Final Chapter

 

Well, my experience at The Courtauld has been fantastic — but it’s flown by so fast!  Before I do anything else, I want to thank Dr. Alexandra Gerstein for her support and mentorship through these past few months.  The Courtauld Gallery staff in general are an amazing group of people to work for, and it’s been an absolute privilege to have had this opportunity to contribute in my own small way to the work of the museum.

My object a book shaped pendant with painted-glass panels depicting religious scenes – was installed in the gallery this morning, and it looks great!  It was amazing to see everything come together so well at the end, including the beautiful labels and plinth, which I hadn’t really been able to picture until today. We were a little concerned about how such a tiny pendant would look in a large case, but I think we made very good use of the space by printing out high-resolution images of the glass panels and putting them on the plinth.  This helps the viewers see the object better and made the space feel warmer.

image1

image2

When I chose this object way back in July, I definitely did not anticipate all the challenges it would bring. It’s an object that doesn’t yield easy answers, that’s a little mysterious—but this is something we theologians love!  Even now, after five months of researching, consulting experts, and reflecting on the pendant, it still keeps its secrets.

Just a final comment on the research process — one of the highlights of my experience has been speaking with and learning from experts in the fields of art history and curatorial research.  Toward the beginning of my research, I had the opportunity to meet with Dr. Ayla Lepine, Lecturer in Art History at the University of Essex and an expert in Victorian aesthetics, who actually helped me select my object.  I was also very pleased to meet with Kirstin Kennedy, a curator of metalwork at the Victoria and Albert Museum, on several occasions; her insight on the object helped me probe much more deeply into the questions the object raises.  Finally, I was “serendipitously” (thank you, Google) able to track down a doctoral researcher from the University of Giessen in Germany who is currently studying book-shaped pendants from the Renaissance.  This was an amazing coincidence, and Romina was kind enough to fly to London and share her expertise with us.  Meeting these generous scholars has been a delight, and one of the experiences I will treasure from my internship is having been in a truly collaborative educational environment.  In my experience, university academia can sometimes feel resistant to this kind of collaboration, and it was refreshing to be involved in a project in which various perspectives were so vividly able to cross-fertilize and enrich my own study.

Feel Uplifted in The Courtauld Gallery Shop. Interview with Artist Jonathan Fuller

Inspired by our fantastic Soaring Flight: Peter Lanyon’s Gliding Paintings exhibition the shop team have been exploring all things Cornish!

Jonathan Fuller Wall Sculpture

Currently featured at The Courtauld Shop, is a lovely sculpture by the Cornish artist, Jonathan Fuller. We’ve had a chance to speak with the artist to discover more about his unique and stunning works.

Q&A with Jonathan Fuller

Q: What attracted you to using sea glass as a medium?

JF: I grew up in Cornwall, in North Cornwall, and it was something that I always collected as a child. Whenever we traveled to the coast we would collect it and it began mounting up around me.  Upon moving back to Cornwall I decided to put it to use.  It was something I started initially in my textile career that was different from the normal day job.  My first sculpture took about a year to make and everyone who came to see it just loved it.  Galleries became interested as well and it’s something I do whenever I can now.  Even though it’s waste, the sea transforms it into something lovely and smooth and I wanted to use a recycled waste material to make artworks.

Q: Do you spend time everyday looking for glass?

JF: Not every day as I make the frames and mounts that go along with the sculptures and that can take a very long time.  I often take a beach or coastal walk so I will be looking.  It’s really just luck of the draw and depends what you find.

Q: How long does it take you to collect enough sea glass to create a work?

JF: It varies.  The main colours I find are white, brown and green.  It’s the aquamarines and blues that are harder to find.  I’ve got a lot of the more obvious colours but it is the special tones that make the pieces unique.  It’s very difficult to put a time on it.

Q: What do you draw inspiration for your works from?

JF: It’s about colour and form and texture.  It comes from my textile background.  It’s the simplicity of the shapes, whether it’s the ring or the circle and the linear pieces.  What I find interesting about what I find is that with the changing of the tides, four times a day, it’s a circular movement.  It’s always a motion of change.

Q: Do you have a favorite coastal line you have visited throughout your travels? And what was so special about it?

JF: I traveled a lot with my textile career but when you’re working and doing trade it is always difficult to visit the coast.  We lived in London for ten years my wife and I.  I always missed the Cornish coast.  I do not believe you can get much better than the Cornish coast.  There are real differences in the Cornwall coast alone that are fascinating.  If I had to pick a coast I would have to pick the one I live on.  There is a beach in America (Fort Bragg) that I would love to visit as it is made entirely of glass and there are a few beaches in Hawaii that are spectacular.  But if I had to be honest, I think my little piece of coast is just fine.

Q: Is there a specific artist or genre that influences your work?

