James Yorke rss

The Sixtus V cabinet: the supreme example of the art of pietra dura

A passion for pietre dure: a very English 18th-century obsession

7 February 2015
Roman Splendour, English Arcadia: The English Taste for Pietre Dure and the Sixtus Cabinet at Stourhead Simon Swynfen Jervis and Dudley Dodd

Philip Wilson Publishers, pp.241, £45, ISBN: 9781781300244

Italian cabinets and tables decorated with inlaid semi-precious stones known as ‘pietre dure’ were a ‘must-have’ for English milords returning from their Grand Tours. The finest example is perhaps the… Read more

Shock-Dog-Teracotta-1780-Anne-Damar

Anne Seymour Damer: the female Bernini?

23 August 2014

Anne Seymour Damer (1748–1828) was virtually the only female sculptor working in Britain during her lifetime. Contemporary artists may have dismissed her as a well-connected dilettante with curiosity value as… Read more

Queen Victoria

The Coronation Chair and the Stone of Scone, by Warwick Rodwell - review

17 August 2013
The Coronation Chair and Stone of Scone Warwick Rodwell

Oxbow Books, pp.304, £29.95, ISBN: 9781782971528

The Coronation Chair currently stands all spruced up, following last year’s conservation, under a crimson canopy, by the west entrance to Westminster Abbey. The sovereign has used this throne during… Read more

Mary of Modena’s bed, in which she gave birth to a son in full view of ministers and courtiers

Exhibition: What really goes on in a royal bedchamber

13 July 2013
Secrets of the Royal Bedchamber Hampton Court Palace

What exactly are the ‘secrets of the royal bedchamber’? That the actual bed was seldom if ever slept in let alone used for romping sex (the latter took place in… Read more

English japanned wood cabinet, c.1670, Victoria & Albert Museum

Concealed treasures

24 November 2012
Secret Splendour — The Hidden World of Baroque Cabinets Holburne Museum, Bath

The Holburne Museum of Bath is a delight. Its collections were formed by Sir William Holburne (1793–1874), a naval officer who first saw action at the Battle of Trafalgar at… Read more