Saturday, November 30, 2019

18C Personal Branding - Garden Conversation Pieces

Arthur Devis (English Painter, c1712-1787) Leak Okeover, Rev. John Allen and Captain Chester & Dogs at Okeover Hall, Staffordshire 1747

Since the mid-20C, personal branding or self-packaging has described a burgeoning process of attempting to establish a prescribed image or impression in the minds of others about an individual or a family.  With no instant & far-reaching social media or digitally-aided forms of disclosure in the 18C, that wasn't so easy.  But that kind of perception could be reinforced through Conversation Piece portraits.  Pioneered by William Hogarth (1697–1764) & Philip Mercier (1689-1760) in the early 18C, & continued by Arthur Devis (1712-1787), George Stubbs (1724-1806), Johan Zoffany (1733–1810) & others, the Conversation Piece was a new form of portraiture, depicting groups of traditional & aspiring gentry often in country house garden landscape settings.

A growing, affluent middle class was emerging, as Britain’s colonial empire prospered in the 17C & 18C, & its Industrial Revolution began.  The dissolution of England's monasteries in the 1530s had led to new land ownership, and consequently to a new class of non-aristocratic landowners. The power battles between this new class & the old finally led to the restoration of the monarchy under Charles II in 1660.  Often socially spurned by established aristocracy, these newly-wealthy merchants, industrialists, & landowners assumed more casual manners enlivening both novels & group portraits. These new portrait Conversation Pieces & novels, like Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice & Daniel Defoe’s Moll Flanders, attempted to portray a more relaxed narrative of the prosperous middle class rather than the stiff allegories & heroic epic poems preferred by earlier aristocrats. Painters were commissioned to hold a mirror to this emerging English society more intimately portrayed in still sought-after planned environments participating in activities expected of "natural leaders" at their elegantly country house landscapes.  No longer were families simply rather stiffly painted outdoors, as they were in the 17C, when budding science was promoting man as the "interpreter of Nature."  Now the newly-privileged yearned to appear in complex multi-figured compositions, filled with more relaxed representations of traditional, socially-proper customs & activities. The vibrant (& at times wholly fabricated) settings in these works reflect the aspirations of the emerging material culture of Georgian Britain. 

Typically those depicted were members of an immediate family, but in-laws, friends & colleagues could be included; & sometimes, significant deceased relatives also appeared.  Occasionally, artists depicted organized gatherings of elite gentlemen discussing new science or scholarship. The settings of outdoor Conversation Pieces reflected the image the client wanted to present, especially the ideal landscape or more-natural garden, which he wanted to portray as the upper-class setting of his everyday activities.  And so, these Conversation Pieces are a great way to see what those in the 18C aspired to have in their planned, personal landscapes. The subjects of outdoor Conversation Pieces were depicted enjoying a variety of genteel pastimes, whether or not they actually could do the activities. Elites, aspiring or long-established, were painted sharing common activities such as hunting, fishing, outdoor meals & musical parties. Dogs & horses were also frequently included as proper gentry accessories.

Friday, November 29, 2019

Music in the Garden - 1700s


Richard Houston (British printmaker) Fête Champêtre; a man playing a flute, while a couple sit singing from a shared music book


Thursday, November 28, 2019

18C Personal Branding - Garden Conversation Pieces

Arthur Devis (English Painter, c1712-1787) Members of the Maynard Family in the Park at Waltons (1755-1762)

Since the mid-20C, personal branding or self-packaging has described a burgeoning process of attempting to establish a prescribed image or impression in the minds of others about an individual or a family.  With no instant & far-reaching social media or digitally-aided forms of disclosure in the 18C, that wasn't so easy.  But that kind of perception could be reinforced through Conversation Piece portraits.  Pioneered by William Hogarth (1697–1764) & Philip Mercier (1689-1760) in the early 18C, & continued by Arthur Devis (1712-1787), George Stubbs (1724-1806), Johan Zoffany (1733–1810) & others, the Conversation Piece was a new form of portraiture, depicting groups of traditional & aspiring gentry often in country house garden landscape settings.

A growing, affluent middle class was emerging, as Britain’s colonial empire prospered in the 17C & 18C, & its Industrial Revolution began.  The dissolution of England's monasteries in the 1530s had led to new land ownership, and consequently to a new class of non-aristocratic landowners. The power battles between this new class & the old finally led to the restoration of the monarchy under Charles II in 1660.  Often socially spurned by established aristocracy, these newly-wealthy merchants, industrialists, & landowners assumed more casual manners enlivening both novels & group portraits. These new portrait Conversation Pieces & novels, like Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice & Daniel Defoe’s Moll Flanders, attempted to portray a more relaxed narrative of the prosperous middle class rather than the stiff allegories & heroic epic poems preferred by earlier aristocrats. Painters were commissioned to hold a mirror to this emerging English society more intimately portrayed in still sought-after planned environments participating in activities expected of "natural leaders" at their elegantly country house landscapes.  No longer were families simply rather stiffly painted outdoors, as they were in the 17C, when budding science was promoting man as the "interpreter of Nature."  Now the newly-privileged yearned to appear in complex multi-figured compositions, filled with more relaxed representations of traditional, socially-proper customs & activities. The vibrant (& at times wholly fabricated) settings in these works reflect the aspirations of the emerging material culture of Georgian Britain. 

Typically those depicted were members of an immediate family, but in-laws, friends & colleagues could be included; & sometimes, significant deceased relatives also appeared.  Occasionally, artists depicted organized gatherings of elite gentlemen discussing new science or scholarship. The settings of outdoor Conversation Pieces reflected the image the client wanted to present, especially the ideal landscape or more-natural garden, which he wanted to portray as the upper-class setting of his everyday activities.  And so, these Conversation Pieces are a great way to see what those in the 18C aspired to have in their planned, personal landscapes. The subjects of outdoor Conversation Pieces were depicted enjoying a variety of genteel pastimes, whether or not they actually could do the activities. Elites, aspiring or long-established, were painted sharing common activities such as hunting, fishing, outdoor meals & musical parties. Dogs & horses were also frequently included as proper gentry accessories.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Music in a Garden - 1700s


John Jones (British printmaker, c 1745-1797) A young woman, sitting on a garden terrace reading a music book with a lute behind her and a dog at her feet. 1790


Tuesday, November 26, 2019

18C Personal Branding - Garden Conversation Pieces

Arthur Devis (English Painter, c1712-1787) An Unknown Man with His Daughter – (1746-1748)

Since the mid-20C, personal branding or self-packaging has described a burgeoning process of attempting to establish a prescribed image or impression in the minds of others about an individual or a family.  With no instant & far-reaching social media or digitally-aided forms of disclosure in the 18C, that wasn't so easy.  But that kind of perception could be reinforced through Conversation Piece portraits.  Pioneered by William Hogarth (1697–1764) & Philip Mercier (1689-1760) in the early 18C, & continued by Arthur Devis (1712-1787), George Stubbs (1724-1806), Johan Zoffany (1733–1810) & others, the Conversation Piece was a new form of portraiture, depicting groups of traditional & aspiring gentry often in country house garden landscape settings.

