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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Needlework

I will admit, right at the offset, that I know little about the art of needlework. I did cross stitch and crewel work when I was in university as a relaxation but other than that and mending holes/tears and replacing buttons I am a novice.  But I have come across a few pieces which I would like to present.

Memorial Needlework to Werther - unknown artist @ 1800

Memorial Needlework to Werther – unknown artist @ 1800

We begin with a piece which is both watercolour and needlework.   It is finely worked in silk tread on a silk ground quite a regular thing in the 1800’s.  The work portrays Charlotte as she stands in front of Werther’s grave.  It is inspired by ‘The Sorrows of Young Werther’ – a collection of letters by Werther to his friend Wilhelm about his visit to Wahlheim where he meets and falls in love with Charlotte despite her betrothal to another.

Child with Rabbits and Birds - needlework by unknown artist @ 19th century

Child with Rabbits and Birds – needlework by unknown artist @ 19th century

Now to a finely worked image of a young lady in tune with the nature which surrounds her.  Once again we see the combination of watercolour and needlework.  In past times, it was part of a young ladies education to learn a musical instrument and to do needlework.

Fashionable Lady - needlework by unknown artist @ 19th century

Fashionable Lady – needlework by unknown artist @ 19th century

Although artworks like these are decorative they are useful in other ways.  Needlework such as these are a reflection of the fashions of the time in which they were created.  We see ladies in gowns and their accoutrements which adorned them.

Gold thread work by unknown artist

Gold thread work by unknown artist

We might also consider the ornamental gold thread work which appeared on many uniforms and adorned much church fabric.  The gold thread is laid on top off it’s ground and attached with fine threads’.

We could consider the making of a ladies token handkerchief which is made with her hair to decorate making the kerchief a sensual token – an intimate gift to a lover or husband.

Handkerchief Token by unknown lady - with human hair @ 19th century

Handkerchief Token by unknown lady – with human hair @ 19th century

Just a few pieces to show the wide variety of an art form which we see very little of today.  The dedication and love which is displayed in these pieces is worthy of admiration let alone the wonderful techniques.  An art form which I, certainly, have come to a greater appreciation of.

 

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Robert Newton Hurley Artist

In a previous chapter, I wrote about living in the fens under it’s vast expansive sky.  It gives one a feeling of being small and insignificant.  It is why some people do not appreciate living in the fens.

#RobertNewtonHurley (1894-1980) is an artist who’s landscapes describe the vastness of  a land which he came to love.

A Prairie Dawn watercolour by Robert Newton Hurley @ 1958

A Prairie Dawn watercolour by Robert Newton Hurley @ 1958

Robert Newton Hurley was born in Bromley-by-Bow, London, England; immigrated to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan in 1923; he died in Victoria, British Columbia.

He apprenticed as a printer-compositor until his mid 20s.  WWI saw him serving with the Suffolk Regiment from 1917 to 1920 after which he emigrated to Canada (1923).  Robert Hurley lived through the Great Depression and it was during this time that he started to paint.  Being unemployed, Hurley was unable to afford artist paper or painting supplies so he began painting using berry juices and a toothbrush on newsprint.  He had no formal training in the arts but living in London he frequently visited the museums and galleries in the city.  From 1933-35 he took night classes from established artist Ernest Lindner.  He quickly became known in Saskatchewan and other parts of Canada for his treatment of the prairie landscape.

The Hurley watercolour in my collection is typical of his style.  Hurley focused on prairie landscapes in which grain elevators, receding roads, fence lines, and telephone poles are integral.  His use of colour and stylised objects became his trademark.  Hurley has been called Saskatchewan’s “sky painter” for his effective use of watercolour to illuminate the prairie sky.  Hurley’s portrayals of prairie light and space as well as his flat, linear treatment of the landscape are expressed using broad colour washes and a linearity of line.  So typical and so beautiful.

