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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Robert Bloomfield – The Rural Bard and Peasant Poet

Those of you who read my blog regularly will know that I am an eclectic collector but even the items I acquired a while back will stretch your concept of art.  I was convinced to buy these pieces because they were hand-drawn and had some age to them.  So.  I bought a small selection of needlework patterns.  They were nicely drawn and at times on re-used paper.  Parts of letters are used and on another the musings of a poet.

Robert Bloomfield - needlework face @ 1800

Robert Bloomfield – needlework face @ 1800

And thus enters poet, RobertBloomfield (1766-1823).  He is no longer a well-known poet but there was a time when he was considered ‘the most important poet of the age’ according to John Clare.

Bloomfield was born in the small community of Honington near Bury St. Edmunds.  He was unfit for farming life and was sent to London to apprentice as a cobbler.  His mother, a teacher, taught him to read and do math.  He loved to read and so he read aloud for is fellow workers sake.  He especially loved the poetry section of the ‘The London Magazine.’

He had his first poem published, The Village Girl, in 1786 but fame came with the publishing of The Farmer’s Boy in 1800.  Translated into several languages, it sold across Europe, America, and further afield.  It brought him fame and wealth.  Although he continued to produce and publish poems, he never again was able to repeat his initial success and from a poet with worldwide appreciation he gradually declined into a life of deprivation and died in poverty.

Robert Bloomfield verses from 'Richard and Kate' @ 1800

Robert Bloomfield verses from ‘Richard and Kate’ @ 1800

And so to the reverse of the piece of paper.  Here we find verses 24 to 33 of Bloomfield’s poem ‘Richard and Kate’.  Hand-written and reading exactly as the published version (1802) except for verse 29 in which the published version reads ‘And sons who shook her wither’d hand’ were my copy reads ‘And sons who shook her by the hand’.  And I am afraid my copy is not helpful in verse 30 either, as to the word which has been rendered ‘fairings’ (questionable) but could possibly be read ‘jarrings’ (still unclear).

Robert Bloomfield - watermark on paper @ 1800

Robert Bloomfield – watermark on paper @ 1800

And so not to make this post too long, I have included images of the watermark (the last number is missing but the 180 are there and thus I say around 1800) and two verses at a time for those who migth like a closer look at the writing.

Robert Bloomfield 'Richard and Kate' verses 24 & 25 @ 1800

Robert Bloomfield ‘Richard and Kate’ verses 24 & 25 @ 1800

Robert Bloomfield 'Richard and Kate' verses 26 & 27 @ 1800

Robert Bloomfield ‘Richard and Kate’ verses 26 & 27 @ 1800

Robert Bloomfield 'Richard and Kate' verses 28 & 29 @ 1800

Robert Bloomfield ‘Richard and Kate’ verses 28 & 29 @ 1800

Robert Bloomfield 'Richard and Kate' verses 30 & 31 @ 1800

Robert Bloomfield ‘Richard and Kate’ verses 30 & 31 @ 1800

Robert Bloomfield 'Richard and Kate' verses 32 & 33 @ 1800

Robert Bloomfield ‘Richard and Kate’ verses 32 & 33 @ 1800

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Olney Hymns

One might consider that today’s topic has little to do with art but in fact the book I wish to focus on today is the combining of two great artists, both poets and hymn writers.  The #OlneyHymns is made up completely of works by #JohnNewton (1725-1807) and his great friend #WilliamCowper (1731-1800).

Olney Hymns by John Newton & William Cowper @ 1797

Olney Hymns by John Newton & William Cowper @ 1797

Compiled over a number of years the hymn book was initially published in 1779 and the hymns contained therein were meant for the use of Newton’s rural parish.  His parish was not a wealthy one and most of his parishioners were uneducated.

Newton, himself, was an only child  and was self-educated.  He rose to become a sea captain and at one time was involved in the capturing of slave ships.  A violent storm while at sea revived Newton’s belief in God and he entered into the priesthood and was appointed priest at Olney in 1764.  Here he remained for 16 years until he became rector at St Mary Woolnoth in London were he served for a further 28 years.

Olney Hymns by John Newton & William Cowper @ 1797

Olney Hymns by John Newton & William Cowper @ 1797

William Cowper was a well educated son of an Anglican clergyman.  As an adult, he suffered from depression and was entered into an asylum.  During his stay in the asylum, he was visited by his cousin Martin Madan, and Evangelical  preacher.  Newton found an enthusiasm for Evangelicalism and when he moved to Olney in 1767, he became fast friends with John Newton.

