Bubbles, one of the most instantly recognizable advertising symbols ever devised

Miscellaneana: Pears’ art prints for the masses

Bubbles, one of the most instantly recognizable advertising symbols ever devised

Bubbles, one of the most instantly recognizable advertising symbols ever devised

LONDON – My old dad used to swear by his copy of “Pears Cyclopaedia.” Whenever I asked him a question he couldn’t answer, he’d direct me to the little scarlet-bound book and assure me it was among its pages that I’d find what I was looking for. He was often right: with its ‘Twenty-two Complete Works of Reference in one Handy Volume of nearly 1,000 Pages’ – it has everything from an atlas to a dictionary of wireless – what wasn’t in there wasn’t worth knowing. It remains on my bookshelf, despite Google.

More importantly, though, the Pears volume introduced me to my first artwork: “Bubbles,” the painting by the founder of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, Sir John Everett Millais. With the subtle addition of a bar of the transparent soap, the portrait became and still is one of the most instantly recognizable advertising symbols ever devised.

When he painted what was originally titled “Child’s World,” Millais was being serious. Using his curly golden-haired five-year-old grandson, William Milbourne James, as his model, the artist was emulating the life-is-short transient symbolism of the Dutch old masters.

Bubbles, by nature, burst in an instant. To the left of the seated boy is a broken plant pot, emblematic of death, in contrast to the strong, green young plant growing to the right. Such symbolism was appreciated by artlovers when the painting went on show for the first time in 1886 but probably was lost on masses encouraged by it to add a particular brand of soap to the weekly shopping list.

Millais, one of Britain’s most popular and wealthy artists, was not best pleased either, but having sold the copyright in the image when he agreed it could be reproduced in the “Illustrated London News,” who then sold it to Pears, his hands were tied. The art world was not impressed either. Millais was forced to defend his actions, while the debate about the ethics of using art as advertising raged in the letters column of The Times even after Millais’ death.

For Pears, however, it was a triumph. “Bubbles” became the first in a long run of similar adverts, and business boomed. This was just as well, for the business founded in London in 1789 by Andrew Pears, a barber from Cornwall, and his grandson Francis, who joined the firm in 1835, was previously in danger of stagnating.

The turning point was a new factory in Middlesex, run by Francis’s son Andrew, and a new partner, Thomas J. Barratt (1842-1914), who had married Francis’s eldest daughter. Entrepreneurial, aggressive and resourceful, Barratt revolutionized the business.

Some say he was the father of modern advertising, which might be the case. He was certainly a brilliant ideas man. In one masterstroke he purchased 250,000 French 10 centime coins and had “Pears” stamped on each one, which were then put into circulation in the UK, each worth a penny. Massive publicity followed, until Parliament was forced to pass a law making foreign currency illegal.

Celebrity endorsements were another of his innovations, among them a glowing testimony from actress Lillie Langtry, with her famous ivory complexion, plastered across billboards and newspaper and magazine adverts. In another, he purchased the entire front page of the “New York Times” to promote the testimonial of leading U.S. religious leader Henry Ward Beecher, who was persuaded to say that cleanliness using Pears was next to Godliness.

In the UK, babies whose birth was announced in “The Times” were sent a complimentary bar of the soap, paid for by Barratt; but his most audacious scheme, to purchase advertising space on the National Census form, was rejected by the government, which turned down the offer of £100,000 for the privilege. Had it succeeded, Pears’ name would have been in the hands of 35 million citizens.

The Bubbles campaign was said to have cost Barratt £30,000, but it proved to be an unqualified success. In addition to the image being printed in every copy of the Cyclopaedia, countless numbers of quality chromolithographic prints were published that hang in the homes of collectors to this day (mine included).

Another milestone was laid in 1891, when Barratt introduced the now famous and highly collectible “Pears Annual,” which ran until 1925. A large format art publication, it contained quality fiction — Charles Dickens’ Christmas Books appeared in early editions — Pears advertising (obviously) colored plates and usually two large loose “Presentation Plates” intended to be framed and hung on the wall. It cost 6d (2 pence).

The annual brought high art to the masses. Writing in the 1897 edition, Barratt claimed,“Our ambition has been to offer an appreciative and increasing public, which has grown to expect these advantages at our hands, presentation pictures of superior quality and of artistic values, to ensure our extended popularity, and to constitute Pears Annual the foremost achievement of this kind …”

He continued: “The bonne bouche of ‘Pears Annual 1897’ will be readily recognised in the two large Presentation Plates, after the late and ever-to-be-lamented President of the Royal Academy, Sir John Everett Millais, whose two chefs-d’oeuvre, the well-known pictures, ‘Cherry Ripe’ and ‘Bubbles,’ are now placed within the means of the million for the first time, so beautifully reproduced as scarcely to be distinguishable from the original pictures themselves … which now have a value of more than £10,000 the pair. And whilst so long as Pears Annual is produced it will ever be our aim, so far as it is in our power, to maintain its excellence, we do not expect again to have the opportunity of furnishing you with such a pair of pictures as these — worthy, as they are, of being framed and hung in the first and most artistic houses in the land.”