 

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Christian Karl Josias von Bunsen

This past week, I picked up a stipple engraving of #ChristianKarlJosiasvonBunsen (1791-1860).  You would be quite correct in presuming that I did not know who the engraving was of especially since it did not show his name.  I acquired this stipple engraving because of it’s artistic quality.

Christian Karl Josias von Bunsen - stipple engraving by JH Robinson after G Richmond @ 1859

Christian Karl Josias von Bunsen – stipple engraving by JH Robinson after G Richmond @ 1859

It was published by #JosephHogarth of 5 Haymarket, London on April 17th, 1859.  There is a black and gilt frame often used for displaying engravings which is called the ‘Hogarth frame’ which takes it’s name from Joseph Hogarth the frame-maker and not William Hogarth the artist.

The engraving is taken from a drawing by #GeorgeRichmond (1809-1896), who is known as a portrait painter to the British gentry, nobility, and royalty.

The stipple engraving is by #JohnHenryRobinson (1796-1871).  Art historians believed that there were two persons with almost the same name. A JH Richardson and an H Richardson.  After my reading, I lean toward believing that this is one and the same person.  Robinson was influential in getting engravers admitted into the Royal Academy.  Robinson engraved portraits and illustrated books and engraved the plate for the first Belgian postage stamp.

Christian von Bunsen - stipple engraving by JH Robinson @ 1859

Christian von Bunsen – stipple engraving by JH Robinson @ 1859

Baron von Bunsen - stipple engraving by JH Robinson @ 1859

Baron von Bunsen – stipple engraving by JH Robinson @ 1859

Baron von Bunsen was a theologian and Prussian diplomat.  He founded the German ‘Evangelische Gemeinde’ as well as preparing it’s liturgy.  He represented King Frederick III and IV.  He was the Prussian minister in London where he became a fan of Anglicanism.  He was influential in establishing the Anglo-Prussian Jerusalem bishopric.  He authored several religious and historical books, none of which are of great importance today.

 

The close-ups show the wonderful detail in this work.  A superb engraver with a deftness touch.

 

 

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The French Nude

Today, our focus is a piece which involves two French artists.  The creator of the original painting, #JeanJacquesHenner (1829-1905) and the creator of the lithograph #JulesArmandHanriot (1853-1930).  Henner began his training when he was 12 years old. He debuted at the Paris Salon in 1863 and regularly exhibited for 40 years.  To begin with, a painter of biblical scenes and portraits, Henner is best known today for his portrayal of the nude female body.  His nudes are endowed with cream coloured skin and russet hair and he frequently set them against a draped blue cloth.  The Jean-Jacques Henner Museum can be visited in Paris and contains over 1500 canvases and drawings.

Weeping Nymph in Blue Cloth - lithograph by J A Hanriot after J J Henner @ 1900

Weeping Nymph in Blue Cloth – lithograph by J A Hanriot after J J Henner @ 1900

The lithograph displayed was created by Hanriot from Henner’s painting.  Hanriot was a fine artist in his own right.  He, also, was a superb lithographer and producer of prints.  He spent most of his artistic career creating for magazines and books but the plate shown here, I believe, was created for his own pleasure and enrichment.  The chiaroscuro or contrast between the milky white skin of the model and the dark of the forest focuses ones’ eyes on the weeping nymph.  While the fine shading produces subtle, imperceptible transitioning between colours and tones (called sfumato) beguiling the eye.  No hard lines delineate between light and dark – producing a vision as if an illusion or dream.  Setting forth a softness and tenderness of body and spirit which draws one in even deeper to look upon her sorrow and sadness and perchance to offer tenderness and consolation.

Off the bottom right corner of the lithograph it reads in pencil ‘apres Henner’ and below that J A Hanriot’s signature.   In the bottom left corner there reads ‘S 6’ which I take as State 6 for this plate.  I do not know if there was a limited run created from the plates.  The only other image I have seen of #WeepingNymphinBlueCloth is of Henner’s original painting.

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