DRAWN BY THURWAGNER PRINTED BY LEMERCIER
|AGAMEMNON PREPARING TO SACRIFICE IPHIGENIA|
TAPESTRY FROM THE ROYAL MANUFACTORY OF LILLE
EPOCH OF LOUIS XIV
|HUNTSMAN FROM DECORATIVE PAINTING IN DINING-ROOM. FAC-SIMILE OF ORIGINAL SKETCH MADE FOR HIS PICTURE BY E. V. LUMINAIS.|
|DANIEL VASE WITH THE FLIGHT OF HELEN.|
|ELEVATION, WEST END OF DINING-ROOM. REDUCED FAC-SIMLIE OF MESSRS. HERTER's WORKING DRAWING.|
woven hangings found in every other room. The wood which plays such an important part in the dining-hall is oak from England, of choice selection and beauty, and presenting a golden-brown hue of the utmost richness. It may be safely said that an important impulse has been given to wood-carving in America by the example of this endless variety of carving, all combined in a single decoration, and all executed in the United States. The familiar renaissance pilaster, with its slender reliefs of vases out of which shoots the vine, the fruitstalk or the curling flower, rises on every side to the cornice; and between, where the closet-work demands a panel near the eye-line, the ever-obedient genii***plaster***, stretching garlands of figs or pomegranates from hand to hand, do their pretty task with the grace and symmetry of the true Medicean period. Grinling Gibbons, it is to be feared, would have to hide his diminished head before these examples of free-handed wood-sculpture, which culminate in a massive frieze under the mantel, where urchins of the vintage toss their grapes between a river-god and a Pomona.
The technical touch of this carving is uncommonly free-handed, large, and firm; the chisel has not often played with its delightful fibrous material more commandingly or more enjoyably; an economy of stroke, a continuity of pressure derived from the best schools wood-cutting have presided over this merry the artist was happy in his handiwork, and and dainty labor, where we feel sure where every tap of the sensitive mallet creates a grace.
|VIEW IN THE PANTRY.|
|FRUIT PATTERN IN CARVED WOODWORK OF THE FRIEZE.|
Entering the dining-hall, the visitor is first of all struck by the highly successful and imposing ceiling-decorations painted by Luminais, and representing hunting scenes. This artist is rather celebrated for his easel-pictures than for his
|GRAPE PATTERN IN CARVED WOODWORK OF THE FRIEZE.|
|BUFFET IN DINING ROOM.|
the fire and cruelty of their half-tamed horses! Applied to for a ceiling decoration, however, he has succeeded at once in entering into the spirit of his work, and has achieved three large paintings, as full of delicacy as of freedom, and in their representation of the taking and pursuit of game altogether appropriate to a banquet-room destination. Two of the subjects occupy the demi-lunes on the wall embraced at the extremities of the vaulted ceiling; the third occupies the central breadth of the ceiling itself.
|PLAQUE, WITH PAINTING "PUSS-IN-THE-CORNER".|
The gallop of excited hunting-steeds, the call of the hounds, the breezy sweep of the medieval chase through the yet unreclaimed wilderness, these fresh and appetizing scenes occupy the arches under the vault. On the ceiling the grouping is more simple, and the composition strikes a still finer key by its breadth and openness; a blue sky, full of wind and movement as the colossal white clouds chase each other across the heavens, occupies the space; into this airy vault are projected the figures of the advance-guard of a hawking-party; a beautiful medieval lady, slipping her falcon as her white horse rises on the brow of a hill; her knight just behind, on a darker steed of superb mettle and action; a squire on foot, caring for the dogs; and a hawk or two circling among the glancing shadows of the bold cumulus clouds; free and tumultuous figures of this kind, ready to dart from their hill-top after the falcons - the whole composition soaring and aspiring, and only held to the earth by the crest of a mountain - such a choice and treatment of subject bring a perfect breeze of health into the room so decorated; "sick pining comes not where these are." Nothing could give a greater zest to a feast than these gallant life-size figures,
|BERLIN COVERED JAR WITH PAINTING OF ARCHITECTURE.|
presiding from their eminence over the capture of the game destined for human appetite. The painter Evariste-Vital Luminais, now a vigorous man of sixty, is one of the most prominent painters of Paris, and has received the various honors and decorations accorded by the Salon and the government, not omitting the cross of the Legion; he is a master of romantic subject, celebrated for the grace of his tameless horses and the heroism of his primitive cavaliers. It is an honor for him to drop the brush dedicated to historical painting, and devote his rich, generous talent to themes of ornament and pleasure.
