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What Ever Happened to the U.S. Congress's Portraits of Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette? Retracing the Events that Led to the Conflagration of the Capitol and the Loss of the Pictures on 24-25 August 1814: Tran. of the American Philosophical Society V The Spirit of Inquiry in the Age of Jefferson: Transactions of the American Philosophical Society Volume 110, Part 2
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What Ever Happened to the U.S. Congress's Portraits The Spirit of Inquiry in the Age of Jefferson
One of the greatest unsolved mysteries in American political culture is what became of the United States Congress’s state portraits of Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette during the British invasion of the Capitol, Washington, D.C., on the night of 24–25 August 1814. Conceived by Benjamin Franklin during a diplomatic mission, requested by the American delegates at the height of the War of Independence, and granted by the French king after the signing of the Treaty of Paris, these official full-length images of the French monarchs arrayed in ceremonial magnificence were recently identified as atelier copies after Antoine-François Callet’s Louis XVI and Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun’s Marie-Antoinette (both 1783) and traced through Congress’s successive assembly rooms at New York City (1785), Philadelphia (1790), and Washington (1800). The fate of the royal portraits has been difficult to determine due to the incomplete documentary record and conflicting eyewitness accounts. Larkin initially takes a telescopic approach to the problem, moving from British and French production of state portraits to assert political claims in North America and despoliation of Western European countries of their art treasures, to show British and American interests at stake in the practice of looting and incendiary warfare waged across the Great Lakes and the Chesapeake Bay prior to the destruction of the public buildings in Washington, D.C. He then pursues a microscopic approach, analyzing period documents, letters, images, and plans to test the viability of two theories—that the royal portraits were burned by British troops during their occupation of the capital or looted by American scavengers during the chaotic aftermath. While physical evidence of the portrait artifacts remains elusive, this study of the images as objects of desire, danger, and loss breaks new ground for scholars desirous of constituting an art and material history for the War of 1812.
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T. Lawrence Larkin is Professor of Seventeenth- to Nineteenth-Century European Art at Montana State University, Bozeman. He has published on aspects of early modern French and American art and culture, with a two-fold interest in the portrait patronage and mythical permutations of Queen Marie-Antoinette and the trans-Atlantic diplomatic gifts and political culture of French, British, and American governments during the Revolutionary and Imperial Eras. His books include a monograph, In Search of Marie-Antoinette: Stefan Zweig, Irving Thalberg, and Norma Shearer (Palgrave-Macmillan), and an edited volume, Politics & Portraits in the United States & France during the Age of Revolution (Smithsonian Institution Scholarly Press), both published in 2019.
In commemoration of the 275th anniversary of the American Philosophical Society’s founding in 1743 and the birth of its long-time president, Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826), the APS Library, along with the National Constitution Center, the Robert H. Smith International Center for Jefferson Studies at Monticello, and the Herbert D. Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies at the University of Pennsylvania held a symposium in June 2018 that explored the history of science, knowledge production, and learning during the Age of Jefferson. The volume contains papers from many of the presenters at the symposium. The chapters touch on an enormous range of topics and fields, much like Jefferson's own intellectual life. Also much like Jefferson, they are international in scope. Subjects range from inoculation to animal magnetism to Jewish migrants in the eighteenth century. Both books are a testament to the mission Jefferson served throughout his life and that both institutions still aim to serve today: “to promote useful knowledge.”
The House of Barnes: The Man, The Collection, The Controversy (Memoir Vol. 266) The Tower of the Winds in Athens: Greeks, Romans, Christians, and Muslims: Two Millennia of Continual Use: Memoirs, APS (Vol. 270)
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The House of Barnes Tower of the Winds in Athens
The House of Barnes: The Man, The Collection, The Controversy is a beautifully written study of the extraordinary art collector and volatile personality Albert C. Barnes.  The book places him in the context of his own era, shedding new light on the ideas and movements (about art collecting, education, and aesthetics) that shaped so much of his thinking.

The Barnes’ major holdings of largely post-impressionist art include more than 800 paintings, with a strong focus on Renoir (181 canvases), Cézanne (69), Matisse (59), and Picasso (46 paintings and drawings). In its entirety, it is the greatest single collection of such art that has remained intact.  

The last chapters of the book address the controversial events surrounding the Barnes Foundation’s move to Philadelphia, including vehement opposition—as well as strong support. There is an analysis of the Foundation’s financial plight, a review of the major court cases over the decades, and a characterization of the fervent reactions following the court’s decision to allow the move to take place.

The monograph is recommended for a broad audience, including those interested in art and art collecting, the role of art in education, and the development of cultural institutions.
The Tower of the Winds has stood in the shadow of the Acropolis in
Athens for more than 2,100 years. This tall octagonal building, one of
the best preserved monuments from the classical period, was built by the
architect-astronomer Andronikos of Kyrrhos
as a horologion for keeping time. Almost all its features have been
attributed to the period of construction by the Greeks or renovations
made by the Romans. The building, however, was in use almost
continuously for two millennia, which includes Byzantine
and Ottoman phases. Pamela Webb, a classical archaeologist, examines
the Tower throughout its entire functional existence. A series of
appendices helps to put the Tower in broader context for the
post-classical periods. Winner of the 2016 John Frederick Lewis
Award. Illus.
Of Elephants & Roses: French Natural History, 1790-1830: Memoir 267 Wright's Ferry Mansion, 2 Volume Set: Volume 1: The House; Volume 2: The Collection
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Of Elephants & Roses: Wright's Ferry Mansion: Volume 1: The House; Volume 2: The Collection
This award-winning illustrated book explores the fascinating history of the natural sciences in the turbulent years of post-revolutionary and Restoration France, from Empress Josephine’s black swans and rare Franklinia tree to a giraffe that walked 480 miles across France to greet the king. It is the catalogue for an international loan exhibition held in 2011 at the APS Museum in Philadelphia and the record of an associated interdisciplinary symposium held at the American Philosophical Society (APS) on December 1-3, 2011. The essays, commentaries, and discussions present new perspectives on French natural history, its influence on French culture, and its ties to the natural sciences in North America. Contributors include art historians, historians of science, and scholars of French literature, history, and culture. Illus. A jewel of early 18th-century house museums, Wright’s Ferry Mansion is also Pennsylvania’s best-kept secret, tucked away along the banks of the Susquehanna River in Columbia, PA. Built in 1738 for the dynamic English Quaker Susanna Wright, the house has been restored and furnished by The von Hess Foundation. These beautiful volumes tell the fascinating history of the house and its original owner Susanna Wright, who was a friend of Benjamin Franklin and other luminaries of early Pennsylvania. It is the only Pennsylvania English Quaker house furnished exclusively to the first half of the 18th century. The collection includes important Philadelphia William and Mary and Queen Anne furniture and English ceramics, metals, glass, and needlework, all pre-dating 1750. The appendix contains the original text of numerous letters, wills, inventories, poems, and two treatises by Susanna Wright and her brother James. Author and art historian Elizabeth Meg Schaefer has been curator of the mansion since 1982. 2-volume hardcover set in slipcase. Vol. 1 describes the house and furnishings; Vol. 1 describes each item in detail. Color photos.



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Other Presidency: Thomas Jefferson

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Other Presidency: Thomas Jefferson
The Other Presidency: Thomas Jefferson and the American Philosophical Society, by Patrick Spero, With research assistance by Abigail Shelton and John Kenney.


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