A look at a local artist, today. #JeanDrydenAlexander (1911 – 1994) was born at Priest Cottage, Shenfield, Essex. Her father (RGD Alexander) and mother (Effie Alexander) were well known watercolours. Through her parents circle of artist friends she met people such as HB Brabazon and Sir George Clausen. She and her family spent much of their time painting ‘en plein air’ across Essex and its’ coastline.
Jean was not only a painter but also a teacher. Teaching for 30 years at Brentwood County High School. During her lifetime, she travelled extensively and resided for 4 years in New Zealand. In 1974, she moved back to England and settled in Norfolk where she lived until her death.
The sketch appearing on the verso appears to be a study for the watercolour which appears on the recto. A very pleasant image to look at. Just enough definition is used and leaves an image which draws you into it to see closer.
It is not often I come across pieces which are extremely old but this past week I did. They are a set of six small maps of Scotland with their written description on the back. Nowadays they are known as ‘miniature speeds’. This set of six is done by artist #PietervandenKeere. The name which appears on the maps is ‘Petrus Kerius’.
Van den Keere (1571-1646) was a Flemish engraver, publisher and globe maker. He spent the best part of his working life in England.
Van den Keere produced 44 #miniaturemap plates of England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland around 1599. Drawn from already existing maps van den Keere miniaturised them. The coinciding text was taken from the full size atlas produced by #JohnSpeed. The mini version appeared in 1617 with adjacent Latin text. The English version was published in 1627.
I will not include images of the versos which display the text but do mote the date on map #56. It really does read 1599. The maps were pressed from the original plates created in 1599 but these were published in 1627 since they have English on the back.
A nice set, well mounted and framed (glass two sides) to show recto and verso of page.
To most people , the artist #RoyCalne is an unknown entity. They might know him better as a surgeon working in nearby Cambridge. Roy Calne was Professor of Surgery at Cambridge University. His pioneering work was in the use of immunosuppressant drugs to prevent rejection after transplant and grafting surgeries. He performed the first liver, lung, and heart transplant in 1987. Many, many awards have come his way as well as a knighthood.
Calne has become a successful painter. His works often depict the clinical procedures which his patients go through.
Canes’ artistic works have become popular around the world as he broadens the knowledge/support for organ transplant. He is a member of the art group ‘Group 90′ in Singapore. This Eastern influence can certainly be seen in todays’ artwork. A use of bright vibrant colours and bold brush strokes lead to a captivating image.
I do not come across modern artworks which originate in the Middle East very often. I have two works by #SumbatKiureghian (Iranian artist) and this piece which we will look at today (I think Lebanese or Syrian).
It is a portrait of a young girl/lady sitting in the back garden of her home. It is finely painted in muted and pastel colours, evoking a sense of quiet calm and rest. It displays many middle Eastern regular home items. The wonderful throws and rugs/carpets, the tiled yard, the pottery – all these portray a family not poor. Here this young lady has found a space for contemplation. What great question does she think on?
The piece is signed and dated but I do do not have the ability to read the signature. As you can see it was painted some 25 years ago.
There is one other identifying feature and this is found on the verso. A name appears. #HKhayat is written in pencil. Whether this is the english translation of the signature or possibly another interested party, I do not know. Googling H. Khayat brings up a young lady who works for Christie’s Auction House as their specialist in Middle Eastern Modern Art.
A pleasant piece to look at. It calms and makes you pause as with the young lady and just take a moment for some small peace.
I came across a rough watercolour the other day and although only a sketch it had something about it. An efficient artist, one who was use to working quickly and in sittu. The small watercolour had a monogram on it and was titled on the verso. The monogram led me to an artist by name #EdmundMorisonWimperis (EMW).
Edmund was born in Chester in 1835 (d. 1900). At the age of 16 he was apprenticed to a wood engraver (Mason Jackson) and also trained under watercolourist #MylesBirketFoster. His studies led him to work for the #LondonIllustratedNews. Later in his artistic life he worked along side Thomas Collier.
He was a member of the Society of British Artists and the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours where he became a prominent member late in the 19th century.
Many of his works display Cornwall and the West Country but he could often be seen along the River Ouse in Huntingdonshire. He loved to work ‘en plein air’ and was adept at portraying vast skies, and the fickle shadows flitting across the ground.
