J. Purves Carter.

The Torrigiani Academy : founded by J. Purves Carter online

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llie Torrigiani Academy and its \Vork

In the domain of Art there is an unsuspected treasure
land wherein success, fame and riches are waiting to be
grasped. It is almost virgin soil waiting for prospectors
to come and stake claims. From time to time the untrained
and inexperienced venture to go delving there ; but they
fail because they are ill-equipped.

This comparatively unexplored field is the art of restor-
ation and conservation of the great masters' works, and
a life-long experience of this special branch of art has invest-
ed me with unique qualifications to lead an expedition
of ambitious and seriously disposed art students to claim
the prizes which it offers.



Those who care to embark with me and share the fruits
of the knowledge and experience I am able to put at their
disposal will reap the reward they covet. If they are study-
ing art as a means to earning a livelihood by congenial
labour there will be placed m their hands a weapon which
will enable them to fight a winning battle and earn the
rich rewards of the specialist. If they are already fortunate
in the possession of wealth and are students of art for the
pure love of it, or are seeking knowledge which will enable
them fully to appreciate and appraise their own collections,
they will be initiated into secrets hitherto unrevealed
to them and will be brought to a fuller consciousness of
the beauties of their treasures.

For many years I have been resolved to retire eventually
from business life to devote myself to the establishment
of a private Academy where art lovers could pursue their
studies on thorough and scientific lines, with the certitude
of becoming expert exponents of what I believe I am able


to teach them : art in all, or any of, its branches, and
particularly the science of restoring and cleaning paintings
a fascinating and extremely profitable subject which
is incredibly ill understood and neglected today.

The home of this Academy is the Villa Torrigiani,
the beautiful ancestral mansion of the ancient Italian
family of Torrigiani. It stands in its own grounds, a
magmficient private park amid lovely surroundings at
the foot of Monte Morello, just outside Florence, where
so much of the art history of the world has been made.
Avenues of shady trees lead up to it, and all around are
wonderful flower gardens, grottos and fountains, a lake,
conservatories stocked with exotic blooms, secluded
pathways and rose bowers and everything that is conducive
to study, health and happiness. There is a farm and
vineyards which give an abundant supply of fresh vege-
tables, fruit, milk, excellent wine and other products, and
also a plentiful supply of pure water from the mountains.


There are
commodious and
beautifully furnish-
ed reception rooms,
studios flooded
with the clear light
of Italy's skies, a
magnificent hall
and staircase, stabl-
ing and garages.
Then, a particular
attraction for the
student is the well-
stocked library of
art. Also, there is
a private chapel
within the villa.

My quest of
a suitable home for
my Academy was
a long one, but the
Villa Torrigiani, which I have purchased and adapted
for the purpose, is an ideal haven in the land of sunshine
and flowers. It is admirable in every particular, and a
sojourn there amid its peace and beauty will provide
happy memories for the years to come, in addition to rare
instruction and oppoitumties in art.

The principal object of the Academy is to produce
thoroughly competent artist -expert restorers of paintings by
the old masters, as well as art experts and connoisseurs. It
is an established fact that the so-called restorer, as a general
rule, knows very little of art or of the Science of Res-
toration. In most instances he is little more than a dauber


who systematically destroys, owing to ignorance of his
subject, the priceless works of art entrusted to him through
the misguided confidence of their owners.

This is proved by most of the standard histories of art
which have been written in the past. The authors lament
the wholesale destruction or desecration of priceless art
treasures by the incompetence of those to whom they
were given to be restored. In most of the great galleries
of the world the collections have been immeasurably
decreased in value by the unskilled handiwork of alleged
restorers who are but destroyers.

Even in Italy,
the Cradle of
Art, the compet-
ent restorer and
expert has long
since become
practically ex-
tinct, and her best
authorities in art
have not hesitated
to sink their na-
tional pride and
scour the world in
search of the rare
skilled restorer to
save the national
art treasures, just
as the authorities
of the great British
galleries did in
past years when
they realised the




danger that threatened their most prized examples of the
masters from the unworthy craftsmen who were ruining

This is the colossal evil which I hope to remedy in
some degree by my Academy. To the students who
become recruits in the campaign, the valuable collect-
ions of the world, both public and private, offer
unlimited scope and rich remuneration. The most
urgent need in the World of art today is for expert
artist restorers.

In making this statement I am speaking from experience.
I have executed important commissions in this branch
of art on both sides of the Atlantic ; my services have
been requisitioned by the most famous art galleries and
the largest private collectors in the world. There is hardly
a collection of any note on either side of the Atlantic to
which I have not had access, and I can affirm that the
volume of work waiting to be accomplished by competent



restorers is inestimable and far in excess of the capacity
of the few remaining experts capable of undertaking it.