Truth be told, the quality of the “free” prints was maintained, much to the delight of today’s collectors. So many were printed — and so highly cherished as to be properly framed and glazed — they remain fairly common today. Expect to pay around £80-£120 at a collectors’ fair or auction. Hang them out of the way of sunlight, so they can be appreciated by another generation.

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ADDITIONAL IMAGES OF NOTE


Bubbles, one of the most instantly recognizable advertising symbols ever devised

Bubbles, one of the most instantly recognizable advertising symbols ever devised

'The Snowball - Guilty or Not Guilty', by Harold Hume 'Piff' Piffard (1867-1938)

‘The Snowball – Guilty or Not Guilty’, by Harold Hume ‘Piff’ Piffard (1867-1938)

'Naughty Boy or Compulsory Education' by Briton Riviere (1840-1920). The picture was reproduced as a Pears Presentation Plate in 1909.

‘Naughty Boy or Compulsory Education’ by Briton Riviere (1840-1920). The picture was reproduced as a Pears Presentation Plate in 1909.

Millais' 'Cherry Ripe,' the 'mate' to 'Bubbles,' both of which were given away as Presentation Plates in 1897

Millais’ ‘Cherry Ripe,’ the ‘mate’ to ‘Bubbles,’ both of which were given away as Presentation Plates in 1897

Perhaps the schmaltziest Presentation Plate of them all is this one, titled 'Suspense,' by Charles Burton Barber (1845-1894). It was given away in the 1895 annual.

Perhaps the schmaltziest Presentation Plate of them all is this one, titled ‘Suspense,’ by Charles Burton Barber (1845-1894). It was given away in the 1895 annual.

Gallery Report: July 2014

 

Men’s Longines watch, $50,600, Cottone Auctions

 

A rare and handsome men’s Longines wristwatch, purchased in the 1940s and descended in the same family ever since, sold for $50,600 at an Advertising, Scientific and Art Auction held May 31 by Cottone Auctions in Geneseo, N.Y. Also, a Chelsea “Wardroom” clock, made by the American Ship Building Co., Cleveland, Ohio, chimed on time for $15,000; a set of 12 Royal Doulton hand-painted and relief gold leafed plates fetched $8,050; and a Merchants Union Express Co. lithograph gaveled for $6,500. Prices include a 15 percent buyer’s premium.

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'Cockatoo' by Jessie Arms Botke. Estimate: $20,000-$30,000. Cowan's Auctions Inc. image.

Paintings, antiques enhance Cowan’s auction July 11-12

'Cockatoo' by Jessie Arms Botke. Estimate: $20,000-$30,000. Cowan's Auctions Inc. image.

‘Cockatoo’ by Jessie Arms Botke. Estimate: $20,000-$30,000. Cowan’s Auctions Inc. image.

CINCINNATI – Cowan’s Auctions’ fine and decorative art auction will take place on July 11-12. The sale will include over 950 lots and will be held at Cowan’s Auctions’ saleroom, with Internet bidding provide by LiveAuctioneers.com.

The auction will feature Cincinnati and Kentucky paintings, fine groupings of 19th and 20th century Western Art, Georgian silver and furniture, inkwells, American and Continental furniture, glass, works on paper, bronzes and sculptures. The sale will consist of two days. Day one will highlight 600 décor items. Day two will feature 365 lots of mostly fine art.

Exceptional paintings will be offered on Saturday. Works by Jessie Arms Botke (American, 1883-1971) will lead the way. A painting titled Cockatoo is estimated to bring anywhere from $20,000 to $30,000, and a pair of Moluccan cockatoo paintings by are also estimated at $20,000-$30,000. A watercolor by Maurice de Vlaminck is expected to fetch $20,000-$30,000, a painting by Charles Dahlgreen, titled A Soothing Morning, is estimated at $10,000-$15,000, and a landscape with sheep by Emile Othon Friesz is estimated at $8,000-$12,000.

Also, from a private estate in Briarcliff Manor, New York, a single lot composed of three outstanding White Mountains, New Hampshire views, all executed by artist William Boardman, and having remained in the family since the 1850s, is expected to fetch $8,000-$12,000.

“This is a very well-rounded auction, with offerings in wide ranging categories,” noted Graydon Sikes, director of paintings and prints. “I am excited to offer another portion of the Clarence and Mildred Long Collection of Indiana artists, as well as several fine early impressions from Durer and Rembrandt. Many of the lots have conservative estimates, and I expect there to be some serious competition between bidders on the phone, floor and Internet.”

Fine silver will be featured in the upcoming auction. A sterling repousse tea and coffee service by the Loring Andrews Co. is estimated at $10,000-$15,000. “This is a spectacularly rare and entirely complete Loring Andrews set, representing the height of Cincinnati silver manufacturing in the early 20th century,” said Sikes, “The set was almost certainly an esteemed and direct commission from Loring.” A Georg Jensen Acorn pattern flatware set is estimated to bring $3,000-$5,000, and a set of Grand Baroque sterling flatware by R. Wallace and Sons is estimated at $3,000-$4,500.

