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31 July 2009

Erratum: A case of mistaken identity

"Charles Townley proudly displays his famous collection of ancient statuary in his gallery in this painting by Johann Zoffany. He is seated on a bergere while reading at a pembroke table."

It is true that Townley, a voracious 18th century collector of antiquities, is sitting on a bergere, but, thanks to Barry of the Blue Remembered Hills who recently visited Townley's ancestral home, we know that Townley is in fact the gentleman in the foreground, with his faithful dog Kam at his feet, NOT the one at the pembroke table.

I love this picture as it communicates the mania verging on obsession the English had for all things Classical in the eighteenth century. As Barry notes here, Townley's collection was exceptional and was purchased by the British Museum in the early nineteenth century to form the foundation of its Graeco-Roman holdings.

7 comments:

Blue said...

Good lord, Emily - there was no need to go to these lengths of issuing a correction! I thank you for it but am more than a little embarrassed because I have embarrassed you.

Emily Evans Eerdmans said...

Not at all, Blue - Mr. Townley deserves to be properly credited. And his little dog too. EEE

Anonymous said...

I was first introduced to the Empress Eugenie in the Winterhalter painting of the Empress with her ladies-in-waiting - and until I knew what she looked like - assumed the Empress was the lady in the center closest to the picture frame in the green dress . . . BTW: your class sounds fantastic. KDM

little augury said...

EEE, I am completely with you on getting it right and I applaud your making a note of it.It just proves that we can learn from one another. As an amateur, I welcome the help and for you -as a professional, it makes you all the more top drawer for shedding the light.Isn't it what we don't know that makes history so intriguing and refreshing- I think so. la

Karena said...

Emily your posts are so wonderful and they open our eyes to the past.

Emily Evans Eerdmans said...

la and Karena, many thanks for the kind words! EEE

home before dark said...

Erratum oh rats um! I agree that to err is human; to admit is divine.