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Article

S. J. Vernoit

(b New York, Feb 7, 1875; d Monaco, Jan 19, 1968).

British mining consultant and collector of American birth. He was educated at the Columbia School of Mines and at Princeton University; by the age of 28 he was the consulting engineer and assistant general manager of the Guggenheim Exploration Company. In 1913, two years after the death of his first wife, he settled in London and became established as a mining consultant. He married Edith Dunn and bought Baroda House in Kensington Palace Gardens. With one of his associates, Herbert Hoover, later President of the USA (1929–33), he reorganized the Kyshtin mine in the Urals. The Selection Trust Ltd, which he established in 1914 to develop and finance profitable mines throughout the world, made great headway after World War I, and he remained its chairman until 1960. He was naturalized as a British citizen in 1933. In his youth he began collecting a range of items, including Western manuscripts and Chinese snuff bottles, but his main passion was collecting Islamic manuscripts and paintings, early Bibles and rare books, Impressionist paintings, French and Russian gold snuffboxes, 18th-century watches, clocks, and stamps. His interest in the Islamic arts of the book, particularly manuscripts of the Koran, was stimulated by frequent visits to Cairo, where he wintered between the wars. Although he had no knowledge of Arabic, Persian, or Turkish, he was keen to give scholars access to his collection and loaned manuscripts to many exhibitions. In ...

Article

Stephen Brindle

(b Burgos, c. 1385; d Burgos, 1455).

Spanish bishop, patron and builder. He was the son of an eminent Jewish banker, who converted to Christianity and became a bishop. Alonso, as Dean of Compostela, led Castile’s delegation to the Council of Basle, and he travelled in France, Switzerland, Austria, Germany and Bohemia from 1434 to 1439. On his return he became Bishop of Burgos. He worked on a funerary chapel (Capilla de la Visitación; 1440–44) in Burgos Cathedral and on spires of openwork tracery (1442–58) on the cathedral’s 13th-century western towers. Both are the work of Juan de Colonia, who was very probably brought to Castile by Alonso for this express purpose. The spires are based closely on German models, in particular the early 15th-century design for the spires at Cologne Cathedral. Don Alonso was a key figure in the introduction of Late Gothic architecture into Castile, for Juan de Colonia founded an energetic school of Late Gothic design based at the Burgos Cathedral workshops....

Article

Dutch, 17th century, male.

Born c. 1620, in Rotterdam; died 31 August 1676, in Rotterdam.

Painter, architect, collector. Religious subjects, portraits.

Lois married Eva van Mismebeck on 31 August 1649. He was captain of the civil guard from 1652 to 1653, and in 1664 was made an alderman....

Article

S. J. Vernoit

(b Kilmarnock, Aug 18, 1835; d Edinburgh, July 3, 1900).

Scottish soldier, archaeologist, diplomat and collector of Iranian art. He was educated at Glasgow University, and in 1855 he obtained a commission in the Royal Engineers. The following year he joined the expedition of Charles Newton to Halikarnassos, which resulted in the discovery of the Mausoleum and the acquisition of its sculptures for the British Museum. In 1860 with E. A. Porcher, Murdoch Smith formed at his own expense an expedition to Cyrene in Libya. From this expedition he returned with Greek sculptures and inscriptions (London, BM). In 1863 he was selected for service on the Iranian section of a proposed telegraph line from Britain to India, and in 1865 he became its director in Tehran, holding that post for the next 20 years. He initiated his collecting activities for the South Kensington (later Victoria and Albert) Museum in 1873 when he offered his services as an agent. From 1873 to 1885...

Article

Pomposa  

Charles B. McClendon

Italian former Benedictine abbey near the mouth of the Po River and 45 km north of Ravenna in the province of Emilia Romagna. Although first documented in ad 874, a monastic settlement probably existed there at least two centuries earlier. Pomposa rose to prominence in the 10th and 11th centuries through the support of the Holy Roman emperors. Over the course of the 14th century, a notable series of wall paintings in three different buildings were sponsored despite the monastery’s waning fortunes. In 1663 the monastic community was suppressed by papal decree. The site was secularized in 1802 and became property of the Italian state after 1870.

The proportions of the wooden-roofed basilican church, along with the polygonal outline of its main apse, reflect influence from nearby Ravenna and Classe and suggest a date in the 8th or 9th century. An elaborate pavement of mosaic and cut stone (opus sectile...

Article

Ratgar  

David Parsons

[Radger]

(d 6 Dec ?sd 820).

Abbot and architect. He was Abbot of Fulda from 802 to 817. Ratgar is described in a near-contemporary source as ‘skilful architect’ and is regarded by some authorities as second only to Einhard as a master builder of the Carolingian revival. A pupil of Sturm, the first Abbot (744–79), he took charge of the rebuilding of the monastery church in the 790s under Abbot Baugulf (779–802). Following his unanimous election, the early years of Ratgar’s abbacy were peaceful, but his rule became autocratic and he punished harshly monks who were disobedient or who protested against his policies. His building projects were regarded by some of the community as superfluous. Of these the most significant was the westward extension of the Abbey Church at Fulda (see Fulda §1). This grandiose scheme sought to imitate Old St Peter’s and other churches in Rome and produced one of the largest churches in the Carolingian empire, more than doubling the size of the building reconstructed under Baugulf. The building works diverted the monks from their other duties and impoverished the community. Ratgar’s solution to the financial problem was to build proprietorial churches on the Abbey’s estates in order to claim their tithes. This further alienated the monks, who complained to Charlemagne in 812 and finally revolted in 817. They appealed to Louis the Pious who banished Ratgar. He died at a daughter house near Fulda....

Article

Malcolm Gee

(b Copenhagen, Aug 11, 1861; d Copenhagen, Jan 25, 1932).

Danish collector, engineer and politician. Together with Christian Tetzen-Lund he was the foremost Danish collector of contemporary art of his time, playing a central role in bringing the achievements of modern French painters to the attention of the Danish public. He trained as an engineer specializing in sanitation and set up a successful business in Copenhagen in the 1890s. He then followed his father into politics, becoming a respected figure in the Social Democratic Party. His early interest in art was stimulated by meeting the collector Carl Jacobsen (1842–1916), and he began collecting drawings and Danish paintings. After visiting Paris in 1912 he became increasingly interested in contemporary French art and began amassing a large collection centred around the work of André Derain, Henri Matisse and Maurice Utrillo, sometimes reselling works in the process. He did not appreciate either Cubism or later avant-garde developments. He served as a trustee for Danish museums and in ...