Presenting 18th-century English drinking glasses

Recently, as research curator at Leamington Spa Art Gallery & Museum, I gave a ‘Friday Focus’ talk about the new display of 18th-century English drinking glasses that I have curated. This talk looked at the collector of the glasses, including an aspect of his life in Leamington, and then considered the different types of glasses that were created throughout the 18th century – and the various techniques used to decorate them. Lastly, I looked at why I chose to display the collection as I did:

Background to the collection and collector

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‘The Collector’ by Henry Holland, 1918, LSAG&M

This display highlights a selection of Leamington Spa Art Gallery & Museum’s collection of 160 English drinking glasses from the 18th century. They were purchased from the collector Francis Jahn in 1955 with the help of the National Art Collections Fund and the V&A Purchase Fund.

Jahn, who was born in 1871 and died in 1967, was a collector of oriental art, ceramics and 18th-century glasses. He followed his German father, Louis Jahn, a curator at the Hanley Museum, who built up a vast private collection of 18th-century Staffordshire pottery during his lifetime, which he left to his son. Many of the finest items were later bequeathed by Francis Jahn himself to Leamington Spa Art Gallery & Museum.  Continue reading

Rodin sculpture at The Wilson

The Wilson have recently put on display their new Rodin sculpture of a modern dancer. As part of my internship in the Collections department, I wrote the label for this wonderful artwork. Here it is below:

Auguste Rodin (1840 – 1917)

Dance Movement E, about 1911

Bronze, edition of 11

Rodin was inspired by modern dance. This led him to experiment with attempting to capture the essence of the body in movement. He was particularly fascinated by Alda Moreno, an acrobat and dancer at the Opéra Comique, Paris, who became his regular model from 1910 to 1913.

This interpretation of dance marks one of Rodin’s later, largely private, investigations. Dance Movement E is one of a series of nine, known collectively as Dance Movements and individually labelled A to I. These sculptures were not shown in Rodin’s lifetime, but cast posthumously in bronze.

Rodin rarely took traditional anatomic rules into consideration. Instead, he created increasingly abstract sculptures, noting the shapes produced by flexible body parts at specific expressive moments. His rough treatment of surface detail is also a crucial aspect of his unique style, and adds to the tactile and dynamic qualities of his work. In this way, Rodin strove to introduce innovative uses of natural movement and modelling to sculpture.

Given by P J Crook, President of the Friends of Cheltenham Art Gallery & Museum, in May 2014 to celebrate the 30th birthday of the Friends.