Frederick Varley Art

I picked up a couple of pieces this week which were created because an artist found a niche in the market and needed money.  This allowed him to survive and eventually move to Canada where he continued and expanded his artistic view.

Desert Scene by Frederick Horsma Varley

Desert Scene
by Frederick Horsma Varley @ 1905

#FrederickHorsmanVarley (1881-1969) was born in Sheffield and studied art while at school.  He continued his studies in Antwerp but returned to live in Sheffield where he worked on the docks.  To make ends meet he was advised to paint desert scenes of North Africa for the London art market. He painted Arabian desert scenes with Arab’s and camels along the Nile River. He also produced watercolours of Arabian markets and seascapes.  On the advise of #ArthurLismer he emigrated to Canada in 1912 where Lismer also went to reside.

Desert Ruin by Frederick Horsman Varley @ 1905

Desert Ruin
by Frederick Horsman Varley @ 1905

He served in the 1st World War where his artistic talent led him to be commissioned as a war artist. His paintings of combat are based on his experiences at the front.

For my Canadian readers, you might be wondering why his name as well as Lismer’s might just be slightly familiar.  Well, after moving to Canada, Frederick Horsman Varley and Arthur Lismer became founding members of the ‘Group of Seven’ artists.  Varley is known for his landscapes.  He painted people in green, pink, or purple.  He was one of two from the the #GroupofSeven to paint portraits.  He painted Canadian wilderness that had been damaged by fire or harsh climates. Varley’s major contribution to art is his work with the Group of Seven.

We finish with another enlisted artist. Capt. G F Atkinson.  Curry and Rice (on Forty Plates), or the Ingredients of Social Life at ‘Our’ Station in India.  The book satirizes British officials and residents in a fictional village of Kabob in India, affectionately referred to as ‘Our Station’. The people and places are probably caricatures of those Atkinson encountered as a Captain in the Bengal Engineers. Atkinson drew all 40 plates in the book. Each plate is accompanied by a brief description.

Our Coffee Shop by Capt G F Atkinson @ 1859

Our Coffee Shop by Capt G F Atkinson @ 1859

Atkinson, certainly, was not afraid to make fun of authority figures in the province.

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Naive Art

I come across pieces of naive art as I continue to build my collection.  #NaiveArt has a child-like quality but is not childish in any way.  Often one considers that the creators of this type of art are untrained but that is often not the case.  It is characterized by it’s simplicity and by the freedom afforded the artist.  Rules do not apply in regards to perspective, composition, and colouring.  Naïve Art also expresses a sense of joy, happiness, spontaneity, and the combining of these elements often results in an unbalanced, but extremely suggestive form of beauty.

New York by Day lithograph by Shalom Moskovitz @ 1980's

New York by Day
lithograph by Shalom Moskovitz @ 1980’s

We begin with #ShalomMoskovitz an Israeli artist from the town of Safed.  Shalom worked for most of his life as a watchmaker.  At the age of 55, as his eyesight weakened he turned to the painting of toys and then to pen and watercolours.   He became an internationally famous naïve painter.  He was the only truly indigenous Eretz Yisraeli naive artist.  Self-taught and embodying a unique talent, he became the only great biblical illustrator Israel ever produced.  He was recognized internationally as one of the outstanding naives of the second half of this century.

Findhorn, Scotland by Alex McAdam

Findhorn, Scotland by Alex McAdam

#AlexMcAdam is a Glaswegian, who after serving in the forces lived a Bohemian life in Greece, Israel, and Holland. He returned to Scotland in 2009.  He is a double amputee but still has a zest for life, which is reflected in his personality and his paintings.

Two naive artists which deserve their fine reputations.  I have learned to look at naive art with a different eye and have a deeper appreciation of it.

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A ‘More’ Portrait

I acquired a fine print this past week.  An historical figure from England.  A man who had power and influence in government.  The print is done by a man well respected in the art.  They lived some 250 years apart.

Thomas More, Lord Chancellor stipple engraving by Francesco Bartolozzi  @ 1793

Thomas More, Lord Chancellor stipple engraving by Francesco Bartolozzi @ 1793

An absolutely lovely stipple engraving by the great #FrancescoBartolozzi of #ThomasMoreLordChancellor of England.  Bartolozzi has based his engraving on a drawing by Hans Holbein and it was published on October 1, 1793 by I. Chamberlaine.  Stunning technique join with subtle colouring bring to life this image of Thomas More.  And no small image at that.  It is roughly 16″ by 12″.  Bartolozzi was born in Italy but spent a great part of his productive life in London.  He lived in London for 40 years. This print of More is one of a series done by Bartolozzi after portraits done by Holbein of influential men and women in British society.

