. One of the Sacraments, 'Ordination' formed part of the set of seven, a commission to Poussin by one of Rome's most celebrated collectors. The pictures, for which there was no iconographical precedent, became a prize coveted by Popes and Kings. Poussin is without question one of the greatest of all French painters whose influence on the development of European Art from the 17th Century onwards cannot be overstated. Like Titian before him and his contemporaries Caravaggio and Velazquez, he developed a personal, innovative and highly rigorous style of outstanding originality. His work has been deeply influential on generations of artists up to the present day. The market for the finest Old Masters continues to show great strength. In the past year we have offered masterpieces by such towering figures as Raphael, Rubens and Rembrandt. It is works by such artists as these that have attracted new collectors from around the world, eager to acquire great art of historical importance. We expect wide international interest and excitement from museums, collectors and the art market generally, when Poussin's remarkable 'Ordination' appears in our next sale in London on 7th December.”
A spokesman for the Trustees said: “After careful consideration the Trustees have made the extremely difficult decision to offer at Christie’s one of the 5 remaining works from the Rutland Sacraments. The original group of 7 pictures was acquired by the 4th Duke of Rutland in 1785 but was divided when ‘Penance’ was lost in a fire, and when ‘Baptism’ went to the National Gallery in Washington in 1946. The proceeds released from the sale of the painting will enable us to realise our core aims of securing the restoration and long-term preservation of Belvoir Castle and Estate. The paintings have been on public display at Belvoir for many years and we have been very happy to lend them to the National Gallery for the last 7 years for the public’s greater enjoyment. Following the successful sale of ‘Ordination’, it is our hope that the 4 remaining paintings will go back on public display at the National Gallery in London.”
Ordination by Nicolas Poussin (1594-1665) is one of five remaining works which once formed the renowned group of 7 Sacraments acquired by the 4th Duke of Rutland in 1785. One of the most celebrated groups of paintings in the entire history of European art it was executed in the 1630s for Cassiano dal Pozzo, a celebrated antiquary and collector in Rome. The group has since been divided; Penance perished in a fire and Baptism went to the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.
Cassiano dal Pozzo was one of Poussin’s first and most important patrons. His commission of the Sacraments saw Poussin painting a series of works showing how the earliest Christians lived and worshipped in ancient times, connecting the everyday present of papal Rome with the epoch of the Caesars. Such a thing had never been done before. Although earlier artists had often made a conscious attempt to show Christ and the Apostles in the dress of their time, none had done it with such an exhaustive attention to detail, and commitment to accuracy. The originality of the series was such that its fame quickly spread far and wide.
When Poussin was summoned to France by Cardinal Richelieu to serve as First Painter to King Louis XIII, he acquired an important new patron in Paul Fréart de Chantelou, a Parisian diplomat who was determined to secure for himself and for France another version of the pictures that had brought such glory to Cassiano, to Rome and to Poussin. This second set is that which is now in the collection of the Dukes of Sutherland, and on loan to The National Gallery of Scotland.
The family collection of Cassiano dal Pozzo’s descendants quickly became a ‘must-see’ landmark of the Grand Tour, and when Sir Robert Walpole attempted to acquire the first group of Sacraments for his collection at Houghton Hall – where he assembled one of the greatest collections in European history - they became the subject of one of the first formal export blocks in history; the export license was denied by the Pope himself, resulting in the cancellation of the Walpole sale. The dealer and agent James Byres could only manage to arrange the sale of the pictures to Charles Manners, 4th Duke of Rutland (1754- 1787), by having copies painted (allegedly in the space of a single day) and substituted for the originals, so that they could be smuggled out of Italy.
The 4th Duke was forming a collection to rival Sir Robert Walpole’s, with the advice of none other than Sir Joshua Reynolds, who undoubtedly supported the Duke’s interest in the first group of Sacraments. Reynolds would have known them well from his travels in Italy. When the original seven Rutland Sacraments arrived in London in 1786, they created a stir. King George III expressed a desire to see the 4th Duke’s triumphant new acquisition, and it was Sir Joshua Reynolds who had the privilege and the pleasure of showing the Rutland Poussins to the King, at the Royal Academy in 1787.
