Porcelain, Palaces and the Dutch Influence in 17th Century England

Royal incentive enabled trends to catch across Europe in the interests of fashion and Queen Mary II and King William III's arrival in England as co-regents swore in the Dutch decorative taste, fresh from their residences in the Netherlands. The King and Queen's collection of palaces followed the sequential pattern of those in France, decked … Continue reading Porcelain, Palaces and the Dutch Influence in 17th Century England

Light Reading: Afternoon Tea Week

Hooray Henry! Its Afternoon Tea Week. A decidedly English habit with its own ritual, Afternoon Tea truly puts the gentility into polite society. At any rate, tea, along with luxury commodities like sugar and porcelain was formerly the preserve of the well-heeled and for the curious modern reader, promises a chequered history of questionable morals. … Continue reading Light Reading: Afternoon Tea Week

Musings: Women, the Toilette and the Boudoir in Rococo Painting

Time for a little titillation: The Rococo's answer to pin-ups on cigarette cards, peep holes and voyeuristic fascination - let's step into the boudoir. Gentlemen getting hot under the dog collar at thoughts of 'walking in' on a lady in a state of undress, that glimpse of an ankle, a well turned calf, the cinching … Continue reading Musings: Women, the Toilette and the Boudoir in Rococo Painting

L’Amour Courtois: Courtly Love – Women in Medieval Art

Courtly love or l'amour courtois as the french called this poetic movement appears in Western European literary and artistic traditions between the 12th and 15th centuries. Beginning with the troubadour poetry of Aquitaine and Provence, a chivalric code of conduct was prescribed, between ladies and the men who vowed to serve them in a romanticised idyll. Stefan … Continue reading L’Amour Courtois: Courtly Love – Women in Medieval Art

Musings: Boucher, Women and Ownership in Rococo Painting

The open display of the female body in the private arts becomes synonymous with questions of ownership. Boucher’s painting of the nude is intimately bound with the patron. In the 18th century, sensual scenes involving European mistresses serve to demonstrate what Cavendish identifies as a “contemporary vogue for erotic intrigue among the French nobility”. Jean … Continue reading Musings: Boucher, Women and Ownership in Rococo Painting

In the Frame: Botticelli’s Primavera

Sandro Botticelli (1445 - 1510) paints Primavera in the second half of the 15th century, Florence - speculated to be the year 1482. Here, he works on a commission from his principal patrons, the Medici dynasty, having found favour with it’s burgeoning intelligentsia. Botticelli presents Primavera as a large-scale mythological painting playing on popular literary, … Continue reading In the Frame: Botticelli’s Primavera

Tastes and Collecting: Augustus II & The Japanese Palace

Augustus II, Elector of Saxony and King of Poland greatly patronised the decorative arts as a matter of kingly acquisitions and the cultural flourishing of Dresden. Here, his investment across various residences was in accord with the extravagance of Baroque court life and a symbol of power. Augustus the Strong's establishment of the exquisitely gilded Green … Continue reading Tastes and Collecting: Augustus II & The Japanese Palace

Tastes and Collecting: The Appetite for Chinese Porcelain in Britain (1)

The collection and display of Chinese porcelain, both in Britain and on the continent, acted as a social signifier of taste, status and sensibility - significantly figuring in interior decoration of the late 17th and early 18th centuries. Greatly accumulated and emulated, porcellena, from the Italian was held in high esteem and revered as a … Continue reading Tastes and Collecting: The Appetite for Chinese Porcelain in Britain (1)