Sunday, April 5, 2020

Early 18C Bavarian View with Gardens


1700 M. Diesel, Bavarian engraver. Prospect of a splendid lush garden, including the building, as can be seen from the side of the garden.


Saturday, April 4, 2020

A Garden in the Background - 1734 Gardens at Hanbury Hall


1734 John Wootton (British artist, 1682–1764) Bowater Vernon (1683–1735), with Hanbury Hall and Its Formal Garden


Friday, April 3, 2020

Early 18C Bavarian View with Gardens


1700 M. Diesel, Bavarian engraver. Prospect the front part and entrance of the princely garden to Hellebrunn.


Thursday, April 2, 2020

A Garden in the Background - Garden Terraces by Philippe Mercier (French artist, 1689-1760)



Philippe Mercier (French artist, 1689-1760) A Music Party 1737-40



 Philippe Mercier (French artist, 1689-1760) Prince of Wales and his sisters 1733 making music in the garden



Philippe Mercier (French artist, 1689-1760) The Schultz Family and their Friends on a Garden Terrace 1725


Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Early 18C Bavarian View with Gardens


1700 M. Diesel, Bavarian engraver. Prospect of the Baron Meyrischen Cascaden and Lusthaus zu Harlaching together with Munich as seen from midnight.


Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Early 18C Bavarian Gardens & Grounds

Michael Wening (1645-1718) was a Bavarian engraver known for his many depictions of cityscapes & views of stately homes, castles & monasteries in the Bavaria of his day. His concept was to publish a visual account of Bavaria’s 4 districts called Historico-Topographica Descriptio. He began in 1696, & had finished more than 100 drawings within the first 2 months.  The 1st volume appeared in 1701, but work on the other 3 volumes was delayed by Austria’s occupation of Bavaria.  At least 1 volume was published after his death in 1718. 

Monday, March 30, 2020

Early 18C English Gardens - Bradley, Seat of Thomas Dawes Esq.

Bradley, Seat of Thomas Dawes Esq. Johannes Kip (1653-1722) The Ancient & Present State of Gloucestershire, pub by Sir Robert Atkyns 1712.


Early 18C Bavarian View with Gardens


1700 M. Diesel, Bavarian engraver. Prospect of a magnificent pleasure garden and building whose under part of a gallery, the upper part but as desired can be used.


Sunday, March 29, 2020

Early 18C Bavarian Gardens & Grounds


1700 M. Diesel, Bavarian engraver. Prospect and Perspective of Gräffl. Fuggerischen pleasure garden to Mauthausen including the pleasure house as same from the side of the garden.


Friday, March 27, 2020

Early 18C English Gardens - Henbury the seat of Simon Harcourt Esq.


Henbury the seat of Simon Harcourt Esq. Johannes Kip (1653-1722) The Ancient & Present State of Gloucestershire, pub by Sir Robert Atkyns 1712.


Thursday, March 26, 2020

Mid-18C English Gardens & Grounds by Anthony Highmore 1718-1799


1700s Anthony Highmore (1718-1799) An Oblique Perspective View of the East Front of Hampton Court

Anthony Highmore 1718-1799 was the only son of Joseph Highmore, & is best known for views of Hampton Court, engraved by John Tinney. He was deaf & resided mostly at Canterbury, where he studied theology. He & his wife had 15 children.

1700s Anthony Highmore (1718-1799) An Oblique Perspective View of the East Front of Hampton Court



 1700s Anthony Highmore (1718-1799) St. James's Park and Banqueting House



1700s Anthony Highmore (1718-1799) The South Front of Hampton Court, with Part of the Garden


Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Early 18C Bavarian Gardens & Grounds


1701 Bavarian Views with Gardens Liechtenberg Castle Michael Wening (Bavarian artist, 1645-1718)

Michael Wening (1645-1718) was a Bavarian engraver known for his many depictions of cityscapes & views of stately homes, castles & monasteries in the Bavaria of his day.  His concept was to publish a visual account of Bavaria’s 4 districts called Historico-Topographica Descriptio. He began in 1696, & had finished more than 100 drawings within the first 2 months.  The 1st volume appeared in 1701, but work on the other 3 volumes was delayed by Austria’s occupation of Bavaria.  At least 1 volume was published after his death in 1718. 


Monday, March 23, 2020

18C Personal Branding - Garden Conversation Pieces

William Hogarth (1697-1764) Woodes Rogers (c.1679–1732) and his Family.  Conducting family business in the garden.  And, of course, a dog is in attendance.

Since the mid-20C, personal branding or self-packaging has described an ongoing process of establishing a prescribed image or impression in the mind of others about an individual or a family.  With no social media or digitally aided 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, but "more natural" 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 really 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, March 22, 2020

1730s English Gardens & Grounds by Thomas Badeslade


 1730s Thomas Badeslade (Artist, Active 1712-1754) Deane, the Seat of Sir Henry Oxenden



 1730s Thomas Badeslade (Artist, fl 1712-1754) John Harris I (Engraver, Active 1686-1740) The Grange & Laybourn Castle the Seats (Also posted under John Harris)



 1730s Thomas Badeslade (Artist, fl 1712-1754) Preston Hall, Aylsford, the Seat of Sir Thomas Colpeper Bt



 1735 Thomas Badeslade (Artist, fl 1712-1754) The North-East Prospect of Chirk Castle in Denbighshire



1735 Thomas Badeslade (Artist, fl 1712-1754) The West Prospect of Chirk Castle in Denbighshire 


Saturday, March 21, 2020

18C Personal Branding - Garden Conversation Pieces

1786 Unknown artist. John Coakley Lettsom (1733–1810), with His Family, in the Garden of Grove Hill, Camberwell.

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, March 20, 2020

Rococo Borders & English Gardens & Grounds by Thomas Robins 1716-1770


1748 Thomas Robins. 1716–1770. Panoramic View of Charlton Park, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire

Thomas Robins the Elder (1716-1770) was born near Cheltenham & worked mostly around Bath.  Sometimes called the Limner of Bath, he is remembered for his sometime naive paintings of country houses & gardens framed with rococo borders of wild flowers, tendrils, leaves, birds, shells & butterflies. His works depict various gardens & seem to provide the only visual record of a brief Rococo period in English garden design. Apart from his paintings, there is almost no evidence that British Rococo gardens ever existed.