The Seven Sacraments took pride of place in the collection at Belvoir Castle not long after their acquisition by the 4th Duke, and hung there almost without break well into the 21st century. One of them, Penance, perished in a fire; another, Baptism, was acquired by The National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., in 1946. The remaining five were lent to the landmark exhibitions, Poussin: Sacraments and Bacchanals at The National Gallery of Scotland in 1981, and Nicolas Poussin, 1594-1665, at the Grand Palais in Paris and the Royal Academy in London, 1994-1995, and have been on loan to The National Gallery, London, since 2003.
Nicolas Poussin (1594-1665) is recognised as one of the greatest and most influential artists in European art history. Born in France, he moved to Italy in the 1620s where he spent most of his life championing a renaissance in Classical painting at a time when Baroque was the most common style. Having moved to Rome, Poussin soon found wealthy patrons and established an impressive reputation. In 1640 he was summoned by Louis XIII and returned to France as First Painter in Ordinary to the King. He executed a number of prestigious works but quickly grew tired of the jealousy inferred on him by competing artists, returning to Rome in 1643 where he remained until his death.
Visit Christie’s on the web at http://www.christies.com/
Tuesday, 9 November 2010
Image of Antonio de Matteis provided by Kiton. All rights reserved.
This exclusive interview with Antonio de Matteis, Chief Executive Officer of Kiton was conducted by Nicola Linza and Cristoffer Neljesjö in Naples during October and November 2010
What does Kiton mean to you?
An important part of my life. It means to me my passion, my hobby. I have been working in this company for 23 years and I feel my excitement of doing this growing day after day.
How would you describe your personal style?
Others should comment upon my style. In my way I try to be as simple as possible without giving up to some eccentricity like brilliant color ties, for instance.
Do you have a particular person or firm you go to for your personal footwear?
Yes. It is my cousin Antonio Paone “The Long.” He concerns himself with the production of the Kiton shoes. I ask him for suggestion on how to clean my shoes, what kind of skins, what model is the best for me.
If one element of a suit could be considered the most significant, what would it be and why?
There is not only one element to be considered the most significant one must consider the cut of the suit, the making and the fabric. Especially in Kiton we distinguish ourselves from other brands by fabrics: their quality and patterns.
Kiton has a long-standing reputation for both the highest quality in fabrication as well as craftsmanship. What besides the obvious elements mentioned makes Kiton stand out as it does?
The main element is quality. Quality at 360 degrees: craftsmanship, fabrics, cut and the man who wears it.
Kiton has never followed trends however it is consistently fashionable. What is the key to that success?
It is not that Kiton has never followed trends. In its own small way, Kiton has always tried to anticipate trends. Probably this is the reason why the final customer always wears Kiton with much pleasure.
What's the difference between Italian and British tailoring?
They are two different schools, especially if for Italian we mean Neapolitan. The English jacket is more rigid for both materials and parts inside. On the contrary the Neapolitan jacket has always had softest fabrics and lighter parts inside because of the climate- for sure. They are two beautiful jacket types, perhaps for the same customer who can wear them in different moments.
Now we turn to the famous K50 model, please discuss that and explain why it is so special.
The difference between the K50 model and the rest of Kiton production is that since measurements are taken up to the final product is realized the same tailor is involved he follows the suit from its birth to the final fit. In other words, the K50 model rises on the customer’s body.
Since Kiton developed hybrid wools using vicuña fiber how would you say that material has taken the product to a new level?
Every time a new quality of fabrics is on the market, finer than the existing quality, these new fabrics are made exclusively for Kiton.
The constant research for the best quality of every typology of yarns leads us to be positioned on a level that is higher than our competitors.
It is 1970 and we are meeting in Rome for a private party hosted by Luchino Visconti. What are you wearing? In addition, whom do you want to meet?
I would wear a smoking from the Kiton’s capsule collection named the CIPA 1960 model.
The above interview with Antonio de Matteis 2010 © Manner of Man Magazine/Welldressed. All rights reserved. Reproduction is strictly prohibited without written permission from the publisher. -
Monday, 8 November 2010
Sunday, 7 November 2010
Wednesday, 3 November 2010
Image provided by Christie's UK. All rights reserved.
