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Jörg Garms

(b Nantes, May 16, 1667; d Paris, March 19, 1754).

French architect and writer. He maintained the tradition of the Grand Style in France between Jules Hardouin Mansart, who was born in 1646, and Ange-Jacques Gabriel, who died in 1782. His work also provided an important bridge between that of Louis Le Vau in the mid-17th century and those of the architects of the Piranesian generation of Neo-classicists in the mid-18th century, such as Etienne-Louis Boullée, whom he influenced.

His father, Jean Boffrand, was a minor architect and sculptor. Germain Boffrand came to Paris at the age of fourteen to study sculpture, working for three years in the studio of François Girardon. From 1685 he worked as a draughtsman in the Bâtiments du Roi under Jules Hardouin Mansart. Through his uncle, the court poet Philippe Quinault, Boffrand met important artists and aristocrats, who were to prove useful connections later. By the late 1690s he was supervising architect of the new Place Vendôme, Paris, but in ...

Article

(b Soignies [Hainault], nr Brussels, Oct 23, 1695; d Munich, April 14, 1768).

French architect of Flemish origin, active in Bavaria. A discriminating and imaginative artist, he successfully imported the Parisian Rococo, at the height of its popularity, into the Munich area: his glittering adaptations of French ideas far surpass the original models. In the 18th and 19th centuries de Cuvilliés’s work was known chiefly from collections of his ornamental designs, which were made between 1738 and 1768.

At the age of 11, de Cuvilliés entered the service of Maximilian II Emanuel (reg 1679–1726), exiled Elector of Bavaria, as a court dwarf and was educated by him. In 1714 he returned with Maximilian to Munich, where he was taught mathematics and fortification design. In 1715 he was appointed draughtsman to the Bavarian Director General of Building, Graf Ferdinand von der Wahl. Two years later he served as an ensign in the Bavarian army, apparently in the position of a fortifications engineer. During ...

Article

James Yorke

[Mathias; Matthew]

(fl c. 1740–early 1770s).

English engraver, draughtsman and drawing-master. In 1748 his premises faced Old Slaughter’s Coffee House in St Martin’s Lane, London, a favourite meeting-place for adherents of the new Rococo style. His earliest known satirical print, the Cricket Players of Europe, is dated 1741.

In 1751 he issued A New-book of Chinese, Gothic & Modern Chairs, a slight publication on eight leaves. Twelve examples with bizarre backs were described as ‘Hall Chairs’ in a reissue of 1766, but it is more likely they were intended for gardens and summer-houses. A shell-back chair (Stratford-on-Avon, Nash’s House) corresponding to one of the designs was made for the Chinese temple erected at Stratford for the Shakespeare jubilee organized by David Garrick in 1769. Five plates from a second book of chairs (c. 1751), of which no copy survives, were apparently reprinted in Robert Manwaring’s The Chair-maker’s Guide (1766). Described as ‘Parlour Chairs’, they incorporate extravagant C-scroll motifs in the backs....

Article

James Yorke

[Mayhew and Ince]

English partnership of cabinetmakers formed in 1758 by William Ince (b ?London, c. 1738; d London, 6 Jan 1804) and John Mayhew (b 1736; d London, May 1811). Ince was apprenticed to John West (fl 1743–58) of Covent Garden, London, from 1752 until West’s death. As the usual age to begin an apprenticeship was 14, he was probably born towards the end of the 1730s. In 1758 Ince formed a partnership with Mayhew. They operated from Broad Street, Carnaby Market, an address formerly occupied by Charles Smith (fl 1746–59), whose premises they had purchased. In Mortimer’s Universal Director (1763) they were described as ‘cabinet-makers, carvers and upholders’, and by 1778 they were styling themselves ‘manufacturers of plate glass’ (Ince’s father and brother were glass-grinders).

In 1759 the partners began to issue in serial form The Universal System of Household Furniture...

Article

James Yorke

[Mathias]

(b London, c. 1710; bur London, Dec 22, 1765).

English furniture designer and carver. The earliest record of Matthias Lock is his apprenticeship in London to his father, Matthias, joiner, and to Richard Goldsaddle, carver, in 1724. As the usual age to begin an apprenticeship was 14, he was presumably born c. 1710. He married Mary Lee at St Paul’s, Covent Garden, London, in July 1734. Between 1742 and 1744 he executed work for the 2nd Earl Poulett of Hinton House, Somerset; annotated sketches in his own hand survive from this commission, which include a side-table, pier-glass and candle stands. A pier-glass and table from the Tapestry Room of Hinton House are now at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, which also owns a large collection of Lock’s drawings.

Lock is most famous for designing pieces in the Rococo style, with a fluency and grace not hitherto achieved in England. In 1744 he published Six Sconces. There followed Six Tables...

Article

James Yorke

(fl London, 1760–c. 1770).

English furniture designer and cabinetmaker. He was recorded as working in the Haymarket, London, from 1760 until 1766, but no furniture documented or labelled from his workshop has been identified. In 1760 he contributed 50 designs to Houshold Furniture in Genteel Taste, sponsored by a Society of Upholsterers and Cabinetmakers, and in the same year he published the Carpenter’s Compleat Guide to the Whole System of Gothic Railing, which consisted of 14 plates. There followed the Cabinet and Chair-maker’s Real Friend and Companion in 1765, with designs for 100 chairs in Gothic, chinoiserie, Rococo and Rustic styles. A second edition, virtually unaltered, appeared in 1775. In 1766 he brought out the Chair-maker’s Guide, containing ‘upwards of Two Hundered New and Genteel Designs … for Gothic, Chinese, Ribbon and other chairs’; it includes two plates from William Ince and John Mayhew’s Universal System of Household Furniture and at least six from ...

