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Archive for the ‘Museum Exhibitions’ Category

The Wellcome Library announced on Monday its plan to release over 100,000 images from its collection of treasures – all in the Public Domain! [CC-BY = please give credit to the Wellcome Library when using any image]

One fine example:

V0019578 A pretty barmaid drawing beer. Coloured lithograph, c. 1825.

A pretty barmaid drawing beer. Coloured lithograph, c. 1825. 
Published: Tregear London (123, Cheapside); Printed: Dean & Manday, lithographers [London]
Image credit: the Wellcome Library, London

A quick search brings up nothing “Jane Austen” – but as you imagine there are nearly 300 Rowlandson prints – here is one to bring to mind summer while more than half the country is in a deep-freeze:

L0017751 A woman diving off a bathing wagon in to the sea. Coloured e

L0017751 – Venus’s Bathing (Margate) –  A woman diving off a bathing wagon in to the sea
Hand-coloured etching 1790 By: Thomas Rowlandson 
Image Credit: Wellcome Library, London

Further exploring: [endless enjoyment!]

c2014 Jane Austen in Vermont

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Opening today! ~ “Georgians Revealed: Life, Style and the Making of Modern Britain” – 8 November – 11 March 2014 at the British Library

tomjerrycoffeeshop-orig

I.R. and G. Cruikshank. ‘Tom & Jerry at a Coffee Shop near the Olympic’ – Pierce Egan, Life in London (London, 1823).

 Tasteful and polite, or riotous and pleasure-obsessed? Discover the Georgians as they really were, through the objects that tell the stories of their lives.

From beautifully furnished homes to raucous gambling dens, Georgians Revealed explores the revolution in everyday life that took place between 1714 and 1830. Cities and towns were transformed. Taking tea, reading magazines, gardening and shopping for leisure were commonplace, and conspicuous consumption became the pastime of the emerging middle classes.

Popular culture as we know it began, and with it the unstoppable rise of fashion and celebrity. Art galleries, museums and charities were founded. In this time of incredible innovation, ideas were endlessly debated in the new coffee houses and spread via the information highway that was mass print.

Drawing on the British Library’s uniquely rich and rare collections of illustrated books, newspapers, maps and advertisements, as well as loaned artworks and artifacts, “Georgians Revealed” brings to life the trials and triumphs of the ordinary people who transformed Britain forever.

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See this link for a short video on the exhibition by curator Moira Goff.

And check out the online shop where all manner of Georgian -related treasures are for sale, as well as a catalogue of the exhibition, another must-have for your Jane Austen collection!

Georgians-map_fan3

Rocque map of London fan, £8
A beautiful wooden fan, featuring a historic map created by John Rocque.
The fan has been created exclusively for the British Library. Wood/ canvas.

[Images and text from the British Library website]

c2013 Jane Austen in Vermont

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If you are into your holiday shopping early, or compiling your own wish-list, here is a fine start: a must-have for your Jane Austen collection:  the Folio Society’s latest edition of  Pride and Prejudice, 2013.

PP-cover-Folio2013

“I had not known you a month before I felt that you were the last man in the world whom I could ever be prevailed on to marry.” 

One of the world’s favourite books, Pride and Prejudice has long been regarded as a classic romance. In Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy, Jane Austen created the greatest pair of sparring lovers since Shakespeare’s Beatrice and Benedick. This sparkling comedy of manners features an inimitable cast of characters including the obsequious Mr Collins, the autocratic Lady Catherine de Bourgh, and Mrs Bennet, the most embarrassing mother in literature.

The award-winning Balbusso twins have contributed eight exquisite illustrations to this edition, as well as a striking cover design. The novel’s celebrated first line is blocked in gold on the slipcase. In a new introduction, the author Sebastian Faulks praises ‘a novel of almost boundless wit and charm that has withstood film and television adaptations and attempts to define it as a “fairy tale” or a “rom-com”.’

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[Pride and Prejudice (Folio, 2013): image from the Balbusso website]

Details:

  • Introduced by Sebastian Faulks.
  • Illustrated by Anna and Elena Balbusso.
  • Bound in metallic cloth, blocked with a design by Anna and Elena Balbusso.
  • 352 pages.
  • Frontispiece and 7 colour illustrations.
  • Book size: 9½” x 6¼”
  • $62.50

[Text from the Folio Society Website]

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…has launched today! – visit the website What Jane Saw and you can follow Jane Austen as she tours the exhibit!

