GODS AND HEROES: MASTERPIECES FROM THE ÉCOLE DES BEAUX-ARTS, PARIS

Catalogue of the Exhibition

Victoria here. The Baker Museum in Naples, FL, is currently hosting the exhibition Gods and Heroes, through May 17, 2015. Organized by the American Federation of Arts (AFA) and the École des Beaux -Arts, Paris. it has been shown previously in Oklahoma City and Albuquerque and will travel to Portland, OR, June 13-September 13, 2015.

École des Beaux -Arts, Paris.



According to the AFA, “This rich overview of masterpieces from the École des Beaux-Arts—the original school of fine arts in Paris and a repository for work by Europe’s most renowned artists since the fifteenth century—includes approximately 140 paintings, sculptures, and works on paper dating from the seventeenth through nineteenth centuries. The focus is on epic themes such as courage, sacrifice, and death, as well as the ways that changing political and philosophical systems affected the choice and execution of these subjects.”

Pierre-Charles Jombert Apollo and Diana Killing the children of Niobe 1772



Describing the exhibition, the AFA writes:  “The epic deeds of gods and heroes, enshrined in the Bible and the works of Homer, were the primary narratives from which both aspiring and established academicians drew their inspiration.  Their ideology was rooted in the study of the idealized human form as envisioned in classical art. At the École, learning how to construct persuasive and powerful paintings from carefully delineated anatomy, expressive faces, and convincing architectural and landscape settings was understood by aspiring artists to be the route to success and recognition.”


Jacques-Louis David, Andromache Mourning Hector, 1783

Jean-Honoré Fragonard, Jeroboam Sacrificing to the Idols, 1752
You will encounter paintings by David, Fragonard, Ingres and Bouguereau, among many others. Also many prints and drawings used for teaching are included by artists such as da Vinci, Titian, Durer, and Rembrandt.
Pierre Monier The Conquest of the Golden Fleece 1663
The painting above, based on the Greek stories of Jason, was the first winner of the Grand Prix fro the Ecole in 1663, a reminder of how long the school has been in operation.
Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, Achilles Receiving the Ambassadors of Agamemnon, 1801
William-Adolphe Bouguereau. Disdain, 1850. 
Some of the paintings on view were executed for annual competitions on themes chosen by the school, such as expression (see above) or the male torso (see below.)  These competitions were watched closely for new approaches and growing expertise.
Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, Painted Half Torso 1800
Wandering among these paintings, illustrations of teaching techniques and as ‘simple’ as the two above and elaborate tableaux of assorted gods or heroes on crowded canvases, I could not help thinking of what college professors taught at the time I took art history courses. Speaking of the late 19th century, they told us that the academicians were stuck in the rubble of the past and ignored the new currents being developed by the Impressionists (then a title of derisiion) — while those staid old-fashioned paintings of the academicians admitted to the official salon were admired, Monet, Renoir and their like were being ignored and had to organize their Salon des Rufusés to show their work.  Thus I never really developed an appreciation for the academicians.  This show went quite a ways towaards remeding that situation. I found I could enjoy these works for their own sake — though if I were to chose one to hang on my own walls, I might have had a tough time. 
Julie Duvidal Montferrier  Self Portrait 1818
Full name, Louise Rose Julie Duvidal Monferrier (1797-1865)  exhibited works at the Salon. She married Abel Hugo, the brother of Victor Hugo.  I admire the direct gaze in this self-portrait, and it reminds me of the work of the artist below, who also did many self-portraits, though none of them are in this exhibition.
Louise Elisabeth Vigee-Lebrun: Portrait of Hubert Robert, 1788
Robert was a painter who specialized in idealized landscapes for persons such as Madame du Barry. This portrait, said to be among her finest, shows Vigee Lebrun’s close rapport and respect for him. 
If you have the opportunity to visit this exhibition in Naples or Portland, I hope you will enjoy it as I did.  Always time for something old — becoming something new!

LOOSE IN LONDON: STROLLING LONDON

After leaving Sir John Soane’s House, Victoria, Marilyn and myself made our way over to Covent Garden – land of flower sellers, ladies of ill repute and some nefarious goings on. And that’s just today. Seriously, though, it would have been nice to see some of the old street sellers who once haunted this market. As usual, I found that with a little imagination, there are glimpses of the old market to still be seen today.

Before we explored any further, we decided that a spot of lunch wouldn’t go amiss and we left the Market in search of food.

