At end of October, I would normally be boarding the Eurostar for Paris, my ultimate destination being Nancy, the cultural capital of Lorraine. Scott and I ‘discovered’ this beautiful city in 1983, the year it acquired its UNESCO status. I instantly fell in love with the Place Stanislas, the spectacular mid-18th century square dubbed the city’s drawing room. This perfect architectural centerpiece, one of three interconnecting squares, was commissioned by Stanislas Leszczyński, the exiled King of Poland and the father-in-law of Louis XV. I can’t imagine a better place to enjoy a cup of coffee or something stronger.
At the close of the 19th century Nancy enjoyed another ‘Golden Age’, being transformed into France’s premier Art Nouveau city. So, if you can drag yourself away from the ‘Place Stan’, as known to the locals, Nancy has a wealth of Art Nouveau architecture to enjoy. You can find out more on my blog page, ‘Anne’s Pocket Guide to Nancy’. However, continuing the theme of Partners in Art, this series of three lectures concentrates on the artists of l’École de Nancy, which by successfully allying art and industry, brought wealth and fame to the city.
Partners in Art: l’École de Nancy
L’Ecole de Nancy, a consortium of architects, artists, and designers, was officially launched in 1901 following success at the Paris Universal Exhibition of 1900. While ‘the school of Nancy’ is at times relegated to provincial status, it was the powerhouse of Art Nouveau, second only to Paris in terms of initiating new technologies and improving the quality of the decorative arts. Émile Gallé, the first president of L’Ecole de Nancy, specialised in pottery, glass and furniture; the Daum brothers, Auguste and Antonine concentrated on glass, collaborating with stained glass designer Jacques Gruber, while Louis Majorelle was the premier furniture maker and metalworker. Yet this Golden Age had only come about due to a disastrous war and mass-migration. The city’s destiny, and that of France, had been determined by the Franco-Prussian war (1870-71).
Émile Gallé: father of l’Écolede Nancy
Gallé (1846-1904) took over the family firm in 1874, transforming the business into one of the world’s leading art industries. In addition to glass, Gallé manufactured ceramics and furniture, the latter primarily for his creations to stand on. He was a brilliant innovator, constantly perfecting new techniques. Beginning with enamelling on clear glass, inspired by Islamic precursors, he progressed to hand carved, and acid etched cameo glass. His ultimate technique ‘glass marquetry’ was perfected for Paris 1900. Following his premature death in 1904, the Daum brothers were Galle’s natural successors.
DaumFrères Cristalleries: glass and stained glass
Migrating from the territory annexed to Germany, Jean Daum (1825-85) took the risky step of investing in the Sainte-Catherine glassworks in Nancy. It was his sons, Auguste (1853-1909) and Antoine (1864-1930), who turned around the fortunes of the cristalleries by developing art glass. By collaborating with stained glass artist Jacques Gruber (1870-1936), ‘France’s Tifffany’, and Almeric Walter (1870-1959), who perfected pâtes de verre (glass casting), Daum enhanced its artistic reputation. Thanks to such partnerships, Daum survived the 1930s depression and continues to be a leading manufacturer of Art Glass.
Louis Majorelle: Furniture and Metalwork
Louis Majorelle (1859-1926), who collaborated with both Gallé and Daum, secured his reputation with a range of superb Art Nouveau furniture. Diversifying into metalwork, he fashioned lamp bases (with Daum Frères shades), spectacular glazed canopies and breath-taking staircase railings. Acquiring Samuel Bing’s famous gallery Maison de l’Art Nouveau in 1904, Majorelle secured a Parisian outlet for l’École de Nancy. However, Marjorelle’s legacy is the Villa Jika, named after his wife, the stunning studio-house created for him by the young Parisian architect Henri Sauvage. This exemplary ‘total work of art’, now fully restored, provided a showcase for the creative talents of Majorelle and Gruber.
The lectures will be delivered live by Zoom. They will be uploaded afterwards to my YouTube channel for a limited time and you will be provided with a private link to view them again at your leisure. The lectures last for around an hour. Lecture start times are in BST. There will be a question-and-answer session at the end. As the lectures will be delivered live by Zoom, you will be able to ask your questions in person at the end. You can also use the ‘Chat’ function. This month, in response to feedback from viewers, I will be repeating each morning lecture in the evening of the same day for those people unable to make the morning slot. Both lectures (morning and evening) will be delivered live and you will be able to ask questions in person at the end.
How to book The lectures are priced at £10 a session. You can book each lecture separately or all three £25 (one lecture half price!) Please email Susan Branfield at firstname.lastname@example.org Please ask for ‘Morning Lecture’ or ‘Evening Lecture’ when you book your choice(s) as the sessions have different Zoom entry codes You can pay by cheque or BACS (details will be supplied). Cheques should be made payable to Anne Anderson. Once you register and pay, you will be sent a separate email with your link. You will need this link to access the lecture on the day so please do not delete it. After the lecture you will be sent another private link so you can access the lecture on my YouTube Channel.
Reminder of the Lecture times and dates:
Lecture 1: Émile Gallé: father of l’Écolede Nancy 13th October 2021, Wednesday 11.00am, repeated at 7.00pm
Lecture 2: DaumFrères Cristalleries: glass and stained glass 20th October 2021, Wednesday 11.00am, repeated at 7.00pm
Lecture 3: Louis Majorelle: Furniture and Metalwork 28th October 2021, Thursday 11.00am, repeated at 7.00pm
Or pay directly using PayPal
One Zoom Lecture
Lecture 1: Émile Gallé: father of l’École de Nancy
13th October 2021, Wednesday 11.00am, repeated at 7.00pm
One zoom lecture
Lecture 2 Daum Frères Cristalleries: glass and stained glass
20th October 2021, Wednesday 11.00am, repeated at 7.00pm
One Zoom lecture
Lecture 3: Louis Majorelle: Furniture and Metalwork
28th October 2021, Thursday 11.00am, repeated at 7.00pm
Some news for those of you who are interested in the art and heritage tours, that Scott and I undertake through the Travel Editions company. Although the threat of Covid-19 remains, movement seems easier and Travel Editions has begun to resume some of its tours abroad.
If you have booked in for any of my October lectures on Art Nouveau artists and manufacturers in Nancy (or even if you have not), you may be interested in seeing first hand some of the cultural delights that Nancy has to offer.
Below is a list of provisional dates for Travel Editions tours to Nancy next Spring. Travel is by Eurostar to Paris and onwards to Nancy by SNCF TGV (high speed rail).
4-7 March 2022 Nancy Art Nouveau 25-28 March 2022 Nancy Art Nouveau 22-25 April 2022 Nancy Art Nouveau
For further details please visit the Travel Editions website: https://www.traveleditions.co.uk to check booking details etc. Alternatively, give them a phone call on 0207 251 0045.
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Considering their up-market status today, it’s hard to believe that at the close of the 19th century the Cotswolds were ‘depressed’. The agricultural recession of the 1880s, leading to falling land rents, resulted in a rural decline. When Charles Robert Ashbee (1863-1942) was seeking the perfect place to relocate his London based Guild of Handicraft and establish a rural utopia, Chipping Campden appeared ideal. In addition to sixteen cottages apparently standing empty, there were industrial buildings that could be adapted to his needs. Renamed Essex House, the old silk mill would come to house the printing presses on the ground floor with the metalwork and furniture workshops above.
” I am glad to think that the men themselves have decided on the whole it is better to leave Babylon and go home to the land.”
C R Ashbee c. 1902.
The Song of the Builders of the City of the Sun
Chorus of the Builders
Comrades, our city of the sun! A quest unfound, a joy unwon; Ay, here in England shall it rise Beneath her grey and solemn skies. Far in her golden past, or far Ahead where her Utopias are, For hearts that feel and souls that find Their inner life within the mind, The inner life yet scarce begun, Here stands our city of the sun!
C.R. Ashbee, Essex House Press, 1905.
The Cotswolds: An Arts and Crafts Haven
Ashbee was not the first to discover the delights of the area. William Morris and Dante Gabriel Rossetti leased Kelmscott Manor in 1871. After Rossetti withdrew from the tenancy in 1874, Kelmscott became Morris’s beloved rural retreat. It is said his famous Strawberry Thief was inspired while he was waiting to use the outdoor privy. Evidently, he watched the thrushes ‘stealing’ his strawberries.
Having trained as architects in London, Ernest Gimson and the Barnsley brothers look Pinbury Park, neat Sapperton, on a ‘repairing lease’ in 1893. Following Morris’ lead, they wished to ‘live near to nature’. Gimson and Ernest Barnsley formed a partnership designing and making furniture, with workshops at the Fleece in Cirencester. When these premises proved inadequate, the Daneway, a beautiful house on the Bathurst estate was leased. This also offered an ideal period setting for the display of the furniture. When the Gimson/ Barnsley partnership was dissolved in 1903, Gimson ran the workshops on his own, soon establishing his reputation as a leading furniture designer.
Situated to the north, Broadway had been ‘discovered’ in the 1870s. Crom Price, one of Morris’s Oxford gang, rented Broadway Tower, an iconic landmark on the edge of the Cotswold escarpment, as a holiday retreat. ‘I am up at Crom Price’s Tower among the winds and the clouds,’ wrote Morris to a friend in the summer of 1876. With the coming of the railway to Evesham in 1852, the village of Broadway became a sleepy backwater. Artists, writers, and musicians were drawn to its unspoiled beauty and tranquility: composers Edward Elgar and Vaughan Williams; American artists John Singer Sargent, Edwin Austin Abbey; writer J.M. Barrie and actress Mary Anderson. While some just came for the summer, others like Mary Anderson took up permanent residence. The arrival of the motorcar at the turn of the 20th century, transformed Broadway into a popular tourist destination. Realising Broadway’s potential S.B. Russell acquired the Lygon Arms, an old coaching inn, in 1904. Transformed into an up-market hotel, particularly catering to American tourists, S B Russell appropriately filled his hotel with antique furniture. Gaining experience in the hotel’s workshops, his son Gordon Russell would become the world-renowned furniture designer and educationalist. Gordon’s destiny was undoubtedly shaped by his upbringing. Attending the Grammar School at Chipping Campden, Gordon witnessed at first hand the Guild of Handicraft’s commitment to craftsmanship.
Charles Robert Ashbee and the Guild of Handicraft
Educated at Cambridge and embarking on a career as an architect, the young Charles Robert Ashbee (1863-1942) was influenced by poet-philosopher Edward Carpenter who extolled the virtues of ‘the simple life’. Equally committed to improving the working and living conditions of the working class, Ashbee volunteered at Toynbee Hall, the famous university settlement in London’s East End founded by Canon Barnet in 1884. Having established a Ruskin reading class in 1886, Ashbee was moved to put his words into action. This evolved into the Guild of Handicraft, which was inaugurated in 1888 as a cooperative group of craftsmen. From four members the Guild grew rapidly moving to new premises, Essex House on the Mile End Road in Bow, in 1890. The Guild produced woodwork, leatherwork, and metalwork, notably beaten copperwork and jewellery.
John Williams resigned his position in 1892 and went on to teach at Hammersmith School of Arts. He was also involved with the Home Arts and Industries Association, being associated with the Fivemiletown Art Metalwork classes in County Tyrone.
Founder member of the Guild, John Pearson (flourished 1885-1910) may have gained experience decorating tiles and pots at William De Morgan’s workshop. A De Morgan ‘Antelope’ charger bears the initials ‘JP’. As his beaten repousse copper chargers illustrate, he was certainly influenced by De Morgan’s style, favouring galleons and fishes.
Resigning from the Guild in 1892, Pearson became an instructor at the newly founded Newlyn Industrial Class. Pearson also sold his work independently, supplying the ‘competition’, Liberty of Regent Street. Although keen to offer his clients Arts and Crafts commodities, Arthur Lazenby Liberty, who founded his famous store in 1875, lacked Ashbee’s commitment to the crafts. Launching his own ranges, Cymric silverwares and Tudric pewter, in 1900 and 1902 respectively, Liberty happily relied on commercial manufacturers.
Purchasing Morris’s Kelmscott Press Albion printing presses, upon his death in 1896, Ashbee founded the Essex House Press. He also employed one of the Kelmscott Press compositors Thomas Binning. With its cover of oak boards fitted with hammered iron and leather clasps made by the Guild, Ashbee’s masterpiece was the Prayer Book. This celebrated Edward VII coming to the throne in 1901. Moving to Chipping Campden alongside the Guild of Handicraft, the Essex House Press produced 84 titles.
Running into financial trouble in 1907, the Guild was formally liquidated in 1908. Craftsmanship and competitive industry were inevitably at odds. It did not help that Liberty’s Arts and Crafts style jewellery and metalwork, being commercially produced, could be bought more cheaply.
Cockneys in Arcadia: The Guild moves to Chipping Campden.
With the lease for Essex House up for renewal, the time had come to take the bold leap of moving the Guild to a rural location. In May 1902, after voting on the motion to leave London, the Guildsmen started to arrive in Chipping Campden. It must have been a shock to the system of both the incoming Londoners and the local townsfolk. Divisions were inevitable, with two camps quickly forming, ‘Campden’ and ‘Guild’.
Ashbee and his wife Janet set up home in the Woolstaplers’ Hall on the High Street. A few improvements were made to the building, which in part dated back to the 14th century. A new front door was easily installed by replacing a window. Windows were unblocked and partitions and false ceilings removed, creating a fine upper room dubbed the ‘library’. Used for reading and writing, this was also an ideal place for Guild singsongs.