American and Continental furniture is expected to perform well in the auction. A Wooton desk is expected to bring $3,000-$5,000, a set of 10 Queen Anne side chairs are estimated at $2,500-$3,500, a set of two French Empire armchairs are estimated at $1,000-$1,500, and an English tall case clock is expected to sell for $1,000-$1,500.

Sculptures and bronzes will also be up for auction in the sale. A bronze by Albert Ernest Carrier-Belleuse, titled Retour des Champs, is expected to sell for $5,000-$7,000, a gilt bronze troika sculpture by Vassily Gratchev is estimated at $3,000-$6,000, a stone sculpture of a Roman bust is estimated at $2,000-$4,000, and a bronze bust of Napoleon by Renzo Colombo is estimated at $2,000-$3,000.

Additional notable lots in the auction include two woodcut prints by Albrecht Durer, both estimated to bring between $8,000-$12,000, two etchings by Rembrandt van Rijn are expected to bring $7,000-$10,000 apiece, a pinup illustration by Arnold Armitage is estimated at $3,000-$5,000, a Kerman rug is estimated at $2,000-$4,000, and a Tiffany & Co. clock garniture is estimated at $2,000-$3,000.

View the fully illustrated catalog and register to bid absentee or live via the Internet as the sale is taking place by logging on to www.LiveAuctioneers.com.


ADDITIONAL LOTS OF NOTE


'Cockatoo' by Jessie Arms Botke. Estimate: $20,000-$30,000. Cowan's Auctions Inc. image.

‘Cockatoo’ by Jessie Arms Botke. Estimate: $20,000-$30,000. Cowan’s Auctions Inc. image.

Sterling repousse tea and coffee service by the Loring Andrews Co. Estimate: $10,000-$15,000. Cowan's Auctions Inc. image.

Sterling repousse tea and coffee service by the Loring Andrews Co. Estimate: $10,000-$15,000. Cowan’s Auctions Inc. image.

Maurice de Vlaminck Watercolor. Estimate: $20,000-$30,000. Cowan's Auctions Inc. image.

Maurice de Vlaminck Watercolor. Estimate: $20,000-$30,000. Cowan’s Auctions Inc. image.

Wooton desk. Estimate: $3,000-$5,000. Cowan's Auctions Inc. image.

Wooton desk. Estimate: $3,000-$5,000. Cowan’s Auctions Inc. image.

Diamond and ruby encrusted gold Rolex President wristwatch, est. £5,000-£7,000. Peter Wilson image

Peter Wilson to host July 10 sale of modern, contemporary art; more

Diamond and ruby encrusted gold Rolex President wristwatch, est. £5,000-£7,000. Peter Wilson image

Diamond and ruby encrusted gold Rolex President wristwatch, est. £5,000-£7,000. Peter Wilson image

NANTWICH, UK – Success breeds success they say, so after one of the strongest sales of Northern art ever seen at Peter Wilson’s, saleroom in May, the pressure is on for the Nantwich, Cheshire, art and antiques auctioneers to produce a repeat performance. Entries of modern and contemporary paintings, all from private sellers, for the fine sale on Thursday, July 10 do not disappoint. Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers.

Leading the sale is an oil on canvas by Fredrick Gore (1913-2009) which not only decorates the front cover of the sale catalog, but also recalls the balmy weather the county has been enjoying. “The Picnic” shows two young mothers and their children, one a babe in arms, sitting in a park setting, expressed in the vibrant colours of the season. The signed work measures 90 x 69.5cm.; 35.5 x 27.5in. and is estimated at £10,000-£12,000.

Sharing the same estimate is a graphic and powerful study titled “Soldier’s Head” by famed sculptor and printmaker Dame Elisabeth Frink (1930-1993), which is signed and dated ’65. The work recalls Frink’s fascination with the human form and perhaps foretells a series of threatening, monumental male heads which she produced from 1967 to 1970 while living in France. The watercolor measures 75 x 55cm.; 29.5 x 21.75in.

The other “household name” in British contemporary art in the sale is John Piper (1903-1992) represented by “Ruined Cottage” a work in mixed media, 37.5 x 56cm.; 14.75 x 22in., showing the dilapidated building in a country setting, which is estimated at £5,000-£7,000.

No sale of Northern art would be complete without pictures by the prolific Manchester artist Geoffrey Key (b. 1941). Pick of eight works this time is a powerful oil on board, 90 x 90cm.; 35.5 x 35.5in., of a seated nude in the artist’s signature surreal abstract style. It is estimated at £8,000-£10,000, while close behind is the equally surreal “Dead Elm,” 38.5 x 48.5cm.; 15.25 x 19.25in, signed and dated ’01, a landscape with the tree set against a mountainous backdrop. An oil on canvas, it is estimated at £5,000-£7,000.