A growing, affluent middle class was emerging, as Britain’s colonial empire prospered in the 17C & 18C, & its Industrial Revolution began.  The dissolution of England's monasteries in the 1530s had led to new land ownership, and consequently to a new class of non-aristocratic landowners. The power battles between this new class finally led to the restoration of the monarchy under Charles II in 1660.  Often socially spurned by established aristocracy, these newly-wealthy merchants, industrialists, & landowners assumed more casual manners enlivening both novels & group portraits. These new portrait Conversation Pieces & novels, like Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice & Daniel Defoe’s Moll Flanders, attempted to portray a more relaxed narrative of the prosperous middle class rather than the stiff allegories & heroic epic poems preferred by earlier aristocrats. Painters were commissioned to hold a mirror to this emerging English society more intimately portrayed in still sought-after planned environments participating in activities expected of "natural leaders" at their elegantly country house landscapes.  No longer were families simply rather stiffly painted outdoors, as they were in the 17C, when budding science was promoting man as the "interpreter of Nature."  Now the newly-privileged yearned to appear in complex multi-figured compositions, filled with more relaxed representations of traditional, socially-proper customs & activities. The vibrant (& at times wholly fabricated) settings in these works reflect the aspirations of the emerging material culture of Georgian Britain. 

Typically those depicted were members of an immediate family, but in-laws, friends & colleagues could be included; & sometimes, significant deceased relatives also appeared.  Occasionally, artists depicted organized gatherings of elite gentlemen discussing new science or scholarship. The settings of outdoor Conversation Pieces reflected the image the client wanted to present, especially the ideal landscape or more-natural garden, which he wanted to portray as the upper-class setting of his everyday activities.  And so, these Conversation Pieces are a great way to see what those in the 18C aspired to have in their planned, personal landscapes. The subjects of outdoor Conversation Pieces were depicted enjoying a variety of genteel pastimes, whether or not they actually could do the activities. Elites, aspiring or long-established, were painted sharing common activities such as hunting, fishing, outdoor meals & musical parties. Dogs & horses were also frequently included as proper gentry accessories.

Monday, November 25, 2019

Music in the Garden - 1700s


Laurie & Whittle; Robert Laurie and James Whittle A young woman sitting on a chair in a garden holding up a sheet of music 1781


Sunday, November 24, 2019

18C Personal Branding - Garden Conversation Pieces

Arthur Devis (English Painter, c1712-1787) Rev. Hon. Robert Cholmondeley and his wife Mary with Child & Dog.

Since the mid-20C, personal branding or self-packaging has described a burgeoning process of attempting to establish a prescribed image or impression in the minds of others about an individual or a family.  With no instant & far-reaching social media or digitally-aided forms of disclosure in the 18C, that wasn't so easy.  But that kind of perception could be reinforced through Conversation Piece portraits.  Pioneered by William Hogarth (1697–1764) & Philip Mercier (1689-1760) in the early 18C, & continued by Arthur Devis (1712-1787), George Stubbs (1724-1806), Johan Zoffany (1733–1810) & others, the Conversation Piece was a new form of portraiture, depicting groups of traditional & aspiring gentry often in country house garden landscape settings.

A growing, affluent middle class was emerging, as Britain’s colonial empire prospered in the 17C & 18C, & its Industrial Revolution began.  The dissolution of England's monasteries in the 1530s had led to new land ownership, and consequently to a new class of non-aristocratic landowners. The power battles between this new class & the old finally led to the restoration of the monarchy under Charles II in 1660.  Often socially spurned by established aristocracy, these newly-wealthy merchants, industrialists, & landowners assumed more casual manners enlivening both novels & group portraits. These new portrait Conversation Pieces & novels, like Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice & Daniel Defoe’s Moll Flanders, attempted to portray a more relaxed narrative of the prosperous middle class rather than the stiff allegories & heroic epic poems preferred by earlier aristocrats. Painters were commissioned to hold a mirror to this emerging English society more intimately portrayed in still sought-after planned environments participating in activities expected of "natural leaders" at their elegantly country house landscapes.  No longer were families simply rather stiffly painted outdoors, as they were in the 17C, when budding science was promoting man as the "interpreter of Nature."  Now the newly-privileged yearned to appear in complex multi-figured compositions, filled with more relaxed representations of traditional, socially-proper customs & activities. The vibrant (& at times wholly fabricated) settings in these works reflect the aspirations of the emerging material culture of Georgian Britain. 

Typically those depicted were members of an immediate family, but in-laws, friends & colleagues could be included; & sometimes, significant deceased relatives also appeared.  Occasionally, artists depicted organized gatherings of elite gentlemen discussing new science or scholarship. The settings of outdoor Conversation Pieces reflected the image the client wanted to present, especially the ideal landscape or more-natural garden, which he wanted to portray as the upper-class setting of his everyday activities.  And so, these Conversation Pieces are a great way to see what those in the 18C aspired to have in their planned, personal landscapes. The subjects of outdoor Conversation Pieces were depicted enjoying a variety of genteel pastimes, whether or not they actually could do the activities. Elites, aspiring or long-established, were painted sharing common activities such as hunting, fishing, outdoor meals & musical parties. Dogs & horses were also frequently included as proper gentry accessories.

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Music in the Garden - 1700s


 A Follower of Nicolas Lancret (1690-1743) A Concert in the Park


 Bernard Picart (1673-1733) Music in the Garden



 1720 Unknown French artist. A Musical Assembly in a Park



 A Country Party of Musicians (after Jean-Baptiste Pater) 1730-50



Alexander van Haecken (Flemish artist, 1701-1758) A Fashionable Music Party on a Garden Terrace



 Music Party under an Awning (after Jean-Antoine Watteau (French artist, 1684–1721)



Musicians in Pastoral Setting on a Garden Terrace after Nicolas Lancret (French artist, 1690–1743)


Friday, November 22, 2019

18C Personal Branding - Garden Conversation Pieces

Arthur Devis (English Painter, c1712-1787) Sir George and Lady Strickland & Dog in the Grounds of Boynton Hall, oil on canvas, 1751.

Since the mid-20C, personal branding or self-packaging has described a burgeoning process of attempting to establish a prescribed image or impression in the minds of others about an individual or a family.  With no instant & far-reaching social media or digitally-aided forms of disclosure in the 18C, that wasn't so easy.  But that kind of perception could be reinforced through Conversation Piece portraits.  Pioneered by William Hogarth (1697–1764) & Philip Mercier (1689-1760) in the early 18C, & continued by Arthur Devis (1712-1787), George Stubbs (1724-1806), Johan Zoffany (1733–1810) & others, the Conversation Piece was a new form of portraiture, depicting groups of traditional & aspiring gentry often in country house garden landscape settings.

