William Edward Parry Engraving

When one mentions the name of #WilliamEdwardParry, one brings to mind the search for the Northwest passage.  Parry made three voyages in is quest to find the elusive Northwest Passage.  On his first attempt in 1819-20, Parry found a way through Lancaster Sound but no further.  His second attempt in 1821-23 saw him explore Hudson Bay for a more southerly route but he had no luck.  Foxe Basin, Repulse Bay and Melville Peninsula were unaccommodating as to routes west.  The ice closed in and Parry spent the winter.  To keep morale up he set up a theatre company and a school as well as an observatory.

William Edward Parry, rear-admiral stipple engraving by unknown artist @ 1825

From Inuit in the vicinity, Parry discovered information on a passage to the north of were they had wintered which supposedly led to open water.  He sailed north to find the strait which is now known as the Fury and Hecla Strait (the names of the ships in Parry’s voyage).  The strait never cleared of ice so sailing was impossible but a foot traverse did reveal a body of water to the west.  After a second wintering, Parry was forced to return to England due to lack of supplies.

Parry’s third and most disappointing attempt in 1824-25 saw him in Prince Regent Inlet.  Ice around Baffin Bay forced him to over-winter in the Inlet and early in the spring while searching for an opening the Fury ran aground and was lost.  With two crews on-board, Parry was forced to return to England.  It was not a total loss, for much information regarding the position of the magnetic pole was collected as well as information on arctic flora and fauna.

William Edward Parry, rear-admiral stipple engraving close-up – unknown artist @ 1825

Parry also made an attempt to reach the North Pole in 1827 but reached only 82*54′ north.  This remained the northerly latitude record for 49 years.  Parry also pioneered the use of cans for storing rations but he forgot to invent the can opener at the same time so opening might have been a bit messy.

The stipple engraving (which I have not yet found another copy of) is on a 9″ by 12″ piece of paper and has a lightly pencilled ‘Admiral W Parry’ on the lower right.  It is one of the finest stipple engravings in my collection – done with exquisite technique.

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Grenoble Etchings

#Grenoble is a city in southeastern France, situated at the foot of the French Alps.  The city has the nickname “Capital of the Alps” due to its’ location and its’ history goes back more than 2000 years.

Porte de France, Grenoble etching – signed @ 1880

Grenoble is a base for winter sports but is also known for its’ wonderful museums , universities and research centres.  It boasts a superb public transport system which includes the spherical cable cars known as “Les Bulles” (Bubbles) which connect the city to summit of ‘La Bastille’ hill named for the fortress on its’ slopes.  The etching to the left is of the #PortedeFrance gate or entrance to the city.  I suggest 1880 for a date of pressing as from 1894 the tram line which served the city until 1952 ran between the gatehouse on the right and the rock face on the left.

Porte St. Laurent, Grenoble – etching signed @ 1880

The second etching (by the same artist) is of #PorteSaintLaurent.  Both etchings read Epauvre d’Etat (test state or proof).  The  etchings are quite finely produced and are architecturally accurate.  If anyone can decipher the name or recognises the artist signature please let me know so that I can give proper credit to this talented artist.

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Thomas McLean Publisher

  Every once in a while, I come across a set of items which are related somehow.  The set of 6 prints which I acquired the other day were published by #ThomasMcLean (1788-1875).  McLean was a London based printseller and publisher of cartoons – political and caricatures.

Goes to a Picture Sale published by Thomas McLean @ 1821

Goes to a Picture Sale
published by Thomas McLean @ 1821

Sees a Water Kelpy published by Thomas McLean @1821

Sees a Water Kelpy
published by Thomas McLean @1821

Thomas McLean issued hundreds of cartoons in several journals of the day.  The six, I acquired, are all dated May 1821.  They are most likely related to stories in a publication or an event which had occurred as with ‘Goes to a Picture Sale’.  McLean’s premises was located on Haymarket and he was a respected dealer of art and print.  Often displaying paintings from which etchings would then be taken and sold.  Most artists made their living not from the sale of their original artworks but from the etchings and engravings taken from them.  For it was the prints which would sell affordably by the hundreds and possibly thousands to the public which would be the artist sustenance.  McLean annually held exhibitions for watercolour as well as oil paintings.  He was also a great supporter of young artists worthy of exposure but not yet known.

