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Elizabeth Bonython

[pseud. Summerly, Felix]

(b Bath, July 15, 1808; d London, April 18, 1882).

English art administrator, industrial designer and museum director. His art education began at the age of 15, when he learnt watercolour technique from David Cox and perspective drawing from Charles Wild (1781–1835). In 1826 Cole met the philosopher John Stuart Mill, under whose influence he became a lifelong Benthamite; Cole’s reform of English design was determined by his commitment to Utilitarianism.

In 1823 Cole began working for the Public Record Office. His complaints about its inefficiency led to the reform of the Record Commission, of which he became Assistant Keeper in 1838. In the same year he was involved in the introduction of the Penny Post. In 1843 he commissioned John Callcott Horsley to design the first commercial Christmas card. He also wrote children’s books and tourist guides under the name Felix Summerly, a pseudonym he had already used for articles and pamphlets.

In 1846 Cole designed the Felix Summerly Tea Service, produced by ...

Article

Karen Kurczynski

Alternative art space founded by Stefan Eins (b 1943) at 2803 Third Avenue near 147th Street in the South Bronx, New York, from 1978 to 1993. Eins arrived in New York from Austria in 1967. He referred to Fashion Moda as a museum of “Science, Art, Technology, Invention, and Fantasy,” the title of its inaugural exhibition in 1979. He had previously run a downtown storefront art space called the Mercer Street Store at 3 Mercer Street from 1971 to 1978. Black downtown artist, poet and musician Joe Lewis served as Co-Director of the space with Eins, and William Scott, then a teenager from the neighborhood, served as Junior Director. Their collaborative ventures attempted to connect the street culture of the South Bronx, by then a neighborhood in the midst of massive economic decline, to an international cultural scene.

From its opening in 1978, annually funded with grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York State Council of the Arts and other sources, Fashion Moda held auctions, performances, seminars and other events. Joe Lewis described it as “an outlet for the disenfranchised, a Salon des Réfusés that cut across the uptown/downtown dichotomy, across the black/white/Hispanic isolation.” Although its glass storefront was located in a neighborhood far from the Soho gallery district, its impact has been measured largely by its effect on the more mainstream art world of the 1980s and early 1990s. It introduced and exhibited a number of artists including Charles Ahearn, John Ahearn (...

Article

Shearer West

(b Kilbride, Western Isles, May 23, 1718; d London, March 30, 1783).

Scottish physician, patron, collector and museum founder. His father intended him for the Church, but Hunter’s desire to practise medicine took him in 1741 to London, where he was assistant to Dr James Douglas. From 1746 he gave public lectures on anatomy. He obtained his licence from the Royal College of Physicians in 1756 and became an FRS in 1768, when he was also appointed the first Professor of Anatomy at the Royal Academy. Johann Zoffany’s painting of Dr William Hunter Lecturing at the Royal Academy of Arts (c. 1773; London, Royal Coll. Physicians) reveals Hunter’s method of lecturing before écorché casts modelled from the corpses of criminals executed at Tyburn. Hunter’s interest in natural history combined with that in anatomy and dissection induced him to stress the minute study of nature—an emphasis that contrasted with Joshua Reynolds’s insistence on the generalized presentation of forms.

Hunter was an avid collector of paintings, books and manuscripts, as well as geological, ethnographic, zoological and anatomical objects. He began collecting at the sale of ...

Article

Gary Schwartz

[Jean-Michel]

(b Paris, Oct 3, 1928; d Branford, CT, July 26, 2005).

French art historian and economist, active in the USA. Montias was a specialist in Eastern European command economies who in mid-career changed fields and became a historian of Dutch painting. His interest in the subject was threefold. Before he began writing on Dutch art, he collected it, with the advice of a leading specialist in the field, Egbert Haverkamp-Begemann, a fellow professor at Yale University. This led him to pursue knowledge concerning the minor masters he could afford, which brought him closer to the basics of the Dutch art world. It was an approach diametrically opposed to how most students learn about this material, which is from the iconic masterworks down. His second focus of interest was economic. Three-quarters of a century after the appearance of the last, largely anecdotal survey of the economics of Dutch art, by Hanns Floerke, Montias applied the techniques of neo-classical economics to the field in a way that was accessible to art historians. Entirely on his own, he opened up new perspectives that inspired art historians, economists, and economic historians alike to revisit the subject of Dutch art. Thirdly, Montias was entranced by the ...

Article

David Mannings

(b Plympton, Devon, July 16, 1723; d London, Feb 23, 1792).

English painter, collector and writer. The foremost portrait painter in England in the 18th century, he transformed early Georgian portraiture by greatly enlarging its range. His poses, frequently based on the Old Masters or antique sculpture, were intended to invoke classical values and to enhance the dignity of his sitters. His rich colour, strong lighting and free handling of paint greatly influenced the generation of Thomas Lawrence and Henry Raeburn. His history and fancy pictures explored dramatic and emotional themes that became increasingly popular with both artists and collectors in the Romantic period. As first president of the Royal Academy in London, he did more than anyone to raise the status of art and artists in Britain. His Discourses on Art, delivered to the students and members of the Academy between 1769 and 1790, are the most eloquent and widely respected body of art criticism by any English writer.

Although Reynolds’s father, a fellow of Balliol College, Oxford, and master of Plympton Grammar School, had intended that his son train as an apothecary, Joshua chose instead to seek fame as a painter. In ...

Article

Ilaria Bignamini

(b London, 1715; d Maidstone, Dec 28, 1803).

English drawing-master. The son of a stationer, he began his career as a painter and drawing-master at Northampton. He developed his ideas for art premiums in part from similar awards introduced at the time at local horse fairs and races; eventually this led to Shipley’s publication of two pamphlets, the Proposal for Raising by Subscription a Fund to be Distributed in Premiums for the Promoting of Improvements in the Liberal Arts and Sciences, Manufactures, etc and the Scheme for Putting the Proposals in Execution (1753). These provided the foundation stones of the new Society of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce. The Society was established in London in 1754, shortly after Shipley had moved there and set up (1753) a private drawing school—Shipley’s Academy—in the Strand. This school played an influential role in art instruction during the later 1750s and 1760s; its students included the landscape watercolour painter ...