I recently purchased a drawing which I think is both artistically and historically important. The charcoal drawing is of a young woman sitting in a graveyard on the shore. The oil painting of this scene hangs in Manchester Art Gallery. The title of the piece is #Evangeline. It was drawn to #WilliamWadsworthLongfellow’s romantic poem Evangeline, A Tale of Acadie. The poem follows an #Acadian girl on her search for her love, Gabriel. It is set during the expulsion of the Acadians (1755-1764). It follows her travels across America in search of Gabriel – sometimes close, sometimes not – until they meet again after many years of separation. Evangeline, now working as a Sister of Mercy nurse in Philadelphia and an old woman, meets Gabriel during an epidemic and he dies in her arms. She later also passes. A bit of a North American Romeo and Juliet. #ThomasFaed (1826-1900) was born in Kirkcudbrightshire, Scotland. He and his siblings were all artists. Educated in Edinburgh, he eventually moved to London and found fame as a painter of domestic genre scenes.
The drawing which is presented here is very old. So much so that the paper has deteriorated. There are areas where pieces have flaked off and even two very small holes. Even so, the quality and precision of this work prove to me – at least – that it is the work of Thomas Faed. The technique and materials used are very similar to Thomas’s portrait of his brother, James, which hangs in the Kirkcudbrightshire Gallery. It also passed through the hands of high end London picture framer Sebastian D’Orsai.The sublime technique presented here certainly displays the virtuosity of the artist. It is said that Thomas Faed was to Scottish art what Robert Burns was to song. I believe this is the image from which Thomas’s brother James created the mezzotints and engraved prints. Even with all its’ small flaws and imperfections, it is an amazing work to look at. The photographs don’t really do it justice.