Fetching the Midwife published by Thomas McLean @ 1821

Fetching the Midwife
published by Thomas McLean @ 1821


Dressing the Young Squire published by Thomas McLean @ 1821

Dressing the Young Squire published by Thomas McLean @ 1821

Such artists as Robert Seymour, James Gillray, Jon Doyle and others plied their trade under McLean.  The final four prints might actually be grouped in pairs for they may be related storywise but that is only supposition.  None of the plates are signed by the artist.  So I cannot tell you who drew them but certainly 5 of the six (to my eye) are by the same hand.

Takes Lessons in Dancing published by Thomas McLean @ 1821

Takes Lessons in Dancing published by Thomas McLean @ 1821


A Cheerful Dance published by Thomas McLean @ 1821

A Cheerful Dance published by Thomas McLean @ 1821

 

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Federico Barocci ‘Hagar and Ishmael’

Today we look at a drawing, acquired recently, which is after #FedericoBarocci.  Barocci (1535-1612) was an Italian master.  He was born Federico Fiori in Urbino, Italy.  He was nicknamed Il Baroccio, which is the term for a two-wheel cart drawn by oxen. Barocci’s work was highly esteemed and influential considered to be among the finest painters of his time foreshadowing the Baroque of Peter Paul Rubens.  Barocci decorated the Vatican and his altarpieces can be seen in many major churches in Rome and further afield.  Today’s focus is a version of Barocci’s ‘Hagar and Ishmael’ by an unknown artist.  Barocci’s #HagarandIshmael hangs in the Dresden at the State Art Gallery

Hagar and Ishmael by unknown artist after Federico Barocci @ 19th century

Hagar and Ishmael
by unknown artist
after Federico Barocci @ 19th century

When I acquired this work, I took it to be a print in a quite simple yet beautiful frame. But after studying it, I have concluded that it is an original artwork.  A rendering of Barocci’s work but not an exact copy.  It may be the most exquisite artwork I own.

It differs from Barocci’s work in that there are no cherub heads in the top left of the image (where the break in the clouds is) looking down on Hagar and Ishmael, the palm tree and shrubbery is missing on the right of the image, Hagar’s right foot appears below her robe, as well as a few other smaller differences.  I will post images of two prints of Hagar and Ishmael at the end (one somewhat closer to this drawing).

Hagar and Ishmael by unknown artist after Federico Barocci @ 19th century

Hagar and Ishmael
by unknown artist
after Federico Barocci
@ 19th century

If one looks closely, one can see the individual brush strokes in the hair and clothing.  Supreme finesse – for this artwork is but 5 1/2″ x 7″ in size.

Of course, others have interpreted Barocci’s work and as promised two versions of Hagar and Ishmael – one by a lithograph published by Hanfstaengl between 1836 and 1852 and a second a plate created for a bible (version yet unidentified) by an unknown artist.  One can, after study, note the differences between versions.  All beautiful works of art inspired by a master.

Hagar and Ishmael lithograph published by Hanfstaengl @ 1840

Hagar and Ishmael
lithograph published by Hanfstaengl @ 1840

 

Hagar and Ishmael etching from Holy Bible unknown version

Hagar and Ishmael
etching from Holy Bible
unknown version

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Frederick Landseer Maur Griggs a Modern Master

If you recognise the name of #FrederickLandseerMaurGriggs (1876-1938) you are sure to be an avid fan of etchers and etchings. F. L. Griggs, as he signed his works, was born in Hitchin, Hertfordshire and for me that makes him a local artist.  He studied at the Slade School of Art and became a draughtsman.

He worked only for a couple of years at this occupation eventually giving it up in favour of becoming an illustrator and graphic artist.  Griggs worked on the Highways and Byways series of countryside guides published by MacMillan.  He started with his home county of Hertfordshire and continued drawing 12 more counties illustrating the historical and popular sites found therein.

