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E. A. Christensen

(b Laxfield, Suffolk, Oct 24, 1787; d London, Oct 13, 1847).

British architect, designer, writer and collector. He trained as a builder and from 1814 worked independently as an architect in London, his practice consisting mainly of church restorations. He published many books on design and architecture: his designs for ornamental metalwork appeared as Ornamental Metal Worker’s Director (1823), and his lithographs of Gothic mouldings, finials and other details, published as Working Drawings of Gothic Ornaments ([1824]), provided architects with models for Gothic capitals and carvings; his publications on architecture include Westminster Hall (1822) and Plans…of the Chapel of King Henry the Seventh (1822–9).

During the 1840s Cottingham designed a variety of pieces of Gothic furniture for his friend, John Harrison of Snelston Hall, Derbys, some of which incorporated fragments of authentic Gothic carving. His design (London, V&A) for a drawing-room cabinet for Snelston Hall, although not strictly archaeological, was based on existing examples of Gothic detailing. Cottingham’s discovery of a series of medieval tiles in the Chapter House at Westminster Abbey stimulated a revival of encaustic tiles, subsequently produced by such firms as Minton; he designed such tiles for ...

Article

Alessandro Conti

[Igino]

(b Siena, July 18, 1866; d Siena, Jan 23, 1946).

Italian forger, restorer and writer. He is best known for his autobiography, a broad panoramic portrait of life in provincial Italy at the end of the 19th century, which conveys something of the disquiet concerning the loss of Italy’s prestige. He also worked as a skilful forger and restorer at a time when the distinctions between the two activities were blurred. Much of his success as a forger was due to the fact that he imitated either the works of lesser painters (such as Sano di Pietro) or the undistinguished works of more famous artists, which could deceive even a connoisseur. A typical example is his copy of Cecco di Pietro’s Agnano polyptych (Pisa, Mus. N. S Matteo), created as a fraudulent substitution for the original (Rome, Pal. Venezia). Few of Joni’s fakes have stood the test of time, despite the fact that he was in contact with such critics and collectors as Francis Mason Perkins and Robert Langton Douglas. Research into collecting and the art market in late 19th-century America has identified Joni’s role as a restorer in such works as ...