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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Art of Real Life

In most ways an artist’s creation is an interpretation of life as they see it or as they interpret it.  And we as viewers or possibly voyeurs are provided an opportunity to see life through another’s eyes.  Is it that we who view are not talented or gifted ? I say ‘no’ to that.  We each have our own giftings but we are also what all artists require no matter what field they may specialize in.  We are those who appreciate.  Whether impressionist, realist, cubist, or old master – all artists need those who appreciate the works they produce.

The Pumpkin Seller signed and date 1919

The Pumpkin Seller
signed and date 1919

But, we as those who appreciate art – look on art as it intersects with real life – our own lives.  We are intrigued by art that reflects our own history, our present, our past, our places, our memories, our hopes and dreams.

Images of real life which may be part of our history are especially appreciated.  We wonder whether our fore-bearers might have experienced the same situations that we see in the images.

Both the oil painting  which I have called ‘ The Pumpkin Seller’ and the watercolour ‘market scene’ are events which my fore-bears might have experienced.  Both scenes are European – the first being German?/French? and the second Dutch.

Market Place unsigned @ 1900

Market Place
unsigned @ 1900

Markets were and are regular occurrences for most towns and villages across Europe.  They have been and are inspirational to artists.   Certainly, the two artists have captured a moment in time, in history, in life – possibly our own histories.  True to life, wonderfully portrayed in oil and watercolour .  Impressionist or realist – it matters not. It matters only that their creation can reach out and touch us – move us – make us experience life as it is or was.  Art as mirror/reflection of reality – of true life.  Art as life – a part of our own lives.

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Art Recycled

For my work, I try to re-cycle and re-use as many materials I can.  If I cannot, I give materials to my local recycling centre and they sell them on for quite reasonable prices.  I have also bought a number of things from them not only for work but also for my art collection.  I bought the three George Fall watercolours in my collection (discussed in an earlier chapter) from the re-cycle centre.  I had a look in their discarded book bin a couple of days ago and found this weeks chapter topic.

Book of Common Prayer Title Page @ 1755

Book of Common Prayer Title Page
@ 1755

I found a ‘Book of Common Prayer’ which the Church of England has used for several centuries.  Finding one is fairly easy – any book store or charity shop likely has one or more on its’ shelves.  So to pull one out of a book bin does not sound too exciting.  Mine has no cover.  It would likely have been bound with black leather boards and spine with some gold detailing.  Mine starts at the marble cover pages.

It is when opened that one discovers the wonder which one has found.  For not a modern copy but one printed in 1758 is what lies behind those marbled pages.  Published in 1758 by #ThomasBaskett – printer to the University of Oxford.  To the right you see the title page of this #BookofCommonPrayer.  In truth, it is a little cheeky of Thomas Baskett to claim copyright for this book since as the title page states it was actually published by #EdwardRyland in 1755 making this book basically a reprint.

Book of Common Prayer Illustrated Page @ 1755

Book of Common Prayer
Illustrated Page @ 1755

It is wonderfully illustrated throughout with 55 engravings by various artists.  By my count I am missing 2 leafs of the 55.  The 55 does not count the title page (I think) which was done by #GeorgeChinnery by special request.

I always wonder what causes someone to throw such things away.  Are they useless?  Are they valueless to them?  They must be for otherwise, I would not find the things I do.  At times I lament our throw away world but then again am I much different.  Not really although I try.  If I can save but a few artworks which others have counted as nought and share them with the world maybe it will enthuse others to do the same.  For the past is our history – it should not just be discarded or tossed away.  A past filled with beauty and ugliness – coexisting – yet both worth remembering.  So much beauty just tossed away.

Book of Common Prayer The Crucifixion

Book of Common Prayer
The Crucifixion

Book of Common Prayer Praise Him Upon the Harp

Book of Common Prayer
Praise Him Upon the Harp

And to show you the excellence of this work, I include a few more images taken of the engravings found in this beautiful book.

Book of Common Prayer 'They that go down to the sea'

Book of Common Prayer
‘They that go down to the sea’

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Art a la Latouche

#LouisLatouche (1829-1884) is a name that is not well known to people and possibly even to experts but to a few very famous artists he was well known.  Latouche was a painter.  His applications to exhibit his paintings at the Salon in Paris were regularly rejected.  He never really became famous unlike a good number of his associates and friends.  Not wanting to leave his artistic career behind, Latouche set himself up as an arts dealer/supplier.  His shop was located at 34 Rue Lafayette at the corner with Rue Laffitte in Paris.

Latouche Stamp @1860-1885

Latouche Stamp

To the left is the stamp on the back of an oil painting I have added to my collection.  A painting done in France somewhere between 1870 and 1885.  Latouche’s wife ran the store from 1875 so that Louis could go back to painting.  She sold the shop two years after her husbands death to Paul Contet.

As an art supplier, Louis prepared canvases and boards for other artists to use.  While Luois was alive and after his death the shop was known as a place of fine colours and modern paintings.  Framing and lining were also available at the shop.  Artists’ paintings were displayed in the shop window – some causing scandal.  A painting by Monet was described  as – “It draws the whole artistic world. There’s been a mob in front of the window the entire time the exhibit lasted, and for the young, the unexpectedness of this violent painting has caused a fanatical reaction.”  Latouche’s clients included Guaguin, Gache, Gautiere, Pissarro, Monet and certainly he would also have known Manet, Renoir, Bazille, Sisley.  A veritable who’s who of #FrenchImpressionist painters at the time.  But then again his clients might also have included the #FrenchRealist painters like Courbet, Millet, Daumier or Corot who painted depictions of unprettified ‘real’ life.