The collection of ceramics stored in the cases "is of great historical interest, and no piece is admitted in imperfect
DRAWN BY THURWAGNER PRINTED BY LEMERCIER
condition. Sevres, Berlin, Dresden and Vienna porcelains are found in profusion, guaranteed by the authentic marks. The Vienna hard-paste porcelain, of a date a little later than the establishment of the Saxon imperial factory is a curiosity in America. The pieces found here usually proceed from the famous San Donato sale in 1880.
|SEVRES PLATE, WITH PAINTING OF THE COLINGA OF BRAZIL.|
The Vienna hard-paste manufacture was established in 1718 by Stolzel, who escaped from Meissen; among the names of the painters who worked at the ornamentation we find E. Tollach, Joseph Nerh, M. Daffinger, and others. The mark is the shield of Austria, simply painted in blue lines. The covered vase used in the place of an initial***well there you go, thanks LGB*** at the head of this chapter is a specimen. The French critic Paul Leroi, wandering among the treasures of Vienna hard-paste at San Donato, was much struck with the opulence of ornament, and with the boldness of the decorators in flying at the most difficult subjects in the gallery of old masters in the Belvedere; in this respect the Vienna porcelain forms a really valuable series of copies of a particular gallery of masterpieces, made when their colors were fresher than now by nearly two centuries. "Austrian ceramic art," observes this writer,
|VIENNA PLAQUE, WITH THETIS CONSOLING ACHILLES.|
"is more luxurious than any other. It is no exaggeration to say that it squanders magnificence by the handful. Its system of decoration is all its own, and this marked originality is a good quality. What is better still, though it piles gold upon gold, it does not allow itself a mere orgie of pomp, but contrives to keep itself within the bounds of good taste. This is legitimate praise, belonging of right to the Viennese porcelain-painters, who apply their prodigious facility, or rather let me say their very remarkable talent, to the serious task of copying the principal masterpieces in the museum of the Belvedere at Vienna. Rubens, for example,
FIREPLACE AND PORTION OF BUFFET
|PLATE, WITH SUBJECT AFTER WATTEAU.|
among the numerous pieces acquired by Prince Demidoff, a service probably unique for its importance and richness, those plates and saucers whose centre-pieces are copies of some of Rubens' prodigious pictures at the Belvedere are finer than all the others. The perfection of the miniatures is such that they attract us sooner than even the superb openwork, where so much gold is beaded and heaped; yet among the scrollworks, with their flourishes and arabesques, executed in the midst of the borders in relief, there are delightful little camateux, intelligently placed so as to give refreshment to the eye, and prevent fatigue from following the sight of such pervading richness and dazzle. Good taste interferes with its authority, forbidding the artist to stray into luxurious excesses; she introduces an alluring grace, without which the decoration, though rich enough, might seem ready to lapse into heaviness." The French experts enthusiasm
|DRESDEN PLATE, WITH SUBJECT OF COURTSHIP.|
prepares us to look with interest on the just-named specimen, of which a drawing is introduced at the head of the present chapter, and which may be thus described:
Covered Vase, in Vienna Porcelain. This is the centre-piece of a set of three; the others correspond, but are slender in outline instead of urn-shaped. The legend of the painting in front is the abducting of Helen by Paris; an equally elaborate painting is found on the reverse side. On other vases of the garniture are Europa and the bull, and other antique subjects of gallantry. The height of these vases when covered is eighteen inches. The elaborate nature of the minor decorations and accessories can be best seen from the illustration.
Oval Dish, with Children's Game. This dish, with serpentine handles and undulating edge, is seventeen inches in diameter. The centre-piece is a painting showing a boy and five little girls, in Watteau dress, playing "puss-in-the-corner"
|VIENNA PLAQUE, WITH AURORA CARRYING OFF TITHONUS.|
in a garden, between a fountain and a Cupid statue. The little maid at the left is ill-bred enough to make the niche, with her fingers and nose.
