Finding Beauty

I pick up pieces because they say something to me. I find beauty in them and yet they most likely will have limited monetary value. This past week, I acquired three items, which I think are good pieces of art, contain beauty, and are done by little known artists, if at all.

Odin, bloodhound – charcoal drawing after Landseer @ 1875

A fine charcoal drawing of a bloodhound after #EdwinHenryLandseer. The dogs name was Odin. It is initialed lower right.

The second is a small oil painting of Salisbury Cathedral, which was created around 1880 and is signed on the verso ‘Arnold’. A piece in the footsteps of John Constable.

Salisbury Cathedral – oil painting by Arnold @ 1880

The final piece is actually two and were found on the inside the front and back of a bookcover. I believe they are examples of early wallpaper. In their own way, they are quite beautiful. The same pattern with varied colours giving a completely different feeling to each.

Inside of front and rear book binding – fragments of wallpaper
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Jean Baptiste Camille Corot artist

#JeanBaptisteCamilleCorot (1796-1875) was an artist who spanned two worlds. The first being the neo-classical tradition and then the emerging field of Impressionism. He was a landscape, portrait painter who also was a proficient etcher/engraver. He was admired by many of his peers. Artists like Monet, Degas, and Picasso were among his admirers.

From my collection, I have two pieces for us to look at. The first is an engraving, which I have not found another image of, and, since it has been cut to the image edge, I have no information as to the artist or publisher although it is signed Corot in the plate lower right. It is a very fine etching with hand colouring. A pastoral scene with Diana and nymphs bathing, perhaps? The Corot oil painting hangs in the Museum of Fine Arts St. Petersburg.

Three bathers near a wooded point – engraving by/after Corot @ 1870
Detail of ‘Three bathers near a wooded point’ – engraving by/after Corot @ 1870

The second piece is a heliogravure by artist C. Fitzgerald which comes from around 1890 to 1910. It is an image entitled – Recollection of Mortefontaine ‘Paysage’.

Recollection of Mortefontaine, ‘Paysage’ – heliogravure by C. Fitzgerald @ 1890-1910
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Henry Scott Tuke artist

We travel to Cornwall to visit with artist #HenryScottTuke (1858-1929). Tuke was primarily an impressionist painter, both in oil and watercolour, as well as a photographer. He is best known for his paintings of nude boys and young men but there is little sexual tension in those representations and genitals were almost never displayed. Tuke trained at the Slade School of Art under the tutelage of Alphonse Legros and Sir Edward Poynter. He became a member of the #NewlynSchool. Tuke employed rash/rough brush strokes and a broad and vibrant colour palette. He loved to paint outdoors and was a master at the depiction of the effect of light on the objects it touched.

Tuke painted portraits, still lifes, landscapes and was also a fine marine painter of ships in full sail. Tuke had an interesting habit of putting different heads on the bodies he painted making it difficult to say who sat for what picture. Tuke was successful which allowed him to travel extensively but mainly to France, Italy and the West Indies.

Flowers in a Basket with Ribbons – watercolour initialled HST (Henry Scott Tuke?) date unknown

The above watercolour is initialled HST just beneath the base of the basket. I believe for Henry Scott Tuke. He was not known for still lifes but did create several of them. This one is created using the rough/free brush technique he was known for and the varied/fresh colour palette. A nice piece although somewhat atypical.

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Sybil Blunt artist

Today, we travel to Winchester to visit with artist #SybilBlunt (1880-1952). Few would have heard of her, but we can look back and admire her achievements. Sybil Blunt was a painter, a watercolourist, an engraver, and a draughtswoman. We most likely have never seen any of her works but we can see, possibly, her greatest and most admired work.

After the war, the National Federation of Women’s Institutes asked Sybil Blunt to design a commemorative work to celebrate the work done by women during the war. Every county in England and Wales was asked to stitch a section of the tapestry. Over 400 women were involved with the production of these pieces. As the 15 sections were finished; from across the country they were sent to Winchester to be assembled into a whole. This was completed in October 1952, some 9 months prior to Sybil Blunts’ passing. This epic and historically important work can now, still be seen at the #ImperialWarMuseum in London.

The Close, Winchester Cathedral – watercolour by Sybil Blunt @ 1932

I have one piece by Sybil Blunt in my collection. A fine view of Winchester Cathedral’s Close created in 1932. A beautiful tribute to a fine artist.

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Neil Cox artist

As with last week’s artist, we visit another painter of avian life. #NeilCox (1955- ) was born in London and loved to draw from his youth. He read law at university but turned to his first love to pursue a career as an avian/wildlife painter.

Great Tits – watercolour by Neil Cox

His formative years were influenced by artists such as #ArchibaldThorburn and #RobertBateman. Neil works in either oils or watercolours. From looking at his work, one would be surprised to learn that Neil is totally self-taught.

Blue Tits – watercolour by Neil Cox

I have two pieces by Neil Cox in my collection. Both are beautifully painted and display a pair of birds in each work. A wonderful combination of colour and exactness of execution produce a vivid and vibrant presentation of real life.

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Priscilla Barrett artist

Today, we look at a local artist whose speciality was the portrayal of mammals. #PriscillaBarrett (Prill)(1944-2021) was born in Cape Town. From her youth, she was a lover of the natural world and the animals that inhabit it. She graduated from Cape Town University, married, and in 1969, moved to Cambridge, England. Both she and her husband worked at Cambridge University’s sub-department of Animal Behaviour at Madingley. Here, her skill at illustration was nutured and matured. She started with illustrating colleagues’ papers and articles, but this quickly developed to the illustration of books.

