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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Art Prior

There is a twist in the title, of course, for today I wish to introduce you to etcher #ThomasAbielPrior.  He lived from 1809 to 1886 which means he worked with and for many of Britain’s greatest artists.  Always a talented artist himself, his love was for line etching.  He tried mezzotint but was not happy with the results and so he returned to line etching.

The Suspension Bridge  at Chelsea by T A Prior @ 1852

The Suspension Bridge at Chelsea etching by Thomas Abiel Prior @ 1852

I have three etchings done by Thomas Prior in my collection.  All three show a place just down the road from me.  We will begin with #TheSuspensionBridgeatChelsea done in 1852.  The bridge was initially named ‘ Victoria Bridge’ but although looking good the bridge was narrow and structurally questionable.  So to avoid any ‘royal’ ties to a possible bridge collapse the name was changed.  Initially, the bridge was a toll bridge but this proved to be unpopular with the public and was dropped.  On the far bank, we see the Royal Military Hospital.  I love the boats and barges on the river.  A lovely place to come and relax, picnic, rest and take the air.

The Tower of London etching by Thomas Abiel Prior after Edward Duncan @ 1851

The Tower of London etching by Thomas Abiel Prior after Edward Duncan @ 1851

If we sail down the Thames we will come across our next view. #TheTowerofLondon.  Another very fine piece.  It is no wonder that artists like JMW Turner and William Landseer liked to work with him.  If one looks closely at the ships on the right side , one will see several steamers in the harbour.  And if we sail even further, we will find ourselves passing our next vista.

London from Greenwich Park etching by Thomas Abiel Prior @ 1852

London from Greenwich Park etching by Thomas Abiel Prior @ 1852

And we look over Greenwich towards the Thames to finish our tour.  Popular with visitors ever since it was created, Greenwich Park overlooks London and we can see from this image the Royal Hospital.  A third and final etching by Thomas Prior which once again confirms his amazing talent.

And to finish, I would like to share with you an observation I have made.

Woman and Tambourine by Joseph Mallard William Turner

Woman and Tambourine by Joseph Mallard William Turner

While looking at the image #WomanwithTambourine by #JMWTurner, I realised that the etching I have is not one people would regularly see.  Most people will be familiar with the mezzotint image found in the Liber Studiorum but the line etching, I have, is not a copy of the Liber Studiorum image but is actually an etching of Turner’s original pen and wash drawing (held by the TateBritain).  There were several alterations to Turner’s  drawing when it was made into a mezzotint.  The line engraving I have does not contain those alterations.  Interesting considerations.

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Australia Art

We go further afield than two weeks back – close to half way around the world.  To the land down under – Australia – and two of it’s artists.  #LionelLindsay (1874 – 1961) and #NevilleCayley (1853 – 1903). Two artists who were contemporaries.

St Lesmos, Bergon, Spain by Lionel Lindsay @ 1926

St Lesmos, Bergon, Spain
by Lionel Lindsay @ 1926

We begin with Lionel Lindsay who was a member of a very artistic family.  He studied art but taught himself etching and engraving.  After travelling to Spain and England , he settled in Sydney and worked as a freelance artist and journalist.  He was popular at home as well as abroad.  It was Lindsay’s attraction to wood engraving that catapulted him to international renown. By the age of fifty-three, Lindsay had become, internationally, the most successful Australian printmaker of all time and his popularity continues today.  His works include portraits of  influential Australians, scenes of old Sydney, views of Spain , studies of birds and animals, scenes of Arab culture and images of a swag-man in the outback.  He was knighted in 1941 for his service to Australian art.

To avoid confusion we focus on artist Neville Henry Peniston Cayley the father of Neville William Cayley artist and ornithologist.  In fact both father and son had hopes of publishing a large folio size book of the birds of Australia but neither did.

Red-headed Finch and Blue Malurus by Neville Cayley @1898

Red-headed Finch and Blue Malurus
by Neville Cayley @1898

Neville Cayley Sr. was born in Dover, England and moved to Australia in 1882.  He was a meticulous and exact artist in his depiction of avian Australia.  His watercolours are attractive as well as descriptive.  He made his living as an artist by selling his work privately or at auction.

Native Companions  by Neville Cayley @ 1898

Native Companion
by Neville Cayley @ 1898

The two watercolours in my collection show a fight between a red-headed finch and a Blue Malurus (fairywren) and a pair of Brolga cranes (formerly known as the Native Companion).  They are fine examples of Cayley’s style. The titles of the paintings come from the reverse side of the paintings.