Article

Elaine Evans Dee

(b Turin, 1695; d Paris, July 31, 1750).

French designer, architect and goldsmith. He was apprenticed to his father Etienne Meissonnier, a sculptor and silversmith of some importance, before making his way to Paris, arriving in 1714. He worked there as a die-cutter and medallist, progressing through the ranks of the metalworkers’ guild. He was variously described as a chaser, a designer and, in 1723, as a maker of watchcases; he worked for ten years at the royal furnishings factory of Gobelins, Paris. In September 1724 Louis XV appointed him by brevet a master of the Corporation des Marchands-Orfèvres Joailliers. It would appear, however, that his main occupation was as a chaser. His mark, a crowned fleur-de-lis, j o m and two grains de remède, has been found on only one piece, a gold and lapis lazuli snuff-box (1728; Geneva, J. Ortiz Patino priv. col., see Snowman, pl. 146). In spite of this scarcity of signed pieces, it is reasonable to assume that he closely supervised the work that he contracted to other goldsmiths. In ...

Article

Alisa Luxenberg

(b Paris, March 6, 1714; d Paris, May 15, 1789).

French painter, printmaker, draughtsman and administrator. Although he painted a number of rustic genre scenes and was an occasional designer of vases and picture frames, he was principally active as a painter of large-scale history and religious works. In this aspect of his output he forms a link in the 18th-century tradition of French history painting that runs from Jean Jouvenet to the Neo-classicism of Jacques-Louis David.

Pierre’s father, a wealthy Parisian jeweller, consented to his artistic ambitions and provided financial security. Pierre studied with Charles-Joseph Natoire and won the Prix de Rome in 1734. The fresh, spirited quality of his etching Chinese Masquerade of the French Art Students in Rome (San Francisco, CA, Achenbach Found. Graph. A.), dated 1735, belies the fact that he probably did not arrive in Rome in time to witness the February carnival. Under the directors of the Académie de France in Rome, Nicolas Vleughels and ...

Article

Joshua Drapkin

(b Lyon, May 24, 1728; d Lyon, April 26, 1808).

French painter and draughtsman. He was an extremely varied and prolific artist who became fashionable early in his career. First trained by Daniel Sarrabat in Lyon, Pillement received a good grounding in the Rococo style of genre painting exemplified in the work of Antoine Watteau and François Boucher. After a brief spell at the Gobelins, in 1745 he left for Madrid. He stayed there for three years, and his work was much appreciated both in Spain and in Portugal, which he visited often. He supervised sets of Rococo singeries and chinoiseries painted for Quinta de Alegria, the house at Seteais, near Sintra, of the Dutch consul in Lisbon, Jan Gildemeester, and soon after he was offered the title of Painter to the King. He declined this honour and instead travelled to London. There he stayed for the next 10 years, during which time he fully exploited the English taste for landscapes. In addition to his brightly coloured, artificial landscapes, inspired by Nicolaes Berchem and Claude-Joseph Vernet, Pillement painted fancy pieces, which were theatrical in composition and inspired by prints rather than nature. In ...

Article

Natália Marinho Ferreira Alves

(b Braga, Dec 18, 1731; d Tibães, Aug 30, 1808).

Portuguese designer, wood-carver, sculptor and architect.

His godfather, the Reverend Constantino da Cunha Soto Maior (d 1757), was treasurer of the Cathedral of Braga, and one of his brothers, João de Araújo Ferreira Vilaça (b 1720), was clerk to the Vicar General of Vila Real in Trás-os-Montes. Frei José’s early training was with his father, Custódio Ferreira, a skilled carpenter. In November 1754 Frei José signed his first contract to carve the retable of the high altar of the church of the convent of S Clara, Amarante. From 1757 he worked at Tibães, near Braga, the headquarters of the Benedictine Order in Portugal, where, with José de Álvares de Araújo, he collaborated on carving the magnificent talha (carved and gilded wood) designed for the church of S Martinho by André Ribeiro Soares da Silva. The work began with the high altar, for which Frei José carved the statues of SS Martinho, Bento and Escolástica, and the whole scheme, one of the finest in Portugal, was subsequently completed in ...

Article

J. E. P. Leistra

(bapt Amsterdam, Dec 19, 1695; d Amsterdam, Nov 12, 1754).

Dutch painter, draughtsman, etcher and writer . He was the leading 18th-century Dutch decorative painter, specializing in Rococo ceiling and room decorations and groups of putti painted naturalistically in colour or as imitation reliefs in grisaille. His preparatory drawings for ceiling decorations were collected during his own lifetime, but he also executed independent finished drawings specifically for collectors (e.g. Three Hovering Putti; Leiden, Rijksuniv., Prentenkab.)

At the age of nine de Wit was apprenticed to Albert van Spiers (1666–1718), a painter of ceiling pictures and overmantels who had studied with Gérard de Lairesse and in Rome. From 1708 de Wit studied at the Koninklijke Academie in Antwerp and, from 1709 to 1712, with the history painter Jacob van Hal (1672–1718). In 1711–12 de Wit made drawn copies of the 36 ceiling pictures designed by Rubens in the Jesuit church in Antwerp (now St Carlo Borromeo). When these were destroyed by fire in ...