Oxhill News

www.oxhill.com / www.oxhill.org.uk

South Warwickshire, England.

The Oxhill News

May 2015

This months News



Compton Verney

Canaletto: Celebrating Britain
The Non-Conformists: Photographs by Martin Parr

Saturday 14th March – Sunday 7th June 2015 

The overarching theme for this season’s exhibitions at Compton Verney is “British Identity”, subtly indicated by walls painted in muted shades of red, white and blue. Two very different aspects of this identity are conveyed in these opening shows.

First we have prosperous, confident Georgian London, observed with detachment by the Venetian painter Antonio Canaletto during his nine year sojourn from 1746 to 1755. On the first wall there are views of San Giorgio Maggiore and the church of the Redentore, typical of the work he produced for English patrons on the “Grand Tour” back in Venice.

Britain at this time was benefiting from a period of peace following the 1748 Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle which resulted in French recognition of the Hanoverian succession to the British throne and the expulsion of the Jacobites from France, celebrated by a fireworks display for which Handel wrote the music. In this atmosphere of patriotic optimism Shakespeare was rediscovered and the cult of King Alfred, promoting the shared Saxon heritage of the British people and their Hanoverian royalty, was given musical expression in the masque by Thomas Arne featuring the anthem “Rule, Britannia”.

Economic stability led to a building boom in an eclectic mix of architectural styles from Baroque to Turkish and Gothic Revival. In Warwickshire Francis Greville made improvements to Warwick Castle (painted five times by Canaletto), employing the architect Daniel Garrett and the landscape designer Lancelot “Capability” Brown, who would later contribute to the grounds at Compton Verney. Canaletto, who had come to England in search of new sources of income and new subjects, recorded both the buildings that were about to be demolished and the new ones that were replacing them, sometimes editing out the scaffolding. As the son of a set designer he was adept at composing views enlivened by colourful foreground figures and cleverly lit to draw attention to the intended focus of the background. He influenced many British painters from Samuel Scott and William Marlow who portrayed London as the new Venice, through to Turner. This exhibition brings together magnificent paintings and drawings from the Royal Collection, the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation, The Dulwich Picture Gallery, Compton Verney and private collections. From 9th May to 21st June it will be accompanied by his Regatta on the Grand Canal, on loan from the National Gallery.

In complete contrast, Magnum photographer Martin Parr’s black and white images of the Yorkshire mill town of Hebdon Bridge in the 1970s are an affectionate and satirical portrait of an insular community suffering industrial decline, centred on the activities of its non-conformist chapels. All social strata are represented here, from Lord Savile with his gamekeepers to pigeon fanciers and factory workers. Among the photographs of cricket and football matches, New Year’s Day swimmers and Methodist foundation anniversary celebrations one picture sums up this poignant record of a traditional way of life about to be swept away by tourism and gentrification, a Silver Jubilee street party abandoned to the rain.

Nadia MacCall

This site is maintained by villagers of Oxhill for the benefit of the community and those interested in the history, news and activities that make the village such a pleasant place to live.

Send mail to the editor of the Oxhill News at news-editor @ oxhill.org.uk.

©2015 Oxhill Village (Terms and Conditions of use)

Last modified: May 11, 2015