When the Guild was at its height, Island House, part of Middle Row, was also used as a club, with a billiard room, bar, and a brand-new gramophone.
Rosary Cottage, Middle Row, housed the book binding workshop (1902-05) under the direction of Annie Power, the first woman to be employed by the Guild. Her presence caused some strife, as jeweller Fred Partridge was captivated by her charms. Apparently engaged to May Hart, Ashbee demanded he give up Annie and leave the Guild. He opted to leave, and the Guild lost one of its best jewellers because, as Janet Ashbee observed, ‘of the way of a man with maid’.
The Guild leased a row of six recently built cottages in Sheep Street. However, these did not prove popular with the Guildsmen’s families. They had no gardens, and the lavatories were outside. Some of the families allocated this accommodation went back to London as soon as they could. Nevertheless, by the end of 1902, the Guild was employing up to seventy men.
The bachelors were accommodated at Braithwaite House on the High Street. In 1904 Frederick Landseer Griggs (1876-1938) lodged with the Guildsmen. Although trained as an architect, Griggs made his living as an illustrator. He came to Campden to work on illustrations for a book, Highways and Byways in Oxford and the Cotswolds.
Westcote House, opposite the Lygon Arms was repaired by Norman Jewson (son-in-law of Ernest Barnsley) and Griggs in 1926. At that time the Kingsley Weavers, run by Leo and Eileen Baker, were in residence. Eileen Baker had been taught to weave by Ethel Mairet, a pioneer of modern hand-loom weaving, in Ditchling, Sussex, an Arts and Crafts utopia guided by Eric Gill and Hilary Peplar. The actual looms were in the Long House on Calf Lane,a converted barn on the other side of the High Street, behind Dovers House.
From 1924, Trinder House was home to Fred Hart, brother of the silversmith George Hart and Will Hart, the carver and guilder known to his mates as ‘The Skipper’. Fred Hart was an enthusiastic, magpie-like collector. He and Charles Wade, of Snowshill Manor, hunted together and traded finds. Through nearly all weathers, Hart kept the top half of the stable door of Trinder House open. Passer-by would see him surrounded by his eclectic treasures. When he died in 1971, it took four days to sell his collection.
Falling in love with the village, Griggs settled permanently in Campden taking Dovers House, a beautiful Georgian house on the High Street. He lived here from 1906 to 1930, when he embarked on designing and building a new home, New Dovers House.
Griggs also repaired and altered several houses in Campden. Fronting Leysbourne, Miles House lies opposite the cast iron pump which has supplied water to the village since 1832. Two 17th century cottages conjoined to create one house, Miles House was further altered and refaced by Griggs in 1917. The front, with added stone mullioned canted bays, is a perfect example of Art and Crafts sensitivity to neighbouring properties.
Griggs’ War Memorial was more than a cross; he created a complete scheme comprising a wall, a grassy plot linking the Market Hall and the Town Hall, and steps from the lower street level to the level of the cross.
Griggs converted to the Roman Catholic faith in 1912. He contributed to the enrichment of St Catharine’s Roman Catholic church, which lies on the corner of Lower High Street and Hoo Lane. Dating to 1891, the church was built in a late Gothic style admirably suiting its location. Griggs designed the crucifix in the chancel arch, organ case and pulpit. The crucifix was carved by another convert Alec Miller, who was offered a job on the eve of the Guild’s move to Campden.
Coming from smoky Glasgow, Alec Miller (1879-1961) was overcome by Campden’s splendid ‘stone-built houses, so rich, so substantial and of such beautiful stone.’
Combining the practical culture of the workshop with intellectual prowess, Miller was Ashbee’s ideal craftsman. Able to converse on Greek philosophy, Miller understood the larger ideas behind the Guild. After the failure of the Guild in 1908, Miller continued to work as a wood carver and sculptor. After working in the United States during the 1920s and 1930s, Miller emigrated to California in 1939.
From a Roman Catholic family Paul Woodroffe (1875-1954) contributed a fine three light window, commemorating Charles, Earl of Gainsborough and his first wife Ida. In the centre the Virgin and Child, on the left St Charles Borromeo in Cardinal’s robes and on the right St Ida.
Educated at the Slade School of Art, Woodroffe played a significant role in the flowering of book illustration in the 1890s. He specialised in song books for children, the words and music illuminated with his illustrations. In the 1890s he took up stained glass work, being trained by the leading master of the Arts and Crafts movement, Christopher Whall. From then on, he split his time between books and windows.
In 1904 Woodroffe settled in Westington, an outlier of Campden, in a thatched cottage repaired and enlarged by Ashbee. He ran his workshop, in an outbuilding, with a staff of some eight apprentices and assistants. His most notable commission came in 1909, fifteen windows for the Lady Chapel at St Patrick’s Roman Catholic Cathedral in New York.
The Harts: The Guild of Handicraft lives on
Located on the second floor of the old silk mill, the silver and jewellery workshop has hardly changed since the days of the Guild. The pieces made today also draw heavily on drawings going back decades. The mark on Hart silver ‘GofH’, registered by the Guild of Handicraft in 1908, is still in use. This continuity is remarkable.
George Hart (1882-1973) joined the Guild in 1901. He took over the running of the workshop when the Guild closed in 1908. He was joined by his son Henry in 1930. The Harts’ workshop continues to this day, being run successively by George Harts’ grandson David Hart, his son William Hart, nephew Julian Hart and Derek Elliott, who joined in 1982.
Perhaps attracted by Ashbee’s utopian dream and the Harts tradition, silversmith Robert Welch (1929-2000) spent his working life at the old silk mill. Trained at the Royal College of Art, Welch was inspired by post-war Scandinavian design. Attempting to be both a silversmith and an industrial designer, he made his name with his stainless-steel cutlery. His showrooms on the corner of the High Street and Sheep Street opened in 1972. They are now managed by his children, Rupert and Alice Welch. Thus, the tradition of good design and fine craftsmanship lives on in Campden.
Travel Editions offers Arts and Crafts guided tours with Anne and Scott Anderson.
Be prepared to do lots of walking around Chipping Campden. Properties linked to the Guild can be found along the High Street, Lower High Street, and Sheep Street which leads you into Westington. If you are feeling energetic, you could even walk to Broad Campden to see the Norman Chapel, restored, and enlarged by Ashbee for Ananda and Ethel Coomaraswamy, who was the sister of Guildsman Fred Partridge. They furnished their home with the Guild’s work alongside Morris & Co. and Indian textiles. When the Coomaraswamy’s moved out in 1911, the Ashbee’s were able to rent the Norman Chapel. Three of their four daughters were born there.
Court Barn, near St James, on Church Street, offers an introduction to Ashbee and the Guildsmen.
Nearby, the Parish church of St James has a beautiful east window by Henry Payne, one of the Birmingham Group of Artist-Craftsmen. Dedicated in 1925, the window commemorates the First World War. St Martin is represented twice; at the base of the window as a Roman soldier dividing his cloak to help a beggar and at the top as a cardinal blessing a beggar. As much of the fighting took place in France, St Martin was particularly relevant as he became Bishop of Tours. Moreover, his day is the 11th November, Armistice day.
I am launching a new venture in September 2021, Artistic Walks that look at London’s artistic and literary connections. I hope this will be the start of an occasional series of face-to-face events over the coming year. I have guided walks for the Oscar Wilde Society and the Victorian Society previously. Please contact me, email@example.com, if you would like to arrange a guided walk for your group. Minimum number 10 persons. Cost £15 per person.
Other London Walks:
Artistic Chelsea: from Glebe Place to Cheyne Walk.
Artistic Chelsea: the Embankment and Tite Street
Artistic London: from Sloane Square to Harrods
Join me on this walk which will take us from John Dando Sedding’s magnificent Holy Trinity Church, Sloane Street, known as the ‘Cathedral of the Arts and Crafts’ thanks to its rich fittings by Henry Wilson and stained glass by Morris & Co. and Christopher Whall, to Harrod’s Food Hall, an Art Nouveau masterpiece.
On the way we will pass through the heart of Victorian ‘Queen Anne style’ London, the name given to a new style of architecture devised by Richard Norman Shaw and JJ Stevenson. Cadogan Square and Pont Street boast the finest examples. The area is rich in artistic and literary associations. Mortimer Menpes, the godfather of Wilde’s second child Vyvyen, created an extraordinary studio-house, filled with Japanese objets d’art at 25 Cadogan Gardens.
The Cadogan Hotel, which stands on the corner of Pont Street and Sloane Street, absorbed Lillie Langtry’s townhouse. This was also where Oscar Wilde was arrested, in Room 118. As we near the end of the walk, a slight detour to Hans Street takes us past an early project by the famed Arts and Crafts architect C F A Voysey. The walk ends, in of all places, in Harrod’s Food Hall to view the Doulton tiles devised by William James Neatby, surely the finest Art Nouveau ensemble in England.
Please note the houses can only be viewed from the outside. The walk takes approximately an hour and a half.
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I shall kick off the new autumn season with the theme of art partnerships, collaborations that changed the course of European art.
Partners in Art
William Morris and Edward Burne-Jones, creators of the Pre-Raphaelite Interior
With their friendship established at Oxford, Morris and Burne-Jones collaborated on numerous projects. After 1875 Burne-Jones designed all the stained glass windows for the firm with commissions going as far afield as the USA. In the 1890s they collaborated on the great tapestry cycle, the Holy Grail. When Morris predeceased him, Burne-Jones simply declared ‘the king is dead’.
22nd September at11am
Josef Hoffmann and Kolo Moser, founders of theWiener Werkstätte
Inspired by Morris’ firm, Hoffmann and Moser founded the Wiener Werkstätte (Viennese workshops) in 1903. Working on joint architectural projects, it is often impossible to distinguish their work stylistically. They developed a radically new design ethos based on strict geometric forms.
Edwin Lutyens and Gertrude Jekyll, the perfect Arts and Crafts House and Garden
Both wedded to the native architecture of Surrey, with its picturesque half- timbering and tile hanging, Lutyens provided the architectural framework which Jekyll filled with a profusion of flowers. Together they worked on numerous projects, both great and small, establishing a pattern, governed by pergolas, rills, and herbaceous borders, that define the Arts and Crafts garden.
The lectures will be delivered live by Zoom. They will be uploaded afterwards to my YouTube channel for a limited time and you will be provided a private link to view them again at your leisure.
The lectures last for around an hour. There will be a question-and-answer session at the end.
As the lectures will be delivered live by Zoom, you will be able to ask your questions in person at the end.
How to book
The lectures are priced at £10 a session. You can book each lecture separately. If you book all three lectures the cost will be £25 (one lecture for half-price!)
Please email Susan Branfield at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can pay by cheque or BACS (details will be supplied). Cheques should be made payable to Anne Anderson.
Once you register and pay, you will be sent an email with your link. Keep it safe!
After the lecture you will be sent a private link so you can access the lecture on my YouTube Channel. Each lecture is accessible for four weeks.
More information can be found at anne-anderson.com
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l’École de Nancy, which endeavoured to ally art and industry, transformed the capital of the Duchy of Lorraine into France’s premier Art Nouveau city, second only to Paris. Although Nancy lacks the originality of an architect of the stature Hector Guimard, creator of the Paris Metro style, in the decorative arts Nancy surpassed even the capital. Nancy owes its success to Emile Gallé, who was the catalyst for l’École Nancy, officially formed in 1901, three years before his death.
Joseph Janin, Peacock, Winter Garden, Maison Bergeret, Rue Lionnois, Nancy
Nancy is ‘a city, the refinement of which recalls, on a small scale, that of Athens.’
Ma racine est au fond des bois (Myroot is deep in thewoods)
It is necessary to have a pronounced bias in favour of models taken from flora and fauna, while giving them free expression.
Emile Gallé, Aube and Crepuscule (Dawn and Dusk), 1904, Musée de Nancy.
Conscious or unconscious, the symbol qualifies, vivifies the work; it is its soul.
18th century Ville d’Art: the legacy of Stanislas Leszczyński
The fortunes of Nancy, capital of the Duchy of Lorraine and Bar, took a dramatic turn when the duchy was ceded to Stanislas Leszczyński, the exiled King of Poland. This privilege was granted to Stanislas, the father-in-law of Louis XV, for the duration of his life. The exiled King devoted his energy to philanthropy and beatifying his capital, creating a grand square that united the medieval ‘Vieux Ville’ with the ‘Ville Neuve’, as conceived by Charles III, Duke of Lorraine. Balanced on all sides by matching buildings, Place Stanislas, as it is known today, is close to architectural perfection. To the south, l’Hôtel de Ville is flanked by two pavilions to either side of the square, to the east originally the Collège de médecine and the Pavillon Jacquet, a private residence and to the west, the former Bishop’s Palace, now the Opera, and l’Hôtel de la Reine, for the King’s Intendant or administrator. Remarkably this architectural tour de force was completed in four years, between 1752-55, by the court architect Emmanuel Héré de Corny (1705-1763).
East: originally the Pavillon Jacquet, a private residence and the Collège de médecine, now the Fine Arts Museum.
West: originally l’Hôtel de la Reine, for the King’s Intendant or administrator and the former Bishop’s Palace, now the Opera.