We soon found ourselves in front of the Marquess of Angelsey pub. Now, this would have been a spot that spoke to Waterloo hearts if Victoria and I hadn’t known what was waiting for us just a street away.

The Blue Plaque explains that the offices of Charles Dickens’ magazine, All The Year Round, were once located in this building.
And just down at the corner . . . . . our favourite Duke of Wellington pub, not to be confused with the Duke of Wellington pub near our hotel in Kensington where we’d already eaten twice.

It was a glorious day and we opted for an outside table, where we ordered small plates and shared a meal.
Afterwards, we went back to Covent Garden so that Marilyn could see more of it.
Buskers/mimes in front of St. Paul’s Church, Covent Garden
We were lucky enough to be strolling by as an opera singer was belting out Ave Maria.
 The flower market now (above) and then (below).
We strolled by the ubiquitous Covent Garden pigeons. Alas, no Audrey Hepburn in sight.
The entrance to St. Paul’s Churchyard, now (above) and then (below).

Rear of St. Paul’s Church, Covent Garden which opens on a small rose garden that happened to be gloriously in bloom when we visited.

Roses behind St. Paul’s Church
Leaving the churchyard, we found ourselves near Bedford Court, where we grabbed a cab and went to my favourite antique dealer in Cecil Court.
To my great delight, they had a Copeland bust of the Duke of Wellington after Comte D’Orsay, 1846.
The Duke and all his acquaintances thought that D’Orsay’s work was the best likeness of Wellington. I did, too, and so Reader, I bought it. I was smart enough to ask them to hold on to the bust until my return to London in a week’s time.  
Being that Victoria and Marilyn were still in a shopping mood, we hoofed it over to Liberty’s before meeting up with Diane for dinner at Burger Lobster in Curzon Street.  Diane had been meeting with her Mills and Boon editors in Richmond, so she had lots to tell us in between our accounts of a busy day.  Here’s her website and book info.

After a fabulous meal, Victoria and I took Diana and Marilyn on an impromptu walking tour of Mayfair, which included a stroll past Beau Brummell’s house in Chesterfield Street.
The Beau’s House, #4 Chesterfield Street, sports two blue plaques: one for the Beau (1778-1840), the other for former PM Anthony Eden, Lord Avon (1897-1977), in office 1955-57.
At the top of the street, we turned onto Charles Street, which is chock full of period architectural detail. Here is #22 Charles Street, once the home of
HRH Prince William, Duke of Clarence,
 later King William IV who reigned from 1830-37.
We walked the Regency streets for a while longer, but by this time, we were all fairly tired and so we headed back to the hotel and called it a day. And what a day it had been. Needless to say, the four of us laid our tired heads upon our pillows and looked forward to our next adventure.
More Loose in London coming soon!

WATERLOO WEDNESDAY – WELLINGTON AND THE BATTLE OF WATERLOO – FREE ONLINE COURSE

Wellington and the Battle of Waterloo

Mark the bicentenary of the Battle of Waterloo in 2015
and explore the Duke of Wellington’s archive
with this free online course.

About the course

The Battle of Waterloo was one of the key events of nineteenth-century history, but why was it fought, who was involved and what were consequences? This free online course will answer these questions, marking the 200th anniversary of Waterloo on 18 June 2015.

Forming a coalition to defeat Napoleon

We will explain why Europe had been at war almost continuously since 1793; how a peace settlement in 1814 had followed the abdication of Napoleon as Emperor of the French; and how further negotiations were under way at the Congress of Vienna when Napoleon escaped from Elba in February 1815.

The process of gathering military support and a legal basis for a further campaign against Napoleon will be explored, as well as the ways in which a coalition of Allied Powers assembled an army, led by the Duke of Wellington, to fight the French.

We will examine sources from the Battle of Waterloo itself — from official despatches to the voice of the individual soldier — and consider the ways in which different interpretations arise, before discussing the immediate consequences of the battle and the peace settlement that followed.
The course will conclude by examining the longer-term place of Waterloo and Wellington in commemoration and memory, the arts and popular culture, and the connections that were made to nineteenth-century ideas of heroism, nationality and identity.

Exploring the Duke of Wellington’s archive

We will use the University of Southampton’s Wellington Archive — a collection of over 100,000 items from the Duke’s military and political career — to contextualise the battle and the role of Wellington in commanding the allied forces against Napoleon.

