Art of Egypt

I find pieces of art which span the globe in their origin.  These pieces are not always done by artist who are native to or even reside in those distant lands.  More often they are by artists who have travelled to those lands of or have been sent to them.  In this chapter a couple of pieces from Egypt.

Awaiting the Procession watercolour by R. Murdoch Wright @ 1882-1890

Awaiting the Procession
watercolour by R. Murdoch Wright
@ 1882-1890

I have found little information about #RMurdochWright but he was a talented artist.  The paintings of his that I have seen are mainly of Egypt.  This one portrays a group of people awaiting a procession which has left the city in the background.  I believe this city to be Luxor.  This ancient city was the start of many a procession which took in procession the gods from their temples to Karnak, Deir el-Bahri and the royal memorial temples along the Nile’s west bank.  These processions were the only time that the people would see their gods. They travelled from far and wide and set up camp so that they would have favourable sight-lines to see their gods as they processed by.

Awaiting the ProcessionL

Awaiting the ProcessionL


Awaiting the ProcessionR

Awaiting the ProcessionR

With very fine brush work and a natural rendering of both man and animal.  A lovely sense of space and perspective catch the viewers eye and draws one in. Warm in colour.  All of these aspects join together to ask the viewer to wait for the procession to pass by.  From the fine work of Murdoch Wright  to what looked to me to be some interesting splashes of colour to create an image.  This painting is also interesting in that it has an image on both sides. The first image is titled Bahr el Ahmar, Jezira, Cairo while on the reverse it is titled The Left Flank Dock.  Both are done with splashes of colour large and quick brush work.

Bahr el Ahmar unknown artist - watercolour

Bahr el Ahmar
unknown artist – watercolour


The Left Flank Dock initialled TW

The Left Flank Dock
initialled TW

Even with their brash brush strokes they exude a depth of feeling.  With a vagueness of image yet they exact a feeling of correctness.  An artist who paints what he sees but allows himself a freedom to interpret what he sees.

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War Remembered through Art

With Remembrance Day having just gone by, I thought I might look at a few items I have collected with a connection to war.  I could talk about and use images from The Graphic Illustrated Newspaper (September to December 1870 – in my collection) which covers the Franco-Prussian War in great detail or several artists who were war artists but I would like to use a few photographs and one object to remember those who have fought for our freedoms.

Harts. Imperial Yeomanry Hitchin Troop 1902

Harts. Imperial Yeomanry
Hitchin Troop 1902

The  men pictured here took part in the campaigns in South Africa in 1902. The #Harts.ImperialYeomanry was a voluntary cavalry regiment which saw action in the Second Boer War.  The Yeomanry was created in 1899 and disbanded in 1908.

An Unknown Soldier

An Unknown Soldier

And we have a portrait of an unknown soldier who posed for this photo prior to going off to fight.  Who is he?  Did he return? Questions which could be asked in regards to all the men pictured so far.

The German Fleet in Scapa Flow 28 Novr. 1918

The German Fleet in Scapa Flow
28 Novr. 1918

And the to #WWI and the surrender of the German fleet.  We see #TheGermanFleetinScapaFlow.  The German fleet were interned there while negotiations were ongoing over the fate of the ships.  The German commander, Admiral Reuter, fearing that his ships would be given to the Allied forces decided to scupper his fleet.  The British guard ships managed to save 22 of the 74 ships.  Most of those that sank were salvaged over the following two decades.  Those that remain have become popular with divers. And finally to an object with a Welsh connection.

Royal Welsh Fusiliers Matchbox

Royal Welsh Fusiliers Matchbox

Royal Welsh Fusiliers Matchbox2

Royal Welsh Fusiliers Matchbox


A #RoyalWelshFusiliers matchbox from their Egypt campaign.  The Fusiliers saw a great deal of action in Mesopotamia, Gallipoli, Egypt, Palestine, the Western Desert, and Salonika campaigns.

Pieces of history and war.  A war that was to end all wars.  We will – we must remember them.  Those who fought so that we might enjoy the freedoms which we have.  Let us not take them for granted.  And to finish. John McCrae’s famous poem written in 1915.

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

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Art in Collaboration

This weeks chapter follows on from the previous in that it regards an image painted by #LouiseElizabethVigeeLeBrun.  The painting is entitled #L’InnonenceSeRefugiantDanLesBrasDeLaJustice or ‘Innocence Taking Refuge In The Arms Of Justice’.  It was painted in 1779.  It can be seen hanging in the Musee d’Anger.  But this post is not about the original (as wonderful as it is) but about the stipple engraving made from it by one of the great engravers.

