Art Old and New

From a man who is considered to be a founder in his sector to a man whose art you may have seen but not realized it. .

Merlin, Female by PJ Selby 1821

Merlin, Female
by PJ Selby

#PJSelby is considered to be one of the great masters of bird art of the nineteenth century.  He drew most of the birds in this series and did most of the etching himself.  The printing was done by WH Lizar who also supervised the colouring.  Known for his ‘Illustrations of British Ornithology’ – a set of life-sized British birds.  Selby was a gifted artist, and his two volumes of “Illustrations of British Ornithology” are outstandingly beautiful.  The clarity and crispness of his figures give them an austere beauty.  The cool, classical quality of Selby’s plates belongs to the age of elegance. Selby’s bird figures were the most accurate delineations of British birds to that date, and the lively, life-size figures in a more relaxed drawing presentation was a great achievement.  Selby showed a “great interest in ornithology from an early age and made his own notes and careful, coloured drawings of the birds in his district. His main interests were ornithology, forestry, and entomology. He was a skilful fisherman and an excellent shot. Selby’s major work, “Illustrations of British Ornithology”, was published in nineteen parts between 1821 and 1833 and contained some 222 plates etched by Selby.

Avila, Spain by Mervyn Rowe 1965

Avila, Spain
by Mervyn Rowe

You most likely will not know the name Mervyn Rowe but if you are a theatre, opera, television or movie fan , you will likely have seen his art.  #MervynRowe is a set designer and scenic artist.  He has worked with major companies and theatres producing sets.  His sets for ‘Memoir’, starring Soibhan McKenna as Sarah Bernhardht, were acclaimed by the Irish critics as amongst the most beautiful sets seen on the Dublin stage within living memory.  Then television and movies came calling.  Mervyn worked on Boorman’s ‘Excaliber’ and Wolfgang Petersens ‘The Never Ending Story’ along with numerous others.  He has worked with the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-upon -Avon.  So it is quite possible to have seen his work and not realized it.  I love the feeling of freedom and the expressiveness of the brush strokes in this painting.   I hope you enjoy it too.

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