A notable addition to the sale is a trio of paintings by William Gear (1915-1997), a Scottish artist who made a significant contribution to European painting through his association with the COBRA group in the immediate post-war years. Earliest of the three paintings is “Red Idol,” an oil on canvas, 121 x 80cm.; 47.75 x 31.5in., signed and dated ’59, which was exhibited widely, as shown by various labels on the reverse, notably in a 1963 Scottish Arts Council show of the artist’s work. It is estimated at £8,000-£10,000.

Gear’s abstract “Scottish Landscape,” in colored inks, signed and dated ’63, 53.5 x 71cm.; 21 x 28in., is estimated at £6,000-£8,000, while his “Landscape Unit” is the latest work in the sale. The oil on canvas, signed and dated ’85, and measuring 60 x 45cm.; 23.75 x 17.75in., is estimated at £3,000-£5,000.

The death last year of Manchester artist William “Bill” Turner continues to influence prices and the number of his paintings coming to market. This sale will offer 13, the most valuable of which is a street scene with the ubiquitous Stockport viaduct in the background. It is titled “The Organist,” reflecting the fact that, incongruously in the middle of the picture, is a man playing an electric organ to a small audience in the street outside a row on terraced cottages. The signed oil on board, 39 x 49cm.; 15.5 x 19.25in., is estimated at £5,000-£7,000.

Contenders for top honors elsewhere in the sale include a dazzling gold Rolex President Automatic Day-Date wristwatch, the dial and links of the President bracelet encrusted with diamonds and rubies, which is estimated at £5,000-£7,000; and an important “painting in the form of a bowl” by Lincolnshire ceramic artist Gordon Baldwin OBE (b. 1932-).

Baldwin’s career has spanned more than 50 years beginning with his studies at the Lincoln School of Art followed by the Central School of Art and Design between 1950 and 1953. Baldwin then went on to teach at Eton College. In 1992, in recognition of his influential career, he was awarded OBE and in 2000 he received an honorary doctorate from the Royal College of Art.

His work, which he describes as “a non search for beauty” producing “forms which have a certain awkward resonance,” can be found in the Victoria & Albert Museum and many other public collections worldwide. The piece in Peter Wilson’s sale challenges boundaries and breaks with the Bernard Leach tradition of pottery to work in a more sculptural abstract manner while still producing what remain as vessels.

For additional information on any item in the sale, contact the auctioneers by calling (from USA) 011 44 1270 623878. Email: auctions@peterwilson.co.uk.

View the fully illustrated catalog and sign up to bid absentee or live via the Internet at www.LiveAuctioneers.com.

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View the fully illustrated catalog and register to bid absentee or live via the Internet as the sale is taking place by logging on to www.LiveAuctioneers.com.


ADDITIONAL LOTS OF NOTE


Diamond and ruby encrusted gold Rolex President wristwatch, est. £5,000-£7,000. Peter Wilson image

Diamond and ruby encrusted gold Rolex President wristwatch, est. £5,000-£7,000. Peter Wilson image

Geoffrey Key, 'Seated Nude,' est. £8,000-£10,000. Peter Wilson image

Geoffrey Key, ‘Seated Nude,’ est. £8,000-£10,000. Peter Wilson image

Frederick Gore, 'The Picnic,' est. £10,000-£12,000. Peter Wilson image

Frederick Gore, ‘The Picnic,’ est. £10,000-£12,000. Peter Wilson image

Gordon Baldwin OBE, painting in the form of a bowl, est. £5,000-£7,000. Peter Wilson image

Gordon Baldwin OBE, painting in the form of a bowl, est. £5,000-£7,000. Peter Wilson image

Drawings from an 1894 anthropology book of katsina figures, or spirits, made by the native Pueblo people of the Southwestern United States.

Hopi tribal mask auction held in Paris despite US protest

Drawings from an 1894 anthropology book of katsina figures, or spirits, made by the native Pueblo people of the Southwestern United States.

Drawings from an 1894 anthropology book of katsina figures, or spirits, made by the native Pueblo people of the Southwestern United States.

PARIS (AFP) – An auction of Native American masks by the Hopi tribe went ahead in Paris on Friday despite objections from the U.S. embassy and members of the 18,000-strong Arizona community.

Auction house Eve defended the sale of the 27 masks, saying “No American law has been violated, there has been no illegal operation.”

It said the sale had also been cleared on June 26 by a Paris court after a complaint filed by tribal peoples’ advocacy group Survival International and members of the Hopi tribe.

Only nine of the masks in a lot of 29 were sold, fetching a total of 137,313 euros ($187,000). The highest price was for a 19th century mask that attracted a winning bid of 37,500 euros.

The U.S. embassy launched a last-minute appeal just before the sale of what it said were “priceless Native American objects, including sacred items.”

“Native American tribal representatives deserve the opportunity to examine objects of possible concern before they are offered for sale so that they may investigate their provenance and determine whether the tribes may have a claim to recover the items,” the embassy said.

“The sale of a sacred object cannot be dismissed with the wave of a hand as a mere commercial transaction,” it said.

“Native American sacred objects should be better protected, rather than being turned over to the highest bidder.”

Attempts to block a similar auction of Hopi masks last year failed despite a high-profile campaign that included the U.S. ambassador to France and actor Robert Redford.

