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Jean de Cayeux

[Robert des Ruines]

(b Paris, May 22, 1733; d Paris, April 15, 1808).

French painter, draughtsman, etcher and landscape designer. He was one of the most prolific and engaging landscape painters in 18th-century France. He specialized in architectural scenes in which topographical elements derived from the buildings and monuments of ancient and modern Italy and of France are combined in often fantastic settings or fictitious juxtapositions. The fluid touch and rich impasto employed in his paintings, also shared by his friend Jean-Honoré Fragonard, are matched by the freedom of his numerous red chalk drawings and the few etchings that he is known to have produced.

Robert’s father was an official in the service of the Marquis de Stainville whose son, the Comte de Stainville (later Duc de Choiseul), became the young artist’s protector. According to Mariette, Robert learnt drawing as a pupil of the sculptor René-Michel (Michel-Ange) Slodtz, although other sources suggest, improbably, that he studied with the painter Pierre-Jacques Cazes. It is certain, however, that he received a classical education in Paris, at either the aristocratic Collège de Navarre or the Collège de Beauvais....

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Roger White

(b Durham, bapt Feb 20, 1718; d London, May 17, 1765).

English architect, engraver and furniture designer. The son of a gardener, he was appointed Clerk of the Works at the Queen’s House, Greenwich, in 1736 and was clerk at a succession of royal buildings, notably at the London palaces of Whitehall, Westminster and St James’s (1746–54). In this capacity he became closely associated with William Kent, whose Horse Guards scheme he was responsible for executing and possibly modifying (1750–59). He engraved and published a number of Kent’s designs (notably in Some Designs of Mr Inigo Jones and Mr William Kent, 1744). Not surprisingly, Kent’s influence is strongly felt in Vardy’s own work, such as the ‘New Stone Building’ adjoining Westminster Hall (begun 1755; destr. 1883) and the unexecuted scheme (1754) for a building for the new British Museum in Old Palace Yard, Westminster.

Vardy’s private commissions included the remodelling (1761–3) of Hackwood Park (destr. in later alterations, ...