London Art Week Winter 2017 ~ "A Fashionable Likeness: 16th and 17th Century Portraiture with Contemporary Jewellery & Miniatures"

For the inaugural Winter edition of London Art Week (1 - 8 December), The Weiss Gallery is delighted to hold a special exhibition of 16th and 17th century portraits, curated with an emphasis on costume and jewellery, presented alongside specially commissioned wearable accessories and miniatures inspired by the works on show. These have been created by contemporary artists and jewellers – Matt and Amanda Caines, and portraitist and silversmith, Debra Weiss. Among the iconic and bejeweled portraits on display will be an exquisite portrait of the young boy-king, Edward VI of England, painted circa 1550, from the Studio of William Scrots (c. 1537 – 1553), painted with applied silver and gold leaf. Other artists will include François Clouet, Frans Pourbus II, Evert van der Maes, Willem Eversdijck and François Quesnel.

Matt and Amanda Caines are artists who have worked in parallel with their separate practices for 28 years; their differing specialisms create a strong set of contrasts for the London Art Week exhibition. Amanda is a mixed-media artist who has shown her work internationally. She uses a range of materials gathered over many years, including glass, wood, metal and ceramics, to create paintings, stitch work hangings, sculptures and jewellery. Matt is a sculptor working with a variety of materials: stone, wood, nut and pieces of naturally shed antler. He has worked on marble projects in Carrara in Italy and on found whale bone carvings with Inuit sculptors in Arctic Canada. For the past four years, Matt and Amanda have been collaborating and inspiring one another’s work.

Artist and silversmith Debra Weiss - sister to Gallery Director, Mark Weiss - is looking forward to exhibiting her miniatures at The Weiss Gallery during London Art Week. A lifetime restoring 16th and 17th Century portraits has inspired her love of capturing the face. She is fascinated by the interaction between sitter and viewer, and her ability to capture a likeness in miniature offers a unique opportunity for collectors to commission portrait miniatures: “I have always adored the jewellery and costume worn by sitters in the historical portraits I have restored over the years. The silver pendants combine my passion for jewellery, costume, and portraiture. Some are portraits of my family, some are colleagues at The Weiss Gallery, while others are fantastical images influenced by the fabulous work of Nicholas Hilliard, who was a goldsmith and limner in the courts of Elizabeth I and James I.”

Debra’s miniatures echo the importance of miniatures within the old master portraits exhibited – the very idea of the portrait within a portrait. One such example is François Quesnel’s portrayal of Jeanne de Bourdeille (d.1596), with her daughter holding a miniature of Jeanne’s late husband, Antoine de Beaupoil de Sainte-Aulaire, Sénéchal de Perigord (c.1560 – 1593). The elaborate gold filigree frame is decorated with scarlet and black enamel and lavishly set with fine-cut lozenge-shaped rubies and seeded with pearls. It is at once an immediate marker of wealth, but also presents the viewer with a fascinating interplay of identities and relationships between the sitters. This juxtaposition of historical portraits alongside contemporary artworks and jewellery, makes for an intriguing and innovative exhibition.

The Weiss Gallery, London's leading specialist in Tudor, Stuart and Northern European portraiture, has made many notable sales to private and public collections worldwide over the past decades and looks forward to welcoming new as well as existing clients into the gallery at the winter edition of London Art Week 2017.