A French court turned down the request for the injunction saying there were no grounds to halt the sale because the items were acquired legally by a French collector during a 30-year residence in the United States.

The sale had outraged members of the Hopi tribe who said the items were blessed spirits.


ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE


Drawings from an 1894 anthropology book of katsina figures, or spirits, made by the native Pueblo people of the Southwestern United States.

Drawings from an 1894 anthropology book of katsina figures, or spirits, made by the native Pueblo people of the Southwestern United States.

'Pleating Time' by Sophie Ploeg, 2013. Copyright Sophie Ploeg, 2013

Lacemaking inspires BP Travel Award winner’s paintings

'Pleating Time' by Sophie Ploeg, 2013. Copyright Sophie Ploeg, 2013

‘Pleating Time’ by Sophie Ploeg, 2013. Copyright Sophie Ploeg, 2013

LONDON – The work of BP Travel Award 2013 winner Sophie Ploeg, a Bristol-based Dutch Artist, is on display at this year’s BP Portrait Award. Having studied Art & Architectural History at universities in The Netherlands, Ploeg, 39, won last year for her proposal to explore how fashion and lace was represented in 17th century art, as well as in modern applications. She has visited famous lace-making centERs such as Bruges in Belgium and Honiton in Devon, modern lace makers and artists, antique lace collections and 17th century art collections, and has undertaken literary research.

Since receiving the BP Travel Award in June 2013, Dutch artist Sophie Ploeg has spent the past twelve months immersed in the tradition of lace in seventeenth-century portraiture, drawing on her findings to create ten new oil paintings, some of which will be exhibited at the National Portrait Gallery alongside this year’s BP Portrait Award exhibition.

Now living in Bristol after moving to the UK from Holland in 2000, the forty-year-old artist developed her interest in fabrics several years ago when she began depicting textiles in her figure paintings and still lives.

In the 2013 BP Portrait Award, she exhibited her oil-on-panel Self-portrait with Lace Collar, a work that expertly juxtaposed the modern and antique.

The idea was also central to her winning proposal for the BP Travel Award which focused on how she would interpret the use of fabric and lace in 17th-century portraiture in a meaningful and contemporary manner.

“In my proposal, I left the outcome of the project purposefully blank as I did not know where it would take me,” Ploeg said. “All I knew was that I wanted to learn more about seventeenth-century portraits and the fabric, costumes and lace depicted in them. My work was already infused with history, heritage, femininity, fabric and lace and I thought that studying this period in history would deepen and enrich my work.”

Ploeg’s one-year travel commission, The Lace Trail, proved to be as much a passage into the past as a journey to any geographic location. The starting point for her research was the work of William Larkin, whose portraits of Jacobean courtiers perfectly illustrate the period’s richly decorated fashions, each sitter adorned in elaborate embroidery, ruffs, needlelace or Italian cutwork.

“The first half of the seventeenth century was a fascinating transitional period where portraiture hinged between Tudor and Baroque,” said Ploeg. “It was also the period when lace first came into high fashion and it features in many portraits. Seeing Larkin’s paintings at the Holburne Museum in Bath, I was blown away by the huge display of colour and glamour.”

The trail continued in her homeland where she viewed the collection of portraits by Johannes Verspronck at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam and the Frans Hals Museum in Haarlem, taking particular inspiration from A Girl Dressed in Blue (1641), and the “stillness, beauty and grandeur” of his portrait of Maria van Strijp (1652).

“Verspronck painted lace as accurately and detailed as the English Jacobean painters, but added various methods to create greater realism, including shading and blurring,” said Ploeg. “I studied the portraits not only as an historian, but also as a painter. I looked for brush strokes, colour choices, glazing and layering techniques.”

By the 1600s, the lacemaking industry provided a living to thousands of women throughout Europe, their creations worn by all but the lowest classes. Made with a needle and single thread (needle lace) or with multiple threads (bobbin lace), the fabric could be unsewn, unlike embroidery, allowing clothing to be altered to easily follow the vicissitudes of fashion. Children as young as five started learning the craft in lace schools, while skilled lacemakers in Flanders, Spain, France and England met the increasing demand from the nobility for linen, silk, gold and silver lace to decorate collars, cuffs and other pieces of clothing.

“A square inch would have taken a lacemaker a whole day of work in the seventeenth century,” said Ploeg. “Lace machines took over the production in the nineteenth century, but no machine or modern hands can create the refined beauty we find in early lace.”

Ploeg’s research also led her to visit modern-day lacemakers in historic lace centres such as Bruges and Honiton, but she was most eager to source authentic early lace in order to paint from life. With lace held in museums not available to use, she hunted down samples in shops across Belgium and England. “Early lace is nearly extinct save for pieces in museum storage boxes. The fineness of the thread and the design is mind-blowing. It tells stories of art, wealth, fame, fashion and social history, and deserves to be seen and admired before it disintegrates into dust.”