The Quay etching By F. L. Griggs @ 1916

The Quay
etching By F. L. Griggs
@ 1916

In 1903, Griggs moved to Chipping Campden in the Cotswolds to continue his illustrating of the counties.  Here he remained until his sudden passing.

The suggested cause for his redirection and concentration on etching was his conversion to Catholicism in 1912.  Griggs’s visionary drawings were greatly influenced by William Blake, Samuel Palmer.  From that point, his drawings became superbly worked etchings which where technically sublime.  His idealised Gothic buildings and landscapes captured an England portraying an idyllic yet fading dream of earlier times

His etchings number but 57 finished plates (usually in small print runs) but they place him among  the most respected etchers of his generation.

My copy of #TheQuay by F. L. Griggs is one of about 40 pressings.  It is not numbered but is inscribed (in pencil) lower left ‘To Walter Millard in gratitude from F L Griggs’ and signed by the artist and dated lower right – both outside the plate marking.  #WalterSamuelMillard was an entrepreneur, naturalist and early conservationist as was Griggs who was an executive member of the National Trust.

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John Rippon, Hymnologist

#JohnRippon (1751-1836) was born in Tiverton, in Devon, educated in Bristol at the Baptist College, and became pastor of the Baptist Church in Carter Lane, Tooley Street in London (later removed to New Park Street)  at the age of 22.  He ministered there until is death.

Psalm and Hymn Tunes John Rippon @ 1810

Psalm and Hymn Tunes John Rippon @ 1810

John Rippon appeared on the church scene at a low point.  For Watts and Doddridge had passed and so had Wesley while those such as Booth, Fuller, Ryland, Foster and Hall were but at the beginning of their ministries.  This lack of influential religious and denominational leaders was mirrored in the field of hymn writing.  Into this void stepped John Rippon, who is best known for ‘A selection of Hymns from the best authors intended as an Appendix to Dr. Watts’s Psalms and Hymns’.  It was published in 1787.

It has been suggested that denominational hymnals were unknown of until Josiah Conder in 1836 (Congregational Hymn Book) but this would forego Wesley’s ‘Collection of Hymns for the use of the People called Methodists’, the ‘Bristol Hymn Book’ 1769, as well as several private collections based solely on Watts’s hymns 1755.

Psalm and Hymn Tunes by John Rippon @ 1810

Psalm and Hymn Tunes by John Rippon @ 1810

Although Rippon was an author and fine musician (he composed an oratorio), he felt the need for professional assistance in the compiling of his tune book.  This work fell to #ThomasWalker (1764-1827).  Walker was an alto from London and composer.  He also wrote the preface to the tune book.  The tune book was published in 1791 – just four years after the publishing of the hymn book.  As with the ‘Olney Hymns’ in an earlier chapter – Rippon’s psalm and hymn book contained lyrics only.  It might have been Ripp0n’s intent to publish a tune book to coincide with his hymn book.  Even if not the sale of both books brought him notoriety and prosperity.

Psalm and Hymn Tunes by John Rippon @ 1810

Psalm and Hymn Tunes by John Rippon @ 1810

The images are of my copy of John Rippon’s Tune Book. I am afraid I cannot tell you which edition it is for I miss a few pages at the beginning ( I think 7th edition – I have looked thru all the pages and can find year date watermarks for only 1809 and 1810).  My first page is as seen above.  It is Thomas Walker’s preface and intro to psalmody.  I also miss two pages containing tune numbers 88 to 95.  There are also a couple of pages missing from the index of tunes at the end of the book.  I must agree with book aficionados for the paper quality is poor and the printing quality at times abysmal.  But even with all that, I am enjoying singing my way through the book.

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William Hogarth Etcher

When it comes to famous artists, certainly, #WilliamHogarth (1697-1764) ranks very high.  An Englishman known for his satirical illustrations and social criticism.  He was fascinated with the street life of London and usually sat sketching at many a city fair capturing the characters which surrounded him.