Berlin Covered Jar, with Painting of "Architecture." The jars of which one is here represented bear the sceptre-mark of Berlin. The body is of fluted white porcelain, with a white, gold-headed eagle on the cover. The painting on the present example represents Architecture, indicated by two little boys with plumb-line and plan, sitting among fallen columns; other paintings of the series show Sculpture, Fishing, and Duck-shooting. The height is sixteen inches.
Sevres Plate, with Painting of Toucan. The diameter is nine and a half inches; date is previous to 1753. The painting of the Toucan, or Colinga of Brazil, would
|MASTER OF THE HOUNDS, FROM DECORATIVE PAINTING IN DINING-ROOM. FAC-SIMILE OF ORIGINAL SKETCH MADE FOR HIS PICTURE BY E. V. LUMINAIS.|
hardly have satisfied Buffon. The border of the plate is dark-blue. Another plate of the set bears a thrush.
|THE FALCON HUNT|
PAINTED BY LUMINAIS PHOTOGAVURE
CEILING IN THE DINING-ROOM.
WITH COPIES OF HOGARTH'S "ENRAGED MUSICIAN" AND "MIDNIGHT CONVERSATION'.
|CARVED PANEL IN DINING-ROOM.|
Plate with Watteau Subject. Plate, round, with waved border, containing in the centre a design of a Watteau shepherdess approached by a young seigneur with his cloak over his arm. The edge, not openworked, contains three painted cartouches, with instruments of painting and music, and a shepherds crook and milk-vessel.
Dresden Plate, with Courtship Subject. Painting of Watteau figures, a chevalier courting a lady who sits under a tree, resting her hands upon her fan. The edge is elaborately reticulated. The mark, the electoral crossed swords with the dot, indicates the "Kings period" of the royal factory at Meissen, about 1770.
Oval Vienna Plaque, with Subject of Aurora Carrying off Tithonus. This fine plaque, loaded yet not confused with ornament, is nearly covered with a painting in grisaille, showing the car of Morning in the clouds, and Tithonus snatched from the earth by Aurora, still grasping the arrow from his quiver. The edge is painted
and gilded with elaborate scrollwork. The piece is attested, on the back, as follows: "I consider this certainly of Vienna workmanship, whatever to the contrary. P. Falke, vice-director V. W, Sparr-Museum." The dimensions are fifteen by fourteen inches.
The Tureen, engraved as a tailpiece***instead of an Initial re: LGB*** to this chapter, is of modern manufacture, by John Mortlock & Co., London; it is twenty-two inches in width. It rests on gilded walrus heads, and the circumference is decorated with Cupids playing musical instruments, and with classic profiles.
Ceramic objects represented in plates printed separately from the text are as follows:
Berlin Covered Bowl, with Hogarth Subjects. The date is sufficiently defined by the decorations, copied from Hogarth's engravings when these were at their height of novelty. Upon a white ground are painted with some care the Enraged Musician, on the body of the tureen, and the Modern Midnight Conversation, on the cover. A pretty statuette of an infant Bacchus, looking at the cup which he has just filled from his gourd, decorates the top. The height is fourteen inches. The mark is the Berlin Sceptre, adopted about 1761.
Sevres Plate, with View of the Palace of Fontainebleau. This belongs to the historical series of the Palaces of France, used as a decoration of sets of Sevres dishes in the last century. A duplicate of this plate may be found in one of the rooms of Fontainebleau Palace itself, where there is a Museum of Porcelain, in perfecting which the Empress
|CARVING OVER FIREPLACE IN DINING-ROOM.|
Eugenic was greatly interested. Other dishes of the Palaces of France series are found with more elaborate borders, embracing minor architectural views; the present border is of garlands and pendants, in the Marie Antoinette style. The view of Fontainebleau Palace, as it appeared a century since, with its carp pond and summer-houses, is interesting, and little different from the present aspect. The diameter of the specimen is nine and a half inches. It is marked with the interlaced L's, with A within and S under them, from which mark the year of manufacture may be calculated by those interested. The Sevres mark is given as continuing from A in 1753 to Z in 1777; double letters were used in 1778, and ended in 1795 with RR. This plate was accordingly painted in 1770.
