Norman Orr artist

We go north, today, to Edinburgh, Scotland to visit artist #NormanOrr (1924-1993). Orr was born in Edinburgh and was one of Scotland’s leading wildlife artists. He began his artistic life as an engraver of glass. He enlisted in the Marines for WWII and afterwards joined #EdinburghCrystal as a designer and engraver. He worked there until he turned 40 when he went back to school, originally, to study glass engraving but switched early on to drawing and painting. Even so, by 1960 he was one of the Europe’s finest glass engravers. His exquisite glasswork found its way into the hands of royalty and collections around the world. Orr worked almost exclusively on private commission and very rarely exhibited his works.

Foal – watercolour with highlight by Norman Orr @ 1969

I picked up this lovely piece earlier this week. A very nicely executed artwork showing a very young foal finding it’s legs for the first time. You can see why Orr was so highly regarded.

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Margate Jetty

This week. I thought we would visit Margate. A town on the southeast coast of England. To a piece of Margate history for the jetty no longer exists. It has sandy beaches, the Turner Contemporary gallery, and a stone pier. But before this stone pier Margate had a previous jetty. It was constructed in 1824 in wood. Then replaced in 1855 with ironwork and over the years it was extended and added to. The jetty closed in 1976 and demolition of the jetty ended in 1998 although some parts still remain.

It has been, over the years, immortalised by many artists. Possibly the most famous would be JMW Turner but I want to look at another artist. #JamesWebb (1825-1895). Webb specialised in marine views and landscapes. His scenes encompass views from Wales, Holland, France, the Rhine River, and the English coast.

Margate Jetty – lithograph after James Webb @ 1868

This lithograph was recently acquired for my collection. Lithography is one of the more under-rated skills, I think. Drawn onto stone and then inked and pressed onto paper (usually black ink). The colours are all done by hand after the pressing. We get an idea of how extensive this pier really was. It was 1100 feet (340m) long. An amazing structure. Below is a view from the 1892 Ordinance Survey map of the Iron Pier. It gives you a better perspective as to its’ size.

Margate Pier – 1892 Ordinance Survey map
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Joseph Batchelor papermaker

I came across a page printed with a letter from #SirThomasWhite. Although the quoted letter was written in 1566, this printing was created around 1880/1890. Sir Thomas was of course the founder of St Johns College, Oxford. The letter is one in which Sir Thomas wishes God’s blessing upon all those at St Johns and that they might also pray blessings upon himself. I am sure that a lot of people likely looked at this piece but not really paid much attention to it. I on the other hand was intrigued. The paper looked old and so might have come from a published book of some type. I have not seen another copy of this page so do not know where it originates.

Letter to the President, Fellowes and Schollers of At Johns College, Oxford University from
Sir Thomas White @ 1880 – 1890

The other interesting thing about this page is the paper itself. It was made by #JosephBatchelor. Not a name that races to the forefront of your mind but if I tell you that Joseph Batchelor was the chosen papermaker of one #WilliamMorris, then one becomes aware of how good a craftsman Batchelor was. Morris set up his #KelmscottPublishing with the idea of producing books with fine hand made paper; making his books unique and of a better quality than other publishers.

An interesting piece of paper with a remarkable historical letter.

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Derek Brown artist

Today, we visit with #DerekBrown (1924-2009). Born in London, He served in the army during WWII after which he trained and worked as a dentist. The death of his father (who was an artist) in 1954 was the turning point in Dereks’ life. From that point he started to paint, mostly in oils, but he dabbled in watercolour also. He was self taught but did attend Heatherley School of Fine Art where he was influenced by Australian impressionist painter Hayward Veal. By 1984 he was a full time artistwith shows at home and abroad. His paintings mostly of flowers have a finesse of touch and vibrancy of colour that brings his work to life. His colour palette frolics and plays while blending together in a joyful dance.

Ely Cathedral – watercolour by Derek Brown

The piece in my collection is not a floral but an image of the ‘Ship of the Fens’ Ely Cathedral. One can see the blending of colours which he is known for. Nicely impressionistic and yet accurate in its’ depiction of the scene. A beautiful work by a talented artist who lived locally in Cambridgeshire.

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Graham Austin artist

I thought today, we would look at a local artist. I happen to know this artist personally through Ely Cathedral with which he is also associated. G

#GrahamAustin has been a wildlife and aviation painter for over 50 years. He is known for his meticulous technique. I, very luckily, have an example of each of his artistic fields.

Supermarine Spitfire by Graham Austin @ 1989

I have an early aviation piece which was done in 1989. The Supermarine Spitfire was an iconic WWII plane. One can see the meticulous artistry. Colours follow smoothly, lines are precise,

From aviation to wildlife. My second piece is of a Kingfisher sitting on a branch looking intently at some morsel which might be its’ dinner. Once again we see the painstaking precision. Every pine needle, feather and piece of bark so superbly done. Two fine examples by a very talented artist.

