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Article

Elizabeth Ashman Rowe

Illuminated 14th-century deluxe Icelandic manuscript (420×290 mm, 202 fols; Reykjavík, Árni Magnússon Institute, GKS 1005 fol.) of King Sverrir’s Saga. It was compiled by the priests Jón Þórðarson and Magnús Þórhallsson for Jón Hákonarson (1350–before 1416), a wealthy landowner in northern Iceland who collected sagas of the kings of Norway. A note on folio 4r dates Jón Þórðarson’s contribution to 1387, and Magnús Þórhallsson’s annals at the end of the manuscript indicate the book was completed in 1394 or 1395. Magnús illuminated the whole manuscript and was the scribe of King Sverrir’s Saga (composed in part by Abbot Karl Jónsson of Þingeyrar, Iceland, c. 1185). The saga contains eight initials decorated in a style combining Gothic curved and draped human figures with Romanesque grotesques and acanthus motifs. Five initials depict Sverrir (with crown, orb and weapons), his opponent Sigurðr, and their soldiers. One initial is foliate, and two depict hybrid monsters. The taunting grotesque (fol. 156...

Article

Jean van Cleven

(b Ghent, June 7, 1801; d Ghent, Aug 5, 1875).

Belgian architect and collector. The son of a French immigrant, he trained in architecture at the Academie voor Schone Kunsten in Ghent under the direction of Louis Joseph Adrien Roelandt and between 1817 and 1835 obtained several prizes but competed without success for the Prix de Rome at Amsterdam in 1827. Appointed a professor at the academy of The Hague in 1829, he returned to Ghent after the Belgian Revolution (1830) and there became a most successful and wealthy architect–builder and was elected a town councillor. Minard’s architectural works, mostly in eastern Flanders, include the building or restoration of churches, for example at Melle (1837–9), Adegem (1842–4), Burst (1852–5), Ertvelde (1854) and Wetteren (1865), private houses in Ghent, country houses and châteaux (Olsene (1854), Deurle (destr.), Vosselare (destr.), Nazareth-Scheldevelde, Lovendegem, Melle, Lochristi, Wetteren (destr.), Wondelgem, Drongen, Erpe), school and industrial buildings and funeral monuments. His first works, such as the Hôtel Godefroy (...

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

(b ?London, March 3, 1737; d Pisa, Jan 19, 1793).

English architect and patron. He was educated at Cambridge University, where he became friendly with the medievalists William Cole (1714–82) and Thomas Gray (1716–71). He travelled to Spain and Portugal in 1760 and there compiled a journal that gave the first descriptions in English of a large number of Iberian Gothic antiquities. Circulated privately, the manuscript contributed to the scholarship of English antiquaries. Pitt’s work as a Gothic Revivalist includes decoration (1762–4) at Strawberry Hill, Twickenham, nr London, for Horace Walpole, 4th Earl of Orford; refurbishment (1764–8) at Carlisle and Norwich cathedrals; and alterations (1783) at Holywell House, St Albans, Herts. Pitt’s uncle, Charles Lyttelton, Bishop of Carlisle and President of the Society of Antiquaries, encouraged his nephew’s Gothic interests, and family connections provided Pitt’s most important commissions. Between 1765 and 1777 Pitt built garden buildings, including the Corinthian arch for his cousins, the Grenvilles, at Stowe, Bucks, and adapted an Adam design for the south front of the house. Pitt’s career illustrates the importance of the tradition of the amateur architect among leading 18th-century families and their interest in new stylistic possibilities....

Article

Ravello  

Antonio Milone

Italian cathedral city in the province of Salerno, Campania. Ravello has been documented as an urban centre since the 10th century and as a bishopric since 1087. The centre, near the Toro quarter, is high up between the two rivers that separate the city from Scala and Minori. The city’s fortifications were damaged and the city itself was sacked by a Pisan assault in 1135 and in 1137. At the end of the 14th century, its inhabitants also clashed with the neighbouring city of Scala. In the 13th century a mercantile oligarchy with power throughout all of Sicily and close relations to the Crown took control of the city, celebrated in Boccaccio’s Decameron (II.4), and enriched it with numerous monuments and artworks.

The cathedral, dedicated to S Pantaleone, dates to 1087 but was extensively altered in the late 18th century. The cathedral has three naves and the façade has three portals—the central one has a bronze door (...

Article

Dinah Birch

(b London, Feb 8, 1819; d Brantwood, Cumbria, Jan 20, 1900).

English writer, draughtsman, painter and collector. He was one of the most influential voices in the art world of the 19th century. His early writings, eloquent in their advocation of J(oseph) M(allord) W(illiam) Turner and Pre-Raphaelitism and their enthusiasm for medieval Gothic, had a major impact on contemporary views of painting and architecture. His later and more controversial works focused attention on the relation between art and politics and were bitter in their condemnation of what he saw as the mechanistic materialism of his age.

Ruskin was the only child of prosperous Scottish parents living in London: his father was a wine merchant, his mother a spirited Evangelical devoted to her husband and son. Ruskin had a sequestered but happy childhood. He became an accomplished draughtsman (taught by Copley Fielding and James Duffield Harding) and acquired, through engravings encountered in Samuel Rogers’s poem Italy (1830), an early enthusiasm for Turner’s art. He was also an eager student of natural science, particularly geology. He travelled with his parents, seeing Venice for the first time in ...

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 ...