You will learn with Professor Chris Woolgar, Professor of History and Archival Studies, who has an international academic reputation as a Wellington scholar and archivist, and Karen Robson, Head of Archives at the University of Southampton Library.

  • FREE online course
  • Duration: 3 weeks
  • 4 hours pw
  • Certificates available

                 

Requirements – This course is aimed at both A-level students and anyone with an interest in politics or European and military history.

Get a personalised, printed certificate – You can buy a Statement of Participation for this course — a personalised, printed certificate to show that you’ve taken part.  
Join the conversation on social media- Use the hashtag #FLwellington to join and contribute to social media conversations about this course.
 

THE WATERLOO ANTHOLOGY RELEASE PARTY

Victoria here, with blatant and shameless self-promotion for an anthology I participated in, released April 1 (no joke). Nine authors explore the experiences of fictional participants in the spectacle that unfolded 200 years ago in this new e-book anthology, Beaux, Ballrooms, and Battles: A Celebration of Waterloo, available for $.99 for a limited time.  You can find it on Kindle, iBooks, Kobo, Nook (if not this minute, then very soon).  


Aileen Fish and others created the cover, using details from this picture of the Duchess of Richmond’s Ball by artist Robert Alexander Hillingford. The original hangs in the Richmond’s country home Goodwood House in West Sussex.

Here is part of the article I wrote for The Regency Reader: “What is more poignant than a warrior kissing his beloved farewell as he leaves for battle, perhaps never to return? What is more intense than her emotions as she faces hours and days of waiting helplessly, fearful, and ignorant of developments on the battlefield? What is more dramatic than their reunion as worry dissolves into the ecstasy of being together again?”

Summoned to Waterloo by R.A. Hillingford

We held a Release Party on Facebook, following up our Cover Reveal party also on FB a couple of weeks ago.  It was lots of fun, with almost 200 people posting about what they were wearing, their escorts, doing their own promotion, greeting old and making new friends…and answering lots of questions.   Our guest authors are a very impressive group of regency specialists, all of whom offered prizes for responders to their questions,some of which had specific answers and others which solicited opinions and favorites.. They all entered into the fantasy of the event.

Eileen Dreyer arrived with her escort, Colonel Sharpe, leaving us all swooning. And she modeled her lovely gown.

Sheri Cobb South asked a tricky questions about the Bow Street Runners, but many of us were more  diverted by her escort, the esteemed Horatio Hornblower as portrayed by Ioan Gruffudd.

Jessica Jefferson asked which Darcy is your favorite? Mine is Colin Firth.  If only Matthew had combed his hair ONCE!

Collette Cameron had a quirky take on castles, including this one of white chocolate! Yum!!

Bronwen Evans responded with  picture of New Zealand’s only castle,

I chose my escort based on his stellar appearance at Horse Guards, a member of the Blues and Royals.  We had a wonderful time together!

On duty at Horse Guards

Annie Burrows showed us pictures of the military unit imagined by a group of Harlequin authors who’ve done a trilogy on the rouges and their Wa
terloo brides.

Re-enactors re-imagined
Popular and prolific author Cheryl Bolen sought opinions on whether readers prefer Alpha or Beta heroes. Results were decidedly mixed, with may saying they like the Alpha heroes in fiction, but prefer their Betas in real life.  Yep.
Janice Preston  asked which three qualities best describe a regency hero.
Vivien Jackson invited readers to tell us how they were originally hooked by Regencies stories. 
Maggie Robinson wrote about The British Army’s Redcoats and asked about favorite genres to read.
Here is a hint about my story in Beaux, Ballrooms, and Battles: A Celebration of Waterloo, called “Folie Bleue:”
On the night of the 30th Anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo, Aimée, Lady Prescott, reminisces about meeting her husband in Bruxelles on the eve of the fighting. She had avoided the dashing scarlet-clad British officers, but she could not resist the tempting smile and spellbinding charm of Captain Robert Prescott of the 16th Light Dragoons who— dangerously to Aimée— wore blue.
The Waterloo Banquet by artist William Salter hangs in Apsley House
The inspiration for my story came from standing in Apsley House last summer and looking at the painting above — and wondering who the lonely wives of all the heroes were — and what they did on the evening of the anniversary of the battle, June 18, when the Duke of Wellington hosted his annual reunion.
Diane Gaston, another of our wonderful guest authors at the Release party, was standing right beside me in Apsley House.  Diane posted a picture of the battleground, and talked of the effects of the conflict.
Diane Gaston’s posted picture shows the dreadful confusion and carnage of the battle.
Regina Scott enquired about what kind of pictures you like on your walls… 
Regina Jeffers wanted to know if readers think villains possess redeeming qualities. 
Ella Quinn  indulged in the conversation and perhaps one of the delicious glasses of champagne?
The prize for one of the commenters on my posts was a copy of my first Regency, The Fontainebleau Fan.  And the winner was Denise Duvall who wants to see Hever Castle, Hsmpton Court, the Victoria and Albert Museum, and Stirling, Scotland, where she has relatives.Thanks for coming to the party, Denise and watch the snail mail for that book soon!
Because all the listings about the Anthology’s nine authors are in alphabetical order, I am reversing the trend.
David William Wilkin is not only an excellent writer, but also a tech wizard, who uploaded the versions of the book to various sites….
Sophia Strathmore asked  a question similar to mine — what is your favorite spot to visit or to dream about visiting in England?
  
