I bought a couple of engravings this past week. They are both biblical scenes and created by the same artist. If they are by the original artist and not later copies by another engraver they are a couple of the oldest pieces I have found. The original artist was #LucasvanLeyden (1494-1533). Van Leyden was a Dutch artist born in Leiden who was known not only for his painting skill but also his printmaking in which he excelled in both engraving and woodcut. It is not known when van Leyden learned to engrave but it is known that he was friends with Dürer and Gossaert both of whom were superb engravers.
Van Leyden was well known and respected in his lifetime and some artists rated his engraving skills above even those of Dürer. He, to today, is considered one of the greatest printmakers of all time. Even so, he was still one of the best Dutch painters at that time. A number of his works survive in major galleries around the world.
Both engravings are on laid paper and show some toning of the paper but overall with no tears or stains, they are superb examples of van Leyden’s work.
I recently was able to associate an oil painting in my collection to a location. The painting is unsigned and undated but bears an artist dealer stamp on the verso. It is stamped Winsor & Newton, 38 Rathbone Place, London W. Winsor & Newton were founded in 1832 and continue to trade to this day. They were colourmen selling artist paints and prepared canvases and panels. The panel I have is 11 1\2 ” x 8 1\4″ (293mm X 211mm). The image begins 1\4″ or 5mm in from each side.
The image of a gentleman on his horse which is being fed by a young lady in front of an inn. This inn, I have now placed as #TheCastleInn,Chiddingstone,Kent. The pub is now owned by The National Trust. The inn is first mentioned as early as 1420 although by a different name. This lovely village has appeared in numerous films including ‘Room with a View’ and ‘The Wind in the Willows:Mr Toads Wild Ride’. The town has cobbled pathways and buildings with half timbered sides with red tiled roofs and the town even boasts a castle.
One can see in the painting the beauty of the buildings the cobbled pavements. The Castle Inn was once called the ‘#FiveBells’. The name change occurred around 1779.
The painting, I believe, comes from around 1880/90 but may be earlier and shows the architecture and makeup of the inn and it’s surrounding buildings. A superbly crafted piece and visually historically accurate.
I thought today we might travel to two places. One which I have visited and the other not. Firstly, a trip to the south west of England to the small fishing village of Mousehole, Cornwall. Three miles from Penzance, this quaint fishing village with its fisherman’s cottages huddled around the harbour will capture your heart. The artist #ThomasHenryVictor (1894-1980) also known as #W.Sands lived in Mousehole. He studied art but turned down a scholarship to the Slade School in London. It is thought that he never went further from Mousehole than Truro. The watercolour from my collection shows the harbour with its fishing boats along with the Lobster Pot restaurant and adjoining buildings. It is typical of his work in that it displays a busy harbour and uses a lively colour palette.
Our second stop requires a jump to the French/Italian border. The small town of Menton is the border between Provence and Genoa. It has been part of Italy, part of Monaco, but is now part of France. Because of its climate it is a fashionable tourist destination and houses some magnificent mansions and gardens. It is also renowned for its citrus fruit – tangerines, oranges, and lemons.
The watercolour shows the #BridgeSaintLouis at Menton with the Alps as backdrop. Done in 1911 by #GeorgeGurney (little info found on him) using a wide colour palette, this work displays the beauty and ruggedness of the area. What a view as one hangs out the laundry.
This week I picked up a small watercolour by a Belgium painter. #FransVervloet (1795-1872) received his early training in Brussels along with his brother. His aptitude for painting was noticed and he received a scholarship to study in Rome. He remained for two years mainly producing architectural works of the churches and ruins in the city. Naples was his next abode . Here he remained for 30 years. He established the ‘Scuola di Posillipo’. This group was characterized by a clear palette, sketchy brushwork, and lucid organisation.
Vervloet loved to travel in search of places and scenes to inspire his painting. This took him as far afield as Istanbul. In 1854, Vervloet moved to Venice. Where he resided until his death.
The watercolour, I acquired is of Santa Maria Salute in Venice. It is signed and the location is noted on the lower right. It is undated. It is known that Vervloet visited Venice in 1834-35 and lived in Venice from 1854 to his death so might come from as early as 1834. A nice image with excellent perspective and motion from the boats and gondola.
I was given a watercolour this past week by a friend. He and his wife are moving and down-sizing. This work was painted by a distant relative of his wife. The sketch/watercolour was done by #MrsGranvilleBrowne in 1872. Even though she was an amateur artist, the depiction is very well done. The #Gwalior fortress may have existed from the 6th century. It has played a strategic part in many conflicts and has been control over the years by a number different parties including the British.
Although done by an amateur this piece is more important from an historical perspective. I have not come across too many works of art from this time period involving India.
I have two watercolours by #WilliamSimpson from 1862 and this a fine addition to that pairing.
A nice use of soft and muted earth tones combine with good architectural definition reveal a lady of some artistic talent. Pictured is the #SurajKund. A tank of water located in the fort. It is believed to have magical healing powers which would cure chronic diseases. Many people came and come to this place for a miracle. A calm and peaceful place with wonderful views of sunrise and sunset.
