Saturday, 14 May 2011

DUMMY BOOKS: please do not touch

Wallace Collection, London 13v11
Yesterday evening at the Wallace Collection, Manchester Square: 'Watteau: A Critical Journey Through Publications, from Edmond de Goncourt to the Modern Day' given by Christoph Vogtherr, Curator of pre-1800 Paintings. Watteau was a rather mysterious artist whose elevation to the rank of Old Master owed much to the manner of his exposure through publications, starting with those of his patron Jean de Julienne, whose collection is the subject of a special exhibition currently at the Wallace, coinciding with a focussed display of their numerous paintings by Watteau. The lecture was informative and accessible, and the evening included not only a look at the Julienne exhibition but a hands-on display in the library of the books being discussed, and (not in the same room) a glass of wine.

Many spaces in the Wallace collection are charmingly decorated with unexpected items: dozens of elaborate, empty antique picture frames cluster on the walls of the lecture theatre, and in the seminar room eccentric collages of small labels, signs and notices (above).