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The perfect time-travel adventure – it is May 24, 1813 –  what do you see?…

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From the website: [ http://www.whatjanesaw.org/index.php ]

On 24 May 1813, Jane Austen visited an important and  much-talked-about art exhibit at the British Institution in Pall Mall, London. The show  was a retrospective of the works of Sir Joshua Reynolds (1723-1792), England’s  celebrated portrait painter.

No visual record of this show is known to have survived, although it  attracted hundreds of daily visitors during its much-publicized three-month run.  However, many details of the exhibit can be reconstructed from the original 1813  “Catalogue of Pictures,” a one-shilling pamphlet purchased by visitors as a guide  through the three large rooms where hung 141 paintings by Reynolds. Armed with  surviving copies of this pamphlet, narrative accounts in nineteenth-century newspapers  and books, and precise architectural measurements of the British Institution’s exhibit  space, this website reconstructs the Reynolds show as Jane Austen (as well as any Jane  Doe) saw it.

I. Why reconstruct this museum exhibit from 1813?

In truth, even if Jane Austen had not attended this public  exhibit, it would still be well worth reconstructing. The British Institution’s show  was a star-studded “first” of great magnitude for the art community and a turning point  in the history of modern exhibit practices. The 1813 show amounted to the first  commemorative exhibition devoted to a single artist ever staged by an institution.  Although Reynolds, who had died a mere twenty-one years earlier, did not yet qualify as  an Old Master, he was already hailed as the founder of the British School and  celebrated as a model for contemporary artists to emulate. The preface to the exhibit  catalogue, written by Richard Payne Knight, treats the work of Sir Joshua Reynolds as a  national treasure in order “to call attention generally to British, in preference to  Foreign Art” (Knight, 9). Knight allows that some of Reynolds’ paintings are better  than others, likening the show to a pedagogical tool for artists and connoisseurs. He  also insists upon the show’s modernity, hailing “the genuine excellence of modern”  artists over the work of their forbearers (Knight, 9). In light of the coverage it  received in the popular press and the London crowds that attended, the British  Institution’s Reynolds exhibit presaged the modern museum blockbuster.

In the age before the photograph, portraits of the rich and famous were  often reproduced by engravers as inexpensive prints. These black and white  reproductions circulated Reynolds’ images of contemporary celebrities widely,  providing pinups to the middling consumer. In this manner, Reynolds’ works  functioned as the modern photographs of Annie Leibovitz do today, making it  hard to say whether he recorded or created celebrity with his art. Wherever  possible, the light-boxes in the e-exhibit therefore show an early engraving  as well as the original canvas. Reynolds’ portraits of “abnormally interesting  people” whom we now term celebrities offer concrete examples of just how  someone like Austen, who did not personally circulate among the social elite,  was nonetheless immersed in England’s vibrant celebrity culture (Roach,  1).

More questions are answered under the About WJS page:

  • Is there a connection between this exhibit and Jane Austen’s fiction?
  • Who, other than the Austens, attended this 1813 exhibit?
  • How did visitors in 1813 experience the British Institution?
  • Did the Catalogue function as a museum guide in 1813?
  • How historically accurate is this website?
  • Room for interpretation and improvement
  • Works Cited / Site Credits

It is a rainy weekend here in Vermont – what better way to spend a few hours but at such an exhibition as this!

Further reading:

reynolds - self-portrait detail - britannica

Sir Joshua Reynolds

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Janine Barchas is Associate Professor of English at the University of Texas at Austin.  She is the author of  Matters of Fact in Jane Austen: History, Location, and Celebrity (Johns Hopkins University Press, August 2012).  Her  first book, Graphic Design, Print Culture, and the Eighteenth-Century Novel (Cambridge UP, 2003), won the SHARP book prize for best work in the field of book history.  Her newest project is the website What Jane Saw (www.whatjanesaw.org).

