A Once- in- a-Century Opportunity:
Gainsborough’s Blue Boy returns to London
National Gallery 25 January – 15 May 2022
In the winter of 1922, Gainsborough’s ‘The Blue Boy’ hung at the National Gallery for three weeks before it sailed across the Atlantic to its new home in the Huntington Mansion, San Marino, California. It was a public farewell to a beloved painting.
100 years later (to the day), Gainsborough’s masterpiece will return to the Gallery to go on display in Trafalgar Square once again. This is the first time the painting has been loaned by The Huntington. To celebrate this wonderful opportunity, I will be offering three inter-linked lectures entitled California Dreaming.
I have been very privileged to have been awarded two fellowships at the Huntington Library to study the collection of Chelsea Porcelain purchased by Huntington to complement his English portraits. He had the best English paintings and the best English porcelain! Working in the library I would take time out in the galleries, looking at the Blue Boy and musing on how it arrived in California. Many of the wonderful images you will see in my lectures were taken either by Scott or myself during our stay in Pasadena.
Friday 21st January 2022 at 11 am and repeated 7 pm
Gainsborough’s Blue Boy: Super Collectors Henry Edwards Huntington and Arabella Huntington
Although many great works of art are now institutionalised in galleries, American collectors initially bought art to enrich and decorate their homes; paintings were ‘household gods’. Hearst Castle, Saint Simeon is the supreme example of this desire to surround oneself with beauty. Randolph Hearst, media mogul, collected on an unprecedented scale, paintings, sculpture and even entire rooms and buildings which were shipped to California to fulfil his dream of creating a country estate. Likewise, the Huntington Mansion became a showcase for Henry Huntington’s eighteenth-century British portraits by Gainsborough, Reynolds, and Romney, largely acquired through the art dealer Lord Duveen. Gainsborough’s Blue Boy, which normally hangs opposite Thomas Lawrence’s Pinkie, would be joined by Turner’s Grand Canal and Constable’s Salisbury Cathedral, a slice of English culture ironically not far from downtown Los Angeles! For the American super-rich collecting offered status and the expression of good taste. However, above all it promised immortality.
Friday 28th January 2022 at 11 am and repeated 7 pm
The Meanest Millionaire: John Paul Getty, the Getty Villa, and the Getty Foundation
A millionaire by the time he was twenty-three, Getty initially collected works of art on a modest scale, housing his treasures in his Ranch House in Malibu. However, Getty could not resist a bargain and there were plenty to be had following the Wall Street Crash in November 1929. He purchased his first Dutch Old Master, Jan van Goyen’s View of Duurstede Castle at Wijk bij Duurstede in 1931. Leasing Sutton Place South, a penthouse, from Mrs Frederick Guest in 1936, gave Getty a taste for French and English 18th century furniture. He acquired many exquisite pieces of French furniture at the John Mortimer Schiff sale 1938.
Hearst’s audacity spurred Getty to recreate a Roman villa at Malibu to house his growing collection of Greek and Roman Antiquities. This opened to the public in 1974, two years before Getty’s death. His companion in later life, Penelope Kitson, said ‘Paul was really too mean ever to allow himself to buy a great painting.’ Nonetheless, at the time of his death he owned more than 600 items valued at more than $4 million, including paintings by Rubens, Titian, Gainsborough, Renoir, Degas, and Monet. It was his legacy that provided the finance for the Getty Centre, an architectural work of art by Richard Meier, which opened to the public in December 1997at a cost of $1.3 billion.
Friday 4th February 2022 at 11 am and repeated 7 pm
Norton Simon: Old Masters, Impressionism and Post-Impressionism in Pasadena
Norton Simon made his fortune backing Hunt’s Tomato Sauce, Canada Dry Ginger Ale, Avis Car Rental and Max Factor cosmetics! A learned connoisseur, Norton was also a shrewd businessman. In the mid 1960’s, he acquired the whole inventory of the Duveen Brothers Gallery, New York, around 800 objects. He also bought the gallery building, with its library and archives all for $4 million! His collection holds three autographed Rembrandt paintings, an early Raphael, and famous works by Gudio Reni and Guercino. He undoubtedly had a better eye that Getty and was prepared to pay the price for a great painting. Norton eventually assembled one of the most comprehensive collections of Impressionists and Post-Impressionists in the world, including five works by Van Gogh. You can trace the entire history of French avant-garde art from Courbet to Braque. With works by Henry Moore arranged around a tranquil pool, the sculpture garden is breathtakingly beautiful, a quiet oasis in the bustle of Pasadena.
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.
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.
or you can pay directly through Paypal
One lecture Huntington
The Huntington Collection of 18th century portraits
One Lecture Getty
The Getty Villa and the Getty Centre
One Lecture Norton Simon
Norton Simon Museum Pasadena
Huntington Getty Norton Simon
Lectures recently added to the library
It’s that time of the year when we start to think about Christmas. I expect we have all dreamt of the ultimate present, a Tiffany diamond bracelet, a Rene Lalique Art Nouveau jewel, or a Faberge trinket (as above!). While such baubles are beyond my modest pocket, I have still been able to enjoy seeing such treasures in museums across the world. Lecturing on a Fred Olsen cruise I visited the awesome Fabergé Museum in St Petersburg. This private collection is housed in the beautiful Shuvalov Palace, on the Fontanka River Embankment. I have chased Tiffany across world, from the New York Historical Society, where the glittering Tiffany lamps do indeed resemble baubles, to the National Gallery, Canberra. On my Travel Editions tour, based in Metz, I have been privileged to visit the Lalique Museum in Wingen-sur-Moder several times. I confess in the gift shop I have marked my visit with yet more books and a commemorative fridge magnet. Drawing on the extensive collection of images that I have accrued over the years, I hope to take you via Zoom to see these wonderful collections in St Petersburg, New York, and Eastern France. Hopefully in 2022 it will be easier to travel and this series of three lectures will inspire you!
Carl Fabergé: Imperial Presents
Tiffany & Co: from Diamonds to Art Glass
Rene Lalique: Master of Art Nouveau Jewellery
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One zoom lecture Carl Faberge
One zoom lecture Tiffany
One zoom Lalique
More lectures in the Library
l’Ecole de Nancy: this series of three lectures continues my theme of Art Partnerships.
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).
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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.
One lecture Galle
Daum Frères Cristalleries: glass and stained glassMigrating 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.
One Lecture Daum
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.
One Lecture Majorelle
More Art Patnerships….
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’.
One Lecture Morris and Burne-Jones
Josef Hoffmann and Kolo Moser, founders of the Wiener 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.
One Lecture Hoffmann and Moser
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.
One Lecture Lutyens and Jekyll
William Morris and the Arts and Crafts Interior
Christopher Dresser and the Aesthetic Interior
Ernest Gimson and the Cotswold Arts and Crafts Interior
Victor Horta and the Art Nouveau Interior
James Tissot: Fashionable London
James McNeill Whistler: An American Abroad
Lawrence Alma-Tadema: At Home in Antiquity
Gustav Klimt: ‘All Art is Erotic’
These lectures are available on open access:
Modern Art comes to Scotland: Glasgow Boys and Scottish Colourists
How did we get IKEA? Scandinavian Design c. 1880-1960
Charles Rennie Mackintosh and the Glasgow Four
Art Deco: High Style in the Roaring Twenties
The Bauhaus 1919-2019: A Hundred Years of Modern Design
Art and Crafts Gardens: A Haven for our Troubled Times
Everything Stops for Tea! A Social History of Tea Drinking
Art Nouveau Cities
Nordic Vision: Scandinavian Painting 1880-1914