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Valentine Art

A couple of beautiful prints – actually book plates – that I acquired this past week lead to today’s focus.  A pair of images removed from a book.  A book called ‘The Quiver of Love – A Collection of Valentines Ancient and Modern’ by various authors published in 1876.  The book contains 8 lithographs 4 each by #WalterCrane (1845-1915) and #KateGreenaway (1846-1901).  I hope I have found the correct titles for them.

Venus and Cupid by Walter Crane from 'The Quiver of Love' 1876

Venus and Cupid
by Walter Crane from ‘The Quiver of Love’ 1876

Cherry-Ripe by Walter Crane from 'The Quiver of Love' 1876

Cherry-Ripe by Walter Crane from ‘The Quiver of Love’ 1876

Eight wonderfully coloured lithographs by a couple of the best artists of their time.  Both of these, I believe, are by Walter Crane.  The book was compiled of ‘love lyrics’ all capable of being used as ‘Valentines’ while the book itself was meant to be used as a gift book or as an indication of an even deeper regard.  The lyrics or poems spanned time from Shakespeare (ancient) to Coleridge (modern).  #TheQuiverofLove a book about love for lovers.

Certainly when it comes to #Valentines, the Victorian era was an high point.  It was a very romantic time and the giving of cards exploded greatly when the penny post began.  Valentines then like Christmas now was a time when the postal service became over-loaded and every year an appeal went out to post your cards early so they might not get delayed in the vast quantity of cards being sent.  I will let four cards in my collection speak for themselves.  #Paper-lace was a speciality  in Victorian times.  I hope you enjoy the supreme quality of the cards which were used to express their sentiments.

Valentine 1 - paper lace from Victorian era

Valentine 1 – paper lace from the Victorian era

Valentine 2 - paper lace from the Victorian era

Valentine 2 – paper lace from the Victorian era

 

Valentine 3 - paper lace from the Victorian era

Valentine 3 – paper lace from the Victorian era

Valentine 4 - paper lace from the Victorian era

Valentine 4 – paper lace from the Victorian era

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Travel via Art

Through the art I collect, I am able to travel the width and breadth of this country.  Art is able to take me to places I have been, to places I have not and at times to places that have never and will never exist.  Travelling both in time and space.

Harlech Castle, North Wales by Philip van Dyke Browne @ 1830

Harlech Castle, North Wales
by Philip van Dyke Browne @ 1830

We begin with a hop over to the coast of Wales and the magnificent Harlech Castle.  Harlech is considered to be one of “the finest examples of late 13th century and early 14th century military architecture in Europe”, it is a ‘World Heritage Site’.  The fortification is built of local stone and its’ features include a massive gatehouse that probably once provided high-status accommodation for the castle constable and visiting dignitaries. The sea originally came much closer to Harlech than now-a-days, since it has a water-gate and a long flight of steps leading down from the castle to the former shore, which allowed the castle to be resupplied by sea during sieges.  Harlech has been painted by many great artists including JMW Turner, Paul Sandby, John Sell Cotman and David Cox.  The beautiful watercolour  to the left is by #PhilipvanDykeBrowne and is a view of #HarlechCastle from the north west possibly from the Tremadoc Road.  A little known artist of some talent.

Late Simmer Dale by Pat Mallinson

Late Simmer Dale
by Pat Mallinson

If we travel south down into the Malvern Hills we come across scenery like that on the right.  Rolling hills with farms dotted here and there.  A land for farming and the keeping of animals.  At times beautiful – at times harsh and unforgiving.  Or maybe I should take you closer to my home to an area that is hill-less. A place below sea level.

Norfolk Broads  by Maurice Barrett @ 1989

Norfolk Broads
by Maurice Barrett @ 1989

Out into the #NorfolkBroads.  A place that armies were unable to traverse.  Only the locals knew how to cross them without getting bogged down.  Or possibly we could take our chances out in the #Fens.  Mostly drained, today, to be used as farmland the Fens were impassible by outsiders.  The magnificent #ElyCathedral rises out of the fens. The ‘Ship of the Fens’.  A place of prayer, worship and service for hundreds of years.

Ely Cathedral by Hilda Cooper

Ely Cathedral by Hilda Cooper

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Art Classique

I went to an auction this past week hoping I might find something of interest and managed to come away with a print.  The print comes from centuries past.  It and one other are today’s focus – both of which reach back into our love of Greek literature.