However, it is thanks to maître ferronnier Jean Lamour(1698-1771) that Nancy is known as the Ville aux Portes d’Or or ‘City with Golden Gates’. With their cartouches, swags, and flowers, Lamour’s gilded wrought iron gates perfectly express the Rococo style of the mid-18th century. On the north-east side, the gates frame an elaborate Rococo fountain of Neptune and to the north-west, the fountain of Amphitrite by Barthélémy Guibal. Lamour’s organic, curvilinear, quintessentially French Rococo ironwork would shape Nancy’s distinctive Art Nouveau Style Florale.
Place Stanislas was conceived as homage to Louis XV. According to legend the fountains flowed with wine in 1755 when Stanislas inaugurated one of the finest squares in the world. Before the French Revolution, a statue of Louis XV dominated the square, facing the triumphal arch known today as the Arc Héré or Porte Héré. The archleads into another beautiful square, also unifed by Héré, the Place de la Carrière, its name denoting its use for jousting and other equestrian games. The square is closed to the north by the Palais du Gouvernement. A third square Place d’Alliance, with a magnificent fountain by Paul-Louis Cyfflé, completes Héré’s urban masterpiece.
Arc Héré or Porte Héré, originally paid homage to Louis XV.
19th century Ville d’Art: the triumph of Art Nouveau
Nancy’s second Golden Age only came about due to a disastrous war and mass-migration. The city’s destiny, and that of France, was determined by the Franco-Prussian war (1870-71). A humiliating defeat led to the loss of France’s eastern territories. Most of Alsace and approximately one third of Lorraine, the Moselle department, was annexed by the German Reich following the Treaty of Frankfurt, which was signed on 10 May 1871. This became the Imperial territory of Alsace-Lorraine (Reichsland Elsaß-Lothringen). In 1872 French citizens in the annexed areas were given a stark choice; stay and take German nationality or leave. Many choose to leave; Nancy, now only a few miles from the border, was their obvious destination. Nancy was transformed into the regional capital, the premier city in the French territories of Alsace-Lorraine. The flow of refugees more than doubled the city’s population in four decades; 50,000 inhabitants in 1866 grew to 120,000 in 1911.
This influx of labour and capital transformed the decorative art industries. Many of the refuges were highly skilled workers, previously employed in the glass and ceramics industries located in the Voges mountains. Jean Daum (1825-85), a notary who migrated from Bitche in the Voges, bought the Sainte-Catherine glassworks in Nancy. Taking his sons, Auguste (1853-1909) and Antoine (1864-1930), into partnership the fortunes of the company were turned around with the production of art glass. The Daum brothers were Gallé’s natural successors in the field of decorative glass following his premature death in 1904.
Fierce patriotism led to the use of nationalist motifs: the French cockerel and the Double-cross of Lorraine invariably intertwined with a thistle. The thistle refers to Nancy’s motto, Qui J’y frolle J’y pique (Who I brush against I sting), dating back to Prince Rene II’s great victory over Charles the Bold of Burgundy at the Battle of Nancy in 1477.
Daum, Coupe pour le XIII concours national et international de tir de Nancy, 1906, Daum Collection, Musée des Beaux-Arts.
Daum, Coupe with thistle, enamelled, Daum Collection, Musée des Beaux-Arts
From childhood, Emile Gallé (1846-1904) was schooled to run the family’s glass and ceramics business. His full and varied education encompassed botany and science. Sent to the industrialized Saar Valley, he experienced at first hand the technologies required to manufacture glass and ceramics. In 1866 he arrived at Meisenthal to join the celebrated firm of Burgen, Schwerer and Co. to study glass chemistry. By 1870 he was back home, in Saint-Clement, designing faience tableware decorated with witty sketches of cats, dogs, cocks, hens, or geese. These were a joint venture with the young Victor Prouvé, Gallé’s long-term collaborator.
Gallé, fan, faience ware , enamelled decoration, showing the influence of Japonisme, Musée l’École de Nancy.
Taking over from his father in 1874, Gallé moved away from the production of utilitarian glass to decorative art pieces, which carried a cache both artistically and financially. He revived and invented many techniques: enamelling, hand-carved cameo, acid etched cameo, marqueterie sur verre (glass marquetry),inclusions, applications and intercalaire (internally decorated). He was inspired by Roman, Chinese,Japanese, Islamic and Hispano-Moresque traditions, as well as French Rococo. Special pieces, pièces uniques and vase parlents, were made to commission, for exhibitions, and as gifts. Such labour intensive and expensive pieces were made possible thanks to commercial production using hydrofluoric acid-etching.
Coupe Rose de France or Coupe Simon, 1901. Inscription: Horticultural Society of Nancy, 1877-1901, with affection for the Honorary President Leon Simon, Musée l’École de Nancy.
A range of furniture was introduced c.1889, largely cabinets and stands to display art glass and ceramics, but he was not an interior designer as such.
During the last four years of his life, Gallé experimented with electric lighting, creating flower-form lamps, cameo shades and the remarkable Les Coprins lamp (Mushrooms) in 1904, composed of three giant, phallic mushrooms expressing the ‘Three Ages of Man’. The years between 1884 and 1904 were the most productive, in terms of expansion, experimentation and above all satisfaction, of reaching his goal of expressing his personality through unique designs and superlative craftsmanship.
l’École de Nancy
A consortium of artists, l’École de Nancy, Alliance Provinciale des Industries d’Art, was officially formed in 1901, in the wake of the Paris 1900 Universalle Exposition. However, Gallé, the first president of l’École de Nancy, had been endeavouring to ally art and industry for more than twenty years. Key members include:
Victor Prouvé (1858-1943), painter, sculptor, decorator, and educator, was motivated by William Morris’s commitment to craftwork. His motto, ‘Beauty, Truth, Utility’, was underpinned by an art education based on drawing and the study of nature.
The Daum brothers, Auguste (1853-1909) and Antonine (1864-1930) concentrated on decorative glass, collaborating with stained glass designer Jacques Gruber (1870-1936) and pâte de verre (glass paste) specialist Amalric Walter (1870-1959).
Amalric Walter, crab, pâté de verre (glass paste), Daum Collection, Musée des Beaux-Arts
Louis Majorelle (1859-1926) was the premier furniture maker and metalworker. Majorelle collaborated with bothGallé and Daum.
Louis Majorelle, Nénuphar (Waterlily) table, c. 1901, Musée des Beaux-Arts
l’École de Nancy’s first national success came in March 1903 with a display in the Pavilion Marsan, Palais des Tuileries, Paris. In the same year Majorelle purchased Samuel Bing’s Masonl’ Art Nouveau, on rue de Provence, establishing a showcase in the capital for his furniture and decorative ironwork. l’École de Nancy now had access to national and international markets. l’École de Nancy’s contribution to the Saint Louis World Fair in 1904 was well received, with Majorelle and Daum winning medals. At the end of the year l’École achieved its greatest success, with the exhibition held at the Galeries Poriel, Nancy. With Gallé’s death, Victor Prouve became president of l’École. By 1905 there were close to 2000 workers employed in the so called ‘art industries’. Faced with growing competition from Germany, The Exposition Internationale de L’Est de la France, held from May to November 1909, was a patriotic ‘masterpiece’ that demonstrated ‘taste, invention and luminous French grace’. Attracting 2 million visitors, with temporary pavilions worthy of a World Fair, this marked the triumph of l’École Nancy.
New Nancy: Style Florale
The only architect of national stature to work in Nancy was the Parisian Henri Sauvage, who designed the Villa Majorelle or Villa Jika (1898-1901). This building was to have a profound influence on Nancy’s local architects: Lucien Weissenburger (1860-1929); Eugene Vallin (1856-1922); George Biet (1868-1955); Henri Gutton (1851-1933) and Emil Andre (1871-1933) forged their own distinctive florale architectural style. They blended a variety of sources both historic and modern. Gothic elements, towers and turrets, sit alongside Rococo naturalist motifs. Roof lines were enhanced with a fleuron, a flower-shaped finial or pinnacle. Purely decorative, a fleuron implied the building was organically growing from ‘earth to sky’. With their mansard roofs, some of the large villas recall the splendours of the Chateau of the Loire. Paul Charbonnier’s grandiose house for Paul Jacques (1905-06), avenue Foch, and Léon Cayotte’s Villa Frühinsholz, avenue du Général-Leclerc, exemplify the ambitions of Nancy’s bourgeoise.
Paul Charbonnier’s, Maison Paul Jacques (1905-06), avenue Foch, Nancy
New technologies and new materials, iron, and concrete, were also adopted. Lucien Weissenburger applied rationalist principles for his Jules Royer Printing House (1899), on Rue rue de la Salpêtrière. Constructed from iron, stone, brick and glass, the iron framework is openly exposed. Henri Gutton (1851-1933) and Henry Gutton (1874-1963), uncle and nephew, adopted a similar approach for the Genin-Louis store, on the corner of Rue Saint-Jean and 2 Rue Benit (1900-1901). Built as a seed merchant’s shop, the riveted iron structure becomes both functional and decorative, the framework softened with inter-twinning poppies.
Gutton and Gutton, Genin-Louis store, on the corner of Rue Saint-Jean and 2 Rue Benit (1900-1901).
These commercial buildings did not provide the model for the villas and apartment blocks that were springing up all over the city. These were of traditional brick and stone with decorative metalwork and stained glass. Many were influenced by the Villa Majorelle, especially its picturesque masses and use of polychromatic materials. Loggias or open galleries were widely used, seamlessly integrating the house with the garden. Internally, winter gardens softened and diffused light through ‘Tiffany style’ leaded glass windows, the finest fabricated by Jacques Gruber. Signature curves or coup de fouet (whiplash) were fully expressed externally through wrought and cast-iron balconies, doors and canopies, and internally staircases.
Henri Sauvage, Villa Majorelle or Villa Jika (1898-1901).
ÉmileAndre’s Huot House (1903), on the Quai Claude Le Lorrain, dominated by its peacock-eye window framed with turquoise tiles, certainly makes a statement. Seen from an incoming train, the façade was not only an advert for Andre’s style florale, it also proclaimed the city’s commitment to modernity. This semi-detached house uses a multiplicity of materials: rocky limestone, cut stone, ceramics, wood, metalwork, and stained glass. Yet the overall effect of the picturesque composition is unity.
Émile Andre, Huot House (1903), on the Quai Claude Le Lorrain.
In 1901 ÉmileAndre and Henri Gutton were commissioned to layout a ‘garden-suburb’, the Parc de Saurupt, along the lines of London’s Bedford park. Although several remarkable villas were built, the project faltered. By 1906 only six properties had been completed. The plot sizes were reduced to attract more modest clientele, while a section was reserved for terraced housing.
Parc de Saurupt, Emile André, Villa Les glycines for the négociant Charles Fernbach, 1902-1903.
Parc de Saurupt, Émile Andre, Villa Les Roches, 1902, 6, Rue des Brice.
Be prepared to do lots of walking. Travel Editions offers guided tours with Anne and Scott Anderson.
The Musée de l’École deNancy displays outstanding examples of glass by Emile Gallé, furniture by Louis Majorelle and leaded glass windows by Jacques Gruber. The massed display of Daum glass in the Musée des Beaux–Arts is awesome. As a bonus, enjoy a Kir Lorraine, a local aperitif, in the Place Stanislas.
Bank Renauld, 1910, corner of Rue Chanzy and Rue Saint-Jean. Interior by Paul Charbonnier. Metalwork by Majorelle. Glass by Gruber.
Maison Huot, 92-94, Quai Claude-le-Lorrain, 1903
Immeuble, 1902-03, 69, Ave Foch.
Immeuble, 1904, 71, Ave Foch.
Armand Lejeune studio-house, 1903, Rue du Sergent Blandan.
Maison and atelier Weissenburger, 1904, 1 Boulevard Charles V, Cours-Leopold.
Maison Bergeret, 1903-04, 24 Rue Lionnois. Metalwork by Majorelle, Glass by Gruber and Janin and furniture by Vallin.
Villa Eugène Corbin and aquarium, 1904-09, Rue du Sergent Blandan.
Maison Chardot, 1905-07, 52, Cours-Leopold.
VillaHenri-Emmanuel Lang, 1906-07, Parc de Saurupt, 1, Boulevard Clemenceau.
Hotel-Brasserie Excelsior, 1910, Rue Mazagran. With Alexandre Mienville. Interior by Majorelle and Gruber.
Immeuble, 1906, Rue Stanislas.
Georges Biet and Eugène Vallin
Maison Biet, 1901-1902, rebuilt 1922, 22, Rue de la Commanderie. Don’t miss the cat on the roof!
Immeuble Aimé, 1903, 42-44, Rue Saint-Dizier, currently Banque de la Société Générale. Built forDoctor Henri Aimé.
Maison Gaudin, 1899, 97, Rue Charles III, with glass by Jacques Gruber
Eugène Vallin and Paul Charbonnier Immeuble Charles Margo, 1906, 86, Rue Stanislas.
Henri Gutton and Joseph Hornecker
Maison Geschwindammer, 1905, 6, Ter Quai de la Bataille.
Villa Marguerite, 1904-05, 3, Rue Colonel-Renard:
Parc de Saurupt
Émile Andre, the Keeper’s Lodge, and entry to Parc de Saurupt, 1902, 2 Rue des Brice: Andre
Émile Andre, Villa Les Glycines, 1902, 5, Rue des Brice, built for Fernbach.
