The Duenna a Comic Opera

We continue last chapters musical theme by looking at a piece of music in the folio I acquired.  It comes from an opera called #TheDuenna originally composed in 1775.  Compiled as a three act opera by composers #ThomasLinley the elder and Thomas Linley the younger to a libretto by #RichardBrinsleySheridan.

My Native Land Good Night - poem by Byron - music by Mr. Sinclair @ 1820

My Native Land Good Night – poem by Byron – music by Mr. Sinclair @ 1820

The Duenna was considered the most popular opera of it’s day.  It was admired by Samuel Johnson, William Hazlitt and Lord Byron – who called claimed it ‘the best opera ever written’.  In London alone, it had some 256 performances in 25 years to 1800 and another 196 up to 1851.

The piece in my folio is a setting of Byron’s poem #MyNativeLandGoodNight which comes from “Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage’, Canto  the First, IV.  The Pilgrimage was published between 1812 to 1818. This means that this sheet music comes from around then.  I have also found that Mr. Sinclair was certainly involved with the performance of the opera from 1820 on and possibly before 1820.  What I have not found is a score in which this song appears.  It was not in the original opera but then it was a pastiche and might have been modified as to the personnel available.  It might also be one of the reasons that Byron was so effusive in his praise.  I have found this poem set to music by a Miss Fowler but other than this setting none from the correct era.  There is no credit given to the composer of the song other than that it was adapted to this ‘beautiful air’.  A number of old Scottish and Welsh airs were used in the opera.  If anybody recognises it, please let me know.

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Arts Combined

This week, a friend at a shop I visit saved a couple of books for me to look at.  I didn’t purchase the books but I did leave with something that he did have for me but it was in such dire shape that he thought I would most likely turn it down.  It was in rough shape and if I purchased items with the idea of re-sale value then this was most likely a loser.  But I don’t and it had for me some pluses that I hope you will also enjoy.

Jenny Jones Welsh ballad composed by John Parry @ 1810?

Jenny Jones Welsh ballad composed by John Parry @ 1810?

A folio of music, separate pieces bound together.  Well loved and oft used as was visible from the rough and torn edges.

I must admit that I took this folio not so much for the music but for several images which were combined with the music.

Let’s begin with the edition of Welsh ballad #JennyJones composed by #JohnParry (#BarddAlaw) with lyrics by #CharlesMathews in 1804.  The artwork on the cover is unsigned so I cannot credit it but it is of good quality.  The other interesting part of the cover is the signature of the composer Mr. Parry.  I believe it was etched into the original plate from which the cover was printed. A beautiful piece of music and age has for me made the paper more beautiful.  To touch paper of this fine quality, to smell the ink, to admire the artistry of the printer and artists design.

God Save The Queen - published by J. Duff @ 1837

God Save The Queen – published by J. Duff @ 1837

And we will go to a version of #GodSaveTheQueen published by J. Duff around 1837.  This would have been published right around the time when the words went from God save the King to God save the Queen.  Once again the the quality of the printers workmanship is admirable and I also love that the plate marks are visible on the paper.  Enjoy.  Some other pieces next chapter.

God Save The Queen published by J. Duff @ 1837

God Save The Queen published by J. Duff @ 1837


God Save The Queen published by J. Duff @ 1837

God Save The Queen published by J. Duff @ 1837

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Raphael Tuck & Sons

For those who recognise the company name #RaphaelTuck&Sons, one would expect this chapter to be about postcards.  But it’s not.  Surprise.  Tuck & Sons was one of the most innovative companies of it’s era.  Founded by husband and wife team, Raphael and Ernestine Tuck in 1866.  It began as a little shop on Union Street in Bishopsgate, London.  He an artistic perfectionist and she an astute businesswoman revolutionised business practice.

Irises by unknown artist – entered into Raphael Tuck & Sons amateur Art Competition 1890 – on English oak panel

The Tucks went from selling and framing prints and artworks to printing postcards.  In 1880, they began a competition for artists to supply artworks which would then be used as images for their postcards.

Ten years later, in 1890, the Tucks created a #competition for amateur artists and art students.  Over 20,000 artists from across the globe entered and from these nearly 9,000 pictures were sent to London to be judged.  The competition was judged by Sir John Everett Millais, Marcus Stone, G H Broughton, and J J Solomon.  Some 2,500 were chosen – separated into categories done over 9 days – at which point the judges took three days to then select the award winners.  As with all competitions there were some differing opinions as to whether the winner was better than some of the other entrants.  The winner in the door panel classification was a design of apple blossom and butterflies.