My claim to be regarded as an instructor with unique
qualifications in this specialised and exacting branch of
art is based on solid foundations, as will be seen from
the following sketch of my career.

At an early age circumstances led me into art circles
in which moved masters of art, each eminent in his par-
ticular sphere, and from the outset I was able to compound
my career of successive experience of varied utility.

Firstly, after my preliminary studies, I was placed
with a renowned architect ; then, to this experience, I
added a practical course of work with an equally renowned
art decorator ; and ultimately I became the pupil of the
famous Professor Raffaello Pmti, who was the expert re-
storer to the National Gallery in London. Simultaneously
with this practical instruction I was studying assiduously
at the best art schools in London.


In Professor
Pinti's studio, and
under his almost
paternal care, it
was my rare privi-
lege to work with
him for many
years until his
death, and I was
afforded invalu-
able opportunities
of studying and
practising both
painting and desi-
gning, and parti-
cularly the art of
the restorer and
connoisseur, in
which sphere
there was no bet-
ter master. His
studio was the rendez-vous of the greatest authorities
on art and its most skilled exponents, and daily I was
able to listen to his instruction as he imparted it to
experts who, though themselves eminent in the art world,
came from far and near to share his greater knowledge.
The instruction and experience gamed under Professor
Pinti immediately placed me in a position where my own
services were sought after by great collectors, and I was
appointed chief expert to the Marquis of Bute to look
after all his collections in his various residences. Then
I became personal assistant and expert restorer to Sir
Charles Robinson, the Surveyor of the Royal Collections,



which duties I relinquished to take up the position of chief
expert in charge of the famous Henry Doetsch collections
as well as the great George Salting collection.

I next went to the United States for the world famous
firm of Duveen Brothers, and later returned to America on
my own account to execute important commissions for the
restoring and preserving of many of the most valuable
collections in that country and in Canada.

The most important collections in Great Britain, the
United States and Canada have been through my hands
for expertising, cataloguing and restoring, and I can safely
claim to have the largest practice and experience of any
living expert, as
the appendix to
this brochure,
containing a list
of collections
which I have res-
tored, will show.
The number of
paintings which I
have had in my
care for one pur-
pose or another
runsinto hundreds
of thousands.

I hope to make
the Villa Torri-
giani a centre for
faithful disciples
in this great
work of restoring
and saving from THE DINING OOM


further fast decay the priceless examples of the great
masters in the world's galleries and private collections.
I am ready to receive as students a limited number of art
lovers who will study at the Villa, either as resident or
non-resident pupils, and follow the course of instruction
which I have planned, and which is calculated to give
them the knowledge of their subject which is so
generally lacking in the present day imperfect exponents
of the art of restoring paintings.

I invite prospective students, and also those who are
deeply interested in the subject but whom circumstances
preclude from cooperating with me, to communicate
with me. The field is wide and the rewards great. The
fruits of success are ripe and waiting to be plucked by
those who show themselves worthy.

Knowledge and mastery of the fine arts cannot be
imparted satisfactorily unless there is in the student a
desire to learn, however latent, and a love of art, however



untrained or ill-defined. But, granted this natural desire
to learn the theory and practice of art, it may be said that
the acquirement of knowledge is assured to any seriously-
disposed student.

A complete understanding of the principles of art is
the first necessity, and once this is obtained the path
to success is not a stony one to the intelligent and diligent.
Practice will bring capacity, and capacity in the art of res-
toring will arm the student with the certainty of being
able to secure and hold a lucrative position with confidence.

My method of instruction consists of personal demons-
trations as to the practical side, direction of the studies
(abbreviated and subsidiary to practice), and a course of
lectures and advice destined to help the student to reach
proficiency within the shortest possible period. I have
always deprecated the insistence on, and the fear of, diffi-
culties, and have found that with patience and words of
encouragement the student is gradually led into that plea-

sant path of
study and grasp
of his subject
which make for
rapid success.

Expert ability
comes only with
a full knowledge
of the subject,
and it is advis-
able that the
embryo restorer
should unders-
tand and be able
to execute certain
work which is so
often neglected,
such as the scien-
tific relining of
canvases and the
cradling and re-
medying of panels.

The course of study and obseivation to qualify as a con-
noisseur goes hand in hand with that for the espert restorer,
and the knowledge of one subject is the necessary comple-
ment of the other.

I hope and believe that the time is not far distant when
the sadly neglected art of the restorer, and with it that
of the true connoisseur, will be rehabilitated in order
that the artistic treasures of the past still remaining to us
may be preserved for future generations, and not as
it is now theatened with gradual disintegration and
ultimate destruction.



The scope of the work is vast and universal, and in
founding my Academy at the Villa Torngiam I hope
to attract students who will acquire the knowledge
which will make them competent to occupy places in
the front rank of the world's expert art restorers and
connoisseurs and bring them fame and a rich reward.