Émile Andre,Villa Les Roches, 1902, 6, Rue des Brice, for himself, to rent.
Henri Gutton and Joseph Hornecker, Villa Marguerite, 1904-05, 3, Rue Colonel-Renard.
Distinguished by their lavish sculpture, metalwork, stained glass windows and tile facades, Art Nouveau buildings were designed to stand out. This short guide introduces you to the leading architects and designers who were determined to create a modern style on the eve of the 20th century.
Hector Guimard, Castel Béranger, 1895-8, Paris
‘The terrifying and edible beauty of Art Nouveau architecture’
Victor Horta, l’ Hôtel Frison, 1894, Brussels (courtesy of Nupur Tron)
‘That strange decorative disease‘
Pietro Fenoglio, Fenoglio-Lafleur house, 1902-03, Turin
Art Nouveau: A Modern Style
By the 1880s Historicism, the revival of past architectural styles from Neo-Norman to Neo-Rococo, was well and truly played out. The application of these styles to new types of buildings, railway stations, department stores, pharmacies, and restaurants, was clearly anachronistic. A modern style had to reflect and address the needs of contemporary urban life. The world was changing very quickly with new technologies impacting on daily life; electric light was replacing gas; cars were becoming a common sight on the roads and airships would soon be offering commercial flights. For architects, moving with the times meant working with iron and steel, concrete and glass. There was a consensus that nature supplied the best forms to express such progress, as organic growth could be equated with human life. The cycle of life and regeneration appealed to the fin-de-siècle mindset, the dying century on the cusp of renewal. Recognizing ‘the vital impulse in nature’, Belgian architect Victor Horta favoured plant stems. His curving, tensile, line expresses movement, the ebb and flow of human life. His signature coup de fouet, or whiplash, curves back on itself; like a coil waiting to spring, the line is full of energy. Undulating, intertwining lines, which can have a hallucinatory effect, were to express growth and vitality. His buildings flow upwards like plants, seemingly straining towards the sun. Using opposing mirrors, reflected lines stretch into infinity. In his home and studio, now the MuséeHorta, landings radiate off the spiral staircase like branches of a tree, leading to different living spaces. Covered by a glass skylight, looking up one sees endless space. Light was central to Horta’s vision; winter gardens and skylights illuminate interiors with warm light diffused through coloured glass.
Victor Horta, l’ Hôtel Frison, 1894, Brussels (courtesy of Nupur Tron)
A New Aesthetic
All forms of Art Nouveau/Jugendstil, the German term for the New Art, owe a debt to Japanese prints. Designers either tried to capture the spirit of Japanese design, its minimalism and linearity, or appropriated indicative motifs. Bamboo, cranes, fans, carp, and patterns derived from silk kimonos popped up on ceramics, metalwork, and textiles. Underpinning the Aesthetic Movement (c.1860-90), by the 1880s Japonisme had become a fashionable craze and households were bedecked with Japanese paper fans and blue and white china. Samuel Bing’s journal Le Japon Artistique (1888-91) covered every aspect of Japanese art, providing a lexicon of designs.
In Bing’s Maison de l’Art Nouveau, Japanese and modern objets d’art were displayed side by side. They were shown in room settings with every element, furniture, glass, ceramics, and metalwares, integrated into a harmonious whole. Through such staged interiors, termed ‘scenography’, the consumer could imagine how an object would look in their own home. Traditional distinctions between the fine and decorative arts were ignored to create living environments. The objective was to craft agesamtkunstwerkor ‘total artwork’. This extended to dress and jewellery, with the lady of the house becoming a ‘work of art’ in her own right. Surrounded by beauty in the ‘Palace of Art’, one withdrew from the ugliness of the modern world. Art Nouveau was much more than a style; it was a way of life.
Eugène Vallin and Victor Prouvé, Masson Dining Room, 1903-06,
Musée de l’École de Nancy
Several cities have acquired fame for their Art Nouveau architecture: Brussels, Barcelona, Glasgow, and Riga. There are plenty more to discover, with over seventy cities in the Art Nouveau European Route. Although architects and designers turned to nature in search of a metaphor for modernity, each developed their own unique idiom: Victor Horta in Brussels, Charles Rennie Mackintosh in Glasgow, Hector Guimard in Paris, Ödön Lechner in Budapest, Otto Wagner in Vienna and Antoni Gaudi and Lluís Domènech in Barcelona. Facades richly adorned with magnificent sculptures, riotous metalwork, and colourful tiles, fulfilled the New Art’s democratic mission, bringing Art to the People. Townscapes were transformed, as novelty made people stop and stare. Some facades were designed to be read like paintings, telling a story, or bearing symbols that were instantly recognisable. In Barcelona you will find St George, the patron saint of the city, guarding many buildings.Gaudi’s Casa Batlló(1906) brings to life the slaying of the dragon, the eternal battle between good and evil. The skeletal base is said to represent the bones of the dragon’s victims, the mask-like balconies, with their empty-eye sockets, could be skulls or masks. The broken fragments of tile, trencadís, that glisten over the façade could be the scales of the dragon or tickertape thrown at a Mardi Gras, celebrating the death of the monster. The tour de force is the roofline, with St George, represented by a four-armed cross, locked in battle with the dragon, the roof tiles making its scaly back. This is decoration transformed into storytelling, the ‘word in the pattern’; a vivid imagination envisions the dragon roaring fire from the top of the building.
Antoni Gaudi, Casa Batlló, 1906, Barcelona
Metalwork, ceramics, and coloured-leaded glass windows give Art Nouveau/Jugendstil buildings their distinctive character. The reputation of the applied arts was raised bringing them closer to the status of the fine arts. Louis Comfort Tiffany and John La Farge revolutionised the technical and stylistic production of stained-glass windows. The new types of glass they perfected, opalescent, iridescent and ‘chenille’, bearing an impressed undulating pattern, were commonly known throughout Europe as American glass. With whorls and abstract lines of colour, the new glass suggested movement when illuminated. The effects and textures meant you could ‘paint’ with glass, leaded windows resembling mosaics of glittering, translucent colours. Drawing on Iberia’s Moorish heritage, Gaudi favouredtrencadís,meaning chopped or broken tile, which he used to create mosaics. The undulating bench at the Parc Güell, the chimney stacks of the Güell Palace and the façade of the Casa Batlló demonstrate his inventive use of trencadís. In Portugal, Arte Nova buildings are distinguished by their azulejos or painted tile panels. Some 20,000 tiles, painted by Jorge Colaço, were used to decorate the vestibule of Porto’s São Bento Railway Station. Alexander Bigot’s ceramic peacocks, double-headed tortoises, and bull’s heads, that all carry a sexual innuendo, ensured the Lavirotte building, Paris (1901) won the city’s façade of the year. Alessandro Mazzucotelli, the ‘magician of iron’, created outsized butterflies and dragonflies that alight on Liberty buildings in Milan. Louis Marjorelle, Nancy’s Maitre Ferronnier, created magnificent glass and metal canopies, as did Hector Guimard, whose Paris Metro entrances exemplify organic, curvilinear Art Nouveau. However, this ‘ornamental delirium’ was Art Nouveau’s undoing, as the post-war Modernists rejected decoration in favour of functionalism.
Antoni Gaudi, trencadís, chimney stack, Güell Palace, 1886-88, Barcelona
Alessandro Mazzucoteilli, Casa Ferrario, 1902, Milan
The New Art: national and international styles
Although generally referred to as Art Nouveau, the New Art goes by a bewildering range of labels. Driven by patriotism and economic competition, architects and designers wanted to invent their own, individual, brand of modernism rather than importing foreign styles. In France and Belgium, Art Nouveau takes its name from the Maison de l’Art Nouveau, a commercial gallery opened by art dealer Samuel Bing in Paris (1895). In German speaking areas, including Scandinavia and the Baltic countries, Jugendstil, meaning ‘Youth Style’, comes from the avant-garde magazine launched by Georges Hirth in Munich (1896). Stylistically Jugendstil is quite different to Art Nouveau, its restraint and practicality indicating the influence of the English Arts and Crafts Movement. Another term, Secession, meaning to secede or ‘break away’, is used to denote open dissent. In Munich (1892), Vienna (1897), and Berlin (1898) forward-looking artists, designers, and architects, inevitably a disgruntled younger generation, defiantly withdrew from conservative art institutions.
Secession is also used more broadly; you may come across its use in Prague (Czech Secese); Budapest (Hungarian Szecesszió or Magyar Szecesszió); Kraków (Polish Secesja); Ljubljana (Slovene Secessija); and Bratislava(Slovak Secesia). These break-away groups are often linked to rising nationalism, as in the case of Młoda Polska (‘Young Poland,’ 1895-1914) or Jaunlatvieši (‘Young Latvians’). In Barcelona Modernisme or Modernista was partly driven by the Renaixença, a renaissance of Catalan culture. Italian Stile Liberty named after Liberty of Regent Street, the leading purveyor of new art wallpapers and fabrics, also alluded to Italy’s recent unification and status as an independent nation. Artistic, literary, and political activism merged as peoples, who considered themselves both culturally and politically oppressed, sought to reassert their ethnicity.
However, for many the New Art was merely the latest fashion, a style which above all expressed modernity. Portugal’s colourful Arte Nova, seen at its best in the tile clad facades of Aveiro, spoke of wealth and status. Following the First World War, architects and designers looked for new ways to express modernity. The natural forms of Art Nouveau were replaced with geometric and mechanical motifs. Art Deco sought to express the speed of change, in a technologically driven world.
Be prepared to do lots of walking. Travel Editions offers guided tours with Anne or Scott Anderson to Turin, Milan, Brussels, Nancy, Metz, Strasbourg, and Luxembourg. In 2022 Travel Editions will be offering a new tour to Trieste and Ljubljana.
In Brussels, the Musée Horta, Rue Américaine, Saint-Gilles, home and studio of Victor Horta is a perfect expression of the gesamtkuntswerk. Musée Fin-de-Siècle, located within the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, houses a breath-taking collection of furniture, glass, and metalwork. The Hôtel Frison in the Sablon area and the Hôtel Solvay on Avenue Louise are private houses that have opened their doors to the public.
In Nancy, the undisputed epicentre of French Art Nouveau, the Musée de l’École de Nancy displays outstanding examples of glass by Emile Gallé, furniture by Louis Majorelle and leaded glass windows by Jacques Gruber. The massed display of Daum glass in the Musée des Beaux-Arts is awesome. As a bonus, enjoy a Kir Lorraine, a local aperitif, in the Place Stanislas, the finest ensemble of mid-18thcentury architecture in France.
Jacques Grüber, ‘Roses and Seagulls’, Maison Bergeret, Nancy, 1904.
In Budapest there are two museums devoted to the new art, the quirky House of Hungarian Art Nouveau, housed in Emil Vidor’s iconic residence for the Bedő family and the György Ráth Villa, which displays Zsolnay ceramics, Tiffany and Gallé glass and jewellery by Lalique from the Applied Arts Museum collections. A hidden gem is the Villa Schiffer, which has found a new purpose as the Customs and Tax History Museum! Don’t be put off, many of the building’s original features have survived including a magnificent leaded glass window in the entrance hall.
In Turin there is a feast of Liberty buildings in the Cit Turin, Crocetta, and San Salvarino neighbourhoods. Don’t miss architect Pietro Fenoglio’s masterpiece, the Casa Fenoglio-La Fleur on corso Francia in Cit Turin. However, if you have the energy to walk there, the Villa Scott, which lies across the river in the Borgo Po, is even more sumptuous. The finest collection of decorative arts, however, is to be found outside Genoa, in the Musei di Nervi Wolfsoniana, the private collection of Miami native and long-time Genoa resident Micky Wolfson, Jr.
Giovanni Battista Alloati, sculptural relief, Casa Maffei, Turin (1904-06).
Art Nouveau 1890-1914, edited by Paul Greenhalgh, catalogue for the international exhibition held at the V&A in 2000.
Art Nouveau; Utopia: Reconciling the Irreconcilable by Klaus Jurgen Sembach (published by Taschen)
Art Nouveau: Art and Ideas by Stephen Escritt (published by Phaidon)
Art Nouveau International and National Styles in Europe by Jeremy Howard (published by Manchester Press)
Brussels Art Nouveau: Architecture & Design by Alec Forshaw (published by Unicorn Publishing Group)
My own publications include Art Nouveau Architecture, published by Crowood Press (2020).
Anne Anderson BA, PhD, FSA, Hon. Associate Professor, University of Exeter, was a senior lecturer in Art and Design History at Southampton Solent University for 14 years. She has curated four national exhibitions, most recently Beyond the Brotherhood: the Pre-Raphaelite Legacy (2019/20). She has held several prestigious American fellowships, at the Huntington Library, California and the Henry Francis DuPont Winterthur Library and Museum, Delaware. Her career as an international speaker has taken her all over the world including four lecture tours of Australia. Her recent books include Edward Burne-JonesThe Perseus Series (2018) and Beyond the Brotherhood: the Pre-Raphaelite Legacy (2019). She offers many lectures on Art Nouveau including Rene Lalique; Emile Galle and l’Ecole de Nancy; Louis Comfort Tiffany; Mackintosh and the Glasgow Four; Klimt and the Vienna Secession; Brussels: Art Nouveau and Budapest: Magyar Secession.