Thomas Robins (1716-1770) The Grounds of Honington Hall Showing the South & West Fronts Thomas Robins the Elder



1757 Thomas Robins (1716-1770) Prospect of Pan’s Lodge, Panswyke [Painswick House], Gloucestershire



 Thomas Robins. 1716–1770



Thomas Robins. 1716–1770 View of Bath; from the E, looking over the Avon from Bathwick Meadows, with Bowling Green to left, Grand Parade, Pierpoint St and Duke St, St James's church tower, to right the Orange Grove and E end of Abbey



 1750s Thomas Robins. 1716–1770 



 Thomas Robins. 1716–1770 



  Thomas Robins. 1716–1770 Gloucester from Hempsted



1750s Thomas Robins. 1716–1770



  Thomas Robins. 1716–1770



Thomas Robins. 1716–1770 The grounds at Honington hall, Warwickshire,, showing the ornemental water designed by Sanderson Miller


Thomas Robins (1716-1770) Chinese Kiosk or Pavilion, old Windsor, Berkshire

Bibliography

John Harris, Gardens of Delight: The Art of Thomas Robins, 1978, 2 years earlier there had been an exhibition of his work at the RIBA & at the Holburne Menstrie Museum in Bath.

See also Introduction to his Life & Work by Cathryn Spence & Daniel Brown, Bath, 2006


Thursday, March 19, 2020

18C Personal Branding - Garden Conversation Pieces

Philip Mercier (1689-1760) The Schutz Family and their Friends on a Terrace

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, March 18, 2020

Early 18C Gardens & Grounds by John Harris I (fl 1686-1740)


 John Harris I (fl 1686-1740) James Lightbody (fl 1695-1705) South-West Prospect of his Grace ye Duke of Marlborough's House in St. James's Park Britannia Illustrata 1716



 John Harris I (fl 1686-1740) James Lightbody (fl 1695-1705) South-West Prospect of his Grace ye Duke of Marlborough's House in St. James's Park Britannia Illustrata 1716



John Harris I (fl 1686-1740) Thomas Badeslade (fl 1712-1754) The Grange and Laybourn Castle the Seats of William Saxby Esq. (Also posted under Thomas Badeslade.)


Tuesday, March 17, 2020

18C Personal Branding - Garden Conversation Pieces

Philip Mercier (1689-1760) The Belton Conversation-Piece from Belton House

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.

Monday, March 16, 2020

1758 Gardens & Grounds at Newstead Abbey, Nottinghamshire



1758 Reverend Richard Byron (British artist, 1724-1811) East View of Newstead Abbey, Nottinghamshire, and the Great Garden


Sunday, March 15, 2020

18C Personal Branding - Garden Conversation Pieces

Philip Mercier (1689-1760) La Danse

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, March 14, 2020

1720s English Gardens & Grounds


1720-30 Thomas Bardwell (British artist, 1704-1767) View of Perry Hall, near Birmingham


Friday, March 13, 2020

18C Personal Branding - Garden Conversation Pieces

Philip Mercier (1689-1760) Conversation Piece, or Lovers in a Park, c.1727  Syon House, Middlesex, UK

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, March 12, 2020

1710 English Gardens & Grounds


1710 After Henry Winstanley (English artist, 1644-1703) Audley End House - Overmantel from Bower Hall (demolished 1926)


Wednesday, March 11, 2020

18C Personal Branding - Garden Conversation Pieces

Nathaniel Dance-Holland (English, 1735-1811) William Weddell, the Reverend William Palgrave, and Mr I'Anson in Rome

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, March 10, 2020

1712 English Gardens - Berkley Castle the seat of the Earle of Berkley


Berkley Castle the seat of the Earle of Berkley Johannes Kip (1653-1722) The Ancient & Present State of Gloucestershire, pub by Sir Robert Atkyns 1712.

Berkeley Castle is in the town of Berkeley, Gloucestershire. The castle has remained within the Berkeley family, since they reconstructed it in the 12C, except for a period of royal ownership by the Tudors. It is traditionally believed to be the scene of the murder of King Edward II in 1327.  The first castle at Berkeley was a motte-and-bailey, built around 1067 by William FitzOsbern shortly after the Conquest. This was subsequently held by 3 generations of the Berkeley family.  In 1153–54, Fitzharding received a royal charter from King Henry II giving him permission to rebuild the castle.  Fitzharding built the circular shell keep during 1153–56, probably on the site of the former motte. The building of the curtain wall followed, probably during 1160–90.  Much of the rest of the castle is 14C.  Gardens in this depiction are primarily utilitarian providing vegetables & fruits to the owners.


Monday, March 9, 2020

18C Personal Branding - Garden Conversation Pieces

Stephen Slaughter (1697-1765) The Betts Family c 1746

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.