8th July, 2015
A significant collection of Huguenot artwork and craftsmanship will go on display in Northamptonshire on the 300th anniversary of the death of the group’s persecutor, Louis XIV of France.
Boughton House, known as the English Versailles, will host a summer exhibition of works by Huguenot migrants to Britain, three centuries on from the death of the French monarch who denied their religious and political rights by revoking the Edict of Nantes, leading to their exodus from the nation.
Highlights of the exhibition include the first piece of music ever printed in this country (a set of French Chansons by Lassus), a selection of Isaac Oliver’s celebrated jewel-sized portraits and the first A-Z of London, by Jean Rocque.
Paul Boucher, the exhibition’s curator, said: “This significant new exhibition celebrates how the historic influx of skilled Huguenot migrants to Britain transformed the cultural life of our nation. Beginning in the House’s dramatic unfinished wing, the story will then continue through to the exhibition in the Steward’s Hall.”
Boughton, the Northamptonshire home of the Duke of Buccleuch, is also home to a stunning array of Huguenot paintings, furniture, maps, armoury, porcelain, music and silver, which form part of the celebrated Buccleuch Art Collection, and many of which were commissioned by Ralph, the 1st Duke of Montagu in the 17th and 18th centuries.
Tours of the House will run every day during the exhibition and will highlight Boughton’s many examples of Huguenot craftsmanship on permanent display.
Paul added: “Other than its sheer scale and diversity, what’s remarkable about this collection is that many of the items are still housed within the surroundings for which they were purchased, making for a truly immersive experience.”
The Buccleuch Art Collection, much of which resides at Boughton House and within the Duke of Buccleuch’s Scottish residences, Bowhill House and Drumlanrig Castle, encompasses more than 50,000 objects, including a vast library and archive.
The special Huguenot Summer exhibition will run from August 1st – 31st at Boughton House during the Estate’s summer opening season. House and/or gardens ticket holders will gain free entry into the exhibition, which will also be open to arranged group visits throughout July and September, by appointment.
In nearby Warkton, visitors will be able to see the newly restored Montagu monuments at St Edmund’s Church. These include the sculptures in Carrara marble by the Huguenot Louis François Roubiliac, one of the greatest sculptors ever to work in England. Among his other notable memorials are those to Shakespeare, Garrick, Isaac Newton and Handel in Westminster Abbey. The church will be open Monday – Saturday from 10am – 2pm throughout August.