The earliest and most detailed depiction of Nonsuch Palace – Britain’s most ambitious Renaissance commission – unseen in public for nearly 25 years
"That which has no equal in art or fame, Britons do rightly Nonsuch name."
Christie’s announce that they will offer an exceptionally rare and beautiful depiction of the ‘lost’ palace of Nonsuch at the auction of Old Masters and 19th Century Art on 7 December 2010. Commissioned by King Henry VIII in order to outshine the great palaces built by his rival King François I of France, the building of Nonsuch Palace began in 1538 and took 8 years to complete. It stood for less than 150 years having fallen into disrepair in the 1680s. The earliest and most important contemporary depiction of Britain’s most ambitious Renaissance commission, the present drawing is an extremely valuable record of the ‘lost’ palace and has been seen in public only twice before; at Sutton Place in 1983 and at The National Gallery, Washington, in 1986. Described by Martin Biddle as ‘the only surviving impression of what Nonsuch really looked like’, it is expected to realise £800,000 to £1,200,000.
Benjamin Peronnet, Director and International Head of Old Master and 19th Century Drawings, Christie’s: “This is an exceptionally rare and exciting picture; not only is it one of the earliest British watercolours and a work of art of immense beauty, but it is also the most exact pictorial record of Henry VIII’s great commission, Nonsuch Palace. Henry’s determination to build the grandest of palaces was fuelled by his rivalry with François I of France who was a great Renaissance patron of the arts and who built the palaces at Fontainebleu and Chambord. Nonsuch Palace stood for less than 150 years and there are only four contemporary depictions that are known to survive. Of these the watercolour to be offered at Christie’s is the earliest, and the only one to show a true impression of the ‘lost’ palace.”
The watercolour was executed by Joris Hoefnagel who provided the illustrations for Civitates Orbis Terrarum – an extremely important record of all most important buildings and cityscapes in Europe first published in 1572. Almost all of the 546 drawings made for this book are in public collections, with the majority, more than 60, in the National Library in Vienna. Hoefnagel executed the present work in situ at Nonsuch and used it to create a later, less detailed depiction that was used for the engraving. This later version is now in the British Museum. The present work was acquired in the mid-19th century by Sir Alfred Morrison of Fonthill – one of the most celebrated British collectors of the 19th century - and has since passed by descent.
After Hoefnagel’s two depictions of the Palace in the 16th century, no other representations are known until John Speed’s exaggerated thumbnail engraving of 1610. The only other known depictions of the Palace are those in the Fitzwilliam Museum by an unknown artist (1620) and a view by Hendrick Danckerts at Berkeley Castle (circa 1660). Nonsuch Palace is also extremely important as one of the very earliest surviving watercolours executed in England. Contemporaneous with the watercolours of Jan Brueghel, the drawing pre-dates by 60 years the comparable landscapes of Anthony Van Dyck – often considered the inventor of the English landscape watercolour.
The construction of Nonsuch began on 23 April 1538, the thirtieth anniversary of Henry VIII’s accession to the throne, on the site of the village of Cuddington, near Ewell, Surrey. The palace’s primary function was to serve as a hunting lodge; more importantly it was conceived as a visual expression of Tudor supremacy both temporal and spiritual, a celebration of the birth of Henry’s first legitimate son (the future Edward IV) on 12 October 1537 and, in flattening the parish church of Cuddington, it literally demonstrated Henry’s new dominance as head of the Church in England. Most importantly, it was proof that Henry was equal to the architectural achievements of François I of France. It was named ‘Nonsuch’ as no other palace could equal its magnificence.
Still incomplete when Henry VIII died in 1547, Nonsuch was sold to Henry FitzAlan, Earl of Arundel, by Mary I in 1557. It returned to royal hands in 1592, when Arundel’s heir Lord Lumley gave it to Elizabeth I in settlement of a debt. It was eventually granted by Charles II to Barbara Villiers, Countess of Castlemaine, in 1670, when she was created Baroness of Nonsuch, Countess of Southampton and Duchess of Cleveland. In late 1682 she took the step of beginning to dismantle the Inner Court, as merely the first stage of an ordered demolition which enabled her to sell the raw materials for money with which to pay off her gambling debts. By 1690 the palace was all but gone, and for almost four hundred years its fabulous appearance was only known through written records and the few known visual representations.