‘Kingfisher’ – by Graham Austin @ 2003
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Croxton Kerrial Church

I came across a painting of ‘St Botolph and St John the Baptist’, Croxton Kerrial, Leicestershire, this past week. It is done by an artist for whom I can find no information. The label on the verso states that it was painted in 1965 by #DRScoffins.

‘Church and Village’ – St Botolph & St John the Baptist Church, – oil on hardboard by D R Scoffins @ 1965

This work is done with a limited colour palette using black, grey, brown and orange. Earth tones which give a calm peaceful feel to this quiet village.

But within these hallowed walls lies a piece of history. The heart of King John (1166-1216) lies intered beneath the altar. The Abbot of Croxton was called to hear King John’s confession and after his embalming his heart was buried at Croxton Abbey. It is said that King John’s bowels are buried on Windmill Hill nearby. His body was taken south to Worcester Cathedral and buried in front of the altar of St Wulfstan.

I like the colour and impressionistic/naive style especially the wind-blown trees on the right side. Thick layers of paint (impasto) allow the light/shadow to play across the image. A handsome work done by an artist who should be better known.

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Peggy Wickham artist

Today, we consider artist #PeggyWickham (1909-1978) nee #MarjorieJoanEarnshaw. It is more likely that you would have heard of her mother. For she was the daughter of #MabelLucieAtwell. Her mother was a children’s illustrator and comics artist and it was her depictions of cute cuddly infants which made her famous. These images by her mother were called ‘Chubbies’. It is said that Peggy was the inspiration for her mother’s ‘chubbies’ drawings.

Peggy studied art at the Royal Academy 1927-31. While at the Academy she met her husband to be, Michael Wickham. He was also a comic artist as well as photographer. Peggy’s works include portraits, illustrations, children’s pictures and some design work.

Little girl and doll – portrait by Peggy Wickham @ 1930/40

I picked up this drawing by Peggy Wickham recently. The paper has age spotting on it but one can see the talent which Peggy had for portraiture. You can also see the influence on her by her mother and her technique of illustrating her ‘chubbies’. The rosie cheeks and the confident posture show that this little girl is a character to be reckoned with. I post an image by her mother below.

Little girl – drawing by Lucie Mabel Atwell
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Modern Prints

I thought today, we would visit two artists. Printmakers. One sadly not with us any more but the second still plying their trade.

We will begin with #TomMackenzie (1947-2018). A Scottish artist who lived and worked in #Portree on the beautiful Isle of Skye. Most of his etchings portray the Isle or places on the west coast of Scotland. Generally, he used 3 plates to make his works allowing several colours to be used in each work. The simplicity which we see when we gaze on his works disguises the amazing technique and subtlety of light. He made small print runs, usually of 75 or less. My copy of #LochCluanie shows off his talent as an etcher. The grandeur of the landscape is countered by the misty, foreboding remoteness of this place to engage the viewer to look deeply into this image.

Loch Cluanie – 2/75 – etching by Tom Mackenzie

Next , we go to visit artist #ThelmaKSykes (1940 – ) an artist who works by cutting images into both lino and wood block. Again, she uses 3 blocks for most her works allowing the use of several colours. She is a field naturalist as well as print maker. Her subjects being mostly the wildlife/birdlife she which she encounters. The print ‘Smews’ from my collection is typical of her 3 colour pieces. Well balanced in layout as well as in colour make this an intimate meeting between viewer and viewed.

Smew – 11/23 – lino/wood cut by Thelma K Sykes
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Samuel Harry Hancock artist

Today, we visit with an artist best known for his images of Victorian London as well as his portraits. #SamuelHarryHancock (1871-1932) worked mostly in oils and his portraitures come from earlier in his career.

I picked up a portrait of a young lady by Hancock this past week. Shown side on in a light blue gown with tousled brown hair and unadorned with any jewelry, she gazes past the viewer. We do not know the identity of the sitter of this portrait. Does it matter? Hancock’s talent can be seen. Colours finely blended to enhance light and shadow.

Unknown lady – oil on canvas by Samuel Harry Hancock @ 1910

A beautiful lady to hang on the wall.

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Edward Bishop artist

Today we visit an artist who was known for painting in oils,pastel work, print making, lithography, photography, design, and teaching. Quite a list but #EdwardBishop (1902-1997) was multi-talented. His early training was at the Central School of Arts and Crafts where he learned to draw. His talent brought him to design posters for the Stoll Theatres and after winning a competition working for the advertising agency Lintas (Unilever account). He later worked at S H Benson agency (on Kodak and Austin cars accounts). During these years, Bishop became a skilled photographer. After WWII, Bishop concentrated on painting and was an active member of the burgeoning British art scene. He was a member of several art groups as well as chair and president for a couple of those groups.

Whitby 10/14 – lithograph by Edward Bishop @ 1931

The above lithograph was done early on in Bishop’s career while he was employed at the Lintas Agency. It is a view across the rooftops of the city of Whitby out onto the harbour where a few boats can be seen. Although, I have seen a number of images regarding his paintings, I have not really come across his works as a printmaker. The image certainly shows his drawing/design skill along with his architectural eye. A nicely printed image with good depth of tone and a dash of colour to strengthen the image.

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