L'Innocence se Refugiant dan les Bras de la Justice stipple engraving by Francesco Bartolozzi after Louisa Elizabeth Le Brun 1783

L’Innocence se Refugiant dan les Bras de la Justice stipple engraving by Francesco Bartolozzi after Louisa Elizabeth Le Brun 1783

#FrancescoBartolozzi (1727-1815) was born in Florence and started his artistic life as a painter but early on moved into engraving.  After studying engraving in Venice, Bartolozzi moved to London in 1764.  He lived in London for 40 years where he created enormous numbers of engravings.  Bartolozzi created many plates from the works of Cipriani and Angelica Kauffman.  He also produced several plates for Boydell’s Shakespeare Gallery.  He was appointed ‘Engraver to the King’ with a fine salary.  In 1802, he took up a post at the National Academy of Lisbon and died in Lisbon in 1815.

Although slightly damaged by age, this engraving shows the exquisite technique which Bartolozzi possessed.  Unlike the copy which is held by the British Museum, there appears on my print a royal crest, a dedication to the Queen (Marie Antoinette) and it was published in Paris.  A piece superbly executed by an artist of superb talent.

I will apologize – my research was incomplete – the British Museum do hold a print like mine but not exactly.  They hold a print without the crest and artist information published by Bartolozzi – they also hold a print with the crest, dedication to the Queen, and artist information published in Paris ‘Se vend a Paris ches Le Rouge rue de Clery No. 58′.  My prints’ final line reads ‘a Paris ches DANLOS, quai Malaquai 1.  Apologies for the inaccuracy.

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Ladies of Printing

I am heading to Cambridge to see the exhibition #CarolineWatson (1760-1814) and Female Printmaking in Late Georgian England’.  She is regarded as ‘the first British professional woman engraver’.  Born in London  she studied under her father, James Watson, an Irish engraver.

Boy and Birds Nest etching by Caroline Watson after B Murillo @1781

Boy and Birds Nest
etching by Caroline Watson after B Murillo

She worked together with artists such as Sir Joshua Reynolds and used the techniques of stipple etching and aquatint.

I have only one etching done by Caroline Watson – #BoywithBirdsNest.  It was published in 1781 by John Boydell.  It is after a painting by B. Murillo and at that time in the collection of the Duke of Norfolk.  A combination of stipple and line engraving are the basis of this print and then finely hand coloured.  After examining my print, I can understand why she is considered to be so good.  She was a prolific and meticulous artist, working with and for the best artists and painters of her day.

Against this, I wish to look at a father/daughter team of etchers. William and #LetitiaByrne (1779-1849).  She and her older sister Anne studied engraving under their father, William.

Pony at Play etching by William & Lititia Byrne @ 1795

Pony at Play
etching by William & Lititia Byrne @ 1795

Although this etching is often attributed to William, we find Lititia’s name beside his in the accreditation beneath the image.  The etching is after a painting by George Stubbs, likely the most famous equine painter of his day.  William was one of the finest landscape engravers of the late eighteenth century. Cross-hatching and free hand engraving with hand-colouring finish #PonyatPlay.  It is considered to be among the best of his/their most famous individually published engravings.

Only a couple of prints by ladies of great talent and I look forward to seeing more of their works in Cambridge at the Fitzwilliam Museum. On now until 5 January 2015.

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Art from a Master

I have to thank a friend for introducing me to this piece of art and allowing me to hold it in my hands and study it.  There are moments, if like me you love art.  Like going to the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford and holding many of Turners watercolours in ones hands.  The Turners are roughly 150 to 200 years old but my friend allowed me to hold a piece that is 300 years old.  As with last chapters artist this artist comes from a family of painters – truly talented artists.

#AntoineCoypel (1661-1722) was born in Paris – son of Noel Coypel.   Noel painted pictures for the Louvre and his finest work ‘The Martyrdom of St James’ hangs in Notre Dame Cathedral.   Antoine tutored under his father in France and Rome. At eighteen he was admitted into the Academy of which he became professor and rector, and director. In 1716 he was appointed the king’s painter.  His half-brother Noel and his son Charles-Antoine (1694–1752) were also accomplished painters and the sculptor Francois Dumont was his brother-in-law. An amazingly artistic family.

Head of a Man Pastel/chalk drawing by Antoine Coypel @1700

Head of a Man
Pastel/chalk drawing by Antoine Coypel

A study of a man’s face which has such depth of emotion.  A figure aged in years with wisdom and knowledge in his eyes. An old man – such nobility in his countenance.  Antoine with just a few lines and shading produces an image of breadth and intensity.  The black and red chalks were the staples of his drawing studies which he used to prepare for his oil paintings.  I do not know in which painting this face appears but the wealth of power and feeling in this small illustration must bring us to a finished painting of awfulness.