A growing, affluent middle class was emerging, as Britain’s colonial empire prospered in the 17C & 18C, & its Industrial Revolution began.  The dissolution of England's monasteries in the 1530s had led to new land ownership, and consequently to a new class of non-aristocratic landowners. The power battles between this new class & the old finally led to the restoration of the monarchy under Charles II in 1660.  Often socially spurned by established aristocracy, these newly-wealthy merchants, industrialists, & landowners assumed more casual manners enlivening both novels & group portraits. These new portrait Conversation Pieces & novels, like Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice & Daniel Defoe’s Moll Flanders, attempted to portray a more relaxed narrative of the prosperous middle class rather than the stiff allegories & heroic epic poems preferred by earlier aristocrats. Painters were commissioned to hold a mirror to this emerging English society more intimately portrayed in still sought-after planned environments participating in activities expected of "natural leaders" at their elegantly country house landscapes.  No longer were families simply rather stiffly painted outdoors, as they were in the 17C, when budding science was promoting man as the "interpreter of Nature."  Now the newly-privileged yearned to appear in complex multi-figured compositions, filled with more relaxed representations of traditional, socially-proper customs & activities. The vibrant (& at times wholly fabricated) settings in these works reflect the aspirations of the emerging material culture of Georgian Britain. 

Typically those depicted were members of an immediate family, but in-laws, friends & colleagues could be included; & sometimes, significant deceased relatives also appeared.  Occasionally, artists depicted organized gatherings of elite gentlemen discussing new science or scholarship. The settings of outdoor Conversation Pieces reflected the image the client wanted to present, especially the ideal landscape or more-natural garden, which he wanted to portray as the upper-class setting of his everyday activities.  And so, these Conversation Pieces are a great way to see what those in the 18C aspired to have in their planned, personal landscapes. The subjects of outdoor Conversation Pieces were depicted enjoying a variety of genteel pastimes, whether or not they actually could do the activities. Elites, aspiring or long-established, were painted sharing common activities such as hunting, fishing, outdoor meals & musical parties. Dogs & horses were also frequently included as proper gentry accessories.

Thursday, November 21, 2019

c 1750 John Bowen (British, d 1773) A Formal Garden in Dogpole, Shrewsbury, Shropshire


c 1750 John Bowen d 1773 A Formal Garden in Dogpole, Shrewsbury, Shropshire. Worker rolls the gravel walkway, while others promenade.


Wednesday, November 20, 2019

18C Personal Branding - Garden Conversation Pieces

Arthur Devis (English Painter, c1712-1787) Sir John Shaw and his Family & Dog in the Park at Eltham Lodge, Kent, 1761

Since the mid-20C, personal branding or self-packaging has described a burgeoning process of attempting to establish a prescribed image or impression in the minds of others about an individual or a family.  With no instant & far-reaching social media or digitally-aided forms of disclosure in the 18C, that wasn't so easy.  But that kind of perception could be reinforced through Conversation Piece portraits.  Pioneered by William Hogarth (1697–1764) & Philip Mercier (1689-1760) in the early 18C, & continued by Arthur Devis (1712-1787), George Stubbs (1724-1806), Johan Zoffany (1733–1810) & others, the Conversation Piece was a new form of portraiture, depicting groups of traditional & aspiring gentry often in country house garden landscape settings.

A growing, affluent middle class was emerging, as Britain’s colonial empire prospered in the 17C & 18C, & its Industrial Revolution began.  The dissolution of England's monasteries in the 1530s had led to new land ownership, and consequently to a new class of non-aristocratic landowners. The power battles between this new class & the old finally led to the restoration of the monarchy under Charles II in 1660.  Often socially spurned by established aristocracy, these newly-wealthy merchants, industrialists, & landowners assumed more casual manners enlivening both novels & group portraits. These new portrait Conversation Pieces & novels, like Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice & Daniel Defoe’s Moll Flanders, attempted to portray a more relaxed narrative of the prosperous middle class rather than the stiff allegories & heroic epic poems preferred by earlier aristocrats. Painters were commissioned to hold a mirror to this emerging English society more intimately portrayed in still sought-after planned environments participating in activities expected of "natural leaders" at their elegantly country house landscapes.  No longer were families simply rather stiffly painted outdoors, as they were in the 17C, when budding science was promoting man as the "interpreter of Nature."  Now the newly-privileged yearned to appear in complex multi-figured compositions, filled with more relaxed representations of traditional, socially-proper customs & activities. The vibrant (& at times wholly fabricated) settings in these works reflect the aspirations of the emerging material culture of Georgian Britain. 

Typically those depicted were members of an immediate family, but in-laws, friends & colleagues could be included; & sometimes, significant deceased relatives also appeared.  Occasionally, artists depicted organized gatherings of elite gentlemen discussing new science or scholarship. The settings of outdoor Conversation Pieces reflected the image the client wanted to present, especially the ideal landscape or more-natural garden, which he wanted to portray as the upper-class setting of his everyday activities.  And so, these Conversation Pieces are a great way to see what those in the 18C aspired to have in their planned, personal landscapes. The subjects of outdoor Conversation Pieces were depicted enjoying a variety of genteel pastimes, whether or not they actually could do the activities. Elites, aspiring or long-established, were painted sharing common activities such as hunting, fishing, outdoor meals & musical parties. Dogs & horses were also frequently included as proper gentry accessories.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Jacques Rigaud (1681-1754) Vue du Château de Trianon du Coté du Parterre. Maisons Royales de France

Jacques Rigaud (1681-1754)Vue du Château de Trianon du Coté du Parterre. Maisons Royales de France

Italian Jesuit Giuseppe Castiglione's 1688-1766 Western-style gardens in China - Main facade observatory


Giuseppe Castiglione (Jesuit Italian artist, 1688-1766) Yuanyingguan zhengmian, main façade of Observatory of Distant Waters.


Giuseppe Castiglione (Italian artist, 1688-1766), was a Jesuit lay brother who served as a missionary in China, where he became a painter at the court of the emperor.  The Jesuits in China asked for a painter to be sent to the imperial court in Beijing.   Castiglione volunteered; and in 1715, the 27-year- old Castiglione arrived in China.  

Emperor Quianlong (Ch'ien Lung) enhanced the vast Summer Palace region in Beijing by having Castiglione design gardens & buildings for the Yuanmingyuan or Old Summer Palace. Castiglione designed Western-Style buildings in the imperial gardens of the Old Summer Palace.  Between 1747-1759, Castiglione’s designs for the Yuen-Ming Yuen, Garden of Perfect Clarity, both the buildings & gardens, were presented to the Emperor for approval & execution. The gardens were set in the midst of a multitude of jets of water, cascades and fountains. Unfortunately, French & English forces plundered Yuanmingyuan in 1860 and only ruins remain. 

Working under the Chinese name Lang Shining, Castiglione served at the Qing court for 51 years, spanning the 3 emperors of the Kangxi, Yongzheng & Qianlong periods, before he died in 1766.   

See

A Suite of Twenty Engravings of the Yuan Ming-Yuan Summer Palaces and Gardens of the Chinese Emperor Ch'ien Lung. (published 1786) at NYPL Digital Gallery.

