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ENCOUNTERING BEAUTY THROUGH THE MATERIAL WORLD

Our 2021 programme invites you to uncover and explore the history of art through the world of materials.

Join our guest speakers for podcasts, videos, panel discussions and more, as they focus on a different material each month and unravel its varied interpretations across time, cultures and disciplines.

Curated in response to the limitations of the past year, the programme provides a welcome reminder of the inherent joy that comes from direct connection with works of art. It is a hopeful precursor to an inspiring reunion at Masterpiece London this coming June.

Object of the Month: Three Holy Women at the Tomb

My name is Elyse Nelson, and I am an assistant curator in the department of European Sculpture and Decorative Arts at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, where I oversee the collection of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century European sculpture.   When one thinks of figurative sculpture carved from wood, the first works that often come to mind are the medieval limewood sculptures found in Gothic churches, or the saintly figures in splendid polychrome from the Spanish Renaissance. Rarely do
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Object of the Month: Table, c. 1781

My name is Mia Jackson and I am Curator of Decorative Arts at Waddesdon Manor. This small table was made in around 1781 for the personal use of Queen Marie-Antoinette of France by her favoured cabinetmaker Jean-Henri Riesener. I am fickle on the subject of my favourite object in Waddesdon’s Collections, but this table’s minute perfection, its superlative craftsmanship and the romance of its provenance mean it is an object to which I often return, and that I always point out.   It is a small bu
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Object of the Month: Monument to Lady Elizabeth Nightingale

My name is Susan Jenkins, I am the Curator of Westminster Abbey and it is my great pleasure to introduce you to one of my favourite objects here, the marble funerary monument to Lady Elizabeth Nightingale (1704-31) and her husband John (1696-1752). It was made in 1761 by the sculptor Louis François Roubiliac (1702-62) and was one of his last creations before his death in 1762. Of course, Westminster Abbey is the national home of around 600 amazing works of monumental sculpture and we are curren
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Object of the Month: The Return from Market

The Return from Market, Mario Montelatici, pietre dure, Florence, 1928. Selected by Tessa Murdoch, Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Research Curator, Victoria and Albert Museum. I am reminded of a snowy scene which used to adorn the walls of that Florida home and now forms part of the Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Collection at the Victoria and Albert Museum. This Tuscan landscape contrasts with the lavish dining room, modelled on a 17th century room in the Chigi Palace, Rome, then the residence of
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Object of the Month: Lady Sennuwy

My name is Rita Freed, and I am the John F. Cogan, Jr. and Mary L. Cornille Chair Emerita, Art of Ancient Egypt, Nubia and the Near East at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.  You know, of course, that asking a curator to choose a favorite piece of art in his or her collection is no different from being asked to choose a favorite child. So I have chosen a sculpture that to me embodies many of the things I like so much about Egyptian art in general. The piece is Lady Sennuwy, a nearly 4,000 year-o
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Masterpiece Conversations | Ancient Art

Pic: Charles Ede, London. Adam M. Levine is the Edward Drummond and Florence Scott Libbey Director of the Toledo Museum of Art (TMA), Ohio. He was previously Director and CEO of the Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens in Jacksonville, Florida, before which he worked in a senior management role at TMA, where he was responsible for all curatorial activities relating to ancient art. Charis Tyndall is Director of Charles Ede, London, one of the world’s leading dealerships for works of ancient art from
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Charleston | House Museums and their Collections

As Vanessa Bell’s son Quentin so aptly described Charleston, ‘It is not so much a house as a phenomenon’. The 16th-century farmhouse, nestled in the Firle Estate, East Sussex, was ‘discovered’ by Virginia Woolf in 1916, when her sister Vanessa was looking for a house to let in the country for herself and Duncan Grant, as well as for her two children and Grant’s lover David Garnett. As conscientious objectors, Grant and Garnett needed to find work on the land to avoid going to prison; they took e
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Masterpiece Collecting Stories | Sigrid Kirk

Sigrid Kirk is co-founder of the Association of Women in the Arts (AWITA), an organisation that brings together inspirational women in the arts world to encourage networking, mentoring and collaboration; she is also co-founder of Arts Co, a cultural production company that creates content, advises on strategy, and produces events across fashion, art, design, film and theatre. Kirk is a committed supporter of arts institutions, including as a trustee of the Drawing Room, a member of the Advisory
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Musée Jacquemart-André | House Museums and their Collections

By Laura Freeman Of all the museums that visitors return to over and again, house museums are perhaps those that elicit the strongest loyalties. Whether these are the homes of literary or historical figures, such as the Bronte Parsonage Museum at Haworth, West Yorkshire, or complete historical collections housed in their original buildings, as at the Frick Collection in New York, the domestic setting and its unique atmosphere or genius loci draws people on pilgrimages that they cannot but repea
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Masterpiece Collecting Stories | George Loudon

George Loudon’s collection of 19th-century life science objects has been exhibited at the Manchester Museum and at the Intermediatheque, the museum of  the University of Tokyo, as well as at the Whitechapel Gallery, London, where the material was displayed alongside specially commissioned videos, ceramics and prints by the Italian artist Salvatore Arancio. Loudon is the author of Object Lessons: The Visualisation of Nineteenth-Century Life Sciences (Ridinghouse), in which he discusses many of th
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Hillwood | House Museums and their Collections

By Eve M. Kahn Of all the museums that visitors return to over and again, house museums are perhaps those that elicit the strongest loyalties. Whether these are the homes of literary or historical figures, such as the Bronte Parsonage Museum at Haworth, West Yorkshire, or complete historical collections housed in their original buildings, as at the Frick Collection in New York, the domestic setting and its unique atmosphere or genius loci draws people on pilgrimages that they cannot but repeat
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Ca’ d’Zan | House Museums and their Collections

By Eve M. Kahn Of all the museums that visitors return to over and again, house museums are perhaps those that elicit the strongest loyalties. Whether these are the homes of literary or historical figures, such as the Bronte Parsonage Museum at Haworth, West Yorkshire, or complete historical collections housed in their original buildings, as at the Frick Collection in New York, the domestic setting and its unique atmosphere or genius loci draws people on pilgrimages that they cannot but repeat
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Masterpiece Conversations | Modern & Contemporary Art

Ben Hunter in collaboration with Blue Projects, Terracotta at Blue Projects, Installation view. Photography by Damian Griffiths   Simon Martin is director of Pallant House Gallery, Chichester, where he has curated exhibitions on John Minton, Edward Burra, Eduardo Paolozzi and many others. He is also a trustee of the Charleston Trust. Ben Hunter is the founder of the eponymous gallery in Duke Street, St James’s, specialising in 20th-century and contemporary art. You both work with modern and co
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