Raphael Tuck & Sons Amateur Art Competition One Penny Stamp @ 1890

Raphael Tuck & Sons Amateur Art Competition One Penny Stamp @ 1890

The #Irises painting presented here may have been entered into the door panel class .  It bears the Tuck & Sons stamp on the rear.  I believe there were different colours and values of stamps which may co-relate to where in the world the pieces originated (supposition only).

I add a few close-ups of the individual irises for your enjoyment. I love the way the varnished has cracked (known as craquelure) on top of the watercolour paint.  To me, it adds a dimension to the image which would not have been there when first painted.

As an aside, the year 1890 was also the year in which van Gogh painted his ‘Irises’.  Seems to have been a very popular flower.  Beautiful and well worth creating an image of.

Iris by unknown artist @ 1890

Iris by unknown artist @ 1890

Iris 2 by unknown artist @ 1890

Iris 2 by unknown artist @ 1890

Iris 3 unknown artist @ 1890

Iris 3 unknown artist @ 1890

Iris 4 unknown artist @ 1890

Iris 4 unknown artist @ 1890

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Art of Willy Pogany

One might be forgiven for not recognising the name #WilliamAndrew(Willy)Pogany (1882-1955) but once one sees his artwork he becomes very memorable.  Earlier this week, I acquired a copy of #TheRimeOfTheAncientMariner by #SamuelTaylorColeridge.

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner - title page by Willy Pogany @ 1910

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner – title page by Willy Pogany @ 1910

Pogany was born Vilmos Andreas Pogany in Hungary and was a prolific illustrator of children’s books.  He and is family moved to New York in 1914 where he resided until is death.  Pogany is known for his pen and ink drawings of myths and fables.  Much of Pogany’s work could be labelled Art Nouveau.  His artistic style draws heavily on fairy-tales.  Often dragons, sprites, nymphs, pixies, mermaids and mythical animals featured heavily in is depictions.  Exactness of botanical details was also important to Pogany.  Pogany loved to use subtle and warm pastels, watercolours, oils, but especially pen and ink.  His work is detailed and confident,and his pen and ink pieces portray the true depth of his talent.

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner - by Willy Pogany @ 1910

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner – by Willy Pogany @ 1910

The Ancient Mariner is recognised as his masterpiece. Each page has at least two colours, sometimes with gilt and intricate borders.  Initial letters are elaborate at the beginning of every line.  Along with the illuminated title page, 20 colour plates, second colour through black-and-white plates, flowing calligraphic text, and the pen-and-ink drawings throughout the pages make this a classic piece among Pogany’s works.

A little twist in regards to my book.  The original run in 1910 was comprised of some 525 copies which were numbered and signed by Pogany himself.  In my book on consecutive pages there is an embossed stamp which reads ‘For Review With Compliments’.  This, now-a-days, means that this book would have been published prior to the first run for critics, reviewers (ARC – advanced reader copies).  These pre-run books were generally more expensive to print due to the small number printed.  The book might also not be the finished publication – due to changes suggested by those readers and critics.

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner - embossed review stamp

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner – embossed review stamp

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner illustrated by Willy Pogany @ 1910

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner illustrated by Willy Pogany @ 1910

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner illustrated by Willy Pogany @ 1910

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner illustrated by Willy Pogany @ 1910

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William Hunter Artist

#WilliamHunter (1899-1963) is an artist listed in two countries.  He was born on the Isle of Mann (Scotland) but emigrated to Australia when he was eleven.  So William Hunter is listed both in Scotland and Australia.

Brumbies with Foal etching by William Hunter

Brumbies with Foal etching by William Hunter

There is little information on William Hunter online but he seems to have specialised in etching with aquatint.  I have called this image ‘#Brumbies with Foal’.  There is no title to be seen.  It is signed lower right.  The sheet has been glued to the matte (title may be behind matte and there is no number for the run or sheet).  I have not found this image on line yet.

The #etching is of sublime quality. the line, hatching, and stipple etching are combined to a superb end.

