Apostles in England
Sir James Thornhill and the Legacy of Raphael's Tapestry Cartoons
Wallach Art Gallery, 1996
8 1/2" x 11", 86 pp., illus., 7 in color
ISBN 1-884919-02-2, Paper, $25
Raphael's seven large gouache paintings, called cartoons, that weavers used in creating tapestries for the Sistine Chapel nearly 500 years ago exerted enormous influence on the development of painting in England in the 18th century. This volume focuses on copies of the cartoons painted between 1729 and 1731 by Sir James Thornhill, England's foremost history painter.
Thornhill's painted copies, together with a variety of engraved versions, were pivotal in the development of the "British School". an extension of Thornhill's early efforts to formalize the training of British artists, these copies played an important part in the prelude to the founding of the Royal Academy in 1786. The intention was also political: to bolster England's position in relation to France by showing that the very best of Raphael was lodged on British soil. Essays explore issues about the use and reuse of the past and about the art of copying as a reproductive as well as a creative process.