King Henry VIII and Anna Bullen (Boleyn) etching by William Hogarth - reprint @ 1828

King Henry VIII and Anna Bullen (Boleyn) etching by William Hogarth – reprint @ 1828

Hogarth is best known for his paintings on ‘modern moral subjects’.  One set of paintings was titled ‘Marriage a la Mode’.  He created paintings satirising many contemporary customs of which ‘The Rake’s Progress’ and ‘The Harlot’s Progress’ are the best known.  He was a fine painter but as an artist, he knew that the sale of etchings created from the originals would lead to financial success.  Hogarth was so successful that his works were often plagiarised which brought him into lobbying on behalf of the Copyright Act.

In the etching to the left, we see #KingHenryVIII flirting with #AnnaBullen (Boleyn) while his wife, Catherine of Aragon, is seen behind him seated on the throne.  On the right of the image we see Cardinal #ThomasWolsey.  Anne Boleyn was Catherine of Aragon’s lady-in-waiting.  Henry being desperate for a male heir wanted a divorce which Rome would not allow and this lead, eventually, to the English reformation.

The etching was originally printed using only black ink – the colouring has been added at a later date and does add interest to this fine impression.

Jane and Elizabeth Seymour at Prayer ? - unknown artist @ 1860

Jane and Elizabeth Seymour at Prayer ? – unknown artist @ 1860

And to finish a small oil painting by an unknown artist from around 1860 of (I believe) Jane and Elizabeth Seymour.  Jane became Henry’s third wife.

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Robert Bloomfield – The Rural Bard and Peasant Poet

Those of you who read my blog regularly will know that I am an eclectic collector but even the items I acquired a while back will stretch your concept of art.  I was convinced to buy these pieces because they were hand-drawn and had some age to them.  So.  I bought a small selection of needlework patterns.  They were nicely drawn and at times on re-used paper.  Parts of letters are used and on another the musings of a poet.

Robert Bloomfield - needlework face @ 1800

Robert Bloomfield – needlework face @ 1800

And thus enters poet, RobertBloomfield (1766-1823).  He is no longer a well-known poet but there was a time when he was considered ‘the most important poet of the age’ according to John Clare.

Bloomfield was born in the small community of Honington near Bury St. Edmunds.  He was unfit for farming life and was sent to London to apprentice as a cobbler.  His mother, a teacher, taught him to read and do math.  He loved to read and so he read aloud for is fellow workers sake.  He especially loved the poetry section of the ‘The London Magazine.’

He had his first poem published, The Village Girl, in 1786 but fame came with the publishing of The Farmer’s Boy in 1800.  Translated into several languages, it sold across Europe, America, and further afield.  It brought him fame and wealth.  Although he continued to produce and publish poems, he never again was able to repeat his initial success and from a poet with worldwide appreciation he gradually declined into a life of deprivation and died in poverty.

Robert Bloomfield verses from 'Richard and Kate' @ 1800

Robert Bloomfield verses from ‘Richard and Kate’ @ 1800

And so to the reverse of the piece of paper.  Here we find verses 24 to 33 of Bloomfield’s poem ‘Richard and Kate’.  Hand-written and reading exactly as the published version (1802) except for verse 29 in which the published version reads ‘And sons who shook her wither’d hand’ were my copy reads ‘And sons who shook her by the hand’.  And I am afraid my copy is not helpful in verse 30 either, as to the word which has been rendered ‘fairings’ (questionable) but could possibly be read ‘jarrings’ (still unclear).

Robert Bloomfield - watermark on paper @ 1800

Robert Bloomfield – watermark on paper @ 1800

And so not to make this post too long, I have included images of the watermark (the last number is missing but the 180 are there and thus I say around 1800) and two verses at a time for those who migth like a closer look at the writing.

Robert Bloomfield 'Richard and Kate' verses 24 & 25 @ 1800

Robert Bloomfield ‘Richard and Kate’ verses 24 & 25 @ 1800

Robert Bloomfield 'Richard and Kate' verses 26 & 27 @ 1800

Robert Bloomfield ‘Richard and Kate’ verses 26 & 27 @ 1800

Robert Bloomfield 'Richard and Kate' verses 28 & 29 @ 1800

Robert Bloomfield ‘Richard and Kate’ verses 28 & 29 @ 1800

Robert Bloomfield 'Richard and Kate' verses 30 & 31 @ 1800

Robert Bloomfield ‘Richard and Kate’ verses 30 & 31 @ 1800

Robert Bloomfield 'Richard and Kate' verses 32 & 33 @ 1800

Robert Bloomfield ‘Richard and Kate’ verses 32 & 33 @ 1800

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Olney Hymns

One might consider that today’s topic has little to do with art but in fact the book I wish to focus on today is the combining of two great artists, both poets and hymn writers.  The #OlneyHymns is made up completely of works by #JohnNewton (1725-1807) and his great friend #WilliamCowper (1731-1800).