Aeneis by Vaclav Hollar @1650

Aeneis by Vaclav Hollar @1650

The folio page leaf is by #VaclavHollar and is related to the earliest English version of Virgil’s ‘Aeneid’.  It was translated by John Ogilby. An immense undertaking and expensive also.  To pay for this task, Ogilby sold subscriptions to the book.  He solicited advance payment from wealthy patrons and in return, each patron’s name was inscribed on the bottom of a single plate.  The engravings and etchings are a high point in seventeenth-century book illustration in England. Ogilby commissioned one hundred and three full-page illustrations from some of the leading artists then working in England: Francis Cleyn (illustrator), Vaclav (Wenceslaus) Hollar (etcher), Pierre Lombart, Ludwig Richer, and William Faithorne.   The plates were created to accompany the first English translation of Vergil’s complete works, translated by #JohnOgilby .   Artistic virtuosity and technical expertise abound in these folio plates.  If you happen to be in Toronto, the University has a very fine collection of Hollar’s works.

La Chute de Phaeton by Nicolas Le Sueur after Joseph Cesari @ 1730

La Chute de Phaeton by Nicolas Le Sueur after Joseph Cesari @ 1730

A superb woodcut which produces the black etched lines and then pressed with a brown wood block and then a green wood block.  Cut by #NicolasLeSueur (1691 – 1764), the image is one of beauty.  Amazingly engraved and finely pressed the page is a testimony to Le Sueur’s talent. The story goes that Phaeton wanted proof that he was the son of  the sun god.  He asked his father for some proof that would demonstrate his relationship with the sun. The god promised him whatever he asked.  Phaeton requested to drive the sun chariot for a day.  While driving the chariot, he was unable to control the horses and the earth was in danger of being burnt up.  To prevent this disaster, Zeus killed him with a thunderbolt.

Two recent and fine additions to my small collection.

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Art from the 18th Century

I managed to pick up some pieces printed in the 1700’s. Due to their age they are not in great condition but remain pieces which are of interest.

Mr Garrick and Miss Bellamy by Benjamin Wilson @ 1753

Mr Garrick and Miss Bellamy by Simon Francois Ravenet after Benjamin Wilson @ 1753

We begin with the great David Garrick and George Anne Bellamy in the characters of Romeo and Juliet (portrayed in Act IV scene III).  The print is a large folio sized copper plate printed in 1753- etched by #SimonFrancoisRavenet (1706-1774) after #BenjaminWilson (1721-1788).  Master Garrick was both actor and producer.  He was instrumental in the revival of Shakespeare’s works during the 1700’s.  He also took several liberties with the works especially Romeo and Juliet where he added dialogue – for himself mainly –  and an extra scene (pictured)  where both Romeo and Juliet are alive at the tomb together before their demise.  You can see the original picture in the Theatre Museum in London.

Young Lovers by Frances Vivares after Thomas Gainsborough  @ 1765

Young Lovers by Francois Vivares after Thomas Gainsborough @ 1765

Once again in poor shape , this print by #FrancoisVivares (1709-1780) is after a painting by Thomas Gainsborough.  I have called it @Young Lovers. but I have not found what its’ true title is.  There is an etching called ‘The Rural Lovers’ but it is somewhat different than mine (that one has the farmer and young lady standing leaning on the tree with the animals – a dog and cattle – close-by).  I have a farmer hopping a fence , a seated lass and several swine laying about. Vivares produced around 160 plates in his career – almost all published by John Boydell.

Even though both prints are damaged they still are lovely to look at and hold enough of their original complete beauty to enthrall make one look closer.

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Art Familial

Today, we go and have family pictures taken.  And we take it for granted the ease at which these images are then produced and reproduced.  But years past the painting of ones family or a personal portrait was not such an instantaneous project.  An artist would have been hired and then they would arrange a time for a sitting after which more sittings might occur or work would be done in the artist’s studio.  Many artists have portrayed the family from an experience they might have seen or been part of.

Lunch Around the Table 19th century English School watercolour

Lunch Around the Table
19th century Dutch School watercolour

Scenes like the one to the left display an idyllic moment but in reality we know that the farmer has many more hours of work before him while four children under five years of age means little time for the normal household chores for the lady of the house.  Stunning earth colours dominate this image giving it warmth while the light shades of blue draw the eye into the image to explore the cottage and the life that is contained therein. We in this country have the opportunity visit places like the one seen here thanks to ‘The National Trust’.  They have been restored so that we can visit them and experience to a small degree what life was like back then.

A Family Time 18th Century English School watercolour

A Family Time
18th Century English School watercolour

From an peaceful moment to an even more idyllic family time.  We see a watercolour – possibly the oldest I own – of a family knitting, mending a glove,  reading, singing, and gardening.  Happening all together on the porch of their cottage home.  A scene of perfection – all are well behaved and being productive in whichever endeavour they have put their hands and minds to.  A scene of familial perfection.  The colours have faded and the paper darkened with age but a beauty remains.  A tenderness and caring exudes from this image.  Idyllic – yes – but how we love those moments when they happen in our own lives.  The joy of family.

