Archive for the ‘Blickling Hall’ Category

Francis Hayman, the sculptural painter

April 24, 2014
Sacrifice to Apollo, from the Arch of Constantine, by Francis Hayman, at Blickling Hall. ©National Trust, image supplied by the Public Catalogue Foundation

Sacrifice to Apollo, from the Arch of Constantine, by Francis Hayman, at Blickling Hall. ©National Trust, image supplied by the Public Catalogue Foundation

A group of five grisaille paintings by Francis Hayman (1708-76) at Blickling Hall is currently undergoing conservation treatment.

The Blickling Haymans being treated. ©National Trust

The Blickling Haymans being treated. ©National Trust

Conservators Sally Woodcock and Polly Saltmarsh are consolidating and cleaning the surface of the pictures, filling in surface cracks and strengthening their frames. The work has been funded by the Ashford Trust and the Norfolk National Trust Centre.

Mercury delivering a message to Jupiter and Juno, with Neptune in attendance, from an antique relief in the Museo Angelonio, by Francis Hayman, at Blickling Hall. ©National Trust, images supplied by the Public Catalogue Foundation

Mercury delivering a message to Jupiter and Juno, with Neptune in attendance, from an antique relief in the Museo Angelonio, by Francis Hayman, at Blickling Hall. ©National Trust, images supplied by the Public Catalogue Foundation

Hayman was a versatile artist who produced portraits, history paintings, pictures showing scenes from plays and decorative works such as this group.

The Emperor Trajan sacrificing to Mars Victorious (from the Arch of Constantine), by Francis Hayman, at Blickling Hall. ©National trust, image supplied by the Public Catalogue Foundation

The Emperor Trajan sacrificing to Mars Victorious (from the Arch of Constantine), by Francis Hayman, at Blickling Hall. ©National trust, image supplied by the Public Catalogue Foundation

His biggest commission was to paint about fifty pictures to decorate the pavilions and supper boxes at Vauxhall Gardens, the popular pleasure grounds on the south bank of the river Thames.

Portrait of the sculptor Peter Scheemakers (1691–1781), by Francis Hayman, at the Royal College of Physicians, London. ©Royal College of Physicians, image supplied by the Public Catalogue Foundation

Portrait of the sculptor Peter Scheemakers (1691–1781), by Francis Hayman, at the Royal College of Physicians, London. ©Royal College of Physicians, image supplied by the Public Catalogue Foundation

The Blickling pictures had a similar decorative function, but hung in the private space of the library.

Portrait of Jonathan Tyers and his family, by Francis Hayman, in the National Portrait Gallery, London. ©National Portrait Gallery

Portrait of Jonathan Tyers and his family, by Francis Hayman, in the National Portrait Gallery, London. ©National Portrait Gallery

Sculpture seems to have been a recurring motif in Hayman’s work: he painted portraits of several sculptors and he included sculptural elements in his other works too.

Figures crowning a statue of Hercules (from the Arch of Constantine), by Francis Hayman, at Blickling Hall. ©National Trust, image supplied by the Public Catalogue Foundation

Figures crowning a statue of Hercules (from the Arch of Constantine), by Francis Hayman, at Blickling Hall. ©National Trust, image supplied by the Public Catalogue Foundation

The Blickling grisailles will be on view again from the second half of May.

Perspectives on the English country house

September 17, 2013
The south front of Blickling Hall, with the service wings on either side. ©National Trust Images/John Millar

The south front of Blickling Hall, with the service wings on either side. ©National Trust Images/John Millar

The National Trust and Apollo magazine are presenting a panel discussion about the personal stories behind great historic houses.

One of the service wings at Blickling. ©National Trust Images/John Millar

One of the service wings at Blickling. ©National Trust Images/John Millar

Speakers include Simon Jenkins (journalist and chairman of the National Trust), Oscar Humphries (publisher of Apollo), Nicky Haslam (interior designer, who lives at King Henry’s Hunting Lodge), Robert Sackville West (who lives at Knole), Professor Maurice Howard (architectural and decorative art historian) and Robert O’Byrne (vice-president of the Irish Georgian Society).

View of the south front through a gateway. ©National Trust Images/John Millar

The discussion will explore how historic houses have shaped the aesthetics, cultural politics or academic research of the various speakers.

The east front and the parterre. ©National Trust Images/Nick Meers

The east front and the parterre. ©National Trust Images/Nick Meers

The event will take place at the National Portrait Gallery in London on 23 September, at 7 pm, and tickets can be booked here.

View of the house and the service wings from the parterre. ©National Trust Images/John Millar

View of the house and the service wings from the parterre. ©National Trust Images/John Millar

When I was at Blickling Hall yesterday to give a talk I sensed something similar, what might be called Blickling’s ‘spirit of place’.

Blickling Hall seen from across the lake. ©National Trust Images/Nick Meers

Blickling Hall seen from across the lake. ©National Trust Images/Nick Meers

It is very difficult to define, but it has something to do with the characteristics of the surrounding rural Norfolk landscape, the Edwardian garden, the Jacobean proportions of the house, the materials, the surface textures, the various smells and fragrances, the fall of the autumn light through the windows and the layers of seventeenth, eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth century furnishings and works of art.

The multiple layers of Chinese wallpaper

September 5, 2013
The Chinese wallpaper and border papers in the Chinese Bedroom at Blickling Hall. ©National Trust

The Chinese wallpaper and border papers in the Chinese Bedroom at Blickling Hall. ©National Trust

The work on our catalogue of the Chinese wallpapers in the historic houses of the National Trust is progressing well. Over the next few months I will be featuring a few sneak previews here.