Sir Thomas More was a lawyer and councillor to Henry VIII.  He was Lord High Chancellor of England for three years .  He opposed the Protestant Reformation especially Tyndale’s and Luther’s theology.  More opposed Henry’s separation from the Catholic Church by refusing to acknowledge him as head of the Church of England and by denying his requested annulment from Catherine of Aragon.  For his stance More was tried and convicted of treason and was beheaded.

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From Gauffering to Gauging

Two topics which were often seen in years past but which are seldom seen today.  This chapters’ focus is on two books which I have recently come across.  One gauffered and the other an instruction manual for gauging.

Bible with gauffered edges late 19th century

Bible with gauffered edges late 19th century

 

Bible with gauffered edges late 19th century

Bible with gauffered edges late 19th century

We do not often see gauffering today but it was once a popular way of adding something special to a book.  #Gauffering describes the act of applying a patterned decoration to the block edges of a book.  Gauffering is used most often seen on books with gold or gilded edges.  The pattern is imprinted using heated metal stamps and rollers.  One can also find books with painted images on the edges which also falls under the description of gauffering, I believe.

Bible with gauffered edges late 19th century

Bible with gauffered edges late 19th century

From the edges of a book to a treatise for the learning of gauging.  We do not teach gauging any more since it is all done by computer now.  A gauger was in years past was an officer of the Royal Revenue Excise and Duty.

The Royal Gauger by Charles Leadbetter 1755 4th edition

#TheRoyalGauger by Charles Leadbetter 1755 4th edition

This treatise by #CharlesLeadbetter is an instruction manual for the training and learning of Excise men.  Being an excise man, one needed to work out the areas, volumes, weight etc. of solid, liquid, and gas measures to then calculate the tax which would then be payable to the Revenue.  These men used what we might call a slide rule to work out these measures.

Everards Sliding Rule as improved by Charles Leadbetter @ 1755

Everards Sliding Rule as improved by Charles Leadbetter @ 1755

#ThomasEverard is credited with the development of the sliding rule in 1683.  There is a chapter on the use of such an instrument to assist in the calculations required for excise.  Leadbetter did not trust printed tables for he said they could be forged and rewritten.  But then one might also say that dodgy excise man using a slide rule no one else knows how to use might also be capable of committing fraud.  The book I have is some 508 pages of tutoring for the calculating of almost everything that an excise man would come across.  It’s plain brown cover has been held often and long.  I would love to say it was in great shape but it is not. Pages 275 to 314 are missing as well as several folded inserts (I believe) but then again it was printed in 1755 and has been often held and well used.  As I page through, I am amazed at the amount of math which was required knowledge. An impressive manual.

The Royal Gauger by Charles Leadbetter @ 1755

The Royal Gauger by Charles Leadbetter @ 1755

 

The Royal Gauger by Charles Leadbetter @ 1755

The Royal Gauger by Charles Leadbetter @ 1755

The Royal Gauger by Charles Leadbetter @ 1755

The Royal Gauger by Charles Leadbetter @ 1755

The Royal Gauger by Charles Leadbetter @ 1755

The Royal Gauger by Charles Leadbetter @ 1755

 

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Architectural Drawing as Art

I have several architectural drawings of buildings which are in many ways pieces of art.  They are also pieces of history showing buildings as they were conceived and built.  There are several avenues to research such items.  They can be researched through the subject of the drawing, through the architects, and through the printers.

Stonyhurst College Chapel by Dunn & Hansom architects 1877

Stonyhurst College Chapel by Dunn & Hansom architects 1877

In the case of this lithograph, I could research all three aspects.  But there is one anomaly to this print to which I have yet to find an answer.  This is #StonyhurstCollegeChapel.  As drawn by #ArchibaldDunn and #EdwardHansom architects.  The view is from the Priest’s Quadrangle.

Stonyhurst is a prestigious independent private co-ed Catholic school adhering to Jesuit traditions.  It’s motto Quant Je Puis, “All that I can”.  The school’s emphasis is on prayer and service, in accordance with Jesuit philosophy in the hopes of creating “Men and Women for Others”.