Brumbies with Foal2 etching by William Hunter

Brumbies with Foal2 etching by William Hunter


Brumbies with Foal3 etching by William Hunter

Brumbies with Foal3 etching by William Hunter

There is no aquatinting in regards to this print.  Finesse, lightness of line, exactness of image resulting in a beautiful etching.  He truly deserves to be better known.

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Jacobus Houbraken Etcher

#JacobusHoubraken (1698-1780) was the son of Dutch painter and writer Arnold Houbraken.  He was one of ten children, several of which followed their father into the arts.

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Jacob van Hoorn etching by Jacobus Houbraken @ 1734

Jacobus Houbraken was possibly the pre-eminent Dutch etcher of his time.  He excelled in portraiture and to today his works have rarely been bettered.  There is a softness and delicacy of touch leading to a beauty of finish.  The execution of line proceeding from a skill of drawing expressing a fine sense of reality.  Jacobus was a prolific engraver and his images of English characters found in his ‘Collection of Illustrious Persons’ published in London is likely his best known work.

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Jacoba van Selstede etching by Jacobus Houbraken @ 1735

This pair of etchings show

#JacobvanHoorn and his fourth wife, Jacoba van Selstede.  He was 97 years old when he married Jacoba who was but 23 years old.  They certainly display the amazing skill and talent which Houbraken had.

A short update on a charcoal drawing in my collection by another Dutchman, #JohanvanMastenbroek.  The drawing is signed and dated and shows a canal scene.  I now know that the scene is called ‘Sluisje bij Winter – A View of Schiedam in Winter’. the oil painting which was produced from the charcoal sketch was recently sold by Christie’s in London. I will put both the drawing and the finished oil up.

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Sluisje bij Winter – a View of Schiedam in Winter – charcoal drawing by Johann van Mastenbroek @ Feb. 1922

Related image

Sluisje bij Winter – A View of Schiedam in Winter – oil painting by Johann van Mastenbroek @ 1922

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Sir Frank Short Engraver

Art is made up of many different fields – oils, watercolour, graphite, pastel, etching, mezzotint, etc – that at any one time one aspect will be in the fore while another has receded.  Certainly, #SirFrankShort, revived the field of mezzotint and aquatint engraving.

Dawn, St Mary, Redcliffe, bristol etching and aquatint by Sir Frank Short

Dawn, St Mary, Redcliffe, Bristol etching and aquatint by Sir Frank Short

Sir Frank Short (1857-1945) was both artist and teacher of printmaking.  Short was educated as a civil engineer but chose engraving to leave his mark in history.  Specializing in mezzotint and aquatint allowed Short to begin his career by copying and imitating the works of JMW Turner.  Short received high praise for is engravings and this possibly because he himself was a fine watercolourist.  This may have led him to be a sympathetic engraver of landscapes, especially those after David Cox and Peter de Wint.

Hegereiterhaus (Gamekeepers ouse) pen and ink drawing by Beckmann @ 1909

Hegereiterhaus (Gamekeepers ouse)
pen and ink drawing by Beckmann @ 1909

It is serendipitous at times to find new information on pieces in my collection.  A few weeks back, I posted a chapter on a number of etchings of the town of Rothenburg.  This led me to a house, also in Rothenburg, known as the #Hegereiterhaus (Gamekeepers House).  I have a pen and ink drawing of this house signed by Beckmann.  Not likely by the very famous Max Beckmann but?

I have also been studying a graphite drawing of #JerusalemfromtheMountofOlives’.

Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives - graphite drawing by unknown artist @ 1820?

Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives – graphite drawing by unknown artist @ 1820?

I had dated this drawing to 1850-1870 by the number of graves which can be seen in front of the city wall.  The curious thing which I have noted is that if one looks at the left hand edge of the city the wall which should (I think) jut out from where the domed building appears then run across the terrain back and up to the distant towers on the high distant hill is not there. This may mean that the drawing maybe from around 1820.  I continue to research where this wall should be and when it should have been.

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Thomas Gaugain Stipple Engraver

Today, we travel to France home of engraver #ThomasGaugain (1756-1812).  Supposedly born in Abbeville, France, Gaugain would have moved to England as a child with his family.  But baptismal records show the baptism of a John Thomas Gaugain at St. Anne’s, Soho, London in April of 1756.  Gaugain died in London in 1812.