A true joy to hold and behold such a work of beauty.

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Art Angelic

A circuitous writing taking us from a drawing by Carriere to the LeBrun family and finally to an angel which I bought a while back.  As I said I bought a painting of an angel and when looking at images of angels came across an etching of a drawing by Carriere.

Cerubin etching after Carriere @1800

etching after Carriere

Here is an etching of a drawing by Carriere of a #cherubin done around 1800.  It is taken from a painting by LeBrun.  Not sure which LeBrun  it might be since being a talented artist seemed to be a family trait and I have not yet found the original image from which the drawing is derived.

The #LeBrun artists begin with Charles (1619-1690). He was declared to be the most important French artist ever by Louis XIV.  His marvellous achievements range from the decoration of the châteaux of Versailles, Vaux, and Hesselin, to the council apartments in the Louvre, and numerous churches.

From there we go to #LouiseElizabethVigeeLeBrun.  Charles was her husbands great-great uncle.  A professional portrait painter from her late teens, she was a favourite of Marie Antoinette. She is recognized as the most important female painter of the 18th century.

Lets now go to my #angel.  It is not signed or dated but is very finely done. One way to judge the quality of a painting is to look at how well the hands and feet are painted. They are more difficult than you think.

Angel unsigned/undated


I was struck by the similarity of the facial structure between the drawing and the painting.  She is superbly portrayed by a talented artist.  Are they images taken one from the other or both taken from another image altogether? Does it matter?  Behold loveliness. Stand and gaze in wonder and appreciation.

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Expansive Art

I live in a part of the country which is quite flat  and I am also a hour from the coast.  Some people consider the fen landscape boring but when one stands out in the fields and looks over the  land for many miles – one can feel the wideness of this place.

Fenscape  near Blythburgh, Suffolk by Juliet Pannett 1972

near Blythburgh, Suffolk
by Juliet Pannett 1972

#JulietPannett (1911-2005) is not known for her landscapes. She is a very respected portrait painter.  Painting came naturally to her and by the time she was 17, she knew she wanted to paint portraits for a living.  Commissions from The Illustrated London News and other papers began her professional career which led to her employment by the Illustrated London News.  From 1957 to 1964 she had her own seat in the press gallery of the House of Commons.  She portrayed over a thousand soldiers, intellectuals, politicians, musicians, fellow artists and ordinary British people.  She painted nine Prime Ministers including Wilson, Callaghan, Heath, Thatcher, and Churchill.  She has 21 portraits in the National Portrait Gallery collection in London. Her treatment of the wide open space and grandness of the sky exudes wonder and warmth.  In simple strokes of colour a land is portrayed in beauty.  One stands at the edge of this vista near #Blythburgh and is overcome by the vastness of sky as can only be felt and seen from a flat land.

Pilot Cutters A-sail unknown artist late 19th - early 20th century

Pilot Cutters A-sail
unknown artist late 19th – early 20th century

We move to an expanse which has a life of it’s own. The sea has for most of human history held a fascination for man.  It beckons serenely and yet is fraught with dangers.  For those who live upon the waters there is no other life.  I love the #PilotCutters in this image as they strive with the wind.  But for me it is actually the portrayal of the sea which is this pictures life and soul.  Hang on and feel the salt spray against your face.  Wrap yourself against the buffeting wind.   Struggle forward to the beckoning horizon.  Here is space.  A vastness, an immensity to be felt.. We are so small.

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Artistry of Hokusai Katsushika

I have come across Japanese and Chinese artworks and am fascinated by their technique and style.  I picked up a woodblock print by #HokusaiKatsushika.  I believe it to believe a fairly modern reprint on quite rough textured paper.

In the Mountains of Totomi Province woodblock print by Hokusai Katsushika

In the Mountains of Totomi Province woodblock print by Hokusai Katsushika

It is titled #IntheMountainsofTotomiProvince and comes from Hokusai’s most famous set of block prints entitled ‘Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji’.  Hokusai lived from 1760 to 1849.  Certainly, this set of 36 prints involving Mount Fuji brought to Hokusai national and international fame especially the prints ‘The Great Wave’ and ‘Mount Fuji in Clear Weather’.

It is thought that Hokusai learned painting from his father – a mirror maker which included the decorating of the frame which held them.