I acquired a small watercolour which leads us to today’s focus, #EugeneIsabey (1803-1886). Eugene Isabey was born into an artistic family. His father Jean-Baptiste enjoyed the patronage of the French Imperial Family and he himself became a court painter to King Louis-Philippe. His works favour historical paintings, genre scenes and landscapes and some very fine marine/seascapes.
The small watercolour is possibly a study done by Isabey for his finished work ‘Wäscher an Fluss’. The rendering of the structures tells me that they were done at the same time as the oil painting. Slight variations in the people illustrated as well as an additional boat by the bridge are seen. It has a pin hole in each of the corners, which might mean it was possibly painted in situ. A nice use of soft colours and shadowing gives a good foundation from which to work toward a finished oil painting. A nice work for a study.
Lately, we have been celebrating women artists and women in all fields of work and life . Today, I would like to take you to Kenya to see one of the countries (if not the African continent) premier women artist who was at the forefront of African modern art.
#RobinAnderson (1924-2012) was born in Kenya but her early training was done in London at Heatherley’s Art School. She returned to #Kenya shortly after finishing her studies. And with two fellow artists and friends opened the #GalleryWatatu in the early 1960’s.
Robin became famous in the early 60’s for her silk batik paintings and prints which she sold via the gallery. She developed her own technique which combined oils, watercolour, batik and screen printing in the creation of works. She had traveled across Africa with her father and used what she had experienced as the source of her inspiration in producing ‘elegant figures and wildlife scenes’.
I came across and acquired three pieces by Ms Anderson. They are not silk batik works but are done in gouache on paper (from her early period). Striking colours and impressionism leap from the page. An amazing eye for structure and balance draw the viewer into her work. There is a sense of power and awe, of the harshness of life and yet peace and wonder are contained here through the beauty which is displayed.
These pieces call out to the viewer. ‘Stand and gaze upon me’. These pieces are the true celebration of the female artist, who was Robin Anderson.
Today’s artist is better known for his WWII paintings some of which are in the #ImperialWarMuseum. #RudolfHaybrook (1898-1965) was a portrait and figure painted. He also designed sets for theatres. Haybrook was born in London, studied in Brighton and served in France during WWI. He was decommissioned due to shell shock. As WWII approached Rudolf was working for the Auxillary (London) Fire Service. He requested to become the official artist to the LFS but was denied due to lack of funds. Even so, Haybrook continued to paint all through his life and the wars. One would consider him a modern artist with tendencies toward impressionism.
Although this piece appears to be quite a realistic scene, Haybrook’s impressionistic side can be seen in the rendering of the trees on the right side of the painting.
The above pastel is not signed or titled but again displays the connection between realism and impressionism. A nicely performed work with good visual angles leading you past the man on the bench and down the path towards the indistinct people further away.
Today we travel to the southwest of the country -Devonshire- to visit an artist who specialised in working in watercolour. A man who painted harbour scenes, cottage scenes and moorland. #WalterHenrySweet (1889-1943) was a prolific and popular artist at the beginning of the 20th century even though he did not exhibit his work outside of the southwestern area. He studied at the Exeter School of Art under tutor and friend John Shapland.
After serving during WWI, Walter moved and resided in Dundee, Scotland. Here he worked as a commercial illustrator for James Valentine and Sons.
I have two Walter Henry Sweet watercolours in my collection. They are, I think, sublime examples of his artistic style. His use of soft pinks, muted greens and browns. The first painting shown is titled ‘In Minehead’ and displays a street leading up toward St. Michael’s Anglican Church and the second painting simply titled ‘Boscastle’ showing a mother and child strolling along a lane. I hope you agree with me that Walter Henry Sweet should be better known than he is. Two beautiful works showing the idyllic countryside of the southwest.
My wife and I have decided that a short holiday up north would do us good. There are a number of places which I am tempted to visit on the way. I have a number of pieces of art which have helped to hone my interest. We will look at just one.
I bought a small painting some time ago. It was done on an oak plank so has some age to it and has a couple of small chips which don’t deter too much from the overall effect. It is in need of a good clean and re-sealing though.
I know that there was an etching done from this painting (I believe) by engraver #GeorgeCuitt which was published in 1827. Hence my date of 1825.
The painting shows #WensleyMill in Yorkshire. The painting size is 250 mm by 385mm (the etching size is 240 X 300). There is a bit more to the right side of the painting than the etching. It is possible that that it was painted by George Cuit the Elder (1743-1818) or George Cuitt the Younger (1779-1854) prior to etching it.
The Wensley waterfall is tucked away from the view of passers-by. It tumbles down hidden by the old cottage used by the Wensley candlemakers. One can also visit the mill which at present is home to #WhiteRoseCandles
Of course, the wider Wensleydale area is famous for its crumbly cheese which was first made by a group of French monks who settled in North Yorkshire almost a thousand years ago. Also a favourite of Wallace and Gromit – the animated characters.
I think, you can see why I am tempted to visit. History calls out and beauty abounds. A good place for a visit.