Olney Hymns by John Newton & William Cowper @ 1797

Olney Hymns by John Newton & William Cowper @ 1797

Compiled over a number of years the hymn book was initially published in 1779 and the hymns contained therein were meant for the use of Newton’s rural parish.  His parish was not a wealthy one and most of his parishioners were uneducated.

Newton, himself, was an only child  and was self-educated.  He rose to become a sea captain and at one time was involved in the capturing of slave ships.  A violent storm while at sea revived Newton’s belief in God and he entered into the priesthood and was appointed priest at Olney in 1764.  Here he remained for 16 years until he became rector at St Mary Woolnoth in London were he served for a further 28 years.

Olney Hymns by John Newton & William Cowper @ 1797

Olney Hymns by John Newton & William Cowper @ 1797

William Cowper was a well educated son of an Anglican clergyman.  As an adult, he suffered from depression and was entered into an asylum.  During his stay in the asylum, he was visited by his cousin Martin Madan, and Evangelical  preacher.  Newton found an enthusiasm for Evangelicalism and when he moved to Olney in 1767, he became fast friends with John Newton.

Olney Hymns by John Newton & William Cowper @ 1797

Olney Hymns by John Newton & William Cowper @ 1797

The hymns themselves are an expression of Newton’s and Cowper’s personal faith.  They expound the tenets of the Evangelical faith – the depravity of man, conversion, atonement, activism, Biblical inerrancy, and the belief in life after death.  The singing of hymns had become an established feature in the Evangelical church’s expression of devotion and worship by the 1760s.  Of the 348 hymns Cowper penned just 66.  A small number – mostly due to his ill health.  There is no evidence that either Newton or Cowper composed music for their hymns.  This likely means that they were sung to well known psalm tunes and possibly even the odd folk tune.  Over the years certain hymns have become linked to individual melodies.  Such is the case for Newton’s ‘Amazing Grace’ which since 1830 is joined to a Scottish?Irish melody.

Olney Hymns by John Newton & William Cowper @ 1797

Olney Hymns by John Newton & William Cowper @ 1797

I am at present enjoying reading these hymns – many for the first time and in the near future will visit the Cowper and Newton Museum in Olney – it’s only a hour away.

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Nicolaes Pieterszoon Berchem – A Dutch Master

As we begin a new year, I would like to introduce you to an artist who once was widely known and respected.   #NicolaesPieterszoonBerchem ( 1620-1683) was a highly esteemed and prolific painter of pastoral landscapes, populated with mythological or biblical figures.  It was said that he produced some 850 paintings along with 80 etchings and some 500 drawings.  A number of paintings have been re-attributed to other artists.

Washerwoman with Child, Cattle, Sheep, and Dog - etching by Nicolaes Pieterszoon Berchem @ 1650

Washerwoman with Child, Cattle, Sheep, and Dog – etching by Nicolaes Pieterszoon Berchem @ 1650

I acquired the etching to the left this past week.  It is a fine example of the ‘Italianate’ style which portrays idealised rural scenes, with hills, mountains, cliffs, trees, animals, and peasants.   In the top left of the etching can be seen Berchem’s name as well as ‘delin’ followed by an ‘f’.  These letters mean that Berchem did both the original drawing of the image as well as the etching made from that drawing.  I’m not sure what the ‘e 2’ in the top right corner means but it may relate to which volume and page where it might be found in.

Berchem was so good that some of his fellow artists asked him to add figures and animals into their paintings.  He also became a respected teacher of painting and a number of his students are well known in their own right.  A man who well deserves his reputation as a master artist and who should be better known now-a-days.

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