Crested Servaline Genet – drawing/watercolour by Priscilla Barrett

Prill was the main artist for the Encyclopaedia of Mammals, the only artist for Harper Collins Guide to European Mammals and its companion European Mammals. Three huge endeavours and yet only 3 from a long list of works, which she illustrated. She truly was a master of illustration. Wonderfully combining accuracy in detail, palette, and expression to bring forth a beauty to rival reality.

From my collection comes the sumptuous portrayal of the Crested Genet.

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An unsigned drawing

This past week, I picked up a small drawing titled ‘The Happy Child’. It is done in pencil/graphite. I think the child portrayed is meant to be #Cupid. We can see the end of his bow showing from under his robe. He reclines leaning on one arm, while in his other hand is a doll with which he is playing. The idea of Loves’ playing with mankind might be what is being displayed here.

The Happy Child – graphite drawing by/after Louisa or Fanny Corbaux @ 1851

The drawing in an #Italianate style is rendered superbly, with excellent toning/shading. Being unsigned, I can not attribute it to any artist, but the paper informs me that it is certainly 19c if not 18c. The child appears to hold a ‘Punch’ doll from Punch and Judy. The earliest that these stories appeared in England was 1662. Punch is based on the 16th century Italian ‘commedia dell’arte’ Neapolitan character of Pulcinella – anglicised to #Punchinello.

After more research, I have found a lithograph of this image by reknowned artist #LouisaCorbaux (1808- 1852). This might mean that this drawing could be by either Louisa or her more famous sister #FannyCorbaux (1812-1883).

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Hand written

Every once and a while I come across a hand written note book, diary, autograph book  or recipe/cook book and today I would like to look at one such item.

The autograph book contains a number of drawings which are done by several different people along with messages for a young miss by name of Mary Davies. The dates on these items all come from around 1917 to 1919 but it is the very first item in this book which will possibly be of most interest.

Thistledown Fairies drawn by W L Munt @ 1917

The best drawing is the image of the #ThistledownFairies. Copied in 1917 from the Alfred Ernest Walter George Aris original which was published in “Blackie’s Children’s Annual”

War time advertisement – drawn by N Munt

We move to a variation of a wartime ad for frugality. Ithink it is quite cheeky thinking that dad might even remotely be ok with the idea. Once again a nicely executed drawing with a twist.

Finally, we come to the first item in the booklet. A salutation in rhyme each line beginning with the letters of her name.

Salutation/dedication to Mary Davies by RCB

This salutation/dedication is the best poetry in the booklet. To my reading it is well thought out and reads very well but it is the author’s initials which are to me the thing which raises an interesting idea. This being on the first page and undated might mean that it was written earlier than 1917. If so, I might venture a guess (or hope) of it being prior to 1915. If this were the case, the initials for the author become very intriguing for they might be those of #RupertChawnerBrooke (1887-1915) a British wartime poet. But so far I have not been able to tie Mary to Rupert in any solid/factual way. So, maybe I will just remain in hopefulness.

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A Musical Opportunity

Today, I thought I would wander into town and visit a couple of charity shops to see what I might find. I am always pleased when I find things relating to Ely Cathedral. Well, today, I found two part-books of music; not vocal but instrumental. They are for the viola and the violoncello. Volumes 9 and 10 of some set. Each book contains music by the composers Joseph Haydn, Charles Avison, Antonio Kammell, and Gasparo Fritz.

Instrumental part for Three Quartets by Joseph Haydn

The #Haydn quartets are from Opus 76. They were originally published in 1799. I have the parts for the first three trios; “1 – The Jack-in-the-box, 2 – Fifths, and 3 – Emporer. The watermark on the copies I have reads 1819. They were published by #MuzioClementi at 26 Cheapside, London.

Part book for Twelve Concertos in quartet by Charles Avison

The next composer is #CharlesAvison, a Newcastle upon Tyne. The books contain the instrument parts for concertos 7 to 12, opus 9; written in 1766. The watermarks show that these are possible a first edition.

Divertimento for quartet by Antonio Kammell

The third composer is #AntonioKammell (1730-1784). He was a close friend of JC Bach. There are no watermarks on this hand-made paper, so, I can only guess that it might be a possible first edition. The paper itself is interesting. It has an odd colour when held to the light and no chain lines.

Sei Sonatefor 4 instruments by Gasparo Fritz @ 1742

Our last composer is #GasparoFritz (1716-1783) and his set of 6 sonatas. Once again, the watermark tells me these are a very early imprint, most likely corresponding with the 1742 publishing date.

Annotation from sonata # 6

I finish with an image of the notation from sonata # 6. Hope you enjoy.

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Artist Ben Ripper

We are going down the road to nearby Swaffham in Norfolk to visit with artist #BenRipper. Swaffham was made famous in the Stephen Fry television series ‘Kingdom’. Ben was a local character. Ben was, of course, artist, as well as local historian and, finally, gents’ barber. His shop window regularly displayed his artwork.

Market Cross, Swaffham, Norfolk – ink drawing with wash by Ben Ripper

I have one artwork by Ben Ripper in my collection. It shows the market cross in Swaffham town center. Nicely executed,Ben has a fine eye for proportions and architecture. An image from a bygone time beautifully rendered.

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