Twenty views of the European Palaces in the Garden of Perfect Brightness



Monday, November 18, 2019

18C Personal Branding - Garden Conversation Pieces

Arthur Devis (English Painter, c1712-1787) Sir Joshua Vanneck and Family in the garden at Roehampton House, Putney (1752)

Since the mid-20C, personal branding or self-packaging has described a burgeoning process of attempting to establish a prescribed image or impression in the minds of others about an individual or a family.  With no instant & far-reaching social media or digitally-aided forms of disclosure in the 18C, that wasn't so easy.  But that kind of perception could be reinforced through Conversation Piece portraits.  Pioneered by William Hogarth (1697–1764) & Philip Mercier (1689-1760) in the early 18C, & continued by Arthur Devis (1712-1787), George Stubbs (1724-1806), Johan Zoffany (1733–1810) & others, the Conversation Piece was a new form of portraiture, depicting groups of traditional & aspiring gentry often in country house garden landscape settings.

A growing, affluent middle class was emerging, as Britain’s colonial empire prospered in the 17C & 18C, & its Industrial Revolution began.  The dissolution of England's monasteries in the 1530s had led to new land ownership, and consequently to a new class of non-aristocratic landowners. The power battles between this new class & the old finally led to the restoration of the monarchy under Charles II in 1660.  Often socially spurned by established aristocracy, these newly-wealthy merchants, industrialists, & landowners assumed more casual manners enlivening both novels & group portraits. These new portrait Conversation Pieces & novels, like Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice & Daniel Defoe’s Moll Flanders, attempted to portray a more relaxed narrative of the prosperous middle class rather than the stiff allegories & heroic epic poems preferred by earlier aristocrats. Painters were commissioned to hold a mirror to this emerging English society more intimately portrayed in still sought-after planned environments participating in activities expected of "natural leaders" at their elegantly country house landscapes.  No longer were families simply rather stiffly painted outdoors, as they were in the 17C, when budding science was promoting man as the "interpreter of Nature."  Now the newly-privileged yearned to appear in complex multi-figured compositions, filled with more relaxed representations of traditional, socially-proper customs & activities. The vibrant (& at times wholly fabricated) settings in these works reflect the aspirations of the emerging material culture of Georgian Britain. 

Typically those depicted were members of an immediate family, but in-laws, friends & colleagues could be included; & sometimes, significant deceased relatives also appeared.  Occasionally, artists depicted organized gatherings of elite gentlemen discussing new science or scholarship. The settings of outdoor Conversation Pieces reflected the image the client wanted to present, especially the ideal landscape or more-natural garden, which he wanted to portray as the upper-class setting of his everyday activities.  And so, these Conversation Pieces are a great way to see what those in the 18C aspired to have in their planned, personal landscapes. The subjects of outdoor Conversation Pieces were depicted enjoying a variety of genteel pastimes, whether or not they actually could do the activities. Elites, aspiring or long-established, were painted sharing common activities such as hunting, fishing, outdoor meals & musical parties. Dogs & horses were also frequently included as proper gentry accessories.

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Italian Jesuit Giuseppe Castiglione's 1688-1766 Western-style gardens in China - West Facade Aviary


Giuseppe Castiglione (Jesuit Italian artist, 1688-1766) Yangquelong ximian, west façade of Aviary.

Giuseppe Castiglione (Italian artist, 1688-1766), was a Jesuit lay brother who served as a missionary in China, where he became a painter at the court of the emperor.  The Jesuits in China asked for a painter to be sent to the imperial court in Beijing.   Castiglione volunteered; and in 1715, the 27-year- old Castiglione arrived in China.  

Emperor Quianlong (Ch'ien Lung) enhanced the vast Summer Palace region in Beijing by having Castiglione design gardens & buildings for the Yuanmingyuan or Old Summer Palace. Castiglione designed Western-Style buildings in the imperial gardens of the Old Summer Palace.  Between 1747-1759, Castiglione’s designs for the Yuen-Ming Yuen, Garden of Perfect Clarity, both the buildings & gardens, were presented to the Emperor for approval & execution. The gardens were set in the midst of a multitude of jets of water, cascades and fountains. Unfortunately, French & English forces plundered Yuanmingyuan in 1860 and only ruins remain. 

Working under the Chinese name Lang Shining, Castiglione served at the Qing court for 51 years, spanning the 3 emperors of the Kangxi, Yongzheng & Qianlong periods, before he died in 1766.   

See

A Suite of Twenty Engravings of the Yuan Ming-Yuan Summer Palaces and Gardens of the Chinese Emperor Ch'ien Lung. (published 1786) at NYPL Digital Gallery.

Twenty views of the European Palaces in the Garden of Perfect Brightness



Saturday, November 16, 2019

18C Personal Branding - Garden Conversation Pieces

Arthur Devis (English Painter, c1712-1787) Sir Nathaniel and Lady Caroline Curzon on one of those popular circular wooden wrap-around 18C garden benches constructed around a single tree.

Since the mid-20C, personal branding or self-packaging has described a burgeoning process of attempting to establish a prescribed image or impression in the minds of others about an individual or a family.  With no instant & far-reaching social media or digitally-aided forms of disclosure in the 18C, that wasn't so easy.  But that kind of perception could be reinforced through Conversation Piece portraits.  Pioneered by William Hogarth (1697–1764) & Philip Mercier (1689-1760) in the early 18C, & continued by Arthur Devis (1712-1787), George Stubbs (1724-1806), Johan Zoffany (1733–1810) & others, the Conversation Piece was a new form of portraiture, depicting groups of traditional & aspiring gentry often in country house garden landscape settings.

A growing, affluent middle class was emerging, as Britain’s colonial empire prospered in the 17C & 18C, & its Industrial Revolution began.  The dissolution of England's monasteries in the 1530s had led to new land ownership, and consequently to a new class of non-aristocratic landowners. The power battles between this new class finally led to the restoration of the monarchy under Charles II in 1660.  Often socially spurned by established aristocracy, these newly-wealthy merchants, industrialists, & landowners assumed more casual manners enlivening both novels & group portraits. These new portrait Conversation Pieces & novels, like Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice & Daniel Defoe’s Moll Flanders, attempted to portray a more relaxed narrative of the prosperous middle class rather than the stiff allegories & heroic epic poems preferred by earlier aristocrats. Painters were commissioned to hold a mirror to this emerging English society more intimately portrayed in still sought-after planned environments participating in activities expected of "natural leaders" at their elegantly country house landscapes.  No longer were families simply rather stiffly painted outdoors, as they were in the 17C, when budding science was promoting man as the "interpreter of Nature."  Now the newly-privileged yearned to appear in complex multi-figured compositions, filled with more relaxed representations of traditional, socially-proper customs & activities. The vibrant (& at times wholly fabricated) settings in these works reflect the aspirations of the emerging material culture of Georgian Britain. 

Typically those depicted were members of an immediate family, but in-laws, friends & colleagues could be included; & sometimes, significant deceased relatives also appeared.  Occasionally, artists depicted organized gatherings of elite gentlemen discussing new science or scholarship. The settings of outdoor Conversation Pieces reflected the image the client wanted to present, especially the ideal landscape or more-natural garden, which he wanted to portray as the upper-class setting of his everyday activities.  And so, these Conversation Pieces are a great way to see what those in the 18C aspired to have in their planned, personal landscapes. The subjects of outdoor Conversation Pieces were depicted enjoying a variety of genteel pastimes, whether or not they actually could do the activities. Elites, aspiring or long-established, were painted sharing common activities such as hunting, fishing, outdoor meals & musical parties. Dogs & horses were also frequently included as proper gentry accessories.