Please check out Anne Anderson Art and Design History Channel where you will find some of my lectures are open access:
24th March James McNeill Whistler: An American Abroad
31st March Lawrence Alma-Tadema: At Home in Antiquity
7th April Gustav Klimt: ‘All Art is Erotic’
The lectures will be delivered live by Zoom. They will be uploaded afterwards to my YouTube channel for a limited time and you will be provided a private link to view them again at your leisure.
The lectures last for around an hour. There will be a question-and-answer session at the end.
As the lectures will be delivered live by Zoom, you will be able to ask your questions in person at the end. You can also use the ‘Chat’ function.
How to book
The lectures are priced at £10 a session. You can book each lecture separately. If you book all four lectures the cost will be £30 (one lecture for free!)
Please email Susan Branfield at email@example.com.
You can pay by cheque or BACS (details will be supplied). Cheques should be made payable to Anne Anderson.
Once you register and pay, you will be sent an email with your link. Keep it safe!
After the lecture you will be sent a private link so you can access the lecture on my YouTube Channel. Each lecture is accessible for four weeks.
James Tissot: Fashionable London
A French émigré in 1870s London, Tissot captured the nuances of fashionable society. At first glance his paintings appear rather shallow, being all surface and no substance. But there is more to Tissot than just gorgeous frocks. His gloss covers a world of double standards and class snobbery. It took an outsider to reveal the social anxieties of the day.
James McNeill Whistler: An American Abroad
The eponymous enfant terrible, nobody wanted to be on the wrong side of Whistler. His bark was as good as his bite. The champion of ‘Art for Art’s Sake, which scorned the concept of pictorial story-telling or moralizing, Whistler ruffled many feathers, especially those of John Ruskin. When Whistler accused Ruskin of libel, for ‘flinging a pot of paint in the public’s face’, the artist and critic founding themselves arguing in court over the purpose of art in Society.
Lawrence Alma-Tadema: At Home in Antiquity
Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema, Lord Frederic Leighton and G.F. Watts have been classed as ‘Olympian’s. However, while Leighton and Watts opted for high-minded subjects drawn from mythology and ancient history, Alma-Tadema recreated the life of Ancient Greece and Rome. He revelled in archaeological accuracy, painstakingly drawing, and photographing Pompeii and Herculaneum. Yet despite their fidelity, his ‘Victorians in Togas’ are also a reflection of the era.
Gustav Klimt: ‘All art is erotic’
During his lifetime, Gustav Klimt’s paintings were frequently vilified as lewd and even pornographic as he explicitly explored female sexuality. His works are deceivingly beautiful, the surface of the canvas richly ornamented with complex patterns that carry symbolic meaning. They can be esoteric and hard to decipher. As Oscar Wilde warned you go below the surface at you peril. Klimt epitomizes the luxury and decadence of an era destroyed by the First World War.
Greene, Vivien (ed), Divisionism/Neo-Impressionism: Arcadia and Anarchy, exhibition catalogue, New York: Guggenheim, 2007
Stutzer, Beat, Giovanni Segantini, Zürich: Scheidegger & Spiess, 2016
The Macchiaioli Masters of Realism in Tuscany, exhibition catalogue, Rome: De Luca Publisher, 1982
Divisionism emerged in Northern Italy around the end of the 1880s. The first generation included Vittore Grubicy De Dragon (1851–1920) who as an art critic and dealer also promoted their work; Emilio Longoni (1859–1932) who combined divisionism with hard hitting social realism; Angelo Morbelli (1853–1919) who also depicted scenes of contemporary rural life; Plinio Nomellini (1866–1943) who focused on landscapes; Giuseppe Pellizza da Volpedo (1868–1907), whose powerful Human Flood or The Fourth Estate has become a socialist icon; Gaetano Previati (1852–1920) opted for symbolism and gentle Madonnas; and Giovanni Segantini (1858–1899) who achieved international fame with his symbolist The Punishment of Lust (1891) and The Evil Mothers (1894). Their painting method was based on the juxtaposition of strokes of pigment, rather than French pointillist dots, to create the visual effect of intense single colours. Its roots were in the optical and chromatic ideas developed by scientists, particularly those published in De la loi ducontraste simultané des couleurs (1839) by French chemist Michel-Eugène Chevreul and Modern Chromatics (1879) by American physicist Ogden Rood.
Bossaglia, Rossana and Valerio Terraroli, IL Liberty A Milano, Milano: Skira, 2003
Dejean, Philippe, Bugatti: Carlo, Rembrandt, Ettore, Jean, New York: Rizzoli, 1982. Guttry, Irene, Maria Paola Maino, and Gabriella Tarquini, Italian Liberty Style, 20th Century Decorative Arts, Pero: 24 Ore Cultura, 2012
Howard, Jeremy, Art Nouveau International and National Styles in Europe, Manchester: MUP, 1996
Lopez, Guide and Elisabetta Susani, The Liberty in Milan and Lombardy, Milan: Celip Italy, 1999
Massé, Marie-Madeleine, Carlo Bugatti au Musée d’Orsay: catalogue sommaire illustré du fonds d’archives et des collections, exhibition catalogue, Paris: Réunion des musées nationaux, 2001
Roiter, Fulvio and Guido Lopez, Milano Liberty/Art Nouveau in Milan, Milano: Edizioni CELIP Milano, 1993
Speziali, Andrea (ed) Italian liberty. Una nuova stagione dell’ Art Nouveau, Flori: CartaCanta editore, 2015
Speziali, Andrea (ed), Italian Liberty. Il sogno europeo della grande bellezza, Flori: CartaCanta editore, 2016
Speziali, Andrea, Giuseppe Sommaruga (1867-1917).Un protagonista del Liberty, Flori: CartaCanta editore 2017
Speziali, Andrea (ed.) The World of Art Nouveau, Flori: CartaCanta, editore 2017
Squarotti, Silvia Barberi, Il Liberty nei quartieri torinesi, Torino: Daniela Piazza Editore, 2012
Stile floreale or Stile Liberty, initially named after Liberty’s of Regent Street, offers a wonderfully eclectic mix, with quintessential floral decoration cascading over buildings that often still reference the Baroque or Neoclassicism. Stile Liberty quickly acquired a new sense, creative freedom transformed into an expression of Italian unification. In Italy individualism prevailed over regulation, apparently leading to ‘aesthetic anarchism’. Gabriele Fahr-Becker considers the ‘floral sumptuousness…waxed into a wedding-cake building style of totalitarian pomp’ (Art Nouveau, 2015). Perhaps she had in mind Giovanni Brega’s seaside villa in Pesaro for Oreste Ruggeri, a pharmaceutical industrialist. Its four facades are covered with the most amazing abstract-floral decorations that swirl in all directions. The Villino Ruggeri (1902-1907) was designed to be a complete work of art; on the first floor are four themed rooms, the horse chestnut, the wisteria, the narcissus and the sunflower room, the ultimate expressions of Stile floreale.
The obvious historical sources for such extremes can be found in Italian Mannerism, in the paintings of Giuseppe Arcimboldo (1526-93), who constructed faces out of vegetables and flowers, and the spectacular Boboli Gardens, created by the Medici family in Florence. Here the notion of the ornamental grotto is taken to its limits (c.1550-1600); fantastical figures appear to grow out of the walls. Flourishing between the High Renaissance and the Baroque, Italian Mannerism tends to get overlooked. Mannerist artists still relied on classical models, but they took liberties with the rules, deliberately distorting the established architectural vocabulary in bizarre and entertaining ways. The ability to surprise, even shock clearly attracted Giuseppe Sommaruga (1867-1917) whose Milanese buildings certainly defy architectural conventions.
Giuseppe Sommaruga(1867-1917, Palazzo Romeo- Faccanoni 1911-13 Via Michelangelo Buonarroti 48
Liberty in Turin
Although Liberty style can be found all over Italy, the style is concentrated in Turin, Milan, and the Regione Lombardia around Lake Como. Turin was briefly the first capital of the kingdom following the unification of Italy (Risorgimento) in 1861. The opening of the Fréjus Tunnel in 1871 transformed Turin into an important communication node between Italy and France. The Triple Alliance (1882), an agreement between Germany, the Austro-Hungarian Empire and Italy against France, Russia and Great Britain, resulted in an influx of capital that boosted the Italian economy.
Turin holds a particularly important place within the history of Liberty Style because of the groundbreaking exhibition of decorative arts held in 1902, the Prima Esposizione Internazionale d’Arte Decorativa Moderna. The guidelines stated ‘Only original products that show a decisive tendency toward aesthetic renewal of form will be admitted. Neither mere imitations of past styles nor industrial products not inspired by an artistic sense will be accepted’. The city was chosen to host the exhibition because it was at the forefront of modernisation and industrialization; its first car companies date to the turn of the 20th century (Fiat 1899, Lancia 1906).
Central Pavilion. Raimondo D’Aronco architect, Giovanni Battista Alloati sculptor, Leonardo Bistolfi painter
With the Scottish entry showcasing works by Charles Rennie Mackintosh and the Glasgow Four, entire room settings presented by the Belgian master Victor Horta and the German section dominated by an entrance conceived by Peter Behrens, this event marks the apogee of the new art.
The exhibition was held in Valentino Park, overlooking the Po river. Its layout and principal buildings were conceived by Raimondo D’Aronco (1857-1932). Trained in Graz, Austria, D’Aronco followed Austrian Secession models more closely than most of his Italian compatriots. In 1893, he was invited to Istanbul to prepare designs for the Istanbul Exhibition of Agriculture and Industry to be held in 1896. He remained the chief palace architect to the Ottoman Sultan Abdülhami II in Istanbul for 16 years. A handful of his buildings have survived:
Turbe (tomb) of Sheikh Zafir Effendi, in Yıldız, Beşiktaş district in Istanbul
Fountain, Karaköy, Şair Ziya Paşa Caddesi.
Former Imperial Stables (c.1903), Palanga Cd. 64, Istanbul.
Casa Botter (Botter Apartment, 1900–1901) on İstiklal Avenue in Beyoğlu, Istanbul. Built for Jean Botter, a Dutchman who worked as the Sultan’s tailor.
In Turin, the best example of his work is Villa Javelli,(Casa D’Aronco), Via Francesco Petrarca 44. Built 1904, the broad sloping roof line echoes a swiss chalet. Although the detailing is simple, a classic female face mask peers out from under the eave.
Pietro Fenoglio (1865-1927)studied civil engineering under Carlo Cepp. Fenoglio was one of the organizers of the 1902 and 1911 International Expositions in Turin. He was also a founder and contributor to the magazine L’architettura italiana moderna.
In 1902-1903 he built his most indicative work, a visually arresting apartment block known as Casa Fenoglio-Lafleur on the corner of Corso Francia and Via Principe d’Acaja, Cit Turin. Other works that should be highlighted include the Villino Raby(1901 with Gottardo Gussoni),Corso Francia 8, with a wealth of sculptural details, Palazzina Rossi-Galateri, Via Giuseppe Luigi Passalacqua (1903) and Villa Scott (1902 withGottardo Gussoni), hugging the hill side on the other side of the Po river.
Palazzina Ostorero Via Claudio Beaumont 7 Built 1900 Pietro Fenoglio. This chalet style private residence only hints at Fenoglio’s mature Liberty style.
Villino Raby Corso Francia 8 Built 1901 Pietro Fenoglio and Gottardo Gussoni. The sculptural detailing, notably the ornamentation around the projecting oriel window, and the painted frieze, show Fenoglio’s progression.
Villa Scott Corso Giovanni Lanza 57 Built 1902 Pietro Fenoglio and Gottardo Gussoni. Fengolio achieves his mature Liberty style. The bay window, with its sequence of coloured-leaded glass windows, is especially impressive. The corner tower provides another focal point. With the grotto-like fountain, at the foot of the steps rising to the entrance, Fenoglio created a perfect ensemble.
Casa Fenoglio-Lafleur Via Principi d’Acaja 11 Built 1903 Pietro Fenoglio. His masterpiece. The corner, which rises to four storeys, is dominated by a projecting oriel window filled with coloured-leaded glass windows. The corner is surmounted by a glass canopy. The compass inscribed circles in the plasterwork and the painted frieze under the cornice are signature motifs.
Palazzina Rossi-Galateri Via Giuseppe Luigi Passalacqua 14 Built 1903 Pietro Fenoglio. On this symmetrical facade, note the highly ornamented projecting oriel windows as well as the deep decorative frieze, both painted and sculptural, running under the cornice.
Coloured-leaded glass doors leading to the interior courtyard. These bold abstract patterns owe a debt to Victor Horta and Hector Guimard’s stylized curvilinear forms.
Casa Guelpa, Via Luigi Leonardo Colli 2, Built 1903 Pietro Fenoglio. One of a series of large apartment blocks. The detailing around the windows and the frieze of compass drawn lines are indicative.
Casa Macciotta, Corso Francia 32, Built 1904, Pietro Fenoglio
Casa Boffa-Costa-Magnani Via Ettore De Sonnaz 16 built 1904 Pietro Fenoglio
Casa Rey Corso Galileo Ferraris 16-18 Built 1904-06 Pietro Fenoglio. This dramatic oriel window extends through three storeys.
