Theodore Gerard artist

Today, we travel to Belgium the home of artist #TheodoreGerard (1829-1895).  Gerard was a nineteenth century Belgian painter whose fame came from his depiction of delightful genre scenes.  He drew his inspiration from the idealised charms of rustic life in the Low Countries ( Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg).

Family Life – etching by Theodore Gerard @ 1879

Theodore Gerard began studying art at an early age in his home town of Ghent.  He set off in 1863 to find fame and fortune in the new nation’s capital the city of Brussels.  To broaden his artistic and life experience, he traveled extensively throughout Germany and the Hungarian Empire.  His reputation grew and his charming genre scenes won him awardsat exhibitions in Philadelphia, London, Vienna, and Brussels.  Gerard’s reputation and talent won him a post of professor at the Brussels Academy of Fine Art

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Philip Wilson Steer

#PhilipWilsonSteer (1860 –1942) was known as a British painter of landscapes, seascapes but he also dabbled in portraitures and figure studies.  His sea and landscape paintings made him a leading figure in the Impressionist movement in Britain but in time he turned to a more traditional English style. Steer was clearly influenced by both Constable and Turner.  As he aged, Steer spent more and more time painting in the countryside rather than on the coast.  He was also an influential art teacher.  As a painting tutor at the Slade School of Art for many years he influenced generations of young artists.

Misty Morning on the Severn- watercolour by Philip Wilson Steer @ 1925

After Steer was rejected by the Royal Academy of Arts, he travelled to Paris where he studied and was greatly influenced by seeing works by Manet, Whistler and other French impressionists.  Steer returned to England and established a studio in London.  Here he developed his own impressionistic style in which he depicted beach scenes and seascapes.  Steer often stayed in the towns of Walberswick and Southwold.  Many of his coastal scenes are inspired by these two places and are remarkable for their freshness and depiction of light and shade.  Later in life, Steer began to lose the sight in one eye.  Although he continued to paint, he did mostly in watercolours and his compositions became much looser less defined and at times almost abstract.  By 1940 he had stopped painting altogether.

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Henri Toussaint and Cambridge

Just down the road from where I live is the city of Cambridge.  Renowned for its universities and their chapels, it’s place in English history, punting, and as a place of research into so many fields.  Into this mix we throw it’s appeal to artists, as a place to study art, to create art, and to experience art (Fitzwilliam Museum and Gallery as well as other galleries).

King’s College from the Backs – etching by Henri Toussaint

#HenriToussaint (1849-1911) was a French artist who worked for a large part of his life in England.Toussaint specialised in  architectural studies and produced these in both etchings and watercolour. Toussaint’s renown came from his studies of Paris, the French provinces, and of Oxford and Cambridge. Toussaint studied both painting and etching in Paris.  He exhibited his art at the Paris Salon from 1874 and during the following years received numerous awards.  Toussaint’s etchings were as well known in England as they were in France. 

St. Sepulchre’s Church or Round Church, Cambridge- etching by Elizabeth Byrne

At the end of King’s Parade in Cambridge we find the Holy Sepulchre Church (known as the Round Church).  It is one of four medieval round churches still in use in England.  It consists of a round nave and an ambulatory, with a short chance,  Originally a wayfarers’ chapel on the Roman road known as Via Devana (now Bridge Street).  It became a parish church (13th century) and around this time structural alterations were made to the church, with the rebuilding of the chancel and the addition of a north aisle.  During the 1400’s the Norman style windows in the nave were replaced by larger Gothic style window and the carvings of angels in the roofs of the chancel and aisle were added and a bell-tower was built over the nave.  By the 19th century the church was in a poor state of repair.  Since the major repairs have been carried out.  The stained glass in the church was introduced during the 19th-century restoration while the depiction of Christ in Majesty was installed in 1946 as the east window was destroyed by a bomb in 1942.

St. Sepulchre’s Church or Round Church interior, Cambridge – etching by John Byrne

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William Edward Parry Engraving

When one mentions the name of #WilliamEdwardParry, one brings to mind the search for the Northwest passage.  Parry made three voyages in his quest to find the elusive Northwest Passage.  On his first attempt in 1819-20, Parry found a way through Lancaster Sound but no further.  His second attempt in 1821-23 saw him explore Hudson Bay for a more southerly route but he had no luck.  Foxe Basin, Repulse Bay and Melville Peninsula were unaccommodating as to routes west.  The ice closed in and Parry spent the winter.  To keep morale up he set up a theatre company and a school as well as an observatory.

William Edward Parry, rear-admiral stipple engraving by unknown artist @ 1825

From Inuit in the vicinity, Parry discovered information on a passage to the north of were they had wintered which supposedly led to open water.  He sailed north to find the strait which is now known as the Fury and Hecla Strait (the names of the ships in Parry’s voyage).  The strait never cleared of ice so sailing was impossible but a foot traverse did reveal a body of water to the west.  After a second wintering, Parry was forced to return to England due to lack of supplies.

Parry’s third and most disappointing attempt in 1824-25 saw him in Prince Regent Inlet.  Ice around Baffin Bay forced him to over-winter in the Inlet and early in the spring while searching for an opening the Fury ran aground and was lost.  With two crews on-board, Parry was forced to return to England.  It was not a total loss, for much information regarding the position of the magnetic pole was collected as well as information on arctic flora and fauna.

William Edward Parry, rear-admiral stipple engraving close-up – unknown artist @ 1825

Parry also made an attempt to reach the North Pole in 1827 but reached only 82*54′ north.  This remained the northerly latitude record for 49 years.  Parry also pioneered the use of cans for storing rations but he forgot to invent the can opener at the same time so opening might have been a bit messy.