Olney Hymns by John Newton & William Cowper @ 1797

Olney Hymns by John Newton & William Cowper @ 1797

The hymns themselves are an expression of Newton’s and Cowper’s personal faith.  They expound the tenets of the Evangelical faith – the depravity of man, conversion, atonement, activism, Biblical inerrancy, and the belief in life after death.  The singing of hymns had become an established feature in the Evangelical church’s expression of devotion and worship by the 1760s.  Of the 348 hymns Cowper penned just 66.  A small number – mostly due to his ill health.  There is no evidence that either Newton or Cowper composed music for their hymns.  This likely means that they were sung to well known psalm tunes and possibly even the odd folk tune.  Over the years certain hymns have become linked to individual melodies.  Such is the case for Newton’s ‘Amazing Grace’ which since 1830 is joined to a Scottish?Irish melody.

Olney Hymns by John Newton & William Cowper @ 1797

Olney Hymns by John Newton & William Cowper @ 1797

I am at present enjoying reading these hymns – many for the first time and in the near future will visit the Cowper and Newton Museum in Olney – it’s only a hour away.

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Nicolaes Pieterszoon Berchem – A Dutch Master

As we begin a new year, I would like to introduce you to an artist who once was widely known and respected.   #NicolaesPieterszoonBerchem ( 1620-1683) was a highly esteemed and prolific painter of pastoral landscapes, populated with mythological or biblical figures.  It was said that he produced some 850 paintings along with 80 etchings and some 500 drawings.  A number of paintings have been re-attributed to other artists.

Washerwoman with Child, Cattle, Sheep, and Dog - etching by Nicolaes Pieterszoon Berchem @ 1650

Washerwoman with Child, Cattle, Sheep, and Dog – etching by Nicolaes Pieterszoon Berchem @ 1650

I acquired the etching to the left this past week.  It is a fine example of the ‘Italianate’ style which portrays idealised rural scenes, with hills, mountains, cliffs, trees, animals, and peasants.   In the top left of the etching can be seen Berchem’s name as well as ‘delin’ followed by an ‘f’.  These letters mean that Berchem did both the original drawing of the image as well as the etching made from that drawing.  I’m not sure what the ‘e 2’ in the top right corner means but it may relate to which volume and page where it might be found in.

Berchem was so good that some of his fellow artists asked him to add figures and animals into their paintings.  He also became a respected teacher of painting and a number of his students are well known in their own right.  A man who well deserves his reputation as a master artist and who should be better known now-a-days.

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Needlework

I will admit, right at the offset, that I know little about the art of needlework. I did cross stitch and crewel work when I was in university as a relaxation but other than that and mending holes/tears and replacing buttons I am a novice.  But I have come across a few pieces which I would like to present.

Memorial Needlework to Werther - unknown artist @ 1800

Memorial Needlework to Werther – unknown artist @ 1800

We begin with a piece which is both watercolour and needlework.   It is finely worked in silk tread on a silk ground quite a regular thing in the 1800’s.  The work portrays Charlotte as she stands in front of Werther’s grave.  It is inspired by ‘The Sorrows of Young Werther’ – a collection of letters by Werther to his friend Wilhelm about his visit to Wahlheim where he meets and falls in love with Charlotte despite her betrothal to another.

Child with Rabbits and Birds - needlework by unknown artist @ 19th century

Child with Rabbits and Birds – needlework by unknown artist @ 19th century

Now to a finely worked image of a young lady in tune with the nature which surrounds her.  Once again we see the combination of watercolour and needlework.  In past times, it was part of a young ladies education to learn a musical instrument and to do needlework.

Fashionable Lady - needlework by unknown artist @ 19th century

Fashionable Lady – needlework by unknown artist @ 19th century

Although artworks like these are decorative they are useful in other ways.  Needlework such as these are a reflection of the fashions of the time in which they were created.  We see ladies in gowns and their accoutrements which adorned them.

Gold thread work by unknown artist

Gold thread work by unknown artist

We might also consider the ornamental gold thread work which appeared on many uniforms and adorned much church fabric.  The gold thread is laid on top off it’s ground and attached with fine threads’.

We could consider the making of a ladies token handkerchief which is made with her hair to decorate making the kerchief a sensual token – an intimate gift to a lover or husband.

Handkerchief Token by unknown lady - with human hair @ 19th century

Handkerchief Token by unknown lady – with human hair @ 19th century

Just a few pieces to show the wide variety of an art form which we see very little of today.  The dedication and love which is displayed in these pieces is worthy of admiration let alone the wonderful techniques.  An art form which I, certainly, have come to a greater appreciation of.