JF: I’m very fond of the St.Ives school.  One of my favorite is Peter Lanyon who is in your gallery at the moment.  I think Lanyon is definitely one of my favorites as well.  I wanted to see the exhibition when I came up to drop the sculptures off.  I couldn’t actually find parking when I was there.  But I’ll be up very soon to see it.

Q: Does sea glass hold a specific meaning for you?  Is it representative of something you could share with us?

It’s something I’ve always been attracted to.  I spend my time looking at the sand and not the view.  It can be quite compulsive and you keep hoping you’ll find another bit. I also really like the fact that it’s recycled and that it’s had a life cycle; some may be two years old or two hundred years hold.  They all have a history.  Sometimes they have words on them.  You can tell where they’ve come from sometimes.

Q: I know you have a whippet dog, Nell, and that you were hoping to train her to retrieve sea glass.  Has that come to fruition?

She’s a lovely dog but she is more of a chasing dog.  So to answer your question, I would have loved to but I am afraid the answer is no.

Q: I know you own a Will Eastham Surfboards red long board.  Is that going well?

I’m doing pretty good.  I’m not as good as him because he is incredible.  But it’s a lovely thing just to look at let alone ride.  I was in recently since it’s been pretty mild so it’s been going very well.

Q: What does the future hold for you and your work?

I found a beach recently with very white wood on it.  There are all kinds of twigs and branches that the sea has basically stripped the bark off and the sun has bleached.  They appear almost like bones.  I am currently making a piece made from these sticks and branches.  I also look at different forms of marine debris such as plastics.  There are so many human things that have been discarded that have ended up in the ocean.  It saddens me the amount of wildlife that is negatively affected by it.  I would like to make more pieces to highlight the impact we are having on our oceans.

Own a piece of Jonathan Fuller work for yourself from our Shop.

Book now to see Soaring Flight: Peter Lanyon’s Gliding Paintings 

Discover Christmas at The Courtauld Shop

With mistletoe and tinsel in hand, the Courtauld Shop Team have been extensively preparing for the Festive season. We invite you to discover an array of festive and gallery-inspired gifts we have to offer this year. Explore a variety of hand-glazed ceramics, ornaments and trimmings, art prints, jewellery and gourmet treats. Hand-crafted decorations are available from top UK designers such as Je Vous En Prie and Amica. We also have Farrah’s of Harrogate gourmet biscuits, Turkish delights and Schlünder Stollen Fruit Cake.

We are situated in the elegant surroundings of Somerset House in the heart of Covent Garden. Our staff are knowledgeable and are eager to help you find that special gift.

The shop is open from 10:00 to 18:00 and extended hours will coincide with the November Peter Lanyon Late Event.

You can also find us online www.courtauldshop.com

Nick's Picks – Our Guide to Fathers Day Gifting

With Father’s Day just a few weeks away, we asked Nick Turner, Buyer at The Courtauld Gallery Shop, for his top five gift ideas for Dad.

Image V2

Gift Membership to The Courtauld Gallery, from £55 per year
Gift Membership is a wonderful present for art lovers that lasts all year. Members can participate in a special events programme, take advantage of discounts in the Gallery Café and shop, meet with curators and enjoy free entry for themselves plus a guest the whole year round.

 

Bloomsbury Blue Cufflinks, £35
These unique cufflinks are inspired by designs from the Omega Workshops. Established in 1913 by the painter and influential art critic Roger Fry, the Omega Workshops were an experimental design collective, whose members included Vanessa Bell, Duncan Grant and other artists of the Bloomsbury Group.

 

Cezanne Tie, £30
This vibrant tie takes its inspiration from Cezanne’s Lac d’Annecy, currently on display in The Courtauld Gallery.

 

The Courtauld Gallery Masterpieces, £10
This publication invites you to explore in the masterpieces from across The Courtauld Gallery’s Collection, stretching from the early Renaissance to the twentieth century. It includes iconic Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings such as Manet’s A Bar at the Folies-Berègre, van Gogh’s Self Portrait with Bandaged Ear and Cézanne’s Montagne Sainte-Victoire, as well as drawings by Michelangelo and Rembrandt and rare works of decorative art.

 

The Courtauld Gallery Prints
Our prints service offers 40,000 high quality digital images of paintings, drawings, architecture and sculpture from The Courtauld Gallery and The Courtauld Institute of Art. Prints are available in a range of sizes, finishes, and can be supplied framed or unframed.

 

Father’s Day gifts are a great way to spoil your dad and though it can be hard to find the perfect gift for Father’s Day, hopefully Nick has made it a little easier.

IMG_4080

Silver Stories

Every object tells a story.

The Courtauld’s collection of 18th century silver is comprised of pieces designed and made by three generations of Courtauld silversmiths. They were the ancestors of Samuel Courtauld, one of the founders of The Courtauld Institute of Art.

