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Article

Simonetta Prosperi Valenti Rodinò

(b Busto Arsizio, Nov 11, 1777; d Milan, Dec 15, 1815).

Italian painter, collector and writer. He studied painting at the Accademia di Brera in Milan. Between 1785 and 1801 he lived in Rome, where he met such Neo-classical artists as Angelica Kauffman and Marianna Dionigi (1756–1826) as well as writers, scholars and archaeologists, notably Jean-Baptiste Séroux d’Agincourt, Giovanni Gherardo de Rossi (1754–1827) and Ennio Quirino Visconti. While in Rome he studied Antique and Renaissance works, making copies of the statues in the Museo Pio-Clementino and the frescoes by Raphael and Michelangelo in the Vatican, also furthering his studies of the nude in the Accademia di Domenico Conti and making anatomical drawings of corpses in the Ospedale della Consolazione. On his return to Milan in 1801 he became secretary to the Accademia di Brera, a post he held until 1807. During this period he devoted all his efforts to the restructuring of the Brera, providing it with new statutes and a major library and also founding the adjoining art gallery. He prevented numerous works from being smuggled abroad or dispersed and was responsible for their inclusion in the ...

Article

Stephen T. Clarke, Harley Preston and Lin Barton

English family of silversmiths, industrialists, collectors, and patrons, of French origin. The family originated from the town of St Pierre on the Ile d’Oléron off La Rochelle. They arrived in London a few years after the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685, and between 1708 and 1780 three generations of Courtauld silversmiths were registered at the Goldsmiths’ Company. Augustine Courtauld (c.1686–c. 1751) was apprenticed to Simon Pantin in 1701 and, after becoming a freeman of the Goldsmiths’ Company in 1708, he started a business as a plateworker in Church Court, off St Martin’s Lane in London. The majority of his work is of high quality, for example a silver tea-table (1742; St Petersburg, Hermitage) and the state salt of the Corporation of the City of London (1730; London, Mansion House). Augustine’s brother Pierre Courtauld (1690–1729) registered a mark in 1721...

Article

(von)

(b Stuttgart, Oct 15, 1758; d Stuttgart, Dec 8, 1841).

German sculptor and collector. He received his initial artistic training (1771–80) at the Militärische Pflanzschule in Stuttgart, where he revealed a talent for drawing and sculpture. His most important tutors were the Belgian sculptor Pierre François Lejeune (1721–90) and the French painter Nicolas Guipal, an admirer of Mengs. Also of great importance to Dannecker were friendships with his fellow sculptor and rival Philipp Jakob Scheffauer (1756–1808), with the painter Philipp Friedrich Hetsch, and above all with the German writer Friedrich Schiller, who had a decisive influence on Dannecker’s intellectual development. In 1780 Dannecker was appointed court sculptor at Stuttgart and was thus obliged to decline later offers to work in Dresden, St Petersburg and Munich. His first undertaking was to complete sculptural sketches by others, for example Lejeune. From 1783 to 1785 Dannecker visited Paris to study with Augustin Pajou and there came to know the virtuoso portrait sculpture of artists working under Louis XVI. He then went on foot to Rome, where he remained for four years. Because of his enthusiasm for antique art, he was soon known as ‘il Greco’. He cultivated the acquaintance of the Swiss sculptor Alexander Trippel, the antiques restorer and dealer Capvaceppi, and, most important of all, the already well-established Italian sculptor Antonio Canova. The classical outlook favoured by Canova had a decisive effect on Dannecker’s subsequent work....

Article

Laure Pellicer

(b Montpellier, April 1, 1766; d Montpellier, March 16, 1837).

French painter, printmaker and collector. He was taught by the painter Jean Coustou (1719–91) in Montpellier before entering, in 1783, the studio of David, to whose artistic principles he remained faithful all his life. His career as a history painter began brilliantly when, in 1787, he won the Prix de Rome for Nebuchadnezzar Ordering the Execution of Zedekiah’s Children (Paris, Ecole N. Sup. B.-A.). This early success was consolidated by the four years he spent at the Académie de France in Rome and by the enthusiastic reception of his Death of Abel (1790; Montpellier, Mus. Fabre) at the Salon of 1791.

In 1793 his royalist sympathies forced him to move to Florence, where the poet Vittorio Alfieri and his mistress the Countess of Albany, estranged wife of the Young Pretender, introduced him to the artistic and social life of the city. In the years preceding the French invasion of Tuscany in ...

Article

Roberta J. M. Olson

(b Bologna, 15 May ?1775–7; d Turin, March 6, 1860).