The stipple engraving (which I have not yet found another copy of) is on a 9″ by 12″ piece of paper and has a lightly pencilled ‘Admiral W Parry’ on the lower right.  It is one of the finest stipple engravings in my collection – done with exquisite technique.

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Grenoble Etchings

#Grenoble is a city in southeastern France, situated at the foot of the French Alps.  The city has the nickname “Capital of the Alps” due to its’ location and its’ history goes back more than 2000 years.

Porte de France, Grenoble etching – signed @ 1880

Grenoble is a base for winter sports but is also known for its’ wonderful museums , universities and research centres.  It boasts a superb public transport system which includes the spherical cable cars known as “Les Bulles” (Bubbles) which connect the city to summit of ‘La Bastille’ hill named for the fortress on its’ slopes.  The etching to the left is of the #PortedeFrance gate or entrance to the city.  I suggest 1880 for a date of pressing as from 1894 the tram line which served the city until 1952 ran between the gatehouse on the right and the rock face on the left.

Porte St. Laurent, Grenoble – etching signed @ 1880

The second etching (by the same artist) is of #PorteSaintLaurent.  Both etchings read Epauvre d’Etat (test state or proof).  The  etchings are quite finely produced and are architecturally accurate.  If anyone can decipher the name or recognises the artist signature please let me know so that I can give proper credit to this talented artist.

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Thomas McLean Publisher

  Every once in a while, I come across a set of items which are related somehow.  The set of 6 prints which I acquired the other day were published by #ThomasMcLean (1788-1875).  McLean was a London based printseller and publisher of cartoons – political and caricatures.

Goes to a Picture Sale published by Thomas McLean @ 1821

Goes to a Picture Sale
published by Thomas McLean @ 1821

Sees a Water Kelpy published by Thomas McLean @1821

Sees a Water Kelpy
published by Thomas McLean @1821

Thomas McLean issued hundreds of cartoons in several journals of the day.  The six, I acquired, are all dated May 1821.  They are most likely related to stories in a publication or an event which had occurred as with ‘Goes to a Picture Sale’.  McLean’s premises was located on Haymarket and he was a respected dealer of art and print.  Often displaying paintings from which etchings would then be taken and sold.  Most artists made their living not from the sale of their original artworks but from the etchings and engravings taken from them.  For it was the prints which would sell affordably by the hundreds and possibly thousands to the public which would be the artist sustenance.  McLean annually held exhibitions for watercolour as well as oil paintings.  He was also a great supporter of young artists worthy of exposure but not yet known.

Fetching the Midwife published by Thomas McLean @ 1821

Fetching the Midwife
published by Thomas McLean @ 1821

Dressing the Young Squire published by Thomas McLean @ 1821

Dressing the Young Squire published by Thomas McLean @ 1821

Such artists as Robert Seymour, James Gillray, Jon Doyle and others plied their trade under McLean.  The final four prints might actually be grouped in pairs for they may be related storywise but that is only supposition.  None of the plates are signed by the artist.  So I cannot tell you who drew them but certainly 5 of the six (to my eye) are by the same hand.

Takes Lessons in Dancing published by Thomas McLean @ 1821

Takes Lessons in Dancing published by Thomas McLean @ 1821

A Cheerful Dance published by Thomas McLean @ 1821

A Cheerful Dance published by Thomas McLean @ 1821


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Federico Barocci ‘Hagar and Ishmael’

Today we look at a drawing, acquired recently, which is after #FedericoBarocci.  Barocci (1535-1612) was an Italian master.  He was born Federico Fiori in Urbino, Italy.  He was nicknamed Il Baroccio, which is the term for a two-wheel cart drawn by oxen. Barocci’s work was highly esteemed and influential considered to be among the finest painters of his time foreshadowing the Baroque of Peter Paul Rubens.  Barocci decorated the Vatican and his altarpieces can be seen in many major churches in Rome and further afield.  Today’s focus is a version of Barocci’s ‘Hagar and Ishmael’ by an unknown artist.  Barocci’s #HagarandIshmael hangs in the Dresden at the State Art Gallery

Hagar and Ishmael by unknown artist after Federico Barocci @ 19th century

Hagar and Ishmael
by unknown artist
after Federico Barocci @ 19th century

When I acquired this work, I took it to be a print in a quite simple yet beautiful frame. But after studying it, I have concluded that it is an original artwork.  A rendering of Barocci’s work but not an exact copy.  It may be the most exquisite artwork I own.

It differs from Barocci’s work in that there are no cherub heads in the top left of the image (where the break in the clouds is) looking down on Hagar and Ishmael, the palm tree and shrubbery is missing on the right of the image, Hagar’s right foot appears below her robe, as well as a few other smaller differences.  I will post images of two prints of Hagar and Ishmael at the end (one somewhat closer to this drawing).

Hagar and Ishmael by unknown artist after Federico Barocci @ 19th century

Hagar and Ishmael
by unknown artist
after Federico Barocci
@ 19th century

If one looks closely, one can see the individual brush strokes in the hair and clothing.  Supreme finesse – for this artwork is but 5 1/2″ x 7″ in size.

Of course, others have interpreted Barocci’s work and as promised two versions of Hagar and Ishmael – one by a lithograph published by Hanfstaengl between 1836 and 1852 and a second a plate created for a bible (version yet unidentified) by an unknown artist.  One can, after study, note the differences between versions.  All beautiful works of art inspired by a master.

Hagar and Ishmael lithograph published by Hanfstaengl @ 1840

Hagar and Ishmael
lithograph published by Hanfstaengl @ 1840


Hagar and Ishmael etching from Holy Bible unknown version

Hagar and Ishmael
etching from Holy Bible
unknown version

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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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