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Geneva Bible

A couple of chapters back, I talked about a ‘Book of Common Prayer’  which I found in the book recycle bin at my local tip.  In a way this chapter is a follow on from that.  I purchased a Bible this past week. Actually more than just a Bible.  It is an amalgam of three books.

Book of Common Prayer @ 1600

Book of Common Prayer
@ 1600

At the front of this trio is a ‘Booke of Common Prayer’ which was printed in London by #RobertBarker.  It is dated 1600.  It contains the services and rites which would be required by any vicar, a calender of dates beginning in 1597, the collects, and the Psalms set for morning and evening prayer.  Barker held a royal monopoly on the printing of English Bibles from 1600 to 1623.

Geneva 'Breeches' Bible @ 1600

Geneva ‘Breeches’ Bible
@ 1600

Next follows the Bible. A Geneva Bible.  In this case an edition colloquially called the #BreechesBible for in Genesis 3:7 Adam and Eve sew fig leaves together to make breeches.  A complete Bible including Apocrypha.  The Geneva Bible is the only Bible to outsell and surpass the popularity of the King James Bible until is ceased printing in 1644.  In fact the King James is not a Protestant Bible at all but an Anglican/Church of England Bible.  Most Protestants have never read the Bible produced by Calvin, Knox, Coverdale, Foxe and others.  The true Protestant Bible.  The Geneva Bible offered a number of changes for readers.  It numbered verses in each chapter and used a new easier-to-read typeface.

Geneva Bible New Testament title page @ 1600

Geneva Bible New Testament title page @ 1600

The New Testament follows the Apocrypha  and it is the followed by two concordances.

Geneva Bible Concordances @ 1600

Geneva Bible Concordances
@ 1600

These two concordances are followed by the most exciting section (to me) of this amalgam.  There follows ‘The Whole Booke of Psalms’ collected into English meetre by Thomas Sternhold, John Hopkins and others. This remarkable section was published by #JohnWindet for #RichardDaye in 1595.  A setting of the psalms so that they may be sung. The notes appear on the stave with their solfege name beside them so that one can read both note and interval.  Here is my only regret – for at some time somebody has misplaced the last page of psalms so that the ones I have finish at 145.  Otherwise totally complete.

The Whole Book of Psalms @ 1595

The Whole Book of Psalms @ 1595

Still an amazing piece of history. A history which spans Europe and hundreds of years.  Now just to familiarise myself with the language so that I may read it more easily.

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Art Equine

Horses are beautiful creatures.  Sleek and powerful.  Portrayed by artists using most artistic media.  The first piece in this chapter is a lithograph by #JulesLaurens (1825-1901).  It is after a painting by #RosaBonheur (1822-1899).

Stallion lithograph by J Laurens after Rosa Bonheur

Stallion lithograph by J Laurens after Rosa Bonheur

A stunning portrayal of a stallion by lithographer Jules Laurens, who is best known for his oriental works.  He travelled to Turkey and Persia and made thousands of drawings which  exhibit the sites, costumes and people which he encountered on the scientific journey led by geographer Xavier de Hell.  He returned to France and exhibited his paintings and engravings for the next 40 years in most the great salons.

But this image comes from a painting by Rosa Bonheur. A French painter of animals.  A realist painter and a sculptor as well.  Her most famous works hang in Paris and New York.  She is considered to be the most important female painter of the nineteenth century.

Proportions of an Arabian by C B Chalon @ 1827

Proportions of an Arabian by C B Chalon
@ 1827

Another image from the early 19th century entitled ‘The Proportions of an Arabian, Quite on a New System’.  A lithograph by #HenryBernardChalon (1770-1849).  Henry specialised in sporting scenes and animal paintings.  He had royal patronage but was over-looked by the Royal Academy who favoured George Stubbs’ style of portraying animals.  I am not sure why this way of measuring a horse was new but I like the comments added in pencil under the foot and the right hand hoof which is done in pencil also correcting the artist’s portrayal to the left.

 

 

Girard's Treatise on the Teeth of the Horse 1829 Plate 2

Girard’s Treatise on the Teeth of the Horse 1829
Plate 2

Girard's Treatise on the Teeth of the Horse 1829 Plate 1,

Girard’s Treatise on the Teeth of the Horse 1829
Plate 1,

And to finish a re-issue of the lithographs in Girard’s ‘Treatise on the Teeth of the Horse’ 1829 first edition which is in my small collection of books.

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