History Group Papers: 2009

Read an outline of the talks and papers from the National Gallery History Group in 2009:

Meeting Twenty-Nine: 10 February 2009

John Ruskin and a Venetian episode in the life of the National Gallery – Dr Cynthia Gamble
A paper or related publication is available for consultation in the National Gallery Archive.

In 1852 John Ruskin attempted to persuade the National Gallery to acquire two Tintorettos which he considered at risk of neglect in the Venetian churches of San Cassiano and Santa Maria della Salute. His efforts proved fruitless and the episode marked the start of a cooling in Ruskin’s friendship with Charles Lock Eastlake, an ex-officio Trustee in 1852 and later Director of the National Gallery from 1855. Cynthia Gamble examined the background to Ruskin’s attempts to ‘rescue’ the Tintorettos and charted the subsequent developments in his friendship with Eastlake.

Meeting Thirty: 13 May 2009

Lady Eastlake and the National Gallery – Dr Julie Sheldon, Liverpool School of Art and Design
The National Gallery Archive does not hold a copy of this paper.

Lady Eastlake was a strident and vivid presence in the activities of the National Gallery between 1855 and 1870. As Sir Charles Eastlake’s companionable helpmeet, she accompanied her husband on most of his picture-buying expeditions in Europe, recording their itinerary in her letters home. Following Eastlake’s death, she strived to maintain his legacy at the Gallery, marshalling her large circle of influential friends in support of her cause.

This paper charted Lady Eastlake’s relationship to the National Gallery through her convivial, candid, and sometimes humorous letters to William Boxall and Austen Henry Layard. Lady Eastlake’s correspondence not only illuminates our understanding of the controversies that surrounded the operations of the Gallery; it reveals the part that a confident, persistent and well-connected woman could play in the life of the National Gallery.

Meeting Thirty-One: 4 November 2009

Colourmen, picture framers and picture restorers in Britain: a hidden influence on artists, museums and collectors – Jacob Simon, Chief Curator, National Portrait Gallery
The National Gallery Archive does not hold a copy of this paper.

Jacob Simon explored the implications of his research since the 1996 National Portrait Gallery exhibition, ‘The Art of the Picture Frame’.  He looked at how a different perspective can deepen our understanding of British art and collecting over three centuries from the reign of Charles I to the rise of museums in the 19th and 20th centuries. Find out more at his internet directories [External link].

Read further papers from the National Gallery History Group