Wednesday, 29 April 2015

"Biens Publics", Musee Rath, Geneva

The Musee Rath is showing "Biens Publics", (Public Collections), 27 February- 26 April 2015, an eclectic exhibition in celebration of  twenty years of Geneva's prestigious Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MAMCO). ENJOY

Silvia Bachi (Baden 1956) Sans titre, 2006

Luc Andre (Pretoria, 1954) 2008 (6), 2008

Alain Huck (Vevey, 1957) Division, 2007

Frank Stella (Malden, Massachusetts, 1936) Kamomika Strumilowa 1, 1972

Tony Cragg (Liverpool, 1949) La Palette, 1980

Didier Rittener (Lausanne, 1969) Appolon, le Clan 2006

Pipilotti Rist (Grabs, 1962) (Entlastungen) Pipillotis Fehler, 1988

Mario Mertz (Milan, 1925- Turin, 2003) Sans Titre, 1983

Sylvie Fleury (Geneva, 1961) Lighten, 2008

Christian Robert-Tissot (Geneva, 1960) Sans titre (You'll thank me later), 2012

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Cold Ashton Manor, Gateway

The manor of Cold Ashton belonged to Bath Abbey before the Dissolution. The exquisite Jacobean manor house is said to have been built by Wiliam Pepwall, Mayor of Bristol (1570-1575) or by John Gunning who bought the estate c1629.

 The ornamental gateway to the house bears the arms of Sir Robert Gunning of 1678. It is an exemplary example of the Jacobean Renaissance style, featuring two square Roman Doric columns on either side of the gate, with a rosette frieze above and surmounted by splendid floricated urns.

From the gateway of Cold Ashton Manor there are superb views over the lovely St. Catherine's Valley near Bath.

Friday, 17 April 2015


Kenwood is a great neo-classical villa on the edge of Hampstead Heath, in the late 18th century, weekend retreat of William Murray, Lord Chief Justice, 1st Earl of Mansfield. He engaged  Robert Adam in the 1760's and 1770's to remodel his house. On the garden facade Adam used pilasters beneath an elegant pediment. The orangery on the west side was built in the 1740's by a previous owner, Lord Bute. Robert Adam added the library on the east side, with the same volume as the orangery, to create the symmetrical facade.

On the northern front Adam used impressive Ionic columns in his entrance portico of 1764. He also modernized the existing interiors and added attic bedrooms.There are four surviving Adam interiors at Kenwood, the entrance hall, the great stairs, the antechamber and the library.

Robert Adam modernised the entrance hall in 1773. The entrance hall was used by Lord Mansfield as a dining room.

The Entrance Hall

The Great Stair

The Antechamber or Vestibule

The Library or 'Great Room' (1767-1769) at Kenwood is considered one of Robert Adam's greatest interiors. The decorative frieze and ceiling are by Antonio Zucchi.

The Library

Lord Mansfield had no children, but Dido Eliabeth Belle (1761-1804) the mixed race daughter of his nephew Sir John Lindsay and her cousin Lady Elizabeth Murray (c1763-1823) grew up together their uncle's  household at Kenwood. Lord Mansfield considered to be one of Britain's greatest judges is often remembered for his rulings in favour of black plaintiffs.

Johann Zoffany: Dido Elizabeth Belle and Elizabeth Murray

In 1793 Lord Mansfield's nephew and heir Lord Stormont after inheriting and becoming the 2nd Earl  of Mansfield commissioned George Saunders to build the north-east and north-west wings, housing the dining and music rooms. The 2nd Earl of Mansfield wanted a dedicated dining room rather than having to use the entrance hall, where the 1st earl had entertained his guests.

The later earls of Mansfield only made sporadic visits to Kenwood, preferring their Scottish seat, Scone Palace near Perth. In the early 20th century Kenwood was let out to tenants, including grand Duke Michael Michaelovitch of Russia, grandson of Tsar Nicholas I of Russia.

The 6th Earl of Mansfield decided to sell Kenwood and in 1925 the house was bought by Edward Cecil Guiness, 1st Earl of Iveagh (1847-1927). At his death two years later he bequeathed Kenwood and part of his art collection to the nation.

The Dining Room contains many of the finest works from Lord Iveagh's Bequest, including the Portrait of James Stuart, 1st Duke of Richmond and Lennox by Sir Anthony van Dyk, Pieter van den Broeke by Frans Hals, Johannes Vermeer's The Guitar Player and perhaps the most famous painting at Kenwood Rembrandt's Portrait of the Artist.