Italian painter, architect, designer and collector. At the age of 12 he began to frequent the house in Bologna of his patron Conte Carlo Filippo Aldrovandi Marescotti (1763–1823), whose collections and library provided his early artistic education and engendered his taste for collecting. From 1795 he worked on several decorative schemes with the theatre designer and decorator Antonio Basoli (1774–1848), and it was perhaps in theatre designs that Palagi was first exposed to an eclectic range of motifs from exotic cultures. He was influenced by the linear, mannered style of Felice Giani, with whom he frequented the important evening drawing sessions at the house of the engraver Francesco Rosaspina (1762–1841). Beginning in 1802, he participated in the informal Accademia della Pace, Bologna, as well as studying at the Accademia Clementina, and was elected to the Accademia Nazionale di Belle Arti of Bologna in 1803...

Article

Alain Gruber

(b Besançon, Oct 25, 1745; d Besançon, Aug 1, 1819).

French architect and stage designer. He was the son of Pierre-François Pâris, a master builder turned architect. He was brought up in the modest court of the Prince-Bishop of Basle at Porrentruy in Switzerland, where from 1750 his father was official architect and topographer. He went to Paris probably in 1760 to study under the architect Louis-François Trouard, and after three unsuccessful attempts at the Prix de Rome in 1766, 1768 and 1769, he obtained the support of the Marquis de Marigny and the Duc d’Aumont with his project for entertainments at the wedding of the Dauphin and Marie-Antoinette, planned for 1770. He then went to the Académie de France in Rome as tutor to Trouard’s young son. During his five years there he associated with Cardinal de Bernis, Charles de Wailly, Jean-Honoré Fragonard and Bergeret de Grancourt and contributed to the Abbé de Saint-Non’s Voyage pittoresque with drawings of antique monuments at Pompeii, Paestum, Herculaneum and elsewhere. He also travelled through Italy, from Sicily to Venice and the Piedmont, and kept travel journals of considerable interest. His many portfolios of architectural drawings were highly successful on his return to Paris and brought him employment: improvements to the Duc d’Aumont’s residence on the Place Louis XV (...

Article

Harley Preston and Lin Barton

In 

Article

David Watkin

(b Goring on Thames, Oxon, Sept 10, 1753; d London, Jan 20, 1837).

English architect and collector. Soane has long been recognized as the most original architect in Britain, and possibly in Europe, around 1800. Intent on returning to first principles, he developed a personal language of strange and often bizarre poetry that found no real imitators and, although steeped in the Classical tradition, he reduced the orders to a system of incised lines that are a parallel to the fundamentalist doctrines of the Abbé Marc-Antoine Laugier. At the same time he bathed his interiors in light from hidden sources in a manner that, while ultimately Baroque, may owe something to Piranesi.

Born in modest circumstances as the son of a bricklayer, Soane was trained for four years from 1768 by the inventive architect George Dance (ii) before working in the office of Henry Holland from 1772 to 1777. Later in his career Soane developed his architectural ideas in close but informal association with Dance, his ‘revered master’, with whom he shared a preoccupation with toplighting and a concern to create what Dance called ‘unshackled’ architecture. In ...

Article

(b Copenhagen, Nov 13, 1768 or Nov 19, 1770; d Copenhagen, March 24, 1844).

Danish sculptor and collector, active in Italy. He spent most of his working life in Rome, where, after the death of Antonio Canova in 1822, he became the foremost Neo-classical sculptor. Although the heroic quality of his early Roman work was later modified by certain naturalistic features, he never abandoned his fundamental, classicizing ideals (see fig.). His pan-European reputation led to commissions from public and private patrons in many countries, and in order to supply these he ran a large and well-organized studio. His collection of contemporary paintings was probably the finest in 19th-century Rome and, together with many of his sculptures, is now housed in the Thorvaldsens Museum, Copenhagen (opened 1848). (Unless otherwise stated, the models and versions of the works mentioned in this entry are there.) In the decades after his death, the taste for Neo-classicism, and thus his reputation, declined, and it was not until the mid-20th century that his art was re-evaluated....

Article

R. Windsor Liscombe

(b Norwich, Aug 31, 1778; d Cambridge, Aug 31, 1839).

English architect, writer and collector . A ‘profound knowledge of the principles both of Grecian and Gothic architecture’ generated the career of Wilkins, who was also remembered as ‘a most amiable and honourable man’. He promoted the archaeological Greek Revival in Britain and a Tudor Gothic style. More intellectual than imaginative, his architecture was distinguished by a deft and disciplined manipulation of select historical motifs, a refined sense of scale and intelligent planning, outmoded by the time of his death. Besides his architecture and extensive antiquarian writings, Wilkins assembled an eclectic art collection and owned, or had a financial interest in, several theatres in East Anglia.

The theatres and Wilkins’s architectural bent were inherited from his father, a Norwich architect also called William Wilkins (1751–1815), who assisted Humphry Repton from 1785 to 1796 and established a successful domestic practice, mainly in the Gothick style. His eldest son was educated at Norwich School, then at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, from which he graduated Sixth Wrangler in ...