Gottardo Gussoni (1869-1951) stands alongside Fenoglio as the two architects often collaborated. He created the last Liberty style building in Turin, the Palazzo della Vittoria, Corso Francia, (House of the Dragons, 1918-20). This massive apartment block masquerading as a medieval castle is covered with sculptural details, with dragons supporting the balconies and greeting you at the elabourate entrance.
Casa della Vittoria Corso Francia 23, built 1918-20 Gottardo Gussoni
Alessandro Mazzucoteilli (1865-1938) was known as the ‘magician of iron’. His distinctive forms can be seen on the Villa Faccanoni-Romeo, via Buonarroti and Casa Ferrario, 1902 (Ernesto Pirovano, 1866-1934), in Milan. He created gigantic butterflies and dragonflies that perch on gate posts or hang from lamps.
Casa Maffei, Corso Rodolfo Montevecchio, Antonio Vandone di Cortemiglia. Built 1904-06 has iron balconies by Alessandro Mazzucotelli and relief sculptures by Giovanni Battista Alloati, whose work also featured at Turin 1902.
Carlo Bugatti (1856-1940) was born in Milan, studying at the Brera Academy before finishing his education in Paris at the Academie des Beaux Arts, where he may have acquired his taste for Japonisme. He opened his workshop in Milan in 1880. His fantastic furniture combines a heady blend of Moorish, Japanese, African, and Medieval elements. Bugatti stole the limelight at Turin 1902 with his ‘Salon escargot’. Father of sculptor Rembrandt Bugatti and automobile manufacturer Ettore Bugatti.
Eugenio Quarti (1867-1926) was a leading decorator and cabinet maker who favoured unusual materials and lavish ornamentation. His use of inlays of silver, copper, bronze, pewter and nacre resulted in his nickname ‘goldsmith of furniture makers’. He designed furniture for the Palazzo Castiglioni, Milan and Villa Carosio, Baveno, Stresa, on Lake Maggiore for Giuseppe Sommaruga; for the Grand Hotel and Casino, San Pellegrino Terme (1904-06 architect Romolo Squadrelli) and the Ausonia and Hungaria Palace Hotel, Venice Lido (1907 architect Nicolo Piamonte) famed for its polychrome majolica mosaic facade, the largest in Italy, by Luigi Fabris (1913).
Riga, the capital of Latvia, is renowned for its fantastic Art Nouveau/Jugendstil buildings built at the beginning of the 20th century. Riga developed rapidly once the city walls were demolished in the mid-19th century (1857-63). The rapid expansion of the population, which almost doubled in the 20 years before the First World war, reaching over half a million, prompted a building boom. Many apartments blocks were constructed along the straight boulevards, laid in a grid pattern, of the ‘new town’. By the 1930s, Riga was known as ‘The Little Paris of the North’. However, in addition to responding to modernity, with industrialisation and urbanisation signalling a new urban lifestyle, the emergence of Art Nouveau/Jugendstil in Riga also addressed Latvian identity. This helps to explain the variants of the style in the national capital, which reflect both a cosmopolitan internationalism and a desire to forge a distinctly Latvian architectural language based on native vernacular architecture and folk-art forms.
Academics have broken the different stylistic forms into four categories:
Eclectic or Decorative
Architects simply adopted forms of Art Nouveau/Jugendstil decoration in lieu of earlier styles. The apartments along Alberta iela (Albert Street), many designed by Mikhail Eisenstein, who studied in St Peterburg, are typical. This approach embraced a cosmopolitan internationalism, particularly drawing on French decorative forms (female mascaron/face masks, stylized floral forms and peacocks).
Indicative buildings in the Old Town include:
Alfred Aschenkampf & Max Scherwinsky, Audēju iela 7 (1899), one of the first Jugend Stila buildings in Riga.
Heinrich Scheel et Friedrich Scheffe, Skunu 10/12, for a store for Henrich Dettmann (1903)
Pauls Mandelštams (1872-1941), Kalēju 23/ Meistaru iela 10 (1909).
Konstantīns Pēkšēns (1859-1926), 2 rue Smilsu (1902)
Perpendicular or Vertical
About a third of the Art Nouveau/Jugendstil buildings of Riga were built according to these ideals which became popular after c. 1905. The influence of the Vienna Secession and German Jugendstil is clear. Many examples can be found in Brīvības iela, Ģertrūdes iela and, Aleksandrqa Čaka iela. Architects associated with this style include Rūdolfs Filips Donbergs (1864-1918) and later works by Konstantīns Pēkšēns.
Between 1905 and 1911 architects also tried to create a specific Latvian style of modern architecture, National Romanticism. With many stylistic aspects particular to Latvia, alongside the use of natural building materials, architects drew on vernacular architecture and folk art. There is a notable influence of Finnish National Romantic forms. Eižens Laube, Alberta iela 11, built in 1908, is typical, with its towers and tapered windows.
A late variant, a reaction to highly decorated earlier forms. Often used for banks. Fundamentally a return to historicism.
Given this localized diversity it would be useful to devise a Latvian term unique to Riga, such as Riga Jugend Stila, Jauniešu stils or Atdalīšanās (Secession).
Many architects were able to train locally, rather than in St Petersburg or Berlin. The Technical Society was founded in 1864, with some half of its members architects. The Polytechnicum (Riga Polytechnic Institute) opened a department for architecture in 1869. In 1872 the Crafts School of the Riga Trades Association was founded. These new institutions lay outside the immediate control of the Academy in St Petersburg. Graduates of the Riga Polytechnic Institute designed many Jauniešu stilsbuildings. Most notable were Konstantīns Pēkšēns, J. Alksnis, O. Bārs, R. Donbergs, E. Laube, A.Vanags, P. Mandelštams, E.Pole, B. Bīlenšteins and M. Nukša.
‘First Latvian National Awakening’
With the native Latvian population ‘oppressed’ in turn by the Germans, Swedes, and Russians, by the mid-19th century there was a conscious desire to reassert Latvian identity. Tsar Aleksandr III’s Russification policies stimulated the ‘First Latvian National Awakening’ (1850s-1880s). Krišjānis Valdemārs (1825-91), was the most prominent member of Young Latvia ( Jaunlatvieši). The Latvian language newspaper Mājas Viesis was launched. The Riga Latvian Society, which brought together Latvian intellectuals and radicals, was founded in 1868. The Society reclaimed Latvian history and folklore. Scholars and writers sought to prove that Baltic cultural traditions were as deep as those of other nations. The ‘First Latvian National Awakening’ was followed by the New Current (Socialist) which led up to the 1905 First Russian Revolution.
In 1891, August Bielenstein was the first scholar to support the establishment of a folklore material archives.Fricis Brīvzemnieks has been justifiably identified as the founder of Latvian folklore studies. The first collections of folk tales and legends assembled by Brīvzemnieks appeared in 1887. Stories often revolve around pre-Christian deities like the sun goddess Saule and the moon god Mēness. Another major theme is the human life cycle, especially the three major events: birth, wedding, and death (including burial). Ensuring a good harvest was the primary function of Jumis. Many stories revolve around the devil and warding off evil spirits.
Lacking a national hero, Andrejs Pumpurs gathered materials to create a national epic poem Lāčplēsis (Bear Slayer). Composed between 1872–1887, the saga is set in the Livonian Crusades and the struggle against the German invaders. The Bear Slayer is commemorated on the Latvian Freedom Monument, which marks the brief period of Latvian independence following the First World War.
“I was Born and Raised Singing”
Collecting and publishing folk songs underpinned the ‘national awakening’. The first Latvian Song Festival was held in 1873. ‘Father of Folk Songs’, Krišjānis Barons (1835-1923) collected Latvju Dainas (folk songs). Dainas are little quatrains of ancient Latvian wisdom captured in song. Dating back some thousand years, Dainas were sung at celebrations and while at daily work. Songs commemorate Latvian mythology and traditional festivals rather than legendary heroes. They are reflections on life preserved in oral form. There are more than 1.2 million Dainas. German geographer and traveller J.G. Khol noted in his memoirs (1841): “[..]Every Latvian is a born poet, they all compose verses and songs, and they can all sing these songs [..] They deserve to be called the nation of poets.”
Barons formed the most complete anthology of Latvian folk songs. Between 1894 and 1915 he published seven volumes containing 217, 996 folk song texts. Baron’s Cabinet of Folksongs, containing around 150,000 texts, on slips of paper survives in the National Library of Latvia.
Barons is commemorated at the ‘Song Garden’, Sculpture Park, Sigulda, created by Indulis Ranka in 1985. 25 sculptures by Ranka convey the spirt of the Dainas. One sculpture depicts Barons as a wise old man, while on the other side are singers from three generations (mother, daughter, granddaughter). Beside them is a defender – a powerful young man. The figures protect the dowry chest which symbolizes the dowry of songs.
The unique character of Latvian culture was celebrated with the publication of Latvju dainas, by Krišjānis Barons, Latvju tautas mūzikas materiāli (Latvian Folk Music Materials) by Jurjāns Andrejs (1856-1922), and the seven-part publication by Ansis Lerhis-Puškaitis, Latviešu tautas teikas un pasakas. (Latvian Folk Tales and Fairy Tales)
The original building of the Riga Latvian Society was designed by J.Baumanis, the first professional Latvian architect, in 1869. It was conceived as a centre for Latvian culture accommodating a theatre as well as the Society’s archives. Latvian theatre originated within the society. The building was rebuilt in 1909 by Eižens Laube and E.Pole. The decorative panels were designed by Janis Rozentals, Latvia’s leading Symbolist artist.
Power, Sketch for the fresco for the Riga Latvian Society, 1910Janis Rozentāls.
The leading Latvian artists:
Janis Rozentāls 1866-1916. Trained at the St Petersburg Academy (1888-96). Vilhelms Purvītis was a fellow student. Both joined Rūķis (Elf) a Latvian artists’ society founded in St Petersburg. In 1903 married Elli Forssell (1871–1943), a Finnish singer. 1915 Rozentāls and his family fled to Helsinki. Lived here until his death in 1916.
Vilhelms Purvītis (1872, Zaube, Latvia- 1945 Bad Nauheim, Germany) known as the ‘philosopher of snow’ and ‘father’ of Latvian landscape painting. From 1890 to 1897, he studied at the Imperial Academy of Arts in St Petersburg. In 1899, Purvītis returned to Rīga. After Latvia gained independence, Purvītis became the rector of the Latvian Academy of Art (1919–1934).
Johann Walter-Kurau, also known as Jānis Valters (Latvian) (1869-1932). Studied art at the Imperial Academy of Arts in St. Petersburg with Janis Rozentāls and Vilhelms Purvītis. Left Latvia in 1906 to work in Dresden, then based Berlin from 1916/17.
They were influenced by the Peredvizhniki (The Wanderers or The Itinerants), a group of Russian Realists who rebelled against the Imperial Academy in 1863. Fourteen students. They founded the Obshchestvo peredvizhnykh vystavok or Society for Travelling Art Exhibitions in 1870. Many of the Peredvizhniki gained fame for their depictions of the Russian land:
Iwan Iwanowitsch Schishkin (1832-96), known as ‘Singer of forest’.
Ilja Jefimowitsch Repin (1844-1930). Some Peredvizhniki canvases were overtly political, such as Ilia Repin’s monumental, Volga Barge Haulers (1870-73), which portrayed the inhumane conditions under which these men worked. Repin, Demonstration on October 17, 1905 (1907) commemorated the First Russian Revolution.
Arkhip Ivanovich Kuindzhi (c.1842-1910) renowned for his atmospheric landscapes.
Jūlijs Madernieks (1870-1955), founder of Latvian decorative arts and design. Studied at Stiglitz The Central School of Technical Drawing, St Petersburg. Joined Rūķis (Elf) Latvian artists’ society founded in St Petersburg. Won a Travel scholarship to Paris in the late 1890s, where he was introduced to Art Nouveau. Illustrated the magazines Zalktis (1906-10, The Grass Snake) and Vērotājs. 1904 Madernieks established J.Madernieka Drawing and Painting workshop. Published Ornaments (1913) folk art; Patterns (1930)
Eclectic/Decorative Jugend Stila: Alberta iela
Alberta Street carries the name of the man who founded Riga, Bishop Albert. Now it is one of the most beautiful and splendid streets in the city largely in the Eclectic/Decorative style. The construction of this street took place in a rather short period of time – from 1901 till 1908. The authors of these magnificent buildings are Mihail Eizenšteins (father of the film director Sergei) and Konstantīns Pēkšēns.
These buildings are rich in picturesque sculptural details. You will find astonishing facemasks (laughing, screaming, melancholy or thoughtful) a large bestiary of animals and references to Classical art. These motifs symbolized the spirit of the age, its intense mood, sense of urgency and the rapid pace of development.
Alberta iela 13, a residential building designed by Eisenstein, was built in 1904 for State Counsellor A. Lebedinsky.
Alberta iela 13, 1904, Mihail Eizenšteins
Lebedinsky also commissioned apartment houses designed by Eisenstein at Alberta iela 4 (in 1904) and Alberta iela 6 (in 1903) and at Elizabetes iela 10b (in 1903) distinguished by its blue tiled façade. The facades of all these apartment blocks provide a spectacular display of ornamental sculpture. It seems the creative imagination of this architect knew no bounds.
4 Alberta Street (M. Eisenstein 1904). The Lyebedinskiy apartment building
The Secession Building, Vienna, Joseph Maria Olbrich, 1898. The Gorgons: Painting, Architecture, Sculpture.