Returning to her Gloucestershire studio, Ploeg crafted those themes into ten oil paintings, using her newly acquired antique lace to make accessories for her sitters. ‘A love for fabric has always been there,” she explained. “As a child in Holland, my mother taught me how to sew and as a teenager I created my own clothes.”

For the series of paintings The Four Ages of Woman, the artist fashioned a collar shape commonly seen in seventeenth-century paintings. ‘I used modern women, each in a different stage of their life and painted them as they are,” she said. “I wanted to combine twenty-first century women with a piece of lace made and worn by women 400 years ago. It’s about connecting the past and the present.”

For the self-portrait, Pleating Time, Ploeg created her own ruff, a laborious process involving many meters of fabric gathered tightly together. “Making a ruff is the most difficult thing, but I could not resist,” she said. “The pleats function as a timeline, folded and pleated to make jumps in time; now and then, meeting here and there.”

Other paintings are rooted in specific portraits viewed on her travels: The Long Wait is a response to Marcus Gheeraerts’ Portrait of an Unknown Pregnant Lady; The Handkerchief Girl alludes to the fashionable handkerchiefs often found in Larkin’s portraits; and the whitened complexion of the woman in She Becomes Her duplicates the Jacobean vogue for Venetian ceruse and references the work of Robert Peake the Elder, serjeant-painter to King James I.

“In ‘She Becomes Her,’ I wanted to play with the idea of how a modern-day woman might deal with self presentation and how she gets represented by others, for instance in the media,” said Ploeg. “The writing on the picture plane, the newspaper in the background and the sitter’s clothes and make-up all suggest she might be hiding her true self.”

Following the completion of the commission, Ploeg plans to continue her trail of discovery. “I can see new painting paths to explore further ahead,” she said. “The world today is shaped by the past, and so are my paintings. We still struggle with some of the same things that our ancestors struggled with – identity, gender, self-image, fashion, wealth, social class, equality and beauty. Times have changed, but we are still walking the same road.”

Taken from an Interview by Richard McClure from the BP Portrait Award 2014 book, a fully-illustrated catalog accompanying the exhibition and featuring an introductory essay by Julia Donaldson and including over 55 color illustrations, price £9.99 (pbk), is available from the Gallery Bookshops and on www.npg.org.uk.

PUBLICATION – The Lace Trail

Sophie’s book The Lace Trail will be available in the National Portrait Gallery bookshop and via her website www.sophieploeg.com In this publication she shares her findings on early 17th century portraiture in England and The Netherlands, the history of early lace, styles of painting lace, and of course the background story to her paintings and a catalogue section with all 10 paintings.

BP TRAVEL AWARD 2014 AND 2013

The winner of the BP Travel Award 2014, an annual prize to enable artists to work in a different environment on a project related to portraiture, was also announced recently. The prize of £6,000 is open to applications from any of the BP Portrait Award-exhibited artists.

This year the BP Travel Award 2014 has been awarded to Edward Sutcliffe for his proposal to document the Compton Cricket Club which was formed as an initiative to help encourage and empower the disaffected youth of an area of Los Angeles synonymous with poverty and crime. By spending as much time with the team as possible (either on the pitch or in their everyday lives) and seeing the impact playing cricket has had on people from some of the city’s toughest streets, Sutcliffe intends to draw and paint the players, producing portraits that show a fusion of two very different cultures and how the game of cricket with its ethos of fair play and honestly has been embraced by this community. Edward’s resulting work will be displayed in the BP Portrait Award 2015 exhibition.

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ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE


'Pleating Time' by Sophie Ploeg, 2013. Copyright Sophie Ploeg, 2013

‘Pleating Time’ by Sophie Ploeg, 2013. Copyright Sophie Ploeg, 2013

A crane is used to remove a 1962 Chevrolet Corvette from the sinkhole at the National Corvette Museum on March 4. It's the third to be extracted from the hole, which opened Feb. 12. Photo by National Corvette Museum for Chevrolet.

Sinkhole becomes popular attraction at Corvette museum

A crane is used to remove a 1962 Chevrolet Corvette from the sinkhole at the National Corvette Museum on March 4. It's the third to be extracted from the hole, which opened Feb. 12. Photo by National Corvette Museum for Chevrolet.

A crane is used to remove a 1962 Chevrolet Corvette from the sinkhole at the National Corvette Museum on March 4. It’s the third to be extracted from the hole, which opened Feb. 12. Photo by National Corvette Museum for Chevrolet.

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – A massive sinkhole that swallowed eight cars at the National Corvette Museum in the U.S. has become such a popular attraction that officials want to preserve it. They may even put one or two of the crumpled cars back inside the hole.

The board of the museum in Kentucky voted Wednesday to preserve a large section of the sinkhole that opened beneath the museum in February.

The damaged cars toppled like toys amid rocks, concrete and dirt. The cars carry a total value believed to exceed $1 million. The cars were eventually pulled out of the giant hole to great fanfare.

Museum officials say attendance is up nearly 60 percent from March to the start of this week. The museum sells sinkhole-related shirts, post cards and prints.

The museum struggled in prior years to keep its doors open, museum officials said.

