Conference: A Window on Antiquity: the Topham Collection at Eton College Library (17 May 2013)
The Humanities Research Institute of the University of Buckingham co-sponsored a major conference on the Grand Tour and British collecting and connoisseurship in the 18th century, in association with Eton College and the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, Yale University: A Window on Antiquity: the Topham Collection at Eton College Library. Speakers at the conference came from the UK, Italy and France.
Richard Topham of Windsor (1671-1730) assembled the largest collection in early 18th-century Britain of drawings, watercolours and prints after antique sculptures and paintings in Rome and Italy, surpassing in both scale and breadth those collected by other celebrated antiquarians such as John Talman, Dr Richard Mead or Thomas Coke, 1st Earl of Leicester. The speakers discussed the sources of the collection, the ways in which it was assembled, the artists who contributed to it, and its fate after Topham’s death: his executors arranged for it to go to Eton College Library where it was used as an artistic source by, among others, the neo-classical architect Robert Adam.
The conference coincided with the opening of Paper Palaces: The Topham Drawings as a Source for British Neo-Classicism, an exhibition organised at Eton College Library, Verey Gallery, open until 1 November 2013. The exhibition received a very detailed and favourable review in the Times Literary Supplement on 5 July 2013: James Hall, “Fade to Grey: Review of the exhibition Paper Palaces” , describing it as “expertly curated by Lucy Gwyn and Adriano Aymonino”. He writes: “the exhibition itself celebrates a great era in British interiors when a fresh palette and pirouetting pattern were both scholarly and chic.” The water-colour copies of ancient wall and ceiling paintings by Francesco Bartoli (1675-1733) were the most influential part of the Topham collection but “the exhibition demonstrates with some striking juxtapositions just how inauthentic many of the Bartoli drawings actually were”.
Aymonino, A., “Tommaso Maria Conca’s Drawing with the Chariot of the Sun: A Cosmological Scheme for the Borghese Family”, Getty Research Journal 5 (2013), 29–40 This essay examines a large drawing attributed to the Italian artist Tommaso Maria Conca (1734–1822) preserved … Read more
Aymonino, A., with L. Gwynn & M. Modolo, Paper Palaces: The Topham Drawings as a Source for British Neo-Classicism (exh. cat., Eton, 2013) Consisting of 37 volumes and more than 3,000 items, the collection amassed by Richard Topham of Windsor … Read more
We are pleased to announce that Dr Joanna Walker will be joining the Department as a temporary lecturer to teach a course in the Autumn Term on “Critical Concepts” in Art. Dr Walker’s specialist area of expertise is feminist art … Read more
The Art History Department are very pleased to announce the appointment of Dr Barbara Lasic as our new lecturer in French Decorative Arts and Historic Interiors. Dr Lasic, who will teach the French modules on the collaborative MA in Decorative … Read more
Congratulations to Tom Smith, one of our current students on the MA in Decorative Arts and Historic Interiors, who will be joining the Royal Collection on a nine-month internship contract to work on projects in the Decorative Arts. The Royal … Read more
Dr Helen Jacobsen, Tutor for the French courses on the MA in Decorative Arts and Historic Interiors will be leaving us at the end of this term to concentrate on her new role as Curator of French 18th-century Decorative Arts … Read more
The Department is very pleased to welcome Dr Adriano Aymonino, who will be joining the University to head the new BA in Art History and Heritage Management. Dr Aymonino recently held postdoctoral fellowships at the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies … Read more
Buckingham’s first students on the new Art History and Heritage Management BA having been spending their initial term in Florence. The photo shows them with Michael Liversidge, Florence Programme Director, enjoying a typical Florentine autumn sunset.
This year’s MA Decorative Arts students spent the last week of October on campus exploring local country houses and enjoying the unseasonally balmy Indian summer. Among the highlights were a visit to the Chinese Dairy at Woburn (right) and a … Read more
In “Breaking the rules: Michelangelo as architect”, Nichola Smith showed how Michelangelo departed from classical reliance on the square and the circle, using the oval and the trapezium as the basis of architectural designs in Rome and Florence. Non-functioning columns, … Read more