There is little published information about the Brussels-trained painter, Carel Philips Spierinck' - known as Carlo Filippo after he settled in Rome - but a skeletal biography can be put together. He was said to be thirty years old when his death was registered in Rome in 1639, but Didier Bodart has pointed out that he was already a pupil of Michel de Boerdous in Brussels in 1612 and became a master in the guild there in 1622, so he is more likely to have been born around 1600 than in 1609 as is usually stated.2 He had moved to Rome by 1624, when a 'Carlo Filippo Spiringh' is recorded as living near the Piazza di Spagna together with two other Flemish artists,3 and he is said to have been a pupil of Paul Bril4 - though if there was such a relationship it must have been brief (Bril died in Rome in 1626). In 1634-35 Spierinck was paid dues to the Accademia di S. Luca, though not as an academician.5 He died five years later, on 22nd May 1639, and was buried in a somewhat prestigious location near the high altar of S. Maria presso il Camposanto teutonico,6 leaving incomplete paintings for the sacristy of S. Maria dell'Anima which he had begun at some time after 1637, and which have not survived.' Four pictures by him are known to have been owned by Flemish merchants in Rome: three Bacchanals are recorded in the inventory of Philips Baldescot in 1641 and a St Norbert (one of the S. Maria dell'Anima canvases) was listed on 2nd March 1643 in the house of 'Petri Pisca- toris' i.e. Peter Visscher.8
The death of Sir Brinsley Ford on 4th May occurred almost exactly sixty years after he delivered the manuscript of his first article to the offices of THE BURLINGTON MAGAZINE, then located in StJames's Street - one of his enduring haunts. Its publication in July 1939 initiated a relationship for which the Magazine and its readers can only be profoundly grateful. For while Ford's untiring efforts as a collector, scholar, patron of young artists, and chairman of the National Art Collections Fund - to name but a few of his activities - need little introduction, it may be less well known that he was one of the principal engineers of this Magazine's survival in the lean years that followed the Second World War. 'In 1951', reads a draft memorandum of c. 1963 in that rough but energetic hand which all recipients of his splendidly anecdotal letters recognised with pleasurable anticipation, 'the Burl Mag was in dire straits and was only kept going by the gen- erosity of a few individuals who subscribed about ?800 a year for four years'. Characteristically, he failed to add that he himself was among those individuals as well as being a prime mover in cajoling support from others. But his involvement with the Magazine's affairs by no means ended there.
The great importance that Neo-classical designers placed on using approved design sources was stressed by Charles Heathcote Tatham (1772-1842) when, writing in 1806,' he quoted SirJoshua Reynolds's dictum that: 'Invention, strictly speaking, is little more than a new combination of those images which have been previously gathered and deposited in the memory'.2 To this magisterial statement, Tatham added his own opinion that 'a familiar knowledge and study of the most approved antique Forms, are greatly wanting to modern Silversmiths . . .; indeed, good Models can never be too often resorted to; they enlarge the powers of Invention, and tend to produce originality of Design.' Such views about the nature of artistic creativity were central to Neo-classical design. Patrons neither expected nor sought complete originality in the modern sense; and most designers were content to work with a common visual vocabulary of images derived mainly from classical antiquity.
The monumental gilded Italian 'renaissance' chests so admired by English collectors during the nineteenth century are a curious and hitherto poorly understood phenomenon in the history of collecting and interior decoration. It will be suggested here that the taste for them was promoted - and probably initiated - by William Blundell Spence (1814- 1900), an Englishman of means who lived in Florence for over half a century and began dealing there in the early 1840s.' By 1856 or soon thereafter,2 he had a gallery in the Palazzo Giugni on the via degli Alfani, the interiors of which are recorded in two paintings (Figs. 14 and 15).3 He retained the gallery after 1861,4 by which time he had moved his residence to the Villa Medici at Fiesole.
As part of the recent redecoration of the Throne Room in Dublin Castle (Fig.45), it was decided to clean the six paintings set high up on the east, north and south walls. Consisting of four roundels and two ovals, they had traditionally been ascribed to Giambattista Bellucci, an eighteenth-century painter from the Veneto known principally as a portraitist. The fact that Bellucci visited Ireland may explain this otherwise inscrutable attribution, which is found in recent guidebooks.'