The school’s alumni include three Saints, twelve Beati, seven archbishops, seven Victoria Cross winners, a Peruvian president, a Bolivian president, a New Zealand prime minister, a signatory of the American Declaration of Independence and several writers (Sir Arthur Conan Doyle), sportsmen, and politicians.

Dunn and Hansom were among the foremost Catholic architects in the north-east of England during the Victorian era.  Two of their most notable works are: the tower and spire of  St Mary’s Roman Catholic Cathedral in Newcastle and the Church of St Michael in Elswick.

Whiteman and Bass lithographers were a well known and reputable publishing company.

Now to the anomaly I mentioned.  In the lower left corner just above the Whiteman and Bass credit is a small rectangular box.  It contains six letters – a small letter in each corner (D, L, T , E read clockwise from top left) and two larger ones in the middle (A over D).  I do not yet know what the small letters are but the two in the middle are the initials of Albrecht Durer – he lived from 1471-1528.  Why are his initials on this image and what do the small letters mean?  I will continue to research.

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Pedro Lobos Art

I came across two woodcuts this past week.  They originate from an artist previously unknown to me and from a country which I have no other art works from.  Neither have I visited this country.  Even the continent in which this country lies is only becoming a more common place for tourists to visit.  I talk of South America and of the country of Chile.  The artist is #PedroLobos (1919-1968).

Cantores Callejeros woodcut by Pedro Lobos

Cantores Callejeros
woodcut by Pedro Lobos

Pedro Lobos came from humble origins – the son of a peasant family.  He worked by day as a textile worker.  He  excelled at portraying rural issues and concerns.  After his high school graduation he worked as a labourer in the textile industry. This experience marked his life deeply, and he began his militancy and commitment to the poorest of Chilean society. He joined the communist youth and rose to hold the post of Secretary General of the Communist Party.  He studied art at the University of Chile.  Pedro Lobos reported and recorded for posterity in a lively and unique way the living conditions of the Chilean underclass.   His work and studies were developed abroad.  Lobos studied in Mexico in the 1930’s.  Mexico was considered the heart of muralism.  There Lobos formed his colourful and harmonious style, strongly influenced by popular themes, peasants and folklore. He later studied in Brazil.

La Brisa woodcut by Pedro Lobos

La Brisa
woodcut by Pedro Lobos

Pedro Lobos is described as a painter of the  childish joys of the people and of the poor children of big sad eyes.  This is certainly true of the two prints in my collection.  A man of immense talent and vision.  A man who loved the people he portrayed.  It shows in his work.

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Art by PW Tompkins

#PeltroWilliamTompkins (1759-1840) was an English engraver.  The son of a landscape painter with a brother who also specialised as a draughtsman and aquatint engraver of course he followed into the family tradition.  Tompkins studied under the great #FrancescoBartolozzi working in the dot and stipple genre.  He was renowned for his skill and was hired as drawing-master to the daughters of George III.  He was appointed historical engraver to the queen.

Children Feeding Chickens engraving by P W Tompkins after Sir Joshua Reynolds @ 1780

Children Feeding Chickens engraving by P W Tompkins after Sir Joshua Reynolds @ 1780

Tompkins established himself as a print publisher but several overly ambitious projects left him with financial difficulties.  His engravings vary from portraits, to prints of other artists works.  He copied artists like Charles Ansell, Angelica Kauffmann, Raphael, and Sir Joshua Reynolds.  The hand-coloured engraving to the left is after Sir Joshua Reynolds.  The British Museum has a slightly different version of this print which they accredit to being after John Russell?

Children feeding Chickens by PW Tompkins after Sir Joshua Reynolds 1780

Children feeding Chickens by PW Tompkins after Sir Joshua Reynolds 1780

I include the title and credits for your perusal.  They are quite clear as to who the artists were as well as the title of the piece.  An absolutely beautiful engraving by a man who had masterly skills as an engraver.

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Art of the Hunt2

When it comes to the painting of rural and country life #GeorgeMorland was one of Britains’ greatest.  I acquired a stipple engraving  and an etching both after Morland  paintings.  They both are concerning the pastime of hunting and I will add two aquatints to the chapter today also.