Friday, November 15, 2019

Italian Jesuit Giuseppe Castiglione's 1688-1766 Western-style gardens in China - East Facade of Aviary


Giuseppe Castiglione (Jesuit Italian artist, 1688-1766) Yangquelong dongmian, east façade of Aviary.


Giuseppe Castiglione (Italian artist, 1688-1766), was a Jesuit lay brother who served as a missionary in China, where he became a painter at the court of the emperor.  The Jesuits in China asked for a painter to be sent to the imperial court in Beijing.   Castiglione volunteered; and in 1715, the 27-year- old Castiglione arrived in China.  

Emperor Quianlong (Ch'ien Lung) enhanced the vast Summer Palace region in Beijing by having Castiglione design gardens & buildings for the Yuanmingyuan or Old Summer Palace. Castiglione designed Western-Style buildings in the imperial gardens of the Old Summer Palace.  Between 1747-1759, Castiglione’s designs for the Yuen-Ming Yuen, Garden of Perfect Clarity, both the buildings & gardens, were presented to the Emperor for approval & execution. The gardens were set in the midst of a multitude of jets of water, cascades and fountains. Unfortunately, French & English forces plundered Yuanmingyuan in 1860 and only ruins remain. 

Working under the Chinese name Lang Shining, Castiglione served at the Qing court for 51 years, spanning the 3 emperors of the Kangxi, Yongzheng & Qianlong periods, before he died in 1766.   

See

A Suite of Twenty Engravings of the Yuan Ming-Yuan Summer Palaces and Gardens of the Chinese Emperor Ch'ien Lung. (published 1786) at NYPL Digital Gallery.

Twenty views of the European Palaces in the Garden of Perfect Brightness



Thursday, November 14, 2019

18C Personal Branding - Garden Conversation Pieces

Arthur Devis (English Painter, c1712-1787) Boldero Brothers & Dog of Cornborough, Yorkshire (1752)

Since the mid-20C, personal branding or self-packaging has described a burgeoning process of attempting to establish a prescribed image or impression in the minds of others about an individual or a family.  With no instant & far-reaching social media or digitally-aided forms of disclosure in the 18C, that wasn't so easy.  But that kind of perception could be reinforced through Conversation Piece portraits.  Pioneered by William Hogarth (1697–1764) & Philip Mercier (1689-1760) in the early 18C, & continued by Arthur Devis (1712-1787), George Stubbs (1724-1806), Johan Zoffany (1733–1810) & others, the Conversation Piece was a new form of portraiture, depicting groups of traditional & aspiring gentry often in country house garden landscape settings.

A growing, affluent middle class was emerging, as Britain’s colonial empire prospered in the early 18C, & its Industrial Revolution began.   Often socially spurned by established aristocracy, these newly-wealthy merchants, industrialists, & colonial landowners assumed more casual manners enlivening both novels & group portraits. These new portrait Conversation Pieces & novels, like Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice & Daniel Defoe’s Moll Flanders, attempted to portray a more relaxed narrative of the prosperous middle class rather than the stiff allegories & heroic epic poems preferred by earlier aristocrats. Painters were commissioned to hold a mirror to this emerging English society more intimately portrayed in still sought-after planned environments participating in activities expected of "natural leaders" at their elegantly country house landscapes.  No longer were families simply rather stiffly painted outdoors, as they were in the 17C, when budding science was promoting man as the "interpreter of Nature."  Now the newly-privileged yearned to appear in complex multi-figured compositions, filled with more relaxed representations of traditional, socially-proper customs & activities. The vibrant (& at times wholly fabricated) settings in these works reflect the aspirations of the emerging material culture of Georgian Britain. 

Typically those depicted were members of an immediate family, but in-laws, friends & colleagues could be included; & sometimes, significant deceased relatives also appeared.  Occasionally, artists depicted organized gatherings of elite gentlemen discussing new science or scholarship. The settings of outdoor Conversation Pieces reflected the image the client wanted to present, especially the ideal landscape or more-natural garden, which he wanted to portray as the upper-class setting of his everyday activities.  And so, these Conversation Pieces are a great way to see what those in the 18C aspired to have in their planned, personal landscapes. The subjects of outdoor Conversation Pieces were depicted enjoying a variety of genteel pastimes, whether or not they actually could do the activities. Elites, aspiring or long-established, were painted sharing common activities such as hunting, fishing, outdoor meals & musical parties. Dogs & horses were also frequently included as proper gentry accessories.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Italian Jesuit Giuseppe Castiglione's 1688-1766 Western-style gardens in China - South facade of the Palace of the Delights of Harmony


Giuseppe Castiglione (Jesuit Italian artist, 1688-1766) Xieqiqu nanmian, south façade of Palace of the Delights of Harmony.

Giuseppe Castiglione (Italian artist, 1688-1766), was a Jesuit lay brother who served as a missionary in China, where he became a painter at the court of the emperor.  The Jesuits in China asked for a painter to be sent to the imperial court in Beijing.   Castiglione volunteered; and in 1715, the 27-year- old Castiglione arrived in China.  

Emperor Quianlong (Ch'ien Lung) enhanced the vast Summer Palace region in Beijing by having Castiglione design gardens & buildings for the Yuanmingyuan or Old Summer Palace. Castiglione designed Western-Style buildings in the imperial gardens of the Old Summer Palace.  Between 1747-1759, Castiglione’s designs for the Yuen-Ming Yuen, Garden of Perfect Clarity, both the buildings & gardens, were presented to the Emperor for approval & execution. The gardens were set in the midst of a multitude of jets of water, cascades and fountains. Unfortunately, French & English forces plundered Yuanmingyuan in 1860 and only ruins remain. 

Working under the Chinese name Lang Shining, Castiglione served at the Qing court for 51 years, spanning the 3 emperors of the Kangxi, Yongzheng & Qianlong periods, before he died in 1766.   

See

A Suite of Twenty Engravings of the Yuan Ming-Yuan Summer Palaces and Gardens of the Chinese Emperor Ch'ien Lung. (published 1786) at NYPL Digital Gallery.

Twenty views of the European Palaces in the Garden of Perfect Brightness



Tuesday, November 12, 2019

18C Personal Branding - Garden Conversation Pieces

Arthur Devis (English Painter, c1712-1787) The Clavey family in their garden at Hampstead (1755).  The Clavey party is shown at the home of the head of the family in Hampstead. The spot chosen is a corner of his landscape garden which commands a view of still familiar Hampstead Heath. The party consists of 3 adults & 3 children. Each is shown in a relaxed attitude. The youngest children have been picking flowers, & their mother has made a bouquet out of their gifts. Behind her a young gentleman proffers a bunch of grapes. The son & heir holds out some writing, possibly a letter, before his father.

Since the mid-20C, personal branding or self-packaging has described a burgeoning process of attempting to establish a prescribed image or impression in the minds of others about an individual or a family.  With no instant & far-reaching social media or digitally-aided forms of disclosure in the 18C, that wasn't so easy.  But that kind of perception could be reinforced through Conversation Piece portraits.  Pioneered by William Hogarth (1697–1764) & Philip Mercier (1689-1760) in the early 18C, & continued by Arthur Devis (1712-1787), George Stubbs (1724-1806), Johan Zoffany (1733–1810) & others, the Conversation Piece was a new form of portraiture, depicting groups of traditional & aspiring gentry often in country house garden landscape settings.

