How to text someone you love: An interview with Temitayo Ogunbiyi

‘The Fountain of Love’, a painting by Honoré Fragonard, offers a vision of a moment in history when the aristocratic taste for luxury reflects the imminence of revolution. The rococo masterpiece is part of a collection of European art and artefacts collected by Richard Conway-Seymour, the 4th Marquess of Hertford, who spent his inherited fortune – largely based on estates in Ireland – collecting pre-revolutionary art with notorious ferocity. An acquaintance said that he had ‘great natural talent and knowledge of the world, but uses both to little purpose, save to laugh at its slaves.’ The slavery of others is an experience simulated for those who walk freely through the hushed rooms of Hertford House in central London, Conway-Seymour’s former home and the location of the Wallace Collection. Slavery and fabrics, fruits of the commercial and colonial relations between Europe and Africa, enter into the picture when Yinka Shonibare views Fragonard’s work; Shonibare’s haunting installation piece, ‘The Swing (after Fragonard)’, was the inspiration for a recent art transnational exhibition, in Nigeria and America – The Progress of Love – which attempted to map out love in the African continent and its diaspora. Continue reading