Thursday, September 3, 2015

Canaletto Celebrating Britain

The Holburne Museum Great Pulteney Street Bath June 27, 2015 – October 4, 2015  Abbot Hall Art Gallery, Kendal, Cumbria, 22 October 2015 — 14 February 2016

When the Venetian painter Antonio Canal arrived in London in 1746, Britain was booming. During his nine-year stay, the artist captured the latest achievements of British architecture and engineering. Including loans from Compton Verney, The National Trust, The British Museum, Royal Collection Trust and Tate this exhibition also features Canaletto’s British contemporaries and a review of John Wood’s reinvention of architecture in Bath.

Giovanni Antonio Canal (1697-1768), known popularly as Canaletto, is today remembered as one of Italy’s greatest view painters. His images of Venice were particularly popular with Grand Tourists from Britain. When war caused the flow of British visitors to Venice to dry up, Canaletto followed his patrons home to Britain, where he stayed for almost nine years from 1746 to 1755.

Through a series of astonishing canvases and drawings, Canaletto celebrated the accomplishment, success and prosperity of the rising British nation and its latest achievements of architecture and engineering. Canaletto’s London is busy but beautiful with its wealth of new landmarks: Wren’s Baroque churches, the majestic St Paul’s Cathedral and the naval palaces of Greenwich; Hawksmoor’s ‘Gothick’ towers for Westminster Abbey, William Kent’s new Palladian Horse Guards building and the Rococo pleasure gardens at Vauxhall and Ranelagh. The construction of two marvels of engineering, the new bridges across the Thames at Westminster and Walton, is documented in detail.

From the Guardian: (Some images aadded)

One highlight of the show is bringing together for the first time

The Old Horse Guards, Canaletto Copyright The Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation
Canaletto’s spectacular view of The Old Horse Guards from St James’s Park, being lent by Andrew Lloyd Webber, alongside what it became four years later,

The New Horse Guards from St James’s Park, a rarely seen work being lent from a private collection.

There are many loans from the Queen’s Canaletto collection including two spectacular views of the Thames from Somerset House,


Canaletto, London The Thames from Somerset House Terrace towards Westminster © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2014
one looking towards Westminster


London: The Thames from Somerset House Terrace towards the City, 1750-51. ©-Her-Majesty-Queen-Elizabeth-II-2015. Royal Collection Trust
and the other to St Paul’s Cathedral and the City with a forest of new church spires pointing into the sky from the churches built after the Great Fire of London.

Canaletto, London Westminster Bridge with a procession of civic barges Royal Collection Trust© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2014 

Also in the show are views of Westminster Bridge, an engineering triumph respected throughout Europe.

More images from the exhibition:

Canaletto, The Grand Walk Vauxhall Gardens, c.1751

Canaletto, The Interior of the Rotunda, Ranelagh, 1754


Celebrating Britain: Canaletto, Hogarth and Patriotism

Paperback, 260 x 216 mm 128 pages, 55 colour illus.
PRICE: £25.00
ISBN: 978 1 907372 78 0