Country Girl of Tuscany - stipple engraving by Thomas Gaugain after James Northcote @ 1794

Country Girl of Tuscany – stipple engraving by Thomas Gaugain after James Northcote @ 1794

Gaugain studied engraving under Richard Houston but began his artistic career as a painter.  By 1780, Gaugain had dedicated himself to engraving employing the stipple method.  Gaugain was one of the best stipple engravers of his period and produced a large number of engravings.

The two stipple engravings in my collection are meant as a pair (have not found the reason for this assumption).  Both images are after #JamesNorthcote (1746-1831), who was a portrait painter.  Northcote studied portraiture under Joshua Reynolds.  Northcote was a prolific artist producing about 2,000 pieces. He was elected into the Royal Academy in 1787.

Blind Girl of the Environs of Rome - stipple engraving by Thomas Gaugain after James Northcote @ 1794

Blind Girl of the Environs of Rome – stipple engraving by Thomas Gaugain after James Northcote @ 1794

The colour stipple engravings are printed from a single plate with some additional hand colouring added.  A proof to the supreme artistry of Gaugain.

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David Roberts Artist

If one were to begin collecting lithographs, one could do worse than beginning with #DavidRoberts (1796-1864) lithographs created by #LouisHaghe (1806-1885).  Roberts is known for his depictions of Egypt, the Near East and the Holy Land.

Grand Pportico of the Temple of Philae, Nubia lithograph after David Roberts by Louis Haghe @ 1847

Grand Portico of the Temple of Philae, Nubia lithograph after David Roberts by Louis Haghe @ 1847

After apprenticing as a painter and decorator during the day and studying art at night, Roberts eventually found work as a painter of sets and scenery for theatres.  The Pantheon in Edinburgh and the Theatre Royal in Glasgow came before a move to London to work at the Coburg (Old Vic) Theatre.  By 1829, Roberts was making his living as an artist – one with a fine reputation.  Roberts travelled to France, the Low Countries, and Spain producing paintings and sketches some of which were reproduced in lithograph.

Dendera lithograph after David Roberts by Louis Haghe @ 1847

Dendera lithograph after David Roberts by Louis Haghe @ 1847

It was JMW Turner who convinced Roberts to become a full-time artist and the result was Robert’s travelling to Egypt.  The intent was to create drawings and sketches which would later become paintings and lithographs available to the public.  A vast number of drawings and watercolour sketches were produced and on his return to England a collaboration with lithographer Louis Haghe was established.  The lavishly illustrated plates were created between 1842 and 1849.  The images of Egypt and the Holy Land were quite popular in Britain and as luck would have it, Roberts published prior to early photographers also publishing images.

Edfou lithograph after David Roberts by Louis Haghe @ 1846

Edfou lithograph after David Roberts by Louis Haghe @ 1846

One can easily appreciate the quality not only of Roberts’ drawings but also Haghe’s lithographs from the three images presented here.

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William Stobbs Illustrator

Recently, it seems that I have found a number of pieces by book illustrators.  Especially those involved in children’s literature.  This week’s chapter is from another illustrator and his name is #WilliamStobbs (1914 – 2000).  He was born in June of 1914 at South Shields, England.  His childhood was spent by the North Sea which appears in many of his drawings later in his life.  He graduated from the Durham School of Art and took a post at Rolls Royce where he was involved with the development of the Merlin Engine.

Piper with Reclining Woman drawing with wash by William Stobbs @ 1942

Piper with Reclining Woman drawing with wash by William Stobbs @ 1942

Shortly after WWII, Stobbs became head of the design department at the London School of Printing and Graphic Art.  In 1958 he became Principal of Maidstone College of Art where he remained for 21 years.

William Stobbs illustrated over 100 children’s books.  In 1959, he won the Kate Greenaway Medal – being cited for two books that year – Kashtanka and A Bundle of Ballads.

William Stobbs was a master with black line drawings.  A wonderful sense of detail which leads to intricacy of texture and intimacy of decoration.

The illustration I have comes from a time when Stobbs was still settling into his artistic style – pre children’s illustrator.  From this piece one can see the foundation of his art – the basis of his style.  There is an ease and sureness to the lines, definition and detail and yet done with a minimum of fuss, intimacy and warmth, and truth in relationship.

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