If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then John Scarlett Davis must have been the sincerest flatterer in all of England in 1829. In the exhibition Seeing Double: Portraits, Copies and Exhibitions in 1820s London, the Yale Center for British Art solves the “puzzle” of Davis’s painting The Interior of the British Institution Gallery (shown), which caused a stir in the London art scene of 1829 in ostensibly recreating an exhibition of Old Masters hosted in 1829 by the British Institution, a London-based art organization run by collectors and connoisseurs. “Ostensibly” becomes the key word in examining Davis’ painting, as the Yale Center’s research shows just what kind of liberties Davis took in his recreation and to what ends he took those liberties. Please come over to Picture This at Big Think to read more of "Double Vision."
[Image: John Scarlett Davis, The Interior of the British Institution Gallery, 1829. Oil on canvas. Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection.]
[Many thanks to the Yale Center for British Art for providing me with press materials for Seeing Double: Portraits, Copies and Exhibitions in 1820s London, which runs through September 19, 2010.]