A growing, affluent middle class was emerging, as Britain’s colonial empire prospered in the early 18C, & its Industrial Revolution began.   Often socially spurned by established aristocracy, these newly-wealthy merchants, industrialists, & colonial landowners assumed more casual manners enlivening both novels & group portraits. These new portrait Conversation Pieces & novels, like Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice & Daniel Defoe’s Moll Flanders, attempted to portray a more relaxed narrative of the prosperous middle class rather than the stiff allegories & heroic epic poems preferred by earlier aristocrats. Painters were commissioned to hold a mirror to this emerging English society more intimately portrayed in still sought-after planned environments participating in activities expected of "natural leaders" at their elegantly country house landscapes.  No longer were families simply rather stiffly painted outdoors, as they were in the 17C, when budding science was promoting man as the "interpreter of Nature."  Now the newly-privileged yearned to appear in complex multi-figured compositions, filled with more relaxed representations of traditional, socially-proper customs & activities. The vibrant (& at times wholly fabricated) settings in these works reflect the aspirations of the emerging material culture of Georgian Britain. 

Typically those depicted were members of an immediate family, but in-laws, friends & colleagues could be included; & sometimes, significant deceased relatives also appeared.  Occasionally, artists depicted organized gatherings of elite gentlemen discussing new science or scholarship. The settings of outdoor Conversation Pieces reflected the image the client wanted to present, especially the ideal landscape or more-natural garden, which he wanted to portray as the upper-class setting of his everyday activities.  And so, these Conversation Pieces are a great way to see what those in the 18C aspired to have in their planned, personal landscapes. The subjects of outdoor Conversation Pieces were depicted enjoying a variety of genteel pastimes, whether or not they actually could do the activities. Elites, aspiring or long-established, were painted sharing common activities such as hunting, fishing, outdoor meals & musical parties. Dogs & horses were also frequently included as proper gentry accessories.

Monday, November 11, 2019

Italian Jesuit Giuseppe Castiglione's 1688-1766 Western-style gardens in China - The Hill of Perspective


Giuseppe Castiglione (Jesuit Italian artist, 1688-1766) Xianfashan, Hill of Perspective.


Giuseppe Castiglione (Italian artist, 1688-1766), was a Jesuit lay brother who served as a missionary in China, where he became a painter at the court of the emperor.  The Jesuits in China asked for a painter to be sent to the imperial court in Beijing.   Castiglione volunteered; and in 1715, the 27-year- old Castiglione arrived in China.  

Emperor Quianlong (Ch'ien Lung) enhanced the vast Summer Palace region in Beijing by having Castiglione design gardens & buildings for the Yuanmingyuan or Old Summer Palace. Castiglione designed Western-Style buildings in the imperial gardens of the Old Summer Palace.  Between 1747-1759, Castiglione’s designs for the Yuen-Ming Yuen, Garden of Perfect Clarity, both the buildings & gardens, were presented to the Emperor for approval & execution. The gardens were set in the midst of a multitude of jets of water, cascades and fountains. Unfortunately, French & English forces plundered Yuanmingyuan in 1860 and only ruins remain. 

Working under the Chinese name Lang Shining, Castiglione served at the Qing court for 51 years, spanning the 3 emperors of the Kangxi, Yongzheng & Qianlong periods, before he died in 1766.   

See

A Suite of Twenty Engravings of the Yuan Ming-Yuan Summer Palaces and Gardens of the Chinese Emperor Ch'ien Lung. (published 1786) at NYPL Digital Gallery.

Twenty views of the European Palaces in the Garden of Perfect Brightness



Sunday, November 10, 2019

18C Personal Branding - Garden Conversation Pieces

Arthur Devis (English Painter, c1712-1787) The Children of Mr & Mrs Peter Ducane (1747) Richard, Mary and Peter

Since the mid-20C, personal branding or self-packaging has described a burgeoning process of attempting to establish a prescribed image or impression in the minds of others about an individual or a family.  With no instant & far-reaching social media or digitally-aided forms of disclosure in the 18C, that wasn't so easy.  But that kind of perception could be reinforced through Conversation Piece portraits.  Pioneered by William Hogarth (1697–1764) & Philip Mercier (1689-1760) in the early 18C, & continued by Arthur Devis (1712-1787), George Stubbs (1724-1806), Johan Zoffany (1733–1810) & others, the Conversation Piece was a new form of portraiture, depicting groups of traditional & aspiring gentry often in country house garden landscape settings.

A growing, affluent middle class was emerging, as Britain’s colonial empire prospered in the early 18C, & its Industrial Revolution began.   Often socially spurned by established aristocracy, these newly-wealthy merchants, industrialists, & colonial landowners assumed more casual manners enlivening both novels & group portraits. These new portrait Conversation Pieces & novels, like Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice & Daniel Defoe’s Moll Flanders, attempted to portray a more relaxed narrative of the prosperous middle class rather than the stiff allegories & heroic epic poems preferred by earlier aristocrats. Painters were commissioned to hold a mirror to this emerging English society more intimately portrayed in still sought-after planned environments participating in activities expected of "natural leaders" at their elegantly country house landscapes.  No longer were families simply rather stiffly painted outdoors, as they were in the 17C, when budding science was promoting man as the "interpreter of Nature."  Now the newly-privileged yearned to appear in complex multi-figured compositions, filled with more relaxed representations of traditional, socially-proper customs & activities. The vibrant (& at times wholly fabricated) settings in these works reflect the aspirations of the emerging material culture of Georgian Britain. 

Typically those depicted were members of an immediate family, but in-laws, friends & colleagues could be included; & sometimes, significant deceased relatives also appeared.  Occasionally, artists depicted organized gatherings of elite gentlemen discussing new science or scholarship. The settings of outdoor Conversation Pieces reflected the image the client wanted to present, especially the ideal landscape or more-natural garden, which he wanted to portray as the upper-class setting of his everyday activities.  And so, these Conversation Pieces are a great way to see what those in the 18C aspired to have in their planned, personal landscapes. The subjects of outdoor Conversation Pieces were depicted enjoying a variety of genteel pastimes, whether or not they actually could do the activities. Elites, aspiring or long-established, were painted sharing common activities such as hunting, fishing, outdoor meals & musical parties. Dogs & horses were also frequently included as proper gentry accessories.

Saturday, November 9, 2019

Italian Jesuit Giuseppe Castiglione's 1688-1766 Western-style gardens in China -


Giuseppe Castiglione (Jesuit Italian artist, 1688-1766) Xianfashan dongmen, east gate leading to Hill of Perspective.

Giuseppe Castiglione (Italian artist, 1688-1766), was a Jesuit lay brother who served as a missionary in China, where he became a painter at the court of the emperor.  The Jesuits in China asked for a painter to be sent to the imperial court in Beijing.   Castiglione volunteered; and in 1715, the 27-year- old Castiglione arrived in China.  

