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|Eyes rolling like Bulls in Cox's museum
Written by JulieW
(3/2/2007 10:14 a.m.)
Cox's Museum as one of the most elegant of 18th century London’s exhibitions.
James Cox, the proprietor was a jewellery by profession and he used prominent artists to design articles for him: Jospeh Nollekens and Johann Zoffany created pieces for him to sell and have made in his workshops in London and Geneva.
He specialised in automata- moving puppets made of precious materials.:
these were automata that were self acting bijoux
To quote Richard Altick in The Shows of London
In 1772 he opened his museum in the Great Room ,Spring Gardens,London( by Cahrring Cross-JW)
His automata were so fabulous he caused qutie the sensation:
Cox’s occupancy was so memorable that for many years the building was customarily identified as “the Great Room Cox’s museum”
The whole place was quite splendid, never mind the contents:
The décor of the Great Room for Cox’s tenancy was worthy of its contents .The ceiling of the dome had chiaroscuro paintings representing the liberal Arts; five crystal lustres( chandilers-JW) provided the lighting; crimson curtains set off the jewelled objects enshrined behind railings.
Cox charged admission at the unprescedented and subsequently unmatched rate of 10 shillings and six pence . There was grumbling about this even among the patrons who could best afford it, but in the interests of security Cox was required to limit the number of people in the room at any one time. The enormous value of the precious metal and jewels in these cunning “objects de luxe” was £197,000
(Altick ,again page 69.)
Here is a picture of Cox's museum premies, just before they were demoilished in the mid 19th cnetury:
If you would care to see the sort of automoata that Cox was justly famous for( sadly not a bull) then please follow the instructions in the linked website to see the Silver Swan in action at the Bowes Museum. I have seen this at the museum and can confirm that it is magical.
And of course there is a fine JA connection .The museum eventually became the home of the Society of Watercolour Artists where JA spotted a “portrait “ of Mrs Bingley ;-)
Letter from Sloane St.: Monday (May 24),1813:
I went the day before (Friday) to Layton's, as I proposed, and got my mother's gown -- seven yards at 6s. 6d. I then walked into No. 10, which is all dirt and confusion, but in a very promising way, and after being present at the opening of a new account, to my great amusement, Henry and I went to the exhibition in Spring Gardens. It is not thought a good collection, but I was very well pleased, particularly (pray tell Fanny) with a small portrait of Mrs. Bingley, excessively like her.
I went in hopes of seeing one of her sister, but there was no Mrs. Darcy. Perhaps, however, I may find her in the great exhibition, which we shall go to if we have time. I have no chance of her in the collection of Sir Joshua Reynolds's paintings, which is now showing in Pall Mall, and which we are also to visit.
Mrs. Bingley's is exactly herself -- size, shaped face, features, and sweetness; there never was a greater likeness. She is dressed in a white gown, with green ornaments, which convinces me of what I had always supposed, that green was a favourite colour with her. I dare say Mrs. D. will be in yellow.
|The Silver Swan at the Bowes Museum|
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