 

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Robert Newton Hurley Artist

In a previous chapter, I wrote about living in the fens under it’s vast expansive sky.  It gives one a feeling of being small and insignificant.  It is why some people do not appreciate living in the fens.

#RobertNewtonHurley (1894-1980) is an artist who’s landscapes describe the vastness of  a land which he came to love.

A Prairie Dawn watercolour by Robert Newton Hurley @ 1958

A Prairie Dawn watercolour by Robert Newton Hurley @ 1958

Robert Newton Hurley was born in Bromley-by-Bow, London, England; immigrated to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan in 1923; he died in Victoria, British Columbia.

He apprenticed as a printer-compositor until his mid 20s.  WWI saw him serving with the Suffolk Regiment from 1917 to 1920 after which he emigrated to Canada (1923).  Robert Hurley lived through the Great Depression and it was during this time that he started to paint.  Being unemployed, Hurley was unable to afford artist paper or painting supplies so he began painting using berry juices and a toothbrush on newsprint.  He had no formal training in the arts but living in London he frequently visited the museums and galleries in the city.  From 1933-35 he took night classes from established artist Ernest Lindner.  He quickly became known in Saskatchewan and other parts of Canada for his treatment of the prairie landscape.

The Hurley watercolour in my collection is typical of his style.  Hurley focused on prairie landscapes in which grain elevators, receding roads, fence lines, and telephone poles are integral.  His use of colour and stylised objects became his trademark.  Hurley has been called Saskatchewan’s “sky painter” for his effective use of watercolour to illuminate the prairie sky.  Hurley’s portrayals of prairie light and space as well as his flat, linear treatment of the landscape are expressed using broad colour washes and a linearity of line.  So typical and so beautiful.

 

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Christian Karl Josias von Bunsen

This past week, I picked up a stipple engraving of #ChristianKarlJosiasvonBunsen (1791-1860).  You would be quite correct in presuming that I did not know who the engraving was of especially since it did not show his name.  I acquired this stipple engraving because of it’s artistic quality.

Christian Karl Josias von Bunsen - stipple engraving by JH Robinson after G Richmond @ 1859

Christian Karl Josias von Bunsen – stipple engraving by JH Robinson after G Richmond @ 1859

It was published by #JosephHogarth of 5 Haymarket, London on April 17th, 1859.  There is a black and gilt frame often used for displaying engravings which is called the ‘Hogarth frame’ which takes it’s name from Joseph Hogarth the frame-maker and not William Hogarth the artist.

The engraving is taken from a drawing by #GeorgeRichmond (1809-1896), who is known as a portrait painter to the British gentry, nobility, and royalty.

The stipple engraving is by #JohnHenryRobinson (1796-1871).  Art historians believed that there were two persons with almost the same name. A JH Richardson and an H Richardson.  After my reading, I lean toward believing that this is one and the same person.  Robinson was influential in getting engravers admitted into the Royal Academy.  Robinson engraved portraits and illustrated books and engraved the plate for the first Belgian postage stamp.

Christian von Bunsen - stipple engraving by JH Robinson @ 1859

Christian von Bunsen – stipple engraving by JH Robinson @ 1859

Baron von Bunsen - stipple engraving by JH Robinson @ 1859

Baron von Bunsen – stipple engraving by JH Robinson @ 1859

Baron von Bunsen was a theologian and Prussian diplomat.  He founded the German ‘Evangelische Gemeinde’ as well as preparing it’s liturgy.  He represented King Frederick III and IV.  He was the Prussian minister in London where he became a fan of Anglicanism.  He was influential in establishing the Anglo-Prussian Jerusalem bishopric.  He authored several religious and historical books, none of which are of great importance today.

 

The close-ups show the wonderful detail in this work.  A superb engraver with a deftness touch.

 

 

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The French Nude

Today, our focus is a piece which involves two French artists.  The creator of the original painting, #JeanJacquesHenner (1829-1905) and the creator of the lithograph #JulesArmandHanriot (1853-1930).  Henner began his training when he was 12 years old. He debuted at the Paris Salon in 1863 and regularly exhibited for 40 years.  To begin with, a painter of biblical scenes and portraits, Henner is best known today for his portrayal of the nude female body.  His nudes are endowed with cream coloured skin and russet hair and he frequently set them against a draped blue cloth.  The Jean-Jacques Henner Museum can be visited in Paris and contains over 1500 canvases and drawings.