Emperor Quianlong (Ch'ien Lung) enhanced the vast Summer Palace region in Beijing by having Castiglione design gardens & buildings for the Yuanmingyuan or Old Summer Palace. Castiglione designed Western-Style buildings in the imperial gardens of the Old Summer Palace.  Between 1747-1759, Castiglione’s designs for the Yuen-Ming Yuen, Garden of Perfect Clarity, both the buildings & gardens, were presented to the Emperor for approval & execution. The gardens were set in the midst of a multitude of jets of water, cascades and fountains. Unfortunately, French & English forces plundered Yuanmingyuan in 1860 and only ruins remain. 

Working under the Chinese name Lang Shining, Castiglione served at the Qing court for 51 years, spanning the 3 emperors of the Kangxi, Yongzheng & Qianlong periods, before he died in 1766.   

See

A Suite of Twenty Engravings of the Yuan Ming-Yuan Summer Palaces and Gardens of the Chinese Emperor Ch'ien Lung. (published 1786) at NYPL Digital Gallery.

Twenty views of the European Palaces in the Garden of Perfect Brightness



Friday, November 8, 2019

18C Personal Branding - Garden Conversation Pieces

William Hogarth (1697-1764) The Fountaine Family. Examining a painting on the garden terrace.  And, of course, dogs are in attendance.

Since the mid-20C, personal branding or self-packaging has described a burgeoning process of attempting to establish a prescribed image or impression in the minds of others about an individual or a family.  With no instant & far-reaching social media or digitally-aided forms of disclosure in the 18C, that wasn't so easy.  But that kind of perception could be reinforced through Conversation Piece portraits.  Pioneered by William Hogarth (1697–1764) & Philip Mercier (1689-1760) in the early 18C, & continued by Arthur Devis (1712-1787), George Stubbs (1724-1806), Johan Zoffany (1733–1810) & others, the Conversation Piece was a new form of portraiture, depicting groups of traditional & aspiring gentry often in country house garden landscape settings.

A growing, affluent middle class was emerging, as Britain’s colonial empire prospered in the early 18C, & its Industrial Revolution began.   Often socially spurned by established aristocracy, these newly-wealthy merchants, industrialists, & colonial landowners assumed more casual manners enlivening both novels & group portraits. These new portrait Conversation Pieces & novels, like Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice & Daniel Defoe’s Moll Flanders, attempted to portray a more relaxed narrative of the prosperous middle class rather than the stiff allegories & heroic epic poems preferred by earlier aristocrats. Painters were commissioned to hold a mirror to this emerging English society more intimately portrayed in still sought-after planned environments participating in activities expected of "natural leaders" at their elegantly country house landscapes.  No longer were families simply rather stiffly painted outdoors, as they were in the 17C, when budding science was promoting man as the "interpreter of Nature."  Now the newly-privileged yearned to appear in complex multi-figured compositions, filled with more relaxed representations of traditional, socially-proper customs & activities. The vibrant (& at times wholly fabricated) settings in these works reflect the aspirations of the emerging material culture of Georgian Britain. 

Typically those depicted were members of an immediate family, but in-laws, friends & colleagues could be included; & sometimes, significant deceased relatives also appeared.  Occasionally, artists depicted organized gatherings of elite gentlemen discussing new science or scholarship. The settings of outdoor Conversation Pieces reflected the image the client wanted to present, especially the ideal landscape or more-natural garden, which he wanted to portray as the upper-class setting of his everyday activities.  And so, these Conversation Pieces are a great way to see what those in the 18C aspired to have in their planned, personal landscapes. The subjects of outdoor Conversation Pieces were depicted enjoying a variety of genteel pastimes, whether or not they actually could do the activities. Elites, aspiring or long-established, were painted sharing common activities such as hunting, fishing, outdoor meals & musical parties. Dogs & horses were also frequently included as proper gentry accessories.

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Italian Jesuit Giuseppe Castiglione's 1688-1766 Western-style gardens in China -


Giuseppe Castiglione (Jesuit Italian artist, 1688-1766) Hudong xianfahua, painting of perspective, east of the lake.

Giuseppe Castiglione (Italian artist, 1688-1766), was a Jesuit lay brother who served as a missionary in China, where he became a painter at the court of the emperor.  The Jesuits in China asked for a painter to be sent to the imperial court in Beijing.   Castiglione volunteered; and in 1715, the 27-year- old Castiglione arrived in China.  

Emperor Quianlong (Ch'ien Lung) enhanced the vast Summer Palace region in Beijing by having Castiglione design gardens & buildings for the Yuanmingyuan or Old Summer Palace. Castiglione designed Western-Style buildings in the imperial gardens of the Old Summer Palace.  Between 1747-1759, Castiglione’s designs for the Yuen-Ming Yuen, Garden of Perfect Clarity, both the buildings & gardens, were presented to the Emperor for approval & execution. The gardens were set in the midst of a multitude of jets of water, cascades and fountains. Unfortunately, French & English forces plundered Yuanmingyuan in 1860 and only ruins remain. 

Working under the Chinese name Lang Shining, Castiglione served at the Qing court for 51 years, spanning the 3 emperors of the Kangxi, Yongzheng & Qianlong periods, before he died in 1766.   

See

A Suite of Twenty Engravings of the Yuan Ming-Yuan Summer Palaces and Gardens of the Chinese Emperor Ch'ien Lung. (published 1786) at NYPL Digital Gallery.

Twenty views of the European Palaces in the Garden of Perfect Brightness



Wednesday, November 6, 2019

18C Personal Branding - Garden Conversation Pieces

William Hogarth (1697-1764) The Mackinen Children on the garden terrace admiring a rather grand potted plant. And, of course, a dog is in attendance. 1747

Since the mid-20C, personal branding or self-packaging has described a burgeoning process of attempting to establish a prescribed image or impression in the minds of others about an individual or a family.  With no instant & far-reaching social media or digitally-aided forms of disclosure in the 18C, that wasn't so easy.  But that kind of perception could be reinforced through Conversation Piece portraits.  Pioneered by William Hogarth (1697–1764) & Philip Mercier (1689-1760) in the early 18C, & continued by Arthur Devis (1712-1787), George Stubbs (1724-1806), Johan Zoffany (1733–1810) & others, the Conversation Piece was a new form of portraiture, depicting groups of traditional & aspiring gentry often in country house garden landscape settings.

A growing, affluent middle class was emerging, as Britain’s colonial empire prospered in the early 18C, & its Industrial Revolution began.   Often socially spurned by established aristocracy, these newly-wealthy merchants, industrialists, & colonial landowners assumed more casual manners enlivening both novels & group portraits. These new portrait Conversation Pieces & novels, like Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice & Daniel Defoe’s Moll Flanders, attempted to portray a more relaxed narrative of the prosperous middle class rather than the stiff allegories & heroic epic poems preferred by earlier aristocrats. Painters were commissioned to hold a mirror to this emerging English society more intimately portrayed in still sought-after planned environments participating in activities expected of "natural leaders" at their elegantly country house landscapes.  No longer were families simply rather stiffly painted outdoors, as they were in the 17C, when budding science was promoting man as the "interpreter of Nature."  Now the newly-privileged yearned to appear in complex multi-figured compositions, filled with more relaxed representations of traditional, socially-proper customs & activities. The vibrant (& at times wholly fabricated) settings in these works reflect the aspirations of the emerging material culture of Georgian Britain. 