Black Cats House
In Old City, this National Romantic style building designed by F.Shefel is decorated with two black cats on the roof line (1909). An urban myth maintains that the owner of the building was angry with the City Council leading him to place the cats on top of the roof with their tails up in the direction of the City Council.
Grosa, Silvija, Art Nouveau in Riga, Riga: Jumava, 2003.
Hämäläinen, Pirjo, Jugend Suomessa, Helsinki: Kustannusosakeyhtiö Otava, 2010
Howard, Jeremy, Art NouveauInternational and National Styles in Europe, Manchester: MUP, 1996.
Krastiņs̆, Jānis (ed), Art Nouveau Architecture of Riga, exhibition catalogue, Riga: Riga 800, 1998.
Krastiņs̆, Jānis, Art Nouveau Buildings in Riga, A Guide to Architecture of Art Nouveau Metropolis, Riga: ADD Projekts, 2012.
L’Age Du Symbolisme en Lettonie/The Age of Symbolism in Latvia, exhibition catalogue, Luxembourg: Musee national histoire et d’art Luxembourg, 2010.
Rush, Solveiga, Mikhail Eisenstein. Themes and Symbols in Art Nouveau Architecture of Riga, 1901-06, Riga: Neptns, 2003.
Kovacs Daniel and Zsolt Batar, Budapest Art Nouveau, Budapest: Laszlo Kedves, 2018.
Taylor, Jeffrey, In Search of the Budapest Secession: The Artist Proletariat and Modernism’s rise in the Hungarian Art Market, 1800-1914, Helena History Press, 2014.
Szabadi, Judit, Art Nouveau in Hungary: painting, sculpture, and the graphic arts, Budapest: Corvina, 1989.
There are two noticeably different architectural styles in Hungary at the fin-de-siècle: Magyar Szecesszio and Historicism both of which incorporated traditional Hungarian styles. Comparing Budapest to the Secession in Vienna, what distinguishes Hungarian Szecesszio is the use of medieval or earlier vernacular architecture forms and folk-art motifs. Hungarian architects were responding to the nationalistic fervour created by the millennial celebrations; in 1896 the country celebrated 1000 years of the Hungarian nation. This nationalism also led to different responses in the search for a distinctly modern Hungarian style.
Searching for the mythic origins of the Hungarian nation in the East, Ödön Lechner turned to what he claimed were native architectural forms based on Indian and Persian architecture combined with Hungarian folk-art motifs. Training many of the next generation, he created his own highly idiosyncratic Szecesszio school.
The Fiatlok or ‘Youngs’, Károly Kós, Dezső Zrumeczky, Ede Toroczkai Wigand, and Dénes Györgyi went in further back, to Attila the Hun (c. 406-53) and the vernacular architecture of Transylvania and the Carpathians, the traditional Hungarian homelands, creating a Hun-Hungarian or Folk-art Szecesszio.
In search of a modern, progressive, pan-European style, others looked West, to the Vienna Secession and German Jugendstil. The Gresham Palace (1905-06,József Vágó and Zsigmond Quittner) exemplifies this internationalism.
Architect Ödön Lechner (1845–1914) is often referred to as the ‘Hungarian Gaudi’. Inspired by Indian and Persian architecture, which Lechner combined with traditional Hungarian motifs, his buildings are a unique and original synthesis of several architectural styles. Lechner’s version of Szecesszio is very specific to Hungary, an expression of National Romanticism. His buildings are richly decorated with terracotta tiles made by the famous Zsolnay factory. These tile patterns were inspired by old Magyar and Turkic folk art. Lechner’ s weird exotic shapes may have been inspired by carpet patterns. An important source was JózsefHuszka’s Magyarische Ornamentik (1898).
Much that is odd about Lechner is explained by his background and training. After the Hungarian revolution of 1848 had been crushed by the Austrians and Russians, his father confined his activities to running the family brickworks. This also produced ceramics, which inspired Lechner’s love of coloured ceramic materials. His architectural training was undertaken in Berlin, at the Bauakademie. There he absorbed the theories of Karl Bötticher and Gottfried Semper, especially the latter’s ‘cladding theory’ that architecture had evolved from structures hung with decorated fabrics. He also worked in France for three years and, like many of his contemporaries, became interested in the English Arts and Crafts movement.
But more significant was what he saw on his second trip to England in 1889, when he visited the South Kensington Museum (now the V&A) to study Indian and Persian art. For in that, he believed, lay the roots of Hungarian visual culture. Lechner was not the only one to subscribe to this engaging nationalist fantasy, but what is extraordinary is that he became interested in contemporary British colonial architecture designed in the so-called Indo-Saracenic style. As he later wrote, ‘The English, a highly cultured people, were not ashamed of researching into the relatively lower culture of a colony, adopting part of it and blending it with their own. Was it not at least as much the duty of us Hungarians to study the culture of our own people and weld it together with our general culture?’
Lechner was criticised by the conservative Hungarian establishment, which tended to favour neo-baroque. In 1902, the minister of culture announced that ‘I do not like the secessionist style, and…it is not uncommon to meet the secessionist style under the name of the Hungarian style’ and made sure that Lechner received no more public commissions in the capital. Buildings in Budapest designed by Lechner include the Museum of Applied Arts (completed 1896), the Geological Museum (1896-99) and the Postal Savings Bank building (Postatakarékpénztár, 1900–01; with Sándor Baumgarten).
Béla Lajta and Aladár Árkay were initially inspired by Lechner’s secession style.
The other prominent architect was Károly Kós (1883-1977), a leading member of the‘Youngs’.He was inspired by Hungarian folk culture, especially the Székelys, a Hungarian ethnic group in Transylvania. Buildings in Budapest designed by Kós include the Budapest Zoo and Wekerle Telep, a garden suburb based on the ideas of Ebenezer Howard.
Besides the two ‘homeland’ styles there are several buildings that reflect European trends, notably the Vienna Secession, German Jugendstil and French/Belgium Art Nouveau. Bedö-Ház (House of Hungarian Art Nouveau) houses a museum dedicated to the Hungarian Szecesszio movement. Built in 1903 by Emil Vidor in 1903 for the Bedő family, the house itself shows the influence of French Art Nouveau forms.
József Rippl-Rónai: the Hungarian Nabi
One of the most famous artists of the era was József Rippl-Rónai (1861-1927). A painter and designer, he was a Secession artist to the core, from the clothes he wore to his art. He designed entire interiors, such as the dining room of the Andrássy palace and a stained-glass window for the Ernst Museum. In 1884 he travelled to Munich to study painting at the Academy. Two years later he obtained a grant which enabled him to move to Paris and study with Mihály Munkácsy (1844 – 1900) the most important Hungarian realist painter. In 1888 he met the members of Les Nabis (meaning prophet), a group of French painters associated with the Académie Julian: Pierre Bonnard, Maurice Denis, Paul Ranson, Jean-Édouard Vuillard and Félix Edouard Vallotton. Under their influence he painted his first important work, The Inn at Pont-Aven. Through Les Nabi he became interested in the decorative arts, which led to designs for tapestries and ceramics.
Aladár Körösföi-Kriesch (1863-1920) and Sándor Nagy (1869-1950) founded the Gödöllő Art Colony, a centre for the visual and applied arts. Many talented young artists attended this arts and crafts school inspired by Ruskin, Morris and the Pre-Raphaelites.
The Gödöllő Artists Colony attempted to realise the artistic and social ideals put forward by Ruskin & Morris. Aladar Körösföi-Kriesch a leading member of the colony published On Ruskin and the English Pre-Raphaelites in which he outlined a reforming role for artists in society and the belief that by making and using handcrafted folk objects people’s lives could be transformed. By training local young people in weaving, pottery, woodwork, and leatherwork they hoped to give them the means to live the ‘good life’ in a rural community rather than emigrating to the cities or to America. They won international acclaim for their craft/design work based on traditional Hungarian and Transylvanian designs. The community played a key role in the development of indigenous Hungarian design and in fostering the myths and legends that would help forge a national identity for Hungary. They were responsible for an influential five-volume study –The Art of the Hungarian People– on vernacular furnishings and architecture.
The Hungarian Tiffany: Miksa Róth
Miksa Róth(1865-1944) is considered the finest stained glass artist of the Szecesszio. His work was repeatedly awarded at international exhibitions. Born in 1865, Miksa Róth was 19 years old when he took over his father Zsigmond’s workshop. In Budapest, you can see examples of his beautiful work in the Gresham Palace (now the Four Seasons Hotel), Parliament, the Liszt Music Academy, and at his own house-museum. The plans for the stained glass windows of the Parliament building were prepared in 1890. Róth took into account both the light sources, especially on the grand entrance staircase and the building’s interior decoration. He decided to use the Grotesque style associated with the Renaissance era.
Visiting the 1893 Chicago World Trade Fair, Róth was inspired by the opalescent and “favril” glass made by Louis Comfort Tiffany. The displays featured shimmering, iridescent colours and a marbling effect within the glass. Róth was also influenced by the work of the Pre-Raphaelite artists, particularly partnership between Edward Burne-Jones and William Morris. In 1897, Miksa Róth purchased opalescent glass from the Hamburg glass painter Karl Engelbrecht, and began to regularly order glass from his factory. Róth won the silver medal at the Paris World Exhibition in 1900 with the Pax and Rising Sun mosaics made with opalescent glass. One of Róth’s most significant creations using opalescent glass was for the cupola of the Teatro Nacional in Mexico City, which he carried out according to designs by Géza Maróti.
By the opening years of the 20th century, Róth’s geometric designs show the influence of Jugendstil and the Viennese Secession, as seen in the windows for the Gresham Palace (1907 Zsigmond Quittner and József Vágó) and the Lizst Music Academy (1907 Flóris Korb and Kálmán Giergl). Róth worked with many of the best architects, builders, and designers of the time. Reflecting the varied character of Hungarian architecture at the turn of the century, Róth created windows in many styles: Historic, Hungarian Szecesszio, Art Nouveau, Jugendstil, Viennese Secession and even Mackintosh/Glasgow style.
Róth collaborated with artists from the Gödöllô artists settlement, Sándor Nagy, Ede Toroczkai Wigand and Aladár Körösfői-Kriesch. Together they created the Hungarian Szecesszio style windows and mosaics for the Palace of Culture, Marosvásárhely/ Târgu Mureș, present day Romania.
Zsolnay: architectural ceramics
Located in Pécs, SW Hungary, Zsolnay, the famous manufacturer of fine porcelain, stoneware, and pottery, especially tiles, was founded in 1853. It was established by Miklós Zsolnay (1800–1880). In 1863, his son Vilmos Zsolnay (1828–1900) became its director. He led the factory to worldwide recognition by displaying its innovative products at international exhibitions, including the 1873 World Fair in Vienna and the 1878 Universalle Exposition in Paris, where Zsolnay received a Grand Prix. By 1914, Zsolnay was the largest ceramics company in Austro-Hungary.
Early Zsolnay was not marked, but by 1878 the five towers trademark was used. It shows five towers, for the five medieval churches in Pécs. The German name for the city of Pécs is Fünfkirchen, meaning “five churches.” There are three main periods of Zsolnay porcelain production: (FIRST) 1868 to 1897 – Folklorism, Historicism & Victorian Eclecticism (SECOND) 1897 to 1920-Art Nouveau/ Szecesszio and Art Deco (THIRD) 1920 to the present-Modernism.
Pyrogranite, which was practical and ornamental, was in production by 1886. Fired at high temperature, this durable material remains acid and frost-resistant making it suitable for use as roof tiles, indoor and outdoor decorative ceramics, and fireplaces.
Influenced by the iridescent glazes of Clement Massier, Zsolnay produced its own lustre glazes. The factory is noted for developing the eosin process, introduced in 1893. The process results in a light iridescence, hence the term eosin (Greek eos, “flush of dawn”). Different eosin colours and processes were developed over time. Typical colours include shades of green, red, blue, and purple. The eosin-based iridescence became a favourite with the Szecesszio artists, among them Sándor Apáti Abt, Lajos Mack, Géza Nikelszky, and József Rippl-Rónai.
I am presenting a study course on the Spanish painter Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida (1863-1923) for Greater London Arts Society. The traditional study day with three one-hour sessions will be replaced with three following days, one hour each morning.
The dates are:
Monday 9, 16, 23 November (FULL)
Tuesday 10, 17, 24 November
Due to popular demand Monday is already at full capacity.
But there are still places left for Tuesday.
Start time each morning is 11.00 am. The session will last until around 12.30/1.00, allowing time for questions and discussions.
The fee for each individual one-hour session is £10, with a bargain rate of £25 for all three.
If you are interested, please contact Susan Branfield….
Happy to offer this to all Art Societies, as a study day or short course.
Joaquín Sorolla: Spanish Master of Light
This series of three interconnected lectures follows on from the highly acclaimed exhibition held at the National Gallery, London in 2019. For many this will have been their first experience of ‘Spain’s John Singer Sargent’. In his day Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida (1863-1923) was acclaimed for his dexterous representation of people and landscapes under the bright sunlight of his native land. Sorolla’s work is often exhibited together with that of his contemporaries and friends, Sargent, Anders Zorn and S. Peder Kroyer. The Spanish painter Velazquez influenced their painterly style, all three artists known for their bravura technique. Born in Valencia, Sorolla and his sister were orphaned at an early age. His talent recognised, Sorolla was awarded a grant which enabled a four-year term studying in Rome. A long sojourn in Paris in 1885 provided his first exposure to modern painting. He created a high-chrome version of impressionism, with many paintings lit and composed like snapshots. His art looks fast; Sorolla was known to be quick, not least because he normally worked outdoors, even when painting on vast canvases.