Village Chapel Unsigned/undated - stamp verso @ 1860 to 1885

Village Chapel
Unsigned/undated – stamp verso @ 1860 to 1885

So to the lovely oil. Superbly done with brush and palette knife.  Sublime technique.  An eye for beautiful colour coordination  and application.  The subject is also very interesting since chapels/churches did not usually have two entrances.  Male and female entrances – I don’t know but why.  Possibly.  A friend in France says the architecture looks like it comes from the Jura area of France.  The sunlit front of the church may be the focus of the painting but for me the foliage of the tree, the wooden fence and the creeper growing on the stone wall show the real talent of this artist.

It’s nice to think that this artist board may have been handled by #Gauguin, #Monet, #Renoir, #Corot, or #Pissarro.  An amazing thought actually.

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Art from a Folio

As with last weeks chapter the images in this chapter come from a folio created by a single artist, I believe. The artist has not signed his works and all the works are created after other famous artists paintings.  Artists by the names of #AdriaenvanOstade, #HendrikHondius, #AnthonieWaterloo, and #PeterPaulRubens.

Man with Tankard aquatint with etching after Adriaen van Ostade

Man with Tankard
aquatint with etching
after Adriaen van Ostade

Man with a Tankard created by an unknown hand in the early part of the 19th century.  Van Ostade (1610-1685) was an artist during the Dutch Golden Age for painting.  He portrayed tavern scenes, village fairs, and country views and the people he painted tend to be short and ill-favoured, marked with life’s adversity.  He loved to instil humour in many of his works.  Ostade was influenced by Rembrandt and it was this influence that propelled Ostade into greatness as an artist.  His works can be found in most large galleries as well as many a private collection.

Death of a Wild Boar aquatint with etching after Hendrik Hondius

Death of a Wild Boar
aquatint with etching
after Hendrik Hondius

Flemish born engraver and cartographer, Hendrik Hondius (1573-1650) was trained in drawing and engraving.  He loved mathematics and studied perspective, architecture and fortification construction.  His artistic speciality was engraving.  He was successful as artist initially using others to publish his works but he eventually purchased a printing business and concentrated on the printing of maps, books, and portraits.

Alpheus and Arethusa aquatint with etching after Anthonie Waterloo

Alpheus and Arethusa
aquatint with etching
after Anthonie Waterloo

It is quite possible that Anthonie Waterloo was a self-taught artist.  Little is known of his early life and while living he was not truly successful at selling his paintings and supported himself by becoming an art dealer.  His oil paintings are relatively scarce but one may find his drawings, sketches and etchings in most major galleries around the world.  Waterloo travelled extensively throughout Europe which can be seen in his works.  His larger etchings and drawings are detailed down to the smallest individual detail while his smaller images contain a more impressionistic, atmospheric perspective which draws the onlooker into the focus of his work.

Rubens and his Wife aquatint with etching after Peter Paul Rubens

Rubens and his Wife
aquatint with etching
after Peter Paul Rubens

And finally to Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640) who was a Flemish artist.  A leader in the extravagant Baroque style of painting which focused on movement, colour, and sensuality.  A prolific artist producing works of religious focus, historical events, hunting scenes, portraits and landscapes.  He was fond of painting full-figured women which led to the term Rubenesque when referring to plus-sized women.

Four fine aquatints with some line etching to add delineation created by an unknown hand.  All images are roughly 4 by 5 1/2 with a plate size of 6 by 7 1/2.  Small beautiful works of art.

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Art of Birds

When one considers birds in art one must consider ornithologists by the names of #PrideauxJohnSelby (1788-1867) and #JohnGould (1804-1881). A pair of British ornithologists who were and still are renowned for their studies of birds.

Merlin, Female by PJ Selby 1821

Merlin, Female
by PJ Selby

I have only one etching by Selby.  It is of a female merlin perched on a rock.  Selby is one of the best-known British ornithologist/bird illustrator of 19th century.  He was the first to illustrate birds from Great Britain in life-size and in realistic action.  A wonderful hand-coloured line engraving which was created around 1826.  Selby was a great collector of specimens from which he created his drawings and etchings.  He was a magnificent artist and etcher and his friends consisted of fellow great artists and scientists such as Audobon, Gould, Swainson, Jardine and many others.

To John Gould of which I have four lithographs from his folio sized edition ‘Birds of Great Britain’ printed from 1862 to 1873.  All the plates were hand-coloured after printing.  He produced the plates with the assistance of his wife, Elizabeth, and several other artists including Edward Lear, Henry Richter, Joseph Wolf and William Hart.

Hirundo Rustica lithograph by Johnn Gould @ 1862

Hirundo Rustica
lithograph by Johnn Gould @ 1862

He is considered the founder  of ornithology in Australia. His identification of the birds now nicknamed ‘Darwin’s finches’ played a role in the inception of Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection. Gould’s work is referenced in Darwin’s book, ‘On the Origin of Species’.

Chelidon Urbica lithograph by John Gould @ 1862

Chelidon Urbica
lithograph by John Gould @ 1862


Aegiothus Rufescens lithograph by John Gould @ 1862

Aegiothus Rufescens
lithograph by John Gould @ 1862

Aegiothus Linaria lithograph by John Gould @ 1862

Aegiothus Linaria
lithograph by John Gould @ 1862





















Once again Gould was also an expert taxidermist.  Preserving many of his self-collected specimens.  John Gould  “the greatest figure in bird illustration after Audubon”.  A great accolade but in fact truly deserved.  Every sky tinted and every feather of each bird were coloured by hand; nearly two hundred and eighty thousand illustrations in the present work.  An amazing work which possibly may be the most sumptuous and costly of British bird books’

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