A Whimsical Admixture: Fashioning the Anglo-Gallic Interior, 1785-1865

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Diana Davis, Guest Lecturer

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$20 General Public
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In 1853 the Observer newspaper described the opulent Waterloo Gallery at the Duke of Wellington’s Apsley House, created by the architect Benjamin Dean Wyatt from 1828, as: “a rather whimsical admixture of the classical, renaissance, Louis Quatorze, and what the French call Rococo, styles.” Inspired by the Galerie des Glaces at Versailles, the room was a very British and essentially picturesque evocation of the historic French interior. Contemporaries described this decorative style as “Louis XIV” but its mix of French and British furnishings, old and new and of all dates and styles, often displayed in Palladian room settings, is best described as Anglo-Gallic. With its vibrant colors in textiles and drapery and extensive gilding, nothing could have been more different to the refined cohesion of the Adam interiors which preceded it. However, the neo-classical was integral to the Anglo-Gallic interior, as in the architectural renovations of Henry Holland at Carlton House, presented to the Prince of Wales in 1783, in the new Empire furnishings bought in Paris by Thomas Bruce, 7th Earl of Elgin for his Greek Revival house, Broomhall, and in the goût grec furniture made by Nicholas Morel for Orlando Bridgeman at Weston Park. This talk will explore the origins of this new taste, founded in the dispersal of art objects and architectural elements after the French Revolution, the instrumental role of the dealers, architects and makers who fashioned these elite interiors and the patrons they supplied.

Dr Diana Davis is an independent historian specializing in the interface between collectors, dealers, and the art market in the nineteenth century. Her book, The Tastemakers: British Dealers and the Anglo-Gallic Interior, 1785–1865, was published by the Getty Research Institute in July 2020. She is on the council of the French Porcelain Society and co-edits their journal. She has lectured for the Wallace Collection, the National Trust, Christie’s Education, the Furniture History Society, GRHAM (Groupe de recherche en histoire de l’art), on the Jewish Country House and at Masterpiece.

Image: Joseph Nash, “The Waterloo Gallery, Apsley House,” watercolor on paper, ca. 1852. (© Victoria & Albert Museum, London)

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March 10 @ 12:00 pm
12:00 pm — 1:00 pm (1h)

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