Sorolla’s breakthrough was but one aspect of Valencia’s fin de siècle culture. Modernisme Valencià was comparable to developments taking place in Barcelona in literature, art and architecture. Sorolla’s Valencia had opened its eyes to modernity, aided and abetted by both prosperity and a desire to assert Catalan identity. The city was transformed by the architects Demetrio Ribes Marco (1875-1921) and Francisco Mora Berenguer (1875-1961), who was appointed the municipal architect. Typically, Modernisme Valencià used modern materials, iron, glass and ceramics. As in Barcelona, mosaics played their part in decorating exteriors and interiors, most notably the famous railway station, Valencia North. Local motifs include oranges, fishermen and the fallera, girls dressed in traditional costumes and jewellery, that parade during Las Fallas, Valencia’s spectacular festival of fire on the 19th March. Sorolla tried to capture this spirit of Spain in his monument series The Provinces of Spain, depicting all the regions of the Iberian Peninsula, painted for the millionaire Archer Huntington. Famous in his day, Sorolla’s reputation was eclipsed by Cubism and Abstraction. But like his contemporaries, Sorolla has been recuperated, his art seen to embody the modernity of the fin de siècle.
In her reminiscences, The Lilac and the Rose (1952), Susan Buchan, Baroness Tweedsmuir, the daughter of Caroline and Norman Grosvenor, recalled:
We did not know many artists when we were children. But William de Morgan and his wife were friends of the Lovelaces and I saw them for time to time, though they were hard working artists with little time for social life. They lived at The Vale, King’s Road and I recall that it was heavy with Virginia Creeper, whose strands had to be parted to allow passage to the house, where a pleasant shabbiness reigned. There was a gentle charm and philosophy about Willian De Morgan and he was a delightful talker. I remember we once went to see them in Florence one evening- in their little apartment. Conversation turned to life after death, and William De Morgan said ‘I should like to be a speck somewhere in the sky when I die, a speck with intense perception’ (1952, p. 56)
This Blog relates to a Zoom presentation I gave on the De Morgans and the Lovelaces for the De Morgan Foundation. Ralph Gordon King Noel Milbanke (1839-1906), Viscount Ockham and Baron Wentworth from 1862 and 2nd Earl of Lovelace from 1893, was William De Morgan’s friend since childhood. He married Mary Caroline Stuart-Wortley (1848-1941) in 1880; Mary attended the Slade School of Art alongside Evelyn Pickering, William De Morgan’s future wife. I first came across Mary Stuart-Wortley while researching Edward Burne-Jones’s painting The Golden Stairs (1880, Tate Britain). Several sources placed Mary on the stairs alongside her contemporaries: Francis Graham, May Morris, Laura Lyttelton and Burne-Jones’ daughter Margaret.
Penelope Fitzgerald, Edward Burne-Jones: A Biography, 1975.
Having never come across her before, I set out to recover Mary Stuart-Wortley’s story. Over the following twenty years this endeavour has taken me down some strange paths. Lady Mary became a prominent activist in the Royal Amateur Art Society, Octavia and Miranda Hill’s Kyrle Society and the Home Arts and Industries Association founded in 1884. It is worth tracing Mary’s trajectory from aspiring artist to committed philanthropist. Her story also offers insight into the complexities of Victorian society. Family ties and friendships formed during childhood and schooling forged alliances later in life.
As the interconnections through family ties and marital alliances are so complex, I have broken my account of the Stuart-Wortleys into sections on individual family members. I am rapidly concluding everybody in this story is a ‘cousin’. In addition, we are dancing on the edges the coterie known as The Souls, who dominated intellectual life at the close of the century.
Wentworth House, 12, Chelsea Embankment. Designed by John Hungerford Pollen for Ralph, Lord Wentworth in 1877.
Turners Reach House, 9, Chelsea Embankment, London
Home of George Frederick Samuel Robinson, 1st Marquess of Ripon. Block designed by Richard Norman Shaw.
No.7 Chelsea Embankment, ‘Monkswell House’.
Designed for the judge and amateur painter Sir Robert Collier, later 1st Baron Monkswell, by R. Phené Spiers, architectural master at the Royal Academy. This large residence also included a flat with a studio for Collier’s son, the Hon. John Collier and his wife Marion Huxley, both professional painters.
Chelsea Lodge built in 1878 for the Hon. Archibald Stuart-Wortley to the design of E.W. Godwin. Archie shared this studio-house with Carlo Pellegrini (1839 – 1889), nicknamed Ape, Italian for Bee.
A Circle of Siblings
Although Oscar Wilde keenly observed Society was ruled by women, Victorian social networks were centred on birth: ancestral, familial and marital ties. Marriages resulted in complicated interconnecting family genealogies. A web of relationships, family allegiances and alliances, could ensure the progression of one’s career.
Mary or ‘Mamie’, as she was known by her family, was the eldest of nine children. Her father the Rt Hon. James Archibald Stuart-Wortley, Q.C., M.P., Privy Councillor (1805-81), was the third son of James Archibald Stuart-Wortley-Mackenzie, 1st Baron Wharncliffe. In 1846 Stuart-Wortley married the Hon. Jane Lawley (1820-1900), who was the daughter of Paul Beilby Lawley Thompson, 1st Baron Wenlock.
Rt Hon. James Archibald Stuart-Wortley, Q.C., M.P.
Mary spent much of her early childhood in a handsome London town house, 3 Carlton Gardens (Tweedsmuir, 1952, p.26).
Stuart-Wortley was Solicitor General from 1856 to 1857. He was expected to become the Speaker of the House of Commons until a crippling stroke (or riding accident) left him a permanent invalid and her mother had to cope with increasingly reduced means (Moore, p. 2). This necessitated moving out of London, to East Sheen Lodge (which was renamed Wortley Lodge) near Mortlake. With his condition worsening, the family moved back into central London to 16, St. James’s Place. Despite this burden, and the loss of two siblings, William aged 10 and James aged four, who died in 1863, the household was described as ‘a rookery, densely crowded by active talkative young birds.’ (Hayles, p.120). As the eldest daughter, Mary had the greatest family responsibilities, particularly nursing her father. This may account for her younger sister Margaret marrying before her and her own marriage coming relatively late in life: ‘They were an exceptionally devoted family, and their interests were wide and varied’ (Moore, p.1).
Despite financial difficulties, the Stuart-Wortley boys were well educated. Mary’s eldest brother Archibald, ‘Archie’, Stuart-Wortley (1849-1905) attended Eton from 1862 to 1865 before going up to Merton College, Oxford, where he roomed with Lord Randolph Churchill. However, he did not shine academically, failing to graduate. Forsaking a legal or political vocation, he was apparently encouraged by John Everett Millais to pursue a career as an artist. Deemed Millais’s ‘only pupil’, Archie would become a well-known portrait and sporting painter (Hayles, p121).
His portrait of the great cricketer W.C. Grace, the original at Lords Cricket Museum, in his best known work.
Mary’s younger brother Charles Beilby (1851-1926) went to Rugby and then Balliol College, Oxford before being called to the bar in 1876. Following a distinguished political career, he was raised to the House of Lords being created the 1st Baron Stuart of Wortley in 1917. His second marriage in 1886 was to Alice Sophia Caroline Millais, the artist’s third daughter, a romantic attachment surely fostered by his brother’s friendship with the famous painter. Carrie, as she was known in the family and Charles shared an interest in music, playing Grieg and Schumann concertos on two grand pianos at their home, 7, Cheyne Walk, on the Chelsea Embankment. Among their friends were the art critic Claude Phillips, the arts patron Frank Schuster, and the composer Edward Elgar to whom Carrie was known as ‘Windflower’ (Moore, p.2).
Circles within Circles
From left to right
Blanche, Mrs Frederick Firebrace,
Caroline, the Hon. Mrs Norman Grosvenor, married 1881,
Margaret, the Hon Lady Talbot, married 1877 (playing the piano),
Katharine, the Hon Lady Lyttelton, married 1883 (leaning on the piano),
and finally, with her back turned, Mary, Countess of Lovelace.
From Alice Buchan, A Scrap Screen, London: Hamish Hamilton, 1979.
Alice was the daughter of Susan Buchan, Lady Tweedsmuir, who in turn was the daughter of Caroline Grosvenor (nee Stuart-Wortley).
It could be argued that marriage was the making of the Stuart-Wortley girls; in 1877 Margaret (1855- 1937), became the first of the sisters to marry. Her husband, Major General Hon. Sir Reginald Chetwynd-Talbot (1841-1929), was the third son of Henry, Viscount Ingestre, later 3rd Earl Talbot and 18th Earl of Shrewsbury. From 1869 to 1874, Talbot represented Stafford as a conservative MP. He returned to active duty, serving in the Zulu War (1879), Egypt (1882) and the Nile expedition which did not rescue General Gordon (1884-85). He became General Officer Commanding the British Troops in Egypt in 1899. Talbot was appointed Governor of Victoria, Australia, in 1904. As the Governor’s wife, Margaret, Lady Talbot, ‘far from being… the woman behind the man behind the times’, actively promoted social welfare projects.
The Talbot match established a pattern, with the Stuart-Wortley girls marrying younger sons from illustrious families. In 1881 Caroline Susan Theodora (1858-1940) married Captain the Hon. Norman de L’Aigle Grosvenor (1845-98), a younger son of Robert Grosvenor, 1st Baron Edbury, third son of Robert Grosvenor, 1st Marquess of Westminster.
Katherine (1860-1943), the youngest sibling, became the Hon. Mrs Neville Lyttelton in 1883. After a distinguished military career, General Sir Neville Lyttelton (1845-1931) eventually became the Governor of the Royal Hospital, Chelsea.
These liaisons were largely determined by family ties; their mother Hon. Jane Lawley was connected to the Grosvenor family. Jane’s brother, Beilby Richard Lawley, 2nd Baron Wenlock(1818-80)married Lady Elizabeth Grosvenor (1824-99), daughter of Richard Grosvenor, 2nd Marquess of Westminster. Their son Beilby Lawley, 3rd Baron Wenlock (1849-1912), who came into the title in 1880, married Lady Constance Mary Lascelles (1852-1932), daughter of the 4th Earl of Harewood. Lady Constance Wenlock was a prominent member of The Souls.
Stuart-Wortley cousins therefore include Lady Constance Wenlock and Lady Emmeline ‘Nina’ Welby-Gregory (1867-1955), who married the notorious ‘rake’ Henry John Cockayne-Cust (1861-1917); all were prominent members of The Souls.
Confused by all the titles and marriages? Don’t worry, the important point is to realize that Victorian society was highly ‘incestuous’.
However, it was Mary Caroline Stuart-Wortley (1848-1941), the eldest sister, who made the most striking match, marrying at the ‘advanced age of thirty-two’, Ralph, Lord Wentworth, afterwards 2nd Earl of Lovelace (1839-1906), the grandson of Lord Byron. Mary’s marriage must have come as a surprise to her family; she had spent much of her life caring for her invalid father and pursuing a career as an artist. Marriage did not curtail her ambitions, as she continued to exhibit at the Grosvenor Gallery; it was only when her husband inherited the Lovelace title and estates in 1893 that Mary’s life took a different turn. Determined to revive the family’s extensive properties in Leicestershire, Surrey and Somerset, Mary sought instruction from architects C.R. Ashbee and C.F.A. Voysey; she has even been described as Voysey’s pupil.
My next Blog will cover Mary’s career as an artist….
Some authorities do not hyphenate Stuart Wortley.
Many of the records relating to the Lovelace estates in Leicestershire, Somerset and Surrey were lost after the last world war. The Blunt Papers are held by the British Museum, the Lovelace Papers are in the Bodleian Library, Oxford. The latter contains approximately 130 letters relating to Lady Lovelace.
Hayles, Sally. 2014. ‘Archibald Stuart Wortley (1849-1905) Sport and Art in Union’, pp.119-32, Barnsley Art On Your Doorstep.
Archibald John Stuart Wortley – Barnsley Art On Your Doorstep barnsleyartonyourdoorstep.org.uk › uploads › 2015/04
Lee, Vernon. 1884. Miss Brown A Novel. Edinburgh and London: William Blackwood & Sons.
Moore, Jerrold Northrop. 1989. Edward Elgar: The Windflower Letters. Correspondence with Alice Caroline Stuart Wortley and her family. London: Clarendon Press.
Tweedsmuir, Susan, 1952. The Lilac and the Rose, London: Duckworth.
Arts and Crafts Houses in Surrey by Dr Anne Anderson The railways tempted the nouveau-riche to migrate to Surrey. Who influenced the style of the houses they built and where can they be seen?
For the new arrivals Richard Norman Shaw, the master of the English Country house, reshaped the Surrey style. By the 1890s the architect of choice was Edwin Lutyens, who also offered his clients a picturesque reworking of traditional Surrey forms.
The more adventurous opted for Charles Voysey, often described as England’s Mackintosh. The talk will also cover the refined houses of a range of other architects and the beautiful Arts and Crafts gardens with which many were surrounded.