The Chinese Bedroom at Blickling. The ivory pagodas may have come from Lady Suffolk's villa Marble Hill in Twickenham. ©National Trust Images/Nadia Mackenzie

The Chinese Bedroom at Blickling. The ivory pagodas may have come from Lady Suffolk’s villa Marble Hill in Twickenham. ©National Trust Images/Nadia Mackenzie

One of the striking things about Chinese wallpapers is that they force you to look at them in a multi-channel, multi-layered way. They are simultaneously art and decoration, eastern and western, realistic and fantastic. They relate both to the history of interior design and to the history of global trade. They document subtle shifts in social and cultural attitudes, but also illustrate the techniques of Chinese paper making, printing and painting, and of European wallpaper hanging.

Detail of the Chinese wallpaper ©National Trust

Detail of the Chinese wallpaper ©National Trust

Mirroring this complexity, we have had a lot of help in our research from a diverse group of academics, curators, conservators, historic interiors specialists and present-day Chinese wallpaper manufacturers. In an article just published in issue 50 of the National Trust’s Views magazine, entitled A Multi-Channel Approach to Chinese Wallpaper, I have tried to chart the development of the project so far, and the way it has drawn in a multiplicity of experts. We hope that we can build on this informal Chinese wallpaper study group following the publication of the catalogue, perhaps resulting in further events and publications.

Henrietta Howard, Countess of Suffolk (d. 1767) in masquerade dress, by Thomas Gibson, c. 1720.  ©National Trust Images/John Hammond

Henrietta Howard, Countess of Suffolk (d. 1767) in masquerade dress, by Thomas Gibson, c. 1720. ©National Trust Images/John Hammond

The Chinese wallpaper at Blickling Hall is a good example of how new insights can be gleaned by combining family history, art history and material evidence. At the outset we already knew that Henrietta Howard, Lady Suffolk, had helped her nephew John Hobart, 2nd Earl of Buckinghamshire, to redecorate Blickling in the run-up to his marriage in 1761.

Inscription on the back of one of the Chinese border papers at Blickling. Photograph by Mark Sandiford

Inscription on the back of one of the Chinese border papers at Blickling. Photograph by Mark Sandiford

This was confirmed when Mark Sandiford and Philippa Mapes removed the Chinese wallpaper from the walls for conservation treatment in 2002. On the back of the border papers they found inscriptions mentioning ‘1758’, ‘Suffolk’ and ‘Lott 30′, suggesting that Lady Suffolk had purchased these borders at auction, and possibly the wallpaper as well. She also had Chinese wallpaper at her own house, Marble Hill, in Twickenham, and this has recently been recreated.

Transcription of a faint Chinese stamp on the back of one of the Chinese border papers at Blickling. Drawn by Mark Sandiford

Transcription of a faint Chinese stamp on the back of one of the Chinese border papers at Blickling. Drawn by Mark Sandiford

One of the Chinese border papers at Blickling was also found to have a faint Chinese stamp on the reverse – perhaps the name of the paper manufacturer, although it has proved difficult to decipher so far. Yet another intriguing discovery was the fact that the sky of the landscape wallpaper is separate and not Chinese. It was probably added by the paper hangers, perhaps to extend the height of the wallpaper to fit this particular room. Recently we discovered that some other Chinese wallpapers surviving in Britain also have added skies, for instance the one at Harewood House.

The Chinese Bedroom at Blickling during conservation work in 2002, showing the sky section added to the Chinese wallpaper. Photograph by Mark Sandiford

The Chinese Bedroom at Blickling during conservation work in 2002, showing the sky section added to the Chinese wallpaper. Photograph by Mark Sandiford

Much remains to be discovered about this wallpaper, and Chinese wallpapers in general, but by combining all the physical and documentary evidence, and by comparing wallpapers in different houses (and even different countries), we are beginning to gain a greater understanding of their make-up, significance and development.

Angelica Kauffman: Celebrity designer

May 26, 2010

Bacchus and Ariadne with Cupid, by Angelica Kauffmann, at Attingham Park, Shropshire. ©NTPL/Derrick E. Witty

Angelica Kauffman may have been hesitating between music and painting, as I showed previously, but she felt no need to choose between the fine and the decorative arts.

Kauffman collaborated with printmakers in the production of stipple engravings and mezzotints based on her paintings. She was directly involved in the production and marketing of her prints.

Print depicting Cupid, after Angelica Kauffman, in the Print Room at Blickling Hall, Norfolk. ©NTPL/John Hammond

Kauffman was one of the few contemporary artists whose works were used to make ‘mechanical paintings’ – a process of colour reproduction that was invented in the 1770s and was especially suited for use in decorative schemes.

Detail of the ceiling in the State Bedchamber at Osterley Park, Middlesex. The central roundel depicts Aglaia, one of the Three Graces, after Kauffmann. ©NTPL/Bill Batten

Kauffman may have provided some sketches for architect and designer Robert Adam, but she was not directly responsible for the many decorative works attributed to her.

Painted roundel showing a wedding feast by Antonio Zucchi, Kauffman's husband, set in a stucco panel in the Eating Room at Osterley. ©NTPL/Bill Batten

Although Kauffman’s designs were widely used on walls, ceilings, porcelain and furniture, most of them were actually copied or reproduced by others or simply based on her style.

Roundel depicting Venus guarding a sleeping Cupid after Kauffman on the marble mantelpiece in the Boudoir at Attingham. ©NTPL/James Mortimer

Even so, the usefulness of her neo-classical figures as decorative motifs ensured the continuing popularity of the Kauffman ‘brand’.


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