January 19, 2014 - 16 went

Sunday 10.30 am Kenwood House 18c historical gem. TOUR + Low light & landscapes

In this photo:

There are no tags for this photo

Added by Emma
on Jan 22, 2014.
 

Comments

  • David F.

    I thought the comments from the guy who was supervising this room were interesting. The artist was concentrating on the lady to the exclusion of the other features. He has made a terrible job of the perspective of the bowl which doesn't appear to be centred on its base!

    or cancel

  • Emma

    Blimey- even famous artists are open to your compostion critique! Make's me feel somewhat better....

    or cancel

  • JUDE

    I wouldn't give a great deal of emphasis on that young man's particular critique David. He has been working at Kenwood for a few months , i 'd put more weight on those such asBryant who's the cataloguer of Kenwood's Paintings & also the international acclaim that this painting has. The painting is is regarded as one of Reynolds great masterpieces & valued some where conservatively between £5-10 million. They may be " distortions " in the perspective of the bowl .. just as with the Rembrandt ( regarded as his most important self portrait - we appear to see unfinished work & rejigging of the arm ) the point is with this piece of art - the stunning overall impact of the piece, the light, characterization - not if it is technically perfect . " There is rather more to this story, a tantalizing tale of perhaps-besotted artists, assuredly-covetous princes, strikingly-clueless husbands, and suddenly- errant wives, than is apparent at first. Mrs. Musters was a conventionally well-bred woman of the class known as the landed gentry. Hers is hardly a household name and rarely, if at all, is she mentioned amongst the scandalous wives who bore the label Fashionable Impure. Yet, for a few years, she cut a notable swathe in that circle of naughty society ladies. Hebe, Cupbearer to the Gods, may be solid proof. This is Mrs. Musters as she was never before seen. According to the catalog of the Tate Britain exhibit, Reynolds had painted one previous portrait, in 1777, for Sophia’s husband, but it he’d actually painted two portraits before the Hebe masterpiece, though viewers may find it hard to believe these three are of the same woman..John Musters was a man who appeared to take pleasure in his wife’s beauty Sophia Catherine was an exceptionally fetching and beautiful woman, and, according to the chronicler Fanny Burney, she became “the reigning toast of the season.” From Bath, she went on to London, no doubt to break more hearts, whilst, ‘tis also said, her husband “pursued his interest in field sports…and remodeling his country house.” Alas, the typical English country gentleman... The Prince coveted the woman, as he coveted the many beautiful women in his royal orbit, but Mrs. Musters’ Hebe portrait, it seems, would do just as well for him. (The future King George IV also loved collecting images of society’s beauties.) In 1779, he prevailed upon Sir Joshua to reclaim the painting from Mr. Musters, and the painter agreed, giving the excuse that he needed “to make some improvements to the composition.” The ploy worked – poor, gullible Mr. Musters! -- but Reynolds was put into an awkward position, as it turned out, when he passed Hebe on to the Prince. He soon realized he could not return it to Musters and he could not retrieve it from the Prince, and he wanted it, too. What to do? First, Reynolds returned Musters’ money, claiming the portrait had been stolen from his studio in Leicester Square, and so the Prince – probably somewhat of a voyeur himself – enjoyed the purloined portrait in the privacy of one of his many sumptuous palaces for several years. In the meantime, the couple had become publicly estranged, with Musters remaining in the country and Sophia still the toast of the town, and Reynolds went on to make a copy of Hebe for himself, which he exhibited in 1785 at the Royal Academy. (He probably took the chance realizing that Musters never came up to London and so would never know the portrait was on view and that he knew no one who’d inform him.) Eventually, however, Mr. and Mrs. Musters reconciled, and eventually, too, Hebe – either the copy or perhaps the original itself – went back to John Musters at Colwick Hall, Nottinghamshire. Did Reynolds and Mrs. Musters have an affair? No hard evidence, but it’s intriguing to know that he kept a copy of Hebe for his own pleasure. So, an affair? Possibly. The portrait is beautiful…and Mrs. Musters did apparently have a number of amorous adventures, so why not with the artist who’d painted her thrice? Whatever, one can safely say Mrs. M. did make him happy, if not in her actual luscious flesh, at least in the sensuous painted flesh glowing in the painting’s two dimensions. "

    or cancel

  • David F.

    Thanks for all the info Jude and this certainly is a fascinating story! I almost wish the Kenwood guy hadn't mentioned the bowl as I may not otherwise have noticed it. This reminds me of a TV I used to own. It was a really nice one and I was very pleased with it until one day a friend pointed out that there was a mark on the screen which I hadn't noticed. On close inspection I realised it was a defect which couldn't be wiped off. From that point on I developed a tendency to watch the defect rather than the tv programme and ultimately had to buy a new tv. Defects aside I do agree that the portrait is otherwise fantastic and the beauty of Mrs Musters is only surpassed by Reynolds' exquisite use of light and colour.

    or cancel

  • JUDE

    LOL I am a great believe in Wabi Sabi ! :) & Leonard Cohen " Forget your perfect offering There is a crack in everything That's how the light gets in. "

    or cancel

Want to comment on this photo?

Sign in, if you're already a member of this group or Join Photography Meetups, Photographic Guided Tours & Workshops

Move photo

Do you want to move this photo to “__ALBUM_NAME__”?

Are you sure you want to delete this photo?

Yes, I'm Sure

Are you sure you want to delete this comment?

Yes, I'm Sure

People in this
Meetup are also in:

Sign up

Meetup members, Log in

By clicking "Sign up" or "Sign up using Facebook", you confirm that you accept our Terms of Service & Privacy Policy