Collecting and Connoisseurship

Helen Jacobsen

in Luxury and Power

Published in print November 2011 | ISBN: 9780199693757
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191731976 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Historical Monographs

Collecting and Connoisseurship

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Collecting and connoisseurship in the second half of the seventeenth century has often suffered a bad press, sandwiched as it is between the art collecting passions of the Caroline court and the rules of taste of the Augustan Age. This chapter shows by contrast that English diplomats were in the forefront of taste and collecting, and not only displayed the same level of connoisseurship as their predecessors, but were also instrumental in bringing new styles and genres of painting – Dutch and Netherlandish still lifes, genre paintings, interiors and landscapes, and French decorative wall and ceiling paintings being the most obvious examples – and artists themselves to England. Diplomatic patronage also illustrates the comparatively broad socio-economic penetration of art collecting by 1700. Paintings were collected in the seventeenth century for their novelty, for their decorative qualities, for the distinction they conferred, and for reasons of political patronage, as well as for the appreciation of artistic talent.

Keywords: painting; connoisseurship; taste; collecting; Caroline courts; Augustan Age; Netherlandish painting; Dutch painting; genre painting; still lifes; French decorative painting; diplomatic patronage; artistic patronage

Chapter.  11005 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)

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