Seldom has there been a gift of equal magnificence. In 1947 the 7th Duke of Wellington presented to the nation his London residence – Apsley House – together with a large part of its contents, the collection of the 1st Duke. Among the paintings are some of the finest canvases from the Spanish Royal Collection, captured by the 1st Duke of Wellington from Joseph Bonaparte in 1813. There are also important seventeenth-century Dutch paintings bought by the 1st Duke himself, as well as a series of French and British portraits of his illustrious contemporaries and depictions of battle scenes, which provide a visual record of the Napoleonic period. More
Condition: The Ageing of Art
Paperback, 242 x 168 mm 264 pages, 140 colour illus.
ISBN: 978 1 907372 79 7
Best Art Book 2015 — Evening Standard
“This engrossing paperback will teach you never to look at an Old Master painting in the same way again.” — Evening Standard
“In this eloquent study, the art historian Paul Taylor demonstrates that all artworks undergo countless metamorphoses.” —The Guardian
“A hugely welcome publication, which sets out the knowns and unknowns of the subject in a series of lucid chapters on losses, cracking, pigments, darkening and cleaning …. Taylor’s even-handedness is exemplary.” —Apollo
"This is a book that should be on the reading list of every art-history undergraduate, graduate and many museum curators too … as an introductory text, it is difficult to imagine how it could be bettered … excellent." —The Burlington
“Beautifully written…an essential reference work for art historians and amateurs.” —The Times Literary Supplement
“Thorough and readable” —The Art Newspaper
"An invaluable introduction to a topic often overlooked by art historians." —HNA Review of Books
"This excellently clear publication … is accessibly written, well-illustrated and has a comprehensive bibliography. It does not talk down to its readers. For the conservation student it is an excellent introduction." —Icon News, Journal of the Institute of Conservation
"Well written, organised and illustrated, crammed with information and anecdotes and clever remarks…a very good book." —Kunstschrift
The paintings we see today in museums, galleries, churches and temples are often much altered by the centuries. Pictures can split, rot, be eaten by woodworm, warp, blister, crack, cup, flake, darken, blanch, discolour, become too translucent and disappear under a centuries-old varnish; and they can also suffer from the efforts of their owners to rectify these situations: they might be transferred, relined, ironed, abraded or repainted.
Anyone considering a work of art needs to establish at the outset how much it has changed since it was first made. This act of understanding is far from easy. We need to develop a knowledge of the physical and chemical processes which have brought paintings to their current state, in the hope that we can imagine their reversal. And we have to look as much as we can at a wide variety of paintings, so we can learn to distinguish those in a worse or better state of preservation; we have to try to understand what it is about a picture that differentiates good and bad condition. Theories of art history have been built on works whose appearance is made up of little more than repaint and decay, and the beginner needs to be warned about the many pitfalls dug by time for the unwary. This book is meant both for that beginner and for the qualified practitioner who might have missed a step along the way.
While there are many books on conservation and restoration, there is nothing which focuses specifically on condition. The plan here is to provide a hands-on introductory text, which can be used as a first orientation in the study of condition, and can remain as a basic reference work when the reader’s studies have progressed further. It should appeal to anyone with an interest in art.
Far too complex for their own good, European ‘Old Master’ pictures – by the likes of Cranach the Elder, Raphael, Leonardo, Poussin, Vermeer, Rembrandt, Canaletto, Gainsborough, Turner and Van Gogh – rely for their delicate effects on layers of fragile materials, all of which are subject to change and decay. No-one can enjoy them to the full without an understanding of how and what they may have survived, suffered or lost in the journey through the years.
OUT OF PRINT: Accompanying an exhibition that promises to be the most comprehensive survey of Indian painting that the West has ever seen, this beautiful two volume catalogue spans 800 years of Indian painting, and some 240 masterpieces by more than 40 artists. These great Indian masters are unquestionably the equals of Dürer, Michelangelo or Vermeer. More
Since the early Bronze Age the sword has been a sign of wealth, status and the power of divine right. Yet, before the sixteenth century the sword was almost never carried on the person in everyday life. It was a rare, noble weapon, carried into battle by the aristocratic warrior class but set aside in time of peace. However, the increasing prominence of the Renaissance middle classes brought a fundamental change to the sword's place in society. Now large numbers of non-noble but often wealthy and upwardly mobile people could also afford rich things like fine clothes, jewelry and weapons. More
Accompanying a focused display at The Courtauld Gallery that will bring together for the first time Pieter Bruegel the Elder’s only three known grisaille paintings, this book will examine the sources, function and reception of these three exquisite masterpieces. The panels will be complemented by prints and contemporary replicas, as well by other independent grisailles in order to shed light on the development of this genre in Northern Europe. More
The Madonna and Child, also known as the 'Dudley Madonna', was painted in c. 1508 by Giovanni Bellini (Venice, c. 1430–1516), one of the most celebrated of Italian artists. Recognised as an important composition by Bellini in the early 20th century, for a hundred years until its sale at auction in 2012 this picture had hardly ever been seen. This book places the painting within Bellini's career and development even though he was over 75 years old when he painted it. More
The Unesco World Heritage site of Lalibela in Ethiopia is one of the most extraordinary places in the world. It contains eleven churches, all of them hewn from the native rock in imitation of buildings. However, Lalibela and the Ethiopian kingdom remained unknown in the West until the account of the first Portugese embassy to Ethiopia was published in the 16th century. More
OUT OF STOCK: The group of about one hundred French bronzes in the Wallace Collection is justly considered one of the finest such collections in the world. Fifty-one of the best are featured in this book, the first in-depth study of the subject in English. More
Celebrating the 250th anniversary of the opening of the Hunterian Museum in Glasgow in 2007, this book provides a full study both of William Hunter - the many-faceted surgeon/connoisseur - and of his collection of art, which not only contains a number of outstanding masterpieces, such as a Rembrandt, but also provides a revealing snapshot of the taste of the period. While illuminating this crucial transitional period in British art, the book is at the same time a catalogue of the Hunterian collection. More
This book is about a family tree: the line of descent that can be traced from Perugino in Italy in the fifteenth century to Edouard Manet in France in the nineteenth. It is not the usual kind of genealogy, of those connected by blood, more an ‘apostolic succession’, following the way in which art in Europe was taught, from one generation to the next, from 1480 to 1880. More
Celebrating the Beckett Centenary. Awarded third prize by The Art Newspaper/Axa Art Prize for best catalogue of the year published in the UK - "admired for the quantity of new material it presented about Beckett himself and the worlds of literature and visual arts". More
The Harold Samuel Collection is a unique collection of 17th-century paintings from Holland’s Golden Age. Bequeathed to the City of London in 1987 by Lord Samuel of Wych Cross (1912-1987), a wealthy property developer and philanthropist, this remarkable collection of 84 works – the finest collection of Dutch and Flemish art assembled privately in the UK in the last hundred years – enriches the splendour of the interior of the Mansion House, residence of the Lord Mayor of London. More