After goldsmiths’ work, tapestries and embroideries were among the costliest works of art in the Middle Ages, due to the precious materials and the countless hours taken to produce them. Whether hung on the wall or worn, textiles provided a potent display of their owners’ wealth and status. Their vivid decoration also provided the perfect backdrop for courtly pageants, royal ceremonies, and liturgical festivals.
This publication, the first of its kind in many decades, draws together thirty-six rare and sumptuous European textiles created between the late fourteenth and late sixteenth centuries, which together encapsulate the incredible breadth of Europe’s flourishing textile industries during the period. Incorporating objects made both for secular and liturgical use, it explores the contexts of their creation, their functions and purpose, and their changing fortunes over the course of the subsequent centuries.
The publication was released to coincide with an exhibition held at Sam Fogg, London, from 14 June to 13 July 2018. It was co-written with Dr Rosamund Garrett, Associate Curator of European and Decorative Art at the Brooks Museum, Memphis.
An exhibition showcasing masterpieces of medieval art across a wide range of media, Of Earth and Heaven: Art from the Middle Ages took place at Luhring Augustine Gallery in New York, from 27 January to 10 March 2018. The accompanying publication, beautifully designed by Richard Ardagh Studio, draws on influences as diverse as pre-war monographs on German Renaissance sculpture, Modern British art reference books, Blackletter typefaces, letterpress printing, and the tradition of tipped-in image plates. It was shortlisted for the PrintWeek Awards 2018.
The centrepieces of the exhibition were three monumental sections of carved stonework from the south transept window of Canterbury Cathedral, one of the most important pilgrimage sites in Europe. The window was designed by Thomas Mapilton (d. 1438), a master mason who worked on Westminster Abbey and the Tower of London prior to his appointment at Canterbury. Made from limestone specially quarried at Caen in Normandy in 1428, Mapilton’s window was one of the most ambitious projects of English Gothic architecture in the whole of the medieval period, filling almost the entire height and width of the cathedral’s vast south transept.
The exhibition also featured a carefully selected group of paintings, sculptures, and goldsmith’s work that underscore Europe’s artistic flowering between the twelfth and early sixteenth centuries. Highlights included an extraordinary stained-glass window depicting the Creation of the World and the Expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden, painted in 1533 by the celebrated Renaissance glass-painter Valentin Bousch and now one of the centrepieces of the Hill Art Foundation. Among the smallest-scale objects presented were a precious 13th-century Limoges reliquary chasse, a silver arm reliquary made in Auxerre in the 1530s, and a pristinely preserved gilt-bronze corpus of Christ, cast by a master goldsmith in Cologne, in around 1180.
Of Earth and Heaven: Art from the Middle Ages is available to buy here.
Published in conjunction with the exhibition ‘Maiolica before Raphael’ held at Sam Fogg between 8 May and 16 June 2017, this publication brings together an important group of late-medieval and early Renaissance ceramics made in Italy between around 1275 and 1500.
Later Renaissance istoriato, or narrative, maiolica, produced in the orbit of Raphael and other Italian artists, is widely known and has been extensively studied. But not for a hundred years has the same level of attention been focused on the magnificent works that preceded it in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, which were at times prized by contemporary patrons more highly than precious metals.
Maiolica before Raphael refocused the spotlight of contemporary scholarship onto the development of Italian maiolica from c. 1275 up until 1500, centring on the key period of development in the Quattrocento – the age of Donatello, Mantegna and Botticelli.
Presenting forty-three rare objects from the foremost centres of production that have survived in private hands, this catalogue explores the spread and evolution of the medium, as well as the history of collecting and the changing taste for Italian pre-Renaissance pottery in the modern era. Co-written with Elisa P. Sani and Justin Raccanello, with a preface by Timothy Wilson.
ISBN 978 1 911300 20 5
Paperback, 300 x 245 mm
200 pages, 60 colour illus.
Gilded Light: 16th-century stained glass roundels from the collection of Sir Thomas Neave and other private collections, an exhibition that took place at Sam Fogg, London, from 1 to 8 July 2016.
This exhibition, the first of its kind in London for over a decade, brought together over 35 stained glass roundels and panels of other formats, the majority of which were made during the first two-thirds of the sixteenth century when the art-form was at its zenith. The core group of roundels featured in the exhibition were brought together in the early 1800s by one of the most important early-modern connoisseur collectors of Medieval and Renaissance stained glass, the second Baronet Sir Thomas Neave of Dagnam Park (1761-1848). An avid enthusiast of European artwork, and particularly of glass, Neave was one of the first private collectors to amass a collection of high quality stained glass from the Low Countries, purchasing many of his pieces directly from dissolved monasteries and foundations, or through agents such as the German cloth merchant John Christopher Hampp (1750-1825) who settled in Norwich and traded with Flanders throughout his career. Much of the Neave collection was destroyed by ordnance and fire damage over many years, or has subsequently been dispersed; some of those panels formerly in his collection and that have survived can today be found in the Victoria & Albert Museum, London, the Burrell Collection, Glasgow, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, and in English churches endowed by the Neave family. His family seat, Dagnam Park in South Weald, Essex, was demolished in 1950 and the remains of his glass collection dispersed by his direct descendants. Characteristic of Sir Thomas Neave’s taste and acute eye for detail and quality, the group of roundels presented in this exhibition mark a vivid and breath-taking high point in the medium.
The exhibition was accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue, now unfortunately sold out.
In January of this year I had the privilege to work with three astounding Art Historians, Nicholas Herman, Anna Koopstra, and Nicola Jennings, on a publication entitled Late Medieval Panel Paintings II: Materials, Methods, Meanings. The book is edited by Professor Susie Nash and published by Paul Holberton, to accompany an exhibition mounted by Sam Fogg and held at the gallery of Richard L. Feigen, New York, from 22nd January to 22nd February 2016.
The book, the second volume in a series on the subject, presents a series of in-depth studies of late medieval panel paintings, as well as one tapestry, made between 1400 and 1530 in Spain, Germany, Austria, France, and the Southern Netherlands. Many of the objects examined are new to scholarly attention, offering steps forward in the discussion and analysis of medieval works of art, and significant insights into the artists and patrons of the period.
Late Medieval Panel Paintings II: Materials, Methods, Meanings
ed. Susie Nash, 2016
300 x 245 mm; paperback
The publication is available through the Paul Holberton website, as well as at the gallery and website of Sam Fogg, and on amazon:
Richard L. Feigen and Co., one of New York’s most influential, longest running, and prestigious commercial galleries, representing the likes of James Rosenquist and the estates of Joseph Cornell and Ray Johnson (for which no end of blogs could be penned), has collaborated with Sam Fogg, London’s leading gallery for Medieval Sculpture, Manuscripts, and Works of Art, on an exhibition of twenty two unique, remarkable, and important objects from the Medieval period. Do, if you are New York bound this Spring, visit the gallery, which is open 10am – 6pm Monday to Friday.
From 6-8pm on Monday 15 July Adam Bridgland, Sotiris Kyriacou (Curator, The Gallery @ Idea Store Whitechapel), and myself, hosted a public panel discussion on the occasion of Adam Bridgland’s solo exhibition TREASURE, which ran until 28 July.
On Friday 19 July, the second of two painting workshops took place, during which the public were invited to come and ‘colour-in’ the second of two large-scale monochrome wall paintings on display in the gallery space.