Tuesday, 2 November 2010
Image of a suite of George III giltwood seat furniture, attributed to John Linnell, circa 1765-1770. Comprising three pairs of armchairs : each $70,000-110,000 (£47,000-73,000) and a settee: $50,000-80,000 (£34,000-53,000.) Photo © Christie’s Images Limited 2010. All rights reserved.
The Remarkable Journey of the Stansted Park Suite to be offered on November 23 at Christie's in New York
On November 23, Christie's 500 Years: Decorative Arts Europe, including Oriental Carpets will include pieces from the historic Stansted Park suite of giltwood seat furniture,comprising three pairs of armchairs and a settee (estimate: $70,000-110,000 per pair of chairs and $50,000-80,000 for the settee). This sale marks the third time that Christie’s will have offered the suite in the past 100 years since it left Stansted. This elegant suite was almost certainly commissioned by the 2nd Earl of Halifax (the statesman for whom Halifax, Nova Scotia is named) for his stately mansion at Stansted Park in Sussex. It remained there until a fire consumed the building in 1900. It was sold at Christie’s in 1911 when it entered a glamorous new chapter among America’s collecting elite.
|Image of Whitemarsh Hall, provided by Christie's |
© Library of Congress. All rights reserved.
|Courtesy of the Huntington Library, Art Collections, |
and Botanical Gardens, San Marino, California. All rights reserved.
The suite was then acquired by Anna Thomson Dodge, the widow of automobile magnate Horace Dodge and one of the richest women in the world. She used the same team of Trumbauer, Duveen, and Alavoine to create an equally impressive Rose Terrace on Lake St. Clair in Grosse Pointe Farms, which was primarily furnished with French 18th century furniture, much of it Royal. The suite was sold at Christie’s as part of the celebrated series of sales in 1970 and 1971. It was then placed on long-term loan at the Huntington Library in San Marino, California where it sat beneath Britain’s most famous portraits including Gainsborough’s Blue Boy (the suite illustrated above at the Huntington Library).
Five further chairs and a settee from the Stansted suite have been used by Prime Ministers and visiting dignitaries at 10 Downing Street in London since acquired in 1946. There are various wonderful depictions of world leaders seated in the chairs and Margaret Thatcher’s painted portrait at the Carlton Club shows her seated in a Stansted chair.
The refined design is produced during a prime moment of classicism in England as promoted by the architect Robert Adam for his most sophisticated patrons. Each piece is capped by a ribbon-wrapped portrait medallion. The suite is attributed to preeminent London maker and designer John Linnell, known among today’s connoisseurs, particularly for his extensive commission at Osterley Park. Auction: 500 Years: Decorative Arts Europe, including Oriental Carpets November 23 Viewing: Christie's Rockefeller Galleries November 19-22
Christie’s, the world's leading art business had global auction and private sales in 2009 that totaled £2.1 billion/$3.3 billion. For the first half of 2010, art sales totaled £1.7 billion/$2.57 billion. Christie’s is a name and place that speaks of extraordinary art, unparalleled service and expertise, as well as international glamour. Founded in 1766 by James Christie, Christie's conducted the greatest auctions of the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries, and today remains a popular showcase for the unique and the beautiful. Christie’s offers over 450 sales annually in over 80 categories, including all areas of fine and decorative arts, jewellery, photographs, collectibles, wine, and more. Prices range from $200 to over $100 million. Christie’s has 53 offices in 32 countries and 10 salerooms around the world including in London, New York, Paris, Geneva, Milan, Amsterdam, Dubai and Hong Kong. More recently, Christie’s has led the market with expanded initiatives in emerging and new markets such as Russia, China, India and the United Arab Emirates, with successful sales and exhibitions in Beijing, Mumbai and Dubai.
*Estimates do not include buyer's premium
Visit Christie’s Website at www.christies.com
Complete catalogue available online at www.christies.com or via the Christie’s iPhone app
This exclusive biography of don Luchino Visconti di Modrone, Count of Lonate Pozzolo (2 November 1906 – 17 March 1976) was written by Sig. Nicola Giacomo Aluigi Giuseppe Linza IV and is reserved for private male members only.