Christa Paige wanted to know what is the most typical drink you see in Regencies. 
Heather King, a horse lover and our UK rep, wrote about the Duke of Wellington’s mount, Copenhagen.  Last September at the Duke’s country home Stratfield Saye, we left roses on the stallion’s grave.
Victoria Hinshaw (me!) I was very pleased to be included and I admire all my colleagues as we nine cooks managed not to spoil our broth. I asked what place in England you most wanted to visit. 
Aileen Fish masterminded our cover design. 
Susana Ellis and Aileen made the Cover Reveal and Release parties happen. 
Tea Cooper brought us the Australian point of view and even discovered some interesting connections to Waterloo in her home country.
Jillian Chantal had a difficult question — How many horses were shot from beneath French Marshal Ney?  if you don’t know, you better study up!
The Release Party was great fun — and just for good measure, here’s one more suggestion to order your copy at $.99 for a limited time.  

LOOSE IN LONDON; VISITING SIR JOHN SOANE'S MUSEUM

Victoria here. reporting on our visit to Sir John Soane’s Museum in Lincoln’s Inn Fields.

Sir John Soane’s Museum has been the topic of several previous posts on this blog. Click here for reprise of my earlier visits.

The museum’s website is here.  You can read about the many events scheduled even in the midst of an ambitious £7 million program to restore, refurbish, and improve the museum.

The above print shows the three buildings Sir John Soane built at #s 12, 13, and 14 Lincoln’s Inn  Fields.  The Museum,formerly in 12 and 13, purchased #14 and is consolidating offices, enhancing exhibition space and the library and returning the living quarters and teaching rooms to their appearance when Sir John died in 1837. All this is being accomplished while keeping the museum open to the public.  As he decreed in his will, it is free  — although please consider a contribution to help ensure its future.

Sir John Soane by Sir Thomas Lawrence
Soane (1753-1837) was a distinguished architect and teacher.  Among his many buildings were splendid country houses,  remodeling of the Bank of England which sadly has been almost obliterated by subsequent alterations, the Dulwich Picture gallery (click here), and Soane’s country home Pitshanger Manor in Ealing (click here). The latter two institutions are easily accessible from Central London, being now in what we would call suburbs.  Add in one or both on your next  jaunt to London.

We’ve written about them before (click here), and Guest Blogger Jo Manning detailed renovations plans for Pitshanger here.

Just a  sample of the objects Soane used to instruct his students
Soane’s bust by Sir Francis Chantry in center
But to return to the late summer of 2014, Kristine, Vicky and Marilyn were pleased to poke around among the rooms, some containing scaffolding,and to trot up and down the various back stairs needed while the “front” was being fixed up.  From the catacombs to the attics, Sir John filled his abode with instructional materials, aside from a few rooms in which his family lived and entertained.
#13 Lincoln’s Inn Fields, Sir John Soane’s Drawing Room
We were there to visit — or re-visit — the house as well as experience the small exhibition mounted in 2014 to show a bit of what happened in both Great Britain and France when Napoleon was first expelled and peace established. It is hard of course, to ignore the hindsight we all have, knowing how short that peace lasted, and what the ultimate outcome was by late June of 1815.

Temple of Concord, 1814, St. James’s Park
We wrote about this exhibition before we left for London (click here) and we were not the slightest disappointed at what we saw there.
Catalogue
The Catalogue of the Exhibition is available on the website, along with may other wonderful books and objects in the Gift Shop