Oval Dish, with Venus and Adonis. This fine specimen is remarkable for the technical finish of the painting; ,the subject, to which the whole plaque is sacrificed, allows little or no edge-ornament for the piece, except a severe gilt frame. The goddess steps from her car drawn by swans, to approach the figure of Adonis, cast headlong on the back, and uncovered to view by a weeping Cupid. Two other Cupids, with Venus' three attendant Graces, and a hunting-dog, form the accessory figures. It is an elaborate and toilful miniature, characteristic of an age when the most patient and worthy artists were willing to dedicate their labors to the immortality of porcelain.
Vienna Porcelain Plaque, with copy of Veronese's Europa. This and the following plaques justify what has been quoted of the artistic grace and daring of the Vienna porcelain painters. The copyist here attacks one of Paul Veronese's most celebrated masterpieces, representing the abduction of Europa by Jupiter in the form of a bull. More than one replica of the canvas, by the hand of the master himself, exists in the European museums. The white bull turns his head to caress with his tongue the foot of the heroine, who
|PLATE OF SEVRES PORCELAIN|
WITH VIEW OF FONTAINEBLEAU
|THE DEATH OF ADONIS|
OVAL PLAQUE OF VIENNA HARD PASTE PORCELAIN
Vienna Plaque, with Venus and Mars. Venus, coming in the clouds, presents a warrior with shield, helmet and cuirass, borne by a pair of Cupids. As the warrior is bearded it must be Mars, otherwise it might be a Thetis and Achilles, but Achilles is represented imberbis in every period of art. The diameter is nine and a half inches. Another dish of the series, in the same collection, shows the Choice of Hercules. The edge is always decorated with a very elegant and elaborate, but not overloaded, pattern of scrollwork arranged in lozenges separating five oblong cartouches.
A notable porcelain collection, of which these are only specimens, in fact fills the ample receptacles of the Dining-Hall. Much of that used on ordinary occasions is historical and curious, and of the kind generally kept locked in collectors' cabinets. The very modern fancy, indulged by some amateurs, of increasing appetite by eating off porcelain that is the envy of dilletanti and the pride of art, can be carried out here with quite unusual advantages.
A Screen of many leaves, in the exquisite tawny gold of old leatherwork, is found in this room. It is eight feet high, and the stamped leather represents a host of quaint old-time human figures in garden scenes, relieved against skies of gold. The tone of this antique screen, infinitely improved by age, strikes a beautiful mellow note amongst the fittings otherwise crisp and fresh with modern workmanship. The chairs around the table and set against the wall are also of stamped leather, but are necessarily of modern design, the stamping being in fact executed to correspond with the architecture of the room.
If we are bold enough to step behind the quaint old screen and enter the pantries, we shall find a singular and business-like arrangement of two-story fireproof safes, fit for the treasure of a bank. These are filled with the plate of the establishment. They are most uninviting to the enterprise of the burglar, while at the same time they are finished with a neatness and trimness that make them harmonize with the scrupulous, unsullied, oft-baptized neatness of a well-appointed household.
Included in the garniture of the Dining-Hall mantel is a clock, whose silver statue is a work of art. It represents a standing nymph, reading from a volume which she holds in her hand as she leans over the dial.
Boat-Shaped Urn, Enameled on Copper. The slender and languid figures painted on this large urn are characteristic of art of the time of Romney and Angelica Kauffmann, at the close of the eighteenth century. The painting is of the most elaborate character, industriously applied to a perfect crowd of personages, and the difficulty of enamelling is enhanced by the elaborate shape of the object, which has nevertheless been fired with perfect success; yet who shall say that repeated efforts were not needed, and that the present painting may not be the last of several successive ones, to correct the inconvenient tendency of the baking enamel to fly bodily from the copper?
|TUREEN, BY MORTLOCK|
|MARS AND VENUS|
PLATE OF VIENNA HARD PASTE PORCELAIN
ENAMEL ON COPPER. CLOSE OF THE XVIIITH CENTURY.
DRAWN BY LEROY. PRINTED BY JEHENNE
|PLATE, WITH EUROPA, AFTER THE PAINTING BY PAUL VERONESE. VIENNA HARD PASTE PORCELAIN PHOTOGRAVURE|