For particulars,
as to course of
studies, terms, etc,
write : J. Purves
Carter, Villa Tor-
rigiani, Florence,


Collections cleaned, relined, restored or Catalogued in United
States of America, Canada and England.


Mr. Edson Bradley

Mr. Catholina Lambert

Mr. Stanford White

Congressman Muller

Mr. H.O. Watson

Mrs. Minturn

Messrs. Arthur Tooth & Sons

Messrs. Duveen Bros.

The W. G. Bury Collection


Mr. J. G. Johnson
Mr. P. A. B. Widener
Mr. E. T. Stotesbury
Judge W. W. Carr
Mr. J. E. McClees
The Wilstach Collection, Fair-
mount Park


Dr. George Reuling

Mr. Paris C. Pitt

Mr. Ruxton M. Ridgeley

Mrs. De Keyser

Mr. T. E. Hambleton


Mr. Justice White

Mr. Thomas Nelson Page

Mr. Ralph Cross Johnson

Mr. James Marion Johnston
Mr. Thos. E. Waggaman
Mr. Henry Perkins
Mr. Geo. Tod Ford
Dr. Richard Deane, U.S. N.
Mrs. E. C. Hobson
Mrs. Chatard
Mrs. H. Jennings
Dr. James Dudley Morgan
Mr. Morse

Messrs. Cotton & White
Messrs. Wood, Donn & Deming
Mrs. Harriet Lane Johnstone
Mrs. Tucker man
Mrs. George Bliss
Mrs. Katherine Hubbard
The Misses Riggs
Mr. James Lowndes
Mr. Archibald Hopkins
Mr. George Lathrop Bradley
Mr. Edson Bradley
Mr. Justice Embry
The William Penn Clarke Col-


Mr. Nathaniel Thayer
Mr. Francis Bartlett
Mr. H. M. Sears

Mrs. Charles Bradley


The University of Laval, Que-

The Palace of the Cardinal

, Archbishop Begin, Quebec

Monsignor Marois, Vicar-Ge-

Hon. John Sharpies, Quebec

Sir William Van Home, Mont-

Mr. C. Hosmer, Montreal

The Montreal Public National

The Archbishop of Halifax

Bishop of Rimouski

The Bishop of Calgary

The Bishop of St. John, New

The Archbishop of Vancouver,

The Archbishop of Regina,

Norman Mackenzie, Esq., K.C.,

The paintings in the Cathedral
of St. John's, New Brunswick

The paintings of the Shrine
of St. Anne de Beaupre,

The paintings of the Cathedral
of River du Loup>

and many other private col-

W. R. Miller, Esq., Montreal.

G. F. Benson, Esq., Montreal.

R. Wilson Smith, Esq. ; ex-
Mayor, Montreal

Hugh Allan, Esq. (Allan Line)

Hon. James Guerin, M.D. ;

Mayor, Montreal
The Hunt Club, Montreal.
Montreal Telegraph Company


The collections in the various
palaces and castles of the
Marquis of Bute

Sir J. C. Robinson, the late
Queen Victoria's Surveyor of
the Royal Collections

George Salting Collection

Prof. A. H. Church, of the
Royal Academy, London

Admiral De Kautzow

Sir George Donaldson

Mr. Charrington Smith

Mr. John Corry

Col. Hector MacKenzie

Dr. Lowe

The Earl of Orford

The Earl of Amhurst

The Earl of Lucan

Mr. James Brand of Sanderstead

Sir Edward Tracey Hardinge,

The Order of St. Theresa,
Lanherme Convent, St. Co-
lumb, Cornwall

Earl Spencer, K. G.

FitzWilliam Collection, Cam-
bridge University

The National Gallery of Lon-

The National Portrait Gallery
of London



The Royal Academv of London Sir Richard Greene Price

The Rt. Hon. Sir Edward Mr. David Price, Price Collec-
Malet, ex-Ambassador to Ber- tion

lin Sir Wm. Abdy

Col. Fitz George (for the Duke The Henry Doetsch collection

of Cambridge) The Markham family collections

General Eyre Mr. S. D. Waddy, Q.C., M.P.

Major-General Alex. Elliot Rev. A. E. Clementi-Smith

Col. Robert Gunter, M.P. Chevalier Eduoardo de Martino
Miss Williams, of Oswestry (the late Queen Victoria's
Col. Henry Cornwall Legh marine painter)

Mr. Brydges Willyams Mr. Seymour Lucas, R. A.

Lady Victoria Wellesley Rev. W. J. Dawson

Herbert Clarke, Printer, 338, Rue Saint-Honori, Paris.




Online LibraryJ. Purves CarterThe Torrigiani Academy : founded by J. Purves Carter → online text (page 1 of 1)