HOUGHTON REVISITED: The Walpole MasterpiecesTHIERRY MORRIS & ANDREW MOORE Book Number: 81782 Product format: Hardback
Houghton Hall, home of Britain's first Prime Minister Sir Robert Walpole, is probably the country's best mansion in the Palladian style. Walpole built it to house his unparalleled collection of art, and his architects James Gibbs and William Kent designed the interior specifically for the display of masterpieces by Van Dyck, Rubens, Rembrandt, Lely, Kneller and Poussin, to name a few. After Walpole's death the family sold the art collection in 1779 to the Empress Catherine the Great of Russia, and in 2013 the collection was returned to Houghton for an exhibition, with many of the paintings displayed in their original positions. This big and beautifully illustrated book is the catalogue of that exhibition. Each painting has a full-page reproduction, while a series of thumbnails at the end are accompanied by a scholarly and art-historical commentary. The paintings are organised room by room, and are accompanied by photos of the room itself. In the Marble Parlour, Kent's painted grape motifs on the ceiling are picked up by the sculptor Rysbrack who created the fireplace depicting "The Sacrifice to Bacchus". Among the paintings on display are Kneller's portrait of George I, a sketch for the famous portrait of Pope Innocent X by Velázquez, several striking full length portraits by Van Dyck together with an intimate close-up of the architect Inigo Jones, and an elderly lady by Rembrandt at the height of his expressive powers. Religious subjects include a stark Crucifixion by Murillo, Nicolas Poussin's Holy Family, and a dramatic canvas by Veronese, "with some studio assistance", depicting the Resurrection. A stunning book. 255pp, numerous colour reproductions and architectural drawings. First edition, 2013, 23.5 x 29cm.
Click YouTube icon to see this book come to life on video.
Published price: £40
Bibliophile price: £17.50