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c2013 Jane Austen in Vermont

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We have been both to the Exhibition & Sir J. Reynolds’, – and I am disappointed, for there was nothing like Mrs. D. [Darcy] at either. – I can only imagine that Mr. D. prizes any Picture of her too much to like it should be exposed to the public eye. – I can imagine he w’d have that sort [of omitted] feeling – that mixture of Love, Pride & Delicacy.- Setting aside this disappointment, I had great amusement among the Pictures…”

[Jane Austen, Letter 85, Monday 24 May 1813]

Those who have read Jane Austen’s letters are familiar with her comments on visiting London. It has been an ongoing project of mine to figure out where she went and what she did and how she uses the pieces of her London treks in her novels.  One of the more interesting and frustrating is her reference to the art exhibit of Sir Joshua Reynolds – what did she see there, other than not finding a portrait of Mrs. Darcy? It has been revealed today that we will now have a chance to see exactly that, sort of following Jane herself around the galleries, as Professor Janine Barchas of the University of Texas at Austin launches What Jane Saw - a complete reconstruction of that exhibit. You will surely want to bookmark this new website and mark your calendars to view the happening on May 24, 2013!

From the website:

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On 24 May 1813, Jane Austen visited an art exhibit at the British Institution in Pall Mall, London. The popular show was the first-ever retrospective of the works of Sir Joshua Reynolds (1723-1792), England’s celebrated portrait painter.  On 24 May 2013, two centuries to the day that Austen viewed the 141 paintings in that exhibit, this site will open its doors as a public e-gallery, offering the modern visitor a precise historical reconstruction of that long-lost Regency blockbuster.

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I will be posting more on this as we near the launch date – this is very exciting, so stay tuned!!

[image from What Jane Saw]

reynolds - self-portrait detail - britannica

Self-portrait of Sir Joshua Reynolds

c2013 Jane Austen in Vermont

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Enquiring Minds: Tony Grant of London Calling, and a regular contributor to Jane Austen’s World, had written a post for me on Marble Hill House in Twickenham - but alas! I have been so delayed in getting this on the blog that we agreed he should post it himself and I will link to it… so herewith the tale of Marble Hill House, home to Henrietta Howard, mistress of George II. This all started with a conversation over Joshua Reynolds’s house, which led to Richmond Hill, and then on to Henrietta Howard and Marble Hill House, and then Pope and Swift, Horace Walpole, John Gay and the Scriblerus Club, a bit on Wordsworth and Sir Walter Scott and on to Dickens and Virginia and Leonard Woolf, and of course Jane Austen gets her required mention – you get the idea – this is cram-packed with literary tourism and as always, Tony’s fine photographs…

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The Thames from Richmond Hill

The Thames from Richmond Hill

The River Thames wends its tortuous way across England from Thames Head in Gloucestershire until it reaches the southernmost part of the North Sea. Its journey stretches for 215 miles. Finally the wide Thames Estuary which pours its contents into The North Sea is bordered on the north bank by the Essex coast and Southend on Sea and at its southern bank by the Kent coast, Sheerness and the entrance to the Medway.

Along its course The Thames passes though some beautiful English countryside before it enters the Greater London area passing by Sunbury and on to Hampton, then Hampton Court, Kingston upon Thames, Twickenham and Richmond. At last it reaches the centre of London with its iconic landmarks. The Thames, from London along its whole length, has a long history of Iron Age villages, Roman habitation, Saxon towns, and mediaeval settlements, Tudor Palaces and Georgian and Victorian Villas.  London itself began as a Roman settlement for trade, built at the nearest bridging point to the coast   where they had their port called Ritupiae (Richborough). They wanted to penetrate the hinterland north of the Thames. Indeed the names Thames which was Celtic in origin but had its Roman equivalent (Tamesas recorded in Latin as Tamesis)  and London (Londinium) come to us from Roman times.

Over the centuries the Thames outside of London has provided a beautiful Arcadian retreat for the wealthy, the famous, the aristocracy and the monarchy away from the stench and diseases prevalent in many periods of London’s history. They built palaces and grand houses and villas with adjoining estates and landscaped parks to relax and take their leisure in. Marble Hill House is a Palladian Villa built between 1724 and 1729, very close to Richmond upon Thames but on the northern bank of the Thames near Twickenham. It was built for George II’s mistress, Henrietta Howard….

Henrietta Howard

Henrietta Howard

 Continue reading…

Thank you Tony for this sun-drenched tour through London!