The cars that took the plunge were a 2001 Mallett Hammer Z06 Corvette, a 1962 black Corvette, a 1993 ZR-1 Spyder, a 1984 PPG Pace Car, a 1992 White 1 Millionth Corvette, a 2009 white 1.5 Millionth Corvette, a 2009 ZR1 Blue Devil and a 1993 Ruby Red 40th Anniversary Corvette.

Sinkholes are common in the area, located amid a large region of karst bedrock where many of Kentucky’s largest and deepest caves run underground.

Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-WF-06-25-14 2315GMT


ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE


A crane is used to remove a 1962 Chevrolet Corvette from the sinkhole at the National Corvette Museum on March 4. It's the third to be extracted from the hole, which opened Feb. 12. Photo by National Corvette Museum for Chevrolet.

A crane is used to remove a 1962 Chevrolet Corvette from the sinkhole at the National Corvette Museum on March 4. It’s the third to be extracted from the hole, which opened Feb. 12. Photo by National Corvette Museum for Chevrolet.

The ruins of Ur, with the Ziggurat of Ur visible in the background. Image by M.Lubinski from Iraq,USA. This file is licensed under the Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic license.

Artifacts from ancient city found in archaeologist’s cupboard

The ruins of Ur, with the Ziggurat of Ur visible in the background. Image by M.Lubinski from Iraq,USA. This file is licensed under the Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic license.

The ruins of Ur, with the Ziggurat of Ur visible in the background. Image by M.Lubinski from Iraq,USA. This file is licensed under the Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic license.

LONDON (AP) – Amazing what you can find when you do a good cleanup.

Bristol University in Britain learned this firsthand when researchers discovered a box containing materials from archaeologist Sir Leonard Woolley’s dig of the Sumerian city of Ur tucked away on top of a cupboard.

“I would classify it in the same category as ‘I found a Monet in my grandmothers’ attic,’” Tamar Hodos, a senior lecturer in archaeology, said Wednesday.

Researchers determined that the box’s contents were 4,500 years old – consisting of pottery, seeds, carbonized apple rings and animal bones – and had come from a tomb at an excavation in Iraq that was jointly sponsored during the 1920s and 1930s by the British Museum and the University of Pennsylvania Museum.

The materials had been analyzed and described in earlier journals. But researchers are still thrilled because archaeologists at the time did not always collect such organic items.

Index cards inside the crate scrupulously catalog where the materials were found, together with identification numbers unique to the dig. The material has been given to the British Museum, which is assessing it.

“There’s no question that this material is from the Woolley dig,” Hodos said.

But no one knows how the material got to Bristol, which had no connection to the dig. The university is hoping for someone to step forward to help solve the mystery.

Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-WF-06-25-14 1734GMT


ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE


The ruins of Ur, with the Ziggurat of Ur visible in the background. Image by M.Lubinski from Iraq,USA. This file is licensed under the Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic license.

The ruins of Ur, with the Ziggurat of Ur visible in the background. Image by M.Lubinski from Iraq,USA. This file is licensed under the Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic license.

A Cheyenne combatant marker stone on the Little Bighorn Battlefield, Mont. Image by Wilson 44691, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Indian memorial at Little Bighorn Battlefield completed

A Cheyenne combatant marker stone on the Little Bighorn Battlefield, Mont. Image by Wilson 44691, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

A Cheyenne combatant marker stone on the Little Bighorn Battlefield, Mont. Image by Wilson 44691, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

GARRYOWEN, Mont. (AP) – A ceremony at the Little Bighorn Battlefield on Wednesday marked the completion of a memorial to Indian warriors – 138 years after their defeat of Lt. Col. George A. Custer and the 7th Cavalry.

The Billings Gazette reports granite panels commemorate the Sioux, Cheyenne and Arapho warriors who joined to battle the U.S. Army along with the Crow and Akira scouts who served with the Army.

Most of the panels contain quotes from chiefs and warriors and a list of those who fought and died in the Battle of the Little Bighorn in June 1876.

The memorial also includes a bronze sculpture for three Native American Spirit Warriors riding off to battle.

Arizona State University professor Leo Killsback helped design the memorial. He says it’s important to remember that the warriors were fighting to protect the Indian way of life and their homeland.

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Information from: The Billings Gazette, http://www.billingsgazette.com

Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-WF-06-26-14 1419GMT


ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE


A Cheyenne combatant marker stone on the Little Bighorn Battlefield, Mont. Image by Wilson 44691, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

A Cheyenne combatant marker stone on the Little Bighorn Battlefield, Mont. Image by Wilson 44691, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Wallach said one of his favorite roles was that of Mr. Freeze in the 'Batman' TV series. He's pictured in costume in an autographed photo, which will be sold at auction July 12. Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers.com and IAA (International Autograph Auctions Ltd.).

In Memoriam: Eli Wallach, veteran actor, 98

Wallach said one of his favorite roles was that of Mr. Freeze in the 'Batman' TV series. He's pictured in costume in an autographed photo, which will be sold at auction July 12. Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers.com and IAA (International Autograph Auctions Ltd.).