The Breakfast Room was originally two rooms, the drawing room and the parlour. today the room is hung with paintings from the Iveagh Bequest including a view of Hampstead Heath by John Constable and Gainsborough's Two Shepherd Boys with Dogs Fighting.

The Breakfast Room

Lord Mansfield's Dressing Room also served as a study for the 1st Earl and is now hung with paintings from the Iveagh Bequest.

Thomas Gainsborough: John Joseph Merlin (1781)
He was a Belgian born mechanical prodigy and inventor,
who is credited with the invention of roller skates.

Lord Mansfield's Dressing Room

Lady Mansfield's Dressing Room was used by the 1st Countess for dressing , receiving guests and for reading. The room now contains furniture and paintings from the Iveagh Bequest.

Lady Mansfield's Dressing Room

Louis duc de Bourgogne

The elegant music room was built between 1794-1796. it now contains some of the most famous paintings from the iveagh Bequest, many of them considered to be among the greatest British portraits of the 18th century, includings works by Gainsborough,  Reynolds and Romney.

The Music Room

The Upper Hall was the main reception room before Adam added the library to the ground floor. Today this and the other upstairs rooms house paintings from the Suffolk Collection, a group of works commissioned by the earls of Suffolk and Berkshire which were gifted to the nation in 1975

The Upper Hall

Kenwood having been recently refurbished under the care of English Heritage, housing the fabulous works from the Iveagh Bequest and the Suffolk Collection is one of the best places to visit for 'nourishment' in London. And what is more it is furnished with comfortable seating and it is free.

Thursday, 9 April 2015

The Duke of Aumale's Private Apartments, Chantilly

Henri Eugene Phillipe Louis d'Orleans, Duke of Aumale (duc d'Aumale) (1882-1897) was the fifth son of King Louis-Phillipe I of France. In 1830 as a boy of eight he inherited the estate of Chantilly from his godfather, the last prince of Conde. When he came of age the Duke of Aumale entered the military and served in Algeria. During the July monarchy of his father King Louis-Phillipe I the Duke of Aumale had the private apartments of Chantilly designed by Romantic painter and decorator Eugene Lami between 1844-46 shortly after his marriage to Marie Emilie de Bourbon-Sicilie. The private apartments at Chantilly on the ground floor of the Chateau remain one of the only princely interiors of the epoch to survive in France. However the Duke's plan to rebuild the chateau had to be abandoned when he was forced to leave France after the Revolution of 1848. He was not able to return and live at Chantilly until 1871.

The Salon de Guise contains family portraits, including the Duke of Aumale aged nine, the year after he inherited Chantilly, and those of his two sons, Louis of Guise, and Francois. The room was renamed in 1872 after the death of the Duke of Aumale's second son, Francois, Duke of Guise.

The Duchess of Aumale's Bedroom.

The ceiling in the Duchess's Bedroom was painted by N. Diaz de la Pena.

The Duchess of Aumale's Boudoir is a round room that was originally hung with green fabric. After the death of the Duchess in 1869, on the instructions of the Duke  the walls and furniture were covered in purple fabric woven with silver, the colour of mourning.

The piano was especially made for the Duchess's Boudoir  by the cabinet makers the Grohe Brothers.

The Petite Singerie divided the Duke's and Duchess's rooms. It was decorated in the 1730's by Christophe Huet, a famous animal painter in France. It is a small room that depicts monkeys imitating the daily activities of the aristocracy in a world that looks very like Chantilly.

The Duke of Aumale's Bathroom.

The Salon de Conde. On the walls are hung 42 framed medallions with likenesses of members of the house of Bourbon-Conde so that the Duke of Aumale originally called this room "the Condes Family Salon". It was renamed the "Conde Salon" in memory of Louis of Orleans, Prince of Conde, eldest son of the Duke of Aumale.

The Duke of Aumale's Bedroom is furnished with a military bed. The paintings are of members of his family including his mother by Baron Francois Gerard. The room is unchanged since 1897.

The Marble Salon was the Duke's private dining room and it was decorated by Eugene Lami in the Neo-Renaissance style.

Without living heirs, the Duke of Aumale bequeathed Chantilly, including his art collection, to the Institut de France. His act of fabulous generosity led the government of France to withdraw the decree of exile imposed on members of the former ruling houses and the Duke returned to France in 1889. He died in Lo Zucco, Sicily where he had engaged in producing wine, and was buried in Dreux, in the Orleans family vault.