For more on Marble Hill House, etc,  you can look here:

Marble Hill House

Marble Hill House

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…and not to be confused with our very own MARBLE HOUSE, the William Vanderbilt’s summer “cottage” in Newport, Rhode Island:

Marble House, Newport, RI

Marble House, Newport, RI

c2013 Jane Austen in Vermont

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The Female Spectator, (Vol. 16, No. 2, Spring 2012), the newsletter of the Chawton House Library, showed up last week in my mailbox – this 12 page newsletter always offers something new and exciting to be discovered and shared!: 

1. “Chawton Chronicles: A Letter from the CEO” – Stephen Lawrence talks about what has been accomplished at the Library since its inception in 2003, especially the academic initiatives and activities and the Visiting Fellowship Programme.  And he writes of the upcoming Spring Gala of the JASNA-Greater Chicago Region where Sandy Lerner, Elizabeth Garvie, Lindsay Ashford, and Stephen will all be in attendance for the “Chawton Comes to Chicago” event [which took place on May 5 – visit the website for a photo gallery of the event – accessible to members only I’m sorry to say!]

2. A lovely tribute to Vera Quin, author of In Paris with Jane Austen (2005) and Jane Austen in London (2008), by Gillian Dow – you can read my blog post on Ms. Quin here. 

3.  “Talking Portraits at CHL” – by Sarah Parry – about the project to bring to life with actors in full costume the various portraits housed in the Library: the portraits of Mary Robinson, Elizabeth Hartley, and Catherine (Kitty) Clive were the portraits chosen for this first effort. 

[Image of  Catherine “Kitty” Clive from CHL at the BBC Collection]

4. “Curious Consumption: Cookery Books at CHL” – by Lindsey Phillips. An essay on her research into the exchange of culinary information and recipes between Britain and the West Indies; included is a recipe for “pepper pot” from Maria Eliza Ketelby Rundell’s American Domestic Cookery (ed. of 1823), which you can find here at Google Books. 

5. “The Day the Descendants Came to Tea: Revelations and Connections from a Chawton House Fellowship” – by Katharine Kittredge, on the author’s study of Melesina Trench (1768 – 1827), an Irish writer, poet and diarist, and Kittredge’s connection with her relatives after her research was published in Aphra Behn Online. [her article in ABO can be found here.]  And click here for Kittredge’s biography of Trench on the CHL website.

Melesina Trench – wikipedia

6.  “The Language of Women’s Fiction, 1750-1830” – a conference report by Christina Davidson – one hopes the papers discussed will be published at some point…?

7. “‘Not in All Things Perfect’: The North Welsh Gentry in Fiction and History” –  Mary Chadwick shares her research on a collection of English-language manuscript letters, poems, etc. written by members of a North Welsh gentry community and collected by one family, the Griffiths of Garn, and how this compares to the writing of the various novelists who set their tales in Wales (including Jane Austen in her Juvenilia!), in particular Elizabeth Hervey’s The History of Ned Evans (1796) [and recently re- published in the CHL / Pickering & Chatto series.

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And reasons to be at the CHL, and a continuing source of depression for those of us who cannot! : 

Lectures:

June 7 [today!]: Dr Laura Engel on “Much Ado About Muffs: Actresses, Accessories, and Austen”

June 20. Professor Elizabeth Kowaleski Wallace on “‘Penance and Mortification for Ever’: Jane Austen and Catholicism.”

June 25. Evening Talk and Book Launch: Dr. Katie Halsey “‘A Pair of Fine Eyes’: Sight and Insight in Jane Austen’s Novels.”

When Mr. Darcy meditates on the pleasure bestowed by “a pair of fine eyes” in Pride and Prejudice, he does so because eyes are so very expressive. In this talk, Dr Katie Halsey explores the relationship between the physical eye and the eyes of the mind in Austen’s novels.

This talk is part of Alton’s Jane Austen Regency Week, and the launch of Katie Halsey’s new book: Jane Austen and her Readers, 1786 – 1945 [and soon to be added to my bedside table...]

 Exhibition:

“Jane Austen’s Bookshop: An Exhibition” 18 June – 6 July, 2012

This exhibition explores how readers and writers in Winchester shared printed material (books, playbills, engravings &c). Men and women, young and old, gentry and middle classes, rich and poor, Protestant and Catholic – all participated. The Austen family purchased literature from the bookshop of John Burdon (today still a bookshop), while scholars at Winchester College published their works in their own city. The newly founded hospital produced annual reports, and local newspapers such as the Hampshire Chronicle promoted all kinds of publications in advertisements and reviews.

Come to Chawton House Library to learn more about book production and circulation. Find out what kind of material was published in Hampshire in the eighteenth century, and just what the Austen family might have read.

You can receive The Female Spectator from CHL by becoming a member / friend – information is here: I heartily recommend it!

@2012 Jane Austen inVermont

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