Wallach said one of his favorite roles was that of Mr. Freeze in the ‘Batman’ TV series. He’s pictured in costume in an autographed photo, which will be sold at auction July 12. Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers.com and IAA (International Autograph Auctions Ltd.).

NEW YORK (AP) – As a masterful character actor and early product of postwar, Method-style theater, Eli Wallach wore countless faces, disappearing into them all. But he was always propelled – in acting and in life – by a mischievousness and an abiding playfulness that made him a tireless performer, an enduring family man and, of course, one immortal scoundrel.

“I never lost my appetite for acting,” Wallach wrote in his 2005 memoir The Good, the Bad, and Me, named after his most famous film. “I feel like a magician.”

Wallach died Tuesday evening from natural causes after 98 years of life, 66 years of marriage and some 100 films, including several he made in his 90s. His son, Peter Wallach, confirmed his death Wednesday.

The versatile, raspy-voiced actor was a mainstay of Tennessee Williams’ plays (he won a Tony Award for The Rose Tattoo in 1951) and an original member of the Actors Studio in the early days of Method acting. But the most notable credit in his prolific career was The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, in which he played the rascally Mexican outlaw Tuco.

As the Ugly of the title, he stole Sergio Leone’s 1966 spaghetti Western from the Good, Clint Eastwood, with lines like: “When you have to shoot, shoot, don’t talk.”

“Everywhere I go, someone will recognize me from The Good, the Bad and the Ugly and start whistling the theme song,” he said in a 2003 interview, referring to Ennio Morricone’s famous score. “I can feel when it’s going to happen.”

Wallach never won an Oscar, but he was given an honorary Academy Award in 2010, hailed as the “quintessential chameleon.”

“I’ve played more bandits, thieves, killers, warlords, molesters and Mafiosi than you could shake a stick at,” Wallach said, accepting the award from Eastwood.

Wallach’s personal life, he added, was more placid and law-abiding: He loved collecting antique clocks, watching tennis and telling stories.

Upon hearing of Wallach’s death, Eastwood remembered him as “a wonderful guy and a wonderful actor. I have fond memories of us working together on The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.”

Wallach also starred in the steamy Baby Doll (1956), The Magnificent Seven (1960), The Misfits (1961) and The Godfather III (1990), in which he played a murderous mobster who dies after eating poisoned cannoli.

Wallach and his wife, Anne Jackson, were a formidable duo on the stage, starring in a series of plays, including George Bernard Shaw’s Major Barbara in 1956 and a hugely successful run of Luv in the mid-1960s. Their partnership was epic by Hollywood acting-couple standards. They played a married couple together as recently as 2003 on the NBC medical drama ER.

“Although I limp in life as a result of my two hip operations, whenever I go onstage with Anne, the lights give my body a lift and I prance onto the stage and dance off,” Wallach wrote in his memoir. “I feel I can play a 16-year-old if the author calls for that. Which is why I prefer live acting to film – I come alive with the lights.”

Wallach met Jackson – also an Actors Studio charter member – while they were appearing off-Broadway in Williams’ This Property Is Condemned. They married in 1948 and had three children, Peter, who became a film animator, and two daughters, Roberta and Katherine, both of whom followed their parents into acting.

Wallach was also great uncle to the New York Times film critic A.O. Scott, an ironic relation, in a way, for an actor who once said: “Having the critics praise you is like having the hangman say you’ve got a pretty neck.”

But his great nephew nevertheless celebrated him, once writing: “With Eli, there is an impish, sly quality, not a self-conscious winking, exactly, but a palpable relish at the sheer fun of acting.”

Wallach was born in Brooklyn on Dec. 7, 1915, the son of an immigrant candy storeowner. Other family members were doctors, lawyers and teachers, but Wallach instead went into acting (he compared it to joining the Foreign Legion). His drama training was interrupted by World War II service in the Army medical corps, in which he earned the rank of captain.

Wallach’s stage career eventually took off, thanks in large part to his success in Williams productions. He appeared in The Rose Tattoo, then Camino Rea and later had a long run in Teahouse of the August Moon.

The Broadway League said Wednesday it would dim its lights Friday for Wallace, “a storyteller in the most specific yet subtle ways.”

Wallach didn’t slow down in his later years. He played a store owner in 2003’s Mystic River, directed by Eastwood, and had parts in the 2006 romantic comedy The Holiday in 2006 and Oliver Stone’s Money Never Sleeps in 2010.

“I don’t act to live,” he said accepting his honorary Oscar. “I live to act.”

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Follow AP Film Writer Jake Coyle on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/jake_coyle

Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-WF-06-26-14 0122GMT


ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE


Wallach said one of his favorite roles was that of Mr. Freeze in the 'Batman' TV series. He's pictured in costume in an autographed photo. Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers.com and IAA (International Autograph Auctions Ltd.).

Wallach said one of his favorite roles was that of Mr. Freeze in the ‘Batman’ TV series. He’s pictured in costume in an autographed photo. Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers.com and IAA (International Autograph Auctions Ltd.).