He was known by at least 30 different aliases – each one seeming to relate to a style change in his artistic output.  At 14, he became an apprentice wood carver.  At 18, he moved to work under an master ukiyo-e artist.  Ukiyo-e wood block prints focused on images of the courtesans and Kabuki actors who were popular in Japan’s cities at the time.  After fifteen years at the studio as well as two wives and five children , he was expelled from the studio for his exploration into other styles of art.   His work became focused on landscapes and images of the daily life of Japanese people from a variety of social levels. This change of subject was a breakthrough in ukiyo-e and in Hokusai’s career.

And to finish another pair of prints by unknown artists (at least to me).

Sparrow beneath blossoms signed

Sparrow beneath blossoms


Sparrows in Flight signed

Sparrows in Flight

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Art of Joseph Bell

This weeks chapter is one of speculation and imagination in regards to an aquatint in my collection.  It is a portrait of a man  who was  the inspiration for a very famous fictitious character known around the world.

Joseph Bell (1837-1911) unknown artist

Joseph Bell (1837-1911)
unknown artist

I believe my research to be correct so here we have #JosephBell.  Dr. Joseph Bell was a Scottish lecturer at the medical school of the University of Edinburgh in the 19th century. He is perhaps best known as the inspiration for the literary character #SherlockHolmes.   #ArthurConanDoyle served as a clerk in the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary under him.  Bell was famous for making deductions about his patients and others whom he met.  Supposedly, he was never wrong.  He used his observations and skills in his lecturing also.  Ten years after their first meeting Bell was on paper as an energetic eccentric detective with extraordinary skills in logic and deduction.  Sherlock’s way of thinking and physique were reminiscent of the professor.  Holmes also possessed the same gait, narrow nose, grey eyes, angled chin and high forehead.   Holmes was also attired in the same way as Dr. Bell.  He wore the deer-stalker cap and the long caped coat.  It is said that Dr. Bell investigated one of the most famous villains of all time – ‘Jack the Ripper’ – killer of prostitutes.  Dr. Bell investigated for a week and named a suspect in his notes – they have since been lost so whether he was correct in his assumptions or not we do not know.  Even recently speculation in regards to the Rippers identity continued using DNA testing.

This aquatint is odd in that the missive at the bottom is actually by Joseph Bell which means that he gave this image of himself to somebody.

Joseph Bell unknown artist

Joseph Bell
unknown artist

Signed in ink.  It reads ‘Yours Very Truly – Joseph Bell’.  A lovely aquatint with the image of a very famous person both real and fictitious.

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Art from George Cattermole and Vincent Brooks

Two acknowledgements but one piece of art.  #GeorgeCattermole (1800-1868) is the original artist while #VincentBrooks (1814-1885) is the man who made the lithograph which I bought the other day.

Columbus Vincent Brooks lithograph 1854 after George Cattermole

Vincent Brooks lithograph 1854 after George Cattermole

I present ‘Columbus propounding to the Prior of the Franciscan Convent of Santa Maria de Rabida, his theory of a new world’.  A stunningly beautiful lithograph made in 1854.  So far, I have not been able to find anything about the original painting by George Cattermole done in 1849.  Born in Diss, Norfolk, George became a draughtsman and then ventured into watercolour and oil painting but his great strength was in illustrating.  He was a friend of Charles Dickens and illustrated ‘The Old Curiosity Shop’ and ‘Barnaby Rudge’ for him.  He was largely employed by publishers.  He illustrated many a  ‘The Waverly Novel’ as well as many other books.

Columbus Vincent Brooks lithograph 1854 after George Cattermole

Vincent Brooks lithograph 1854 after George Cattermole

Vincent Brooks spent most of his life in the printing industry.  He became famous for is lithographs.  In 1865 Vincent Brooks became involved with the ‘inventor’ of colour printing George Baxter (Descent from the Cross in a previous chapter).  He purchased many of Baxter’s plates and printed them using Baxter’s presses but this was a complex printing process using up to 20 stone blocks per print and was found to be a money losing venture.  Mr.Brooks bought out the business of Day & Son Ltd in 1867.  He bought their property, name, and fine reputation.  The firm now became known as Vincent Brooks, Day & Son.

Columbus - label on reverse

Columbus – label on reverse

On the reverse we find a label from #ArtUnionofGlasgow with the date and title as well as the information regarding the painter George Cattermole and the lithographer Vincent Brooks.

One also notices the fine frame it is mounted in although there have been repairs to it.  I wonder where the original painting is or if even if it still exists.  Maybe from my posting I might stir others to consider the great talents these two men had and possibly to appreciate their art even more.

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