Weeping Nymph in Blue Cloth - lithograph by J A Hanriot after J J Henner @ 1900

Weeping Nymph in Blue Cloth – lithograph by J A Hanriot after J J Henner @ 1900

The lithograph displayed was created by Hanriot from Henner’s painting.  Hanriot was a fine artist in his own right.  He, also, was a superb lithographer and producer of prints.  He spent most of his artistic career creating for magazines and books but the plate shown here, I believe, was created for his own pleasure and enrichment.  The chiaroscuro or contrast between the milky white skin of the model and the dark of the forest focuses ones’ eyes on the weeping nymph.  While the fine shading produces subtle, imperceptible transitioning between colours and tones (called sfumato) beguiling the eye.  No hard lines delineate between light and dark – producing a vision as if an illusion or dream.  Setting forth a softness and tenderness of body and spirit which draws one in even deeper to look upon her sorrow and sadness and perchance to offer tenderness and consolation.

Off the bottom right corner of the lithograph it reads in pencil ‘apres Henner’ and below that J A Hanriot’s signature.   In the bottom left corner there reads ‘S 6’ which I take as State 6 for this plate.  I do not know if there was a limited run created from the plates.  The only other image I have seen of #WeepingNymphinBlueCloth is of Henner’s original painting.

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Adelaide Webster

In the last few weeks I have added several portraits to my collection.  We begin with #AdelaideWebster, painter in oil and watercolour.  Adelaide was born in Glasgow in 1877.   Adelaide Webster succeeded early in her career. She regularly exhibited her portraits and landscapes at the Glasgow Institute. She studied not only in Glasgow but went on to study in Paris. While in Paris, she was acquainted with many of the leading French painters of the day, including Degas.

pastel portrait by Adelaide Webster

pastel portrait by Adelaide Webster

After her studies, Adelaide Webster lived and worked in both London and in Paris. In London, she was a member of and exhibited frequently with the society of Women Artists (until 1919).  Her early career was crowned by being awarded the prestigious Prix de Paris in 1910.

At the end of WWI, Adelaide married George Henry Donald. He was a Presbyterian minister from Montreal, Canada.  They moved to live in Montreal in the 1920’s.  Due to her husbands strict religious beliefs, Adelaide was not allowed to exhibit her artwork.  Although unable to exhibit, Adelaide did continue to paint in her downtown studio on Crescent Street.  She became friends with leading Canadian artistic figures like Arthur Lismer and Harold Beament.

After the death of her husband, she began once again to exhibit her art primarily with Montreal’s Dominion Gallery.  She had, once again, a successful career.  She was commissioned regularly to paint the portraits of many prominent individuals.  Among these were Norman Bethune (physician & medical innovator) and Dame Sarah Fischer (opera diva).

The beautiful pastel portrait may be a self-portrait of Adelaide herself.  The technique is superb and within it one can find elements of the Impressionists – an influence from her time in Paris. These can be seen  particularly in her paintings and watercolours which she made after moving to Montreal.  The label on the verso notes that the picture was framed by W. Scott & Sons, 1490 Drummond Street, Montreal, 1936.  She was known as #AdelaideWebsterDonald in Canada.

pastel portrait by Adelaide Webster

pastel portrait by Adelaide Webster

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Napoleon and Marengo

It always helps to paint or have famous people as the inspiration of your art.  This week I want to look at a couple of pieces which have Napoleon as there subject.

Napoleon at Friedland by Daniel Devreaux

Napoleon at Friedland by Daniel Devreaux

We begin with an image of Napoleon by #DanielDevreaux (1914-2010) at the battle of Friedland.  Napoleon was a great horseman and had a number of steeds which he loved to ride.  Friedland was the site of a major confrontation between the French and the Russians which ended with Napoleon’s forces routing the Russian forces under Count von Bennigsen.  The battle of Friedland was effectively the end the war as the emporer was forced into peace negotiations with Napoleon.

Napoleon on Marengo - watercolour by unknown artist

Napoleon on Marengo – watercolour by unknown artist

As stated, #Napoleon loved his steeds.  He had 52 horses in his personal stud.  His favourite was named Marengo.  Marengo was named after the Battle of Marengo through which he carried his master safely.  #Marengo was an off-white/grey Arabian from Egypt who stood 14.1 HH (hands high) or 57″.  A mount of great courage and reliability, he was wounded 8 times and finally captured at the Battle of Waterloo.  He was brought back to England to a stud farm near Ely.  He was not a successful sire.  Marengo died at the old age of 38.

The lovely watercolour is not signed but is very much like the artworks of #PiotrMichalowski.  With simple lines and surety of delineation, Napoleon and Marengo exude a fire, a joy, charisma, beauty and bravery.

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