Adrian's Pics

Chocolate Girls and Smiling Spiders: Bridgeman's Collections Manager and Deputy CEO, Adrian Gibbs, reveals some of his favourite images in the archive.

What is your role at Bridgeman?

I look after Bridgeman's relationships with our many image suppliers, who include museums, art galleries, libraries, historic houses, private collections, artist and artists’ estates. We have a team of researchers and cataloguers with specialist historical and art historical knowledge who prepare the large numbers of new images that we are continuously adding to the archive.

What do you love most about the job?

I have visited hundreds of fascinating collections all over the world.  An early memory is of a photo shoot of the Lobkowicz collection at Nelahozeves Castle in Bohemia. There was no way of blocking out daylight from the castle’s enormous rooms so we worked through the night with arc lights.

Earlier this week I was privileged to have a guided tour of Skinners’ Hall in the City of London, the medieval home of the Worshipful Company of Skinners. I hope that we will be able to bring to a wider audience their fascinating collection.

 

 

What misconceptions do clients most commonly have about the archive?

Bridgeman is fortunate in having such a strong reputation as the premier source for fine art images internationally. This ‘brand’ has been built up over forty years. While consolidating that reputation by adding superb new art collections to our archive we have also added an enormous number of images that some people may not immediately associate with Bridgeman. Social history photography, architecture, religious practice, contemporary artists. Additionally, the Bridgeman Artists Copyright Service (BACS) administers and licenses copyright on behalf of over 1,000 artists and artists’ estates.

 

 

 

Adrian's favouite pictures and footage in the Bridgeman archive are...

 

 

An Agile Gibbon or 'Black-Handed Gibbon', c.1805-18 (w/c and gouache on paper), Chinese School / © Royal Asiatic Society, London, UK
An Agile Gibbon or 'Black-Handed Gibbon', c.1805-18 (w/c and gouache on paper), Chinese School / © Royal Asiatic Society, London, UK

 

 

 

 

 

1. An Agile Gibbon, c.1805-18

 

 

From 1511 to 1946, Malacca on the Malay peninsula was under first Portuguese, then Dutch then British colonial rule. This remarkable depiction of a gibbon hanging from a mangosteen plant is part of an extensive portfolio of ‘Drawings of Animals, Insects and Reptiles from Malacca’, believed to have been painted by a Chinese Malaccan in the early 19th century.

 

 

 

2. Christian Bérard, 1948, by Lucian Freud

 

 

This tender and penetrating portrait of the French artist, illustrator and designer, Christian Bérard (1902-49), is a high point in the early career of Lucian Freud.

 

 

Smiling Spider, c.1881 (litho) by Odilon Redon (1840-1916) / Haags Gemeentemuseum, The Hague
Smiling Spider, c.1881 (litho) by Odilon Redon (1840-1916) / Haags Gemeentemuseum, The Hague

 

 

 

 

3. The Smiling Spider, 1881, by Odilon Redon

 

 

“I cannot say what my sources were. I love nature in all her forms; I love her in the smallest blade of grass, the humble flower, tree, grounds, rocks, up to the majestic peaks of mountains. All things for their own character rather than a whole. I also shiver deeply at the mystery of solitude.” - Odilon Redon, from his journal, A Soi-même (To Myself)

 

 

 

4. The Chocolate Girl, c.1744-5, by Jean-Etienne Liotard

 

 

I first saw this painting as a student visiting Dresden in the late 1980’s. I remember standing, staring, transfixed for about twenty minutes in a deserted Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister. Eventually a concerned attendant politely suggested that I move on.

 

The Chocolate Girl, c.1744-45 (pastel on vellum) by Jean-Etienne Liotard (1702-89) / Gemaeldegalerie Alte Meister
The Chocolate Girl, c.1744-45 (pastel on vellum) by Jean-Etienne Liotard (1702-89) / Gemaeldegalerie Alte Meister

 

 

Beneath the Wide Wide Heaven, 2011 (colour woodcut) by Tom Hammick (b.1963)
Beneath the Wide Wide Heaven, 2011 (colour woodcut) by Tom Hammick (b.1963)

 

 

 

5. Beneath the Wide Wide Heaven, 2001, by Tom Hammick

 

 

Tom Hammick forges extraordinary landscape images from cut wood and painted canvas – he is a master in both media, using rich colours to capture extraordinary and ordinary moments in time.

 

 

6. Inside Job, a film by David Dawson

 

 

This intimate documentary chronicles the great art historian, Sir John Richardson's visit to Lucian Freud's studio in 2009 and includes the artist at work and discussions between the two childhood friends.

 

Inside Job: Discussions with Lucian Freud in his studio, 2009 (footage) by David Dawson
Inside Job: Discussions with Lucian Freud in his studio, 2009 (footage) by David Dawson

 

 

Bridgeman: a trusted partner for helping collections with their image licensing needs

For over forty years, Bridgeman Art Library has worked with museums, galleries, historical societies and universities to maximise the licensing potential of treasures in their care, whilst protecting their integrity and bringing them to a wider, international audience.  Millions of pounds have been paid to our collection partners over the last 10 years. For more information please email Adrian Gibbs

 


Back to top