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Tony Grist

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Bolton Museum And Art Gallery [Jan. 28th, 2011|07:36 pm]
Tony Grist
We went over to Bolton Museum for a lunchtime talk by Matthew Constantine, senior manager of collections. It was a clever talk, dealing with ten items from the Collection- each one linked to the next in some way or other-  beginning and ending with the sad remains of George Romney's painting of the shipwreck scene from the Tempest, originally painted for Boydell's Shakespeare Gallery. After Boydell's venture went bust Romney's huge canvas passed through several hands, hung for a while in Bolton public baths and was eventually chopped up in 1959 by a curator who kept what he thought were the best bits and threw the rest away. Among the bits he liked was a portrait of Emma Hamilton as Miranda. 

Bolton Museum contains all sorts- from stuffed animals to Epstein bronzes. Its Egyptian collection is one of the biggest in the country. Among its finest- and least likely- holdings are three paintings by the 19th century American landscape painter Thomas Moran.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: sovay
2011-01-28 07:43 pm (UTC)
After Boydell's venture went bust Romney's huge canvas went through several hands, hung for a while in Bolton public baths and was eventually chopped up in 1959 by a curator who kept what he thought were the best bits and threw the rest away.

Augh. Who allowed that?

Among the bits he liked was a portrait of Emma Hamilton as Miranda.

Got a link?
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2011-01-28 07:52 pm (UTC)
Click on the link for Boydell's Shakespeare Gallery (above) and scroll down the page. Towards the bottom there's a print of Romney's original composition. I can't find any online images of the surviving fragments.

I guess the curator was a law unto himself. Even so it seems quite exrtaordinary that a work by a major British artist should have been destroyed in this manner.
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[User Picture]From: oakmouse
2011-01-28 11:13 pm (UTC)
was eventually chopped up in 1959 by a curator who kept what he thought were the best bits and threw the rest away

I trust that curator was publicly executed by Her Majesty's government, and hung up as a warning to others?
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2011-01-29 09:34 am (UTC)
I rather think he got away with it.
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[User Picture]From: oakmouse
2011-01-29 05:59 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I kind of thought so. *sigh*
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[User Picture]From: karenkay
2011-01-29 12:52 am (UTC)
I love it when you report on your outings.

P.S. Thomas Moran is amazing.

Edited at 2011-01-29 12:54 am (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2011-01-29 09:35 am (UTC)
Moran is extraordinary. There are very few of his paintings in British collections. Bolton is very lucky to have three.
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[User Picture]From: karenkay
2011-01-29 03:35 pm (UTC)
I never heard of him until I went to an exhibit in Washington D.C.--just on a whim, I was waiting for another place to open up. I was completely blown away. They had more than 3 of them them, but not many more. Photographs do not do the paintings justice. The depth and breadth is amazing.
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[User Picture]From: shewhomust
2011-01-29 10:56 am (UTC)
That's what a local museum should be like!
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2011-01-29 04:32 pm (UTC)
Just so long as they don't get embarrassed by their most interesting exhibits and decide to chop them up!
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[User Picture]From: veronikos
2011-01-29 11:22 am (UTC)
I didn't realize it had a large Egyptian collection. I will go see it. I see, however, from the museum website that many of the objects are headed to China on tour.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2011-01-29 04:29 pm (UTC)
The collection at the Manchester museum is even better. Both museums benefited from having patrons who backed the Egyptian excavations of Flinders Petrie.
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