Typically those depicted were members of an immediate family, but in-laws, friends & colleagues could be included; & sometimes, significant deceased relatives also appeared.  Occasionally, artists depicted organized gatherings of elite gentlemen discussing new science or scholarship. The settings of outdoor Conversation Pieces reflected the image the client wanted to present, especially the ideal landscape or more-natural garden, which he wanted to portray as the upper-class setting of his everyday activities.  And so, these Conversation Pieces are a great way to see what those in the 18C aspired to have in their planned, personal landscapes. The subjects of outdoor Conversation Pieces were depicted enjoying a variety of genteel pastimes, whether or not they actually could do the activities. Elites, aspiring or long-established, were painted sharing common activities such as hunting, fishing, outdoor meals & musical parties. Dogs & horses were also frequently included as proper gentry accessories.

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Italian Jesuit Giuseppe Castiglione's 1688-1766 Western-style gardens in China -


Giuseppe Castiglione (Jesuit Italian artist, 1688-1766) Haiyantang ximian, west façade of Palace of Calm Seas.

Giuseppe Castiglione (Italian artist, 1688-1766), was a Jesuit lay brother who served as a missionary in China, where he became a painter at the court of the emperor.  The Jesuits in China asked for a painter to be sent to the imperial court in Beijing.   Castiglione volunteered; and in 1715, the 27-year- old Castiglione arrived in China.  

Emperor Quianlong (Ch'ien Lung) enhanced the vast Summer Palace region in Beijing by having Castiglione design gardens & buildings for the Yuanmingyuan or Old Summer Palace. Castiglione designed Western-Style buildings in the imperial gardens of the Old Summer Palace.  Between 1747-1759, Castiglione’s designs for the Yuen-Ming Yuen, Garden of Perfect Clarity, both the buildings & gardens, were presented to the Emperor for approval & execution. The gardens were set in the midst of a multitude of jets of water, cascades and fountains. Unfortunately, French & English forces plundered Yuanmingyuan in 1860 and only ruins remain. 

Working under the Chinese name Lang Shining, Castiglione served at the Qing court for 51 years, spanning the 3 emperors of the Kangxi, Yongzheng & Qianlong periods, before he died in 1766.   

See

A Suite of Twenty Engravings of the Yuan Ming-Yuan Summer Palaces and Gardens of the Chinese Emperor Ch'ien Lung. (published 1786) at NYPL Digital Gallery.

Twenty views of the European Palaces in the Garden of Perfect Brightness



Monday, November 4, 2019

18C Personal Branding - Garden Conversation Pieces

William Hogarth (1697-1764) The Edwards-Hamilton Family in Kensington. Taking their daughter, books, & dog to the garden terrace with its child-friendly fountain.

Since the mid-20C, personal branding or self-packaging has described a burgeoning process of attempting to establish a prescribed image or impression in the minds of others about an individual or a family.  With no instant & far-reaching social media or digitally-aided forms of disclosure in the 18C, that wasn't so easy.  But that kind of self-promoted perception could be reinforced through Conversation Piece portraits.  Pioneered by William Hogarth (1697–1764) & Philip Mercier (1689-1760) in the early 18C, & continued by Arthur Devis (1712-1787), George Stubbs (1724-1806), Johan Zoffany (1733–1810) & others, the Conversation Piece was a new form of portraiture, depicting groups of traditional & aspiring gentry often in country house garden landscape settings.

A growing, affluent middle class was emerging, as Britain’s colonial empire prospered in the early 18C, & its Industrial Revolution began.   Often socially spurned by established aristocracy, these newly-wealthy merchants, industrialists, & colonial landowners assumed more casual manners enlivening both novels & group portraits. These new portrait Conversation Pieces & novels, like Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice & Daniel Defoe’s Moll Flanders, attempted to portray a more relaxed narrative of the prosperous middle class rather than the stiff allegories & heroic epic poems preferred by earlier aristocrats. Painters were commissioned to hold a mirror to this emerging English society more intimately portrayed in still sought-after planned environments participating in activities expected of "natural leaders" at their elegantly country house landscapes.  No longer were families simply rather stiffly painted outdoors, as they were in the 17C, when budding science was promoting man as the "interpreter of Nature."  Now the newly-privileged yearned to appear in complex multi-figured compositions, filled with more relaxed representations of traditional, socially-proper customs & activities. The vibrant (& at times wholly fabricated) settings in these works reflect the aspirations of the emerging material culture of Georgian Britain. 

Typically those depicted were members of an immediate family, but in-laws, friends & colleagues could be included; & sometimes, significant deceased relatives also appeared.  Occasionally, artists depicted organized gatherings of elite gentlemen discussing new science or scholarship. The settings of outdoor Conversation Pieces reflected the image the client wanted to present, especially the ideal landscape or more-natural garden, which he wanted to portray as the upper-class setting of his everyday activities.  And so, these Conversation Pieces are a great way to see what those in the 18C aspired to have in their planned, personal landscapes. The subjects of outdoor Conversation Pieces were depicted enjoying a variety of genteel pastimes, whether or not they actually could do the activities. Elites, aspiring or long-established, were painted sharing common activities such as hunting, fishing, outdoor meals & musical parties. Dogs & horses were also frequently included as proper gentry accessories.

Sunday, November 3, 2019

Italian Jesuit Giuseppe Castiglione's 1688-1766 Western-style gardens in China -


Giuseppe Castiglione (Jesuit Italian artist, 1688-1766) Haiyantang nanmian, south façade of Palace of Calm Seas.

Giuseppe Castiglione (Italian artist, 1688-1766), was a Jesuit lay brother who served as a missionary in China, where he became a painter at the court of the emperor.  The Jesuits in China asked for a painter to be sent to the imperial court in Beijing.   Castiglione volunteered; and in 1715, the 27-year- old Castiglione arrived in China.  

Emperor Quianlong (Ch'ien Lung) enhanced the vast Summer Palace region in Beijing by having Castiglione design gardens & buildings for the Yuanmingyuan or Old Summer Palace. Castiglione designed Western-Style buildings in the imperial gardens of the Old Summer Palace.  Between 1747-1759, Castiglione’s designs for the Yuen-Ming Yuen, Garden of Perfect Clarity, both the buildings & gardens, were presented to the Emperor for approval & execution. The gardens were set in the midst of a multitude of jets of water, cascades and fountains. Unfortunately, French & English forces plundered Yuanmingyuan in 1860 and only ruins remain. 

Working under the Chinese name Lang Shining, Castiglione served at the Qing court for 51 years, spanning the 3 emperors of the Kangxi, Yongzheng & Qianlong periods, before he died in 1766.   

See

A Suite of Twenty Engravings of the Yuan Ming-Yuan Summer Palaces and Gardens of the Chinese Emperor Ch'ien Lung. (published 1786) at NYPL Digital Gallery.

Twenty views of the European Palaces in the Garden of Perfect Brightness