New Silver Cases in room 4 at The Courtauld Gallery

Room 4, Installation View, The Courtauld Gallery

The silver has been redisplayed in new cases, thanks to the generosity of AkzoNobel, and now takes pride of place in Room 4.

Here are ten silver stories;

1.    Following French Fashion

During the 18th century, grand-scale dining in England closely followed French fashion. Successive courses were brought to the table – up to eight in France, only three in England – and each required dozens of dishes. These were set out in strict symmetry in the centre of the table, and diners helped themselves to what was within reach.

2.    Soups, Sauces and Sculpture

The popularity of new French foods such as soups and sauces required new shapes for serving dishes, such as the tureen and the sauceboat. This ornamented rococo tureen is a sculptural flight of fancy with naturalistic goats’ heads and delicately chased and chiselled flowers.

Detailed view of the lef of a Tureen, 1751-52, Samuel Courtauld I, The Courtauld Gallery, on loan from AkzoNobel.

Tureen (Detail), 1751-52, Samuel Courtauld I, The Courtauld Gallery, on loan from AkzoNobel

3.    A Hallmark Moment

A hallmark is a stamp guaranteeing the quality of the silver alloy and is still used today. The word derives from Goldsmiths’ Hall in the City of London, where in the 18th century silver pieces were brought to be tested and stamped.

4.    The Courtauld Women were fierce and successful in business

Louisa Courtauld, who ran the family business after her husband Samuel’s death in 1765, was one of a small number of successful women silversmiths in England at this time. Louisa Courtauld’s mark was an ‘LC’ set within a lozenge – the traditional shape for widows’ marks.

Detailed view of George III Cup and Cover by Louise Perina Courtauld showing the initials LC

George III Cup and Cover (Detail), 1765-66, Louise Perina Courtauld, The Courtauld Gallery, on loan from AkzoNobel

5.    A Chemical Reaction

The primary purpose of this two-handed cup was to show off its owner’s status and wealth. It would have been displayed along with other family silver. It was made as a posthumous tribute to the founder of modern chemistry, Robert Boyle (1627-1691) – most famous for Boyle’s Law and for inventing the vacuum chamber.

Viw of a Cup and Cover made by Augustin Courtauld around 1714, with inscriptions referring to Robert Boyle

Cup and Cover, 1714-15, Augustin Courtauld, The Courtauld Gallery, on loan from AkzoNobel

6.    Salt dishes

Like spices, pepper and mustard, salt was an essential condiment, and in formal table settings each diner would have had his or her own. The dolphin feet of these dainty salt dishes are suggestive of the sea, where salt originates.

Detail view of George II Pair of Salt Cellars (Detail), 1685-86, Augustin Courtauld, on loan from AkzoNobel

George II Pair of Salt Cellars (Detail), 1685-86, Augustin Courtauld, on loan from AkzoNobel

7.    Coffee vs Tea

In England tea drinking overtook coffee in popularity early in the 18th century. Reserved for affluent homes, tea was a luxury commodity. The Courtauld silversmiths specialised in domestic silver and benefited from this rise in tea-drinking. They were called upon to create an ever-increasing variety of shapes for tea canisters, caddies and sugar boxes.

View Tea kettle with stand, by Samuel Courtauld (1720-1765)

Tea kettle with stand, 1748-49, Samuel Courtauld, on loan from AkzoNobel

8.    Fox Mask Stirrup-cups

This kind of cup was used for drinking wine immediately before the start of the fox hunt. It was probably handed to a rider already mounted on a horse and with feet in stirrups, hence the cup’s name. Its shape was likely inspired by an Ancient Greek ceramic cup in the shape of a human or animal head, called a rhyton.

View of a Fox Mask Stirring Cup, Louisa Perina Courtauld (1729 - 1807)

Fox Mask Stirring Cup, 1773-74, Louisa Perina Courtauld & George Cowles, on loan from AkzoNobel

9.    Under lock and tea

Tea was precious and expensive commodity and was kept locked in chests, and ever more beautiful ones were made for it. This one is covered in shagreen, leather made from shark skin, a highly fashionable material during this period.

View of A sugar box and spoon, 1750-51, Samuel Courtauld, on loan from AkzoNobel

A sugar box and spoon, 1750-51, Samuel Courtauld, on loan from AkzoNobel

10.    Sugar and the Slave Trade

These objects are also part of the history of the slave trade, and the great profits to be made from it. Tea was imported into London by the English East India Company, and sugar from British plantations in the West Indies. The MP Charles Tudway, whose full length portrait by Gainsborough hangs in Room 4, made his fortune from sugar plantations in Antigua.

 

The new display of silver is now on display in Room 4.