Hare Shooting engraved by C. Cotton after George Morland

Hare Shooting
engraved by C. Cotton after George Morland

George Morland (1763-1804) was born into an artistic family.  His talent was spotted while he was very young and nurtured by his father.  Copying the great Masters was his beginning but he quickly developed his own style.  He was a handsome young man who worked hard and partied hard.  Elegant, refined subjects slowly were replaced by scenes of humble life in town and country, coastal scenes with fishermen and smugglers, sporting scenes, and most often cottage life, stable scenes, inn court-yard scenes involving lively groups of natural men and women, and still more natural horses, donkeys, dogs, pigs, poultry, and other animals.

Partridge Shooting  George Morland pinx  @ 1798

Partridge Shooting
George Morland pinx
@ 1798

His paintings have a fresh and unaffected style. Morland was a keen observer of minute detail and this shows in his meticulous painting and yet he worked quickly producing hundreds of works – it is sad that in the last eight years of his life he produced some 900 paintings and over a 1000 drawings (that’s almost 1.5 pieces a day) A prodigious output.

Pointer engraving by J. Scott after P. Reinagle

Pointer
engraving by J. Scott after P. Reinagle

#JamesScott (1809-1889) was one of the best engravers of his time.  He worked with many of the best artists of his time with this image after English painter #PhilipReinagle.  A superb engraving which has been nicely hand-coloured.  And to finish this chapter, an etching of a hunting scene which one would certainly not find occurring today.

Heron Shooting - A Cooler after a big Drink' drawn and etched by Rawlins & Alken with aquatint by E. Duncan @ 1835

Heron Shooting – A Cooler after a big Drink’
drawn and etched by Rawlins & Alken with aquatint by E. Duncan
@ 1835

Heron shooting certainly not a sport that one would find today.  but another finely hand-coloured etching with aquatint .

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Tunnel Art

London, as a city, has many things going for it.  It has for centuries been a focal point of banking, business, politics, law, religion, art et al.  To consolidate and enhance it’s position, works have been carried out over the years which have been on the forefront of technology.

Rotherhithe to Wapping Tunnel lithograph by Rudolph Schlicht 1828

Rotherhithe to Wapping Tunnel lithograph by Rudolph Schlicht 1828

The #ThamesTunnel was the first tunnel known to have been successfully constructed underneath a navigable river. It’s construction took 18 years(1825 to 1843).  It measures 35 feet wide by 20 feet high and is 1,300 feet long, running at a depth of 75 feet below the river surface measured at high tide.  The tunnel was originally designed to be used by horse-drawn carriages but never used as such.

 

Thames Tunnel lithograph @ 1828

Thames Tunnel
lithograph @ 1828

The lithograph in my collection shows a great number of aspects in regards to the  construction of the tunnel.  A newly invented ‘tunnelling shield’ devised by #IsambardBrunel and #ThomasCochrane was used to facilitate the tunnelling process.  Even so, problems were rife.  The air quality was terrible, the filthy sewage water seeping from above caused methane gas which would ignite because of the workers gas lamps.  The tunnel flooded numerous times and holes needed to be plugged from above by descending into the Thames in a diving bell.  The huge financial cost of tunnelling meant that work was suspended for seven years while funds were raised.  The Thames Tunnel was fitted with lights, a roadway and had spiral staircase entrances. The tunnel was finally opened to the public in March of 1843.   A triumph of civil engineering, the Thames Tunnel was a financial disaster. It had cost a fortune to build.  It was used only by pedestrians but it did became a major tourist attraction, attracting about two million people a year, each paying a penny to pass through.  It is now part of the London Overground Rail Operations system.  I will include close-ups of the lithographs smaller images so that you may appreciate the ingenuity and technology which was created and used to build the Thames Tunnel.  The lithograph is by #RudolphSchlicht (I have found little info regarding him) and all writing is in German.

Thames Tunnel 3

Thames Tunnel 3

 

Thames Tunnel 4

Thames Tunnel 4

ThamesTunnel 2

ThamesTunnel 2

Thames Tunnel 5

Thames Tunnel 5

Thames Tunnel 6

Thames Tunnel 6

Tames Tunnel 12

Tames Tunnel 12

Thames Tunnel 7

Thames Tunnel 7

Thames Tunnel 9

Thames Tunnel 9

Thames Tunnel 10

Thames Tunnel 10

Tames Tunnel 11

Tames Tunnel 11

 

 

Thames Tunnel 8

Thames Tunnel 8

 

 

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