The sketch in my collection was painted on site. It is titled At Porlock Weir. I think you can see the the influence of Birket Foster. It has good perspective and nice use of earthy tones and is overall a pleasant piece to look at. To
Every once in a while, I come across a book that I think is special. Today , we look at a book published in 1739. Although the book is not in great shape. It is intact. It contains the an account of 102 painters lives and an added historical/chronological list of prominent painters for over 500 years. Although the histories and lives are interesting, it is the 102 engraved images of the artist’s that I find beautiful. Published in 1739, this book uses the original etched plates etched plates. Most of these were engraved around 1630, some even earlier.I display only a few of the portraits of some of the better known artists which you might recognise. Wonderfully engraved by some very famous artists too. I don’t think I need to say much about the quality of the works. They are consistently fine and being 281 years old have stood the test of time. I hope you enjoy them as much as I.
I thought this week we would go for a ramble through the countryside using some pieces from my collection. Often, when I travel I like to take the road less traveled and by doing so I experience the ‘real/authentic life’ of an area. In an earlier time, taking the back roads, one came across scenes like the this. Here, children amuse themselves as the farmer and his wife deal with the harsh realities of farming in such a rugged land. The beauty of such landscapes is little compensation if one cannot feed ones family. But here, I think we see a successful attempt at family and farm. Earlier times saw children sent outside to care for each other and often only came in for meals or when called. A hearty imagination and creativity were a requirement to avoid boredom. Life was not easy. It was often a struggle – against the land, the weather and things beyond ones control but struggle on they did. Nowadays, we look on scenes like these and see an idyllic life but I think the reality was very different. Here on the back roads there is beauty to be found but often that is just the glossy cover to a deep and epic struggle to survive. A fight to provide more for your children. A better life. One in which they might have more time to revel in the beauty that surrounds them. Even today, we strive to provide our children with a better life – with more than we had when growing up. That is not a bad thing but just maybe we also need to stop, take a deep breath, and look around us to see the beauty in the place where we are. When I was younger, I was told that being around young children would keep me young. I am a grandfather and I can tell you that that is not true. I know I am getting older – my body reminds me often enough – but the thing that my granddaughter gives to me is not stamina or youth but she has reignited in me the joy, the wonder and awe in almost anything and everything which she sees so easily and I over time had become oblivious to. There is joy and beauty to be found even in the struggles of life.
As I have stated before, I often buy pieces because I like them. That should be a main reason for anyone buying art. This being said, we will look at a number of pieces from #Russia and Eastern Europe. I will keep my comments to a minimum since I do not read or speak Russian so cannot tell you anything about these pieces other than to describe them.
We begin with three engravings. The first is of #StBasilCathedral on the Red Square in Moscow. The next two are landscapes. The first with a farm stead and cow and the second with shepherd and flock. All three are titled and signed by the artist. The next pair are watercolours, once again signed and titled. The first being St Basil Cathedral again. One of a set of six which I have by the same artist. The second is a view of the #Atlantes holding the ceiling of the Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg. I attach a picture of the writing on the verso.
To finish, we have two drawings. One a portrait the other a city scene.
All of these are fine pieces of art each with their own specific reasons. Any Russian linguists – I would be thankful for an interpretation of any and all of the titles and signatures so that I might update this chapter. Thank you.
Today, we visit a Chinese artist, who is lauded as one of the greatest and most influential of the 20th century. His name – #LiKeran (1907-1989). A gifted and artistic child, Li’s talents extended from painting, to calligraphy, to music. He studied both traditional Chinese and Western art techniques. While at Shanghai Art College, he became inspired in the blending of eastern and western techniques to create a new form of expression in painting. From 1934, Li began to develop his work using ink and wash. He painted water buffalo and cowboys. Using his new ‘splashed ink’ technique, he was able to give new life to these traditional subjects. The appreciation of his work grew leading to an invitation (1946) via Xu Beihong to join the faculty at the Beijing National Art College. There he was mentored by Qi Baishi and Huang Binhong. Neither traditionalist nor reformist, Li is rather a painter remembered as a pioneer. A man who led the way in combining traditional and modern techniques into a new expression. The watercolour in my collection is signed ‘Keran’ and has one artist seal. It shows a young herdsman riding a water buffalo with another nearby. It displays his wonderful technique of shading using ink and wash.
Is it possible to be too successful as an artist. #GordonFrederickBrowne (1875-1932) was a prolific artist and illustrator of children’s books. He was exacting in his craftsmanship and strived for accuracy in his work in all details. He was so busy that success passed him by. His output was enormous – six or seven books a year as well a huge number of illustrations for magazines.
His father, #HablotKnightBrowne, also an illustrator of books is far better known. His father’s pseudonym was ‘Phiz’ and under this name he illustrated a number of books by author, Charles Dickens. It is estimated that Browne produced some 3,660 images during his working life. Browne amassed a huge collection of artefacts to assist in his accurate depiction of items. He concentrated on the text of the work he was working on. Identifying and focusing on the details being illustrated.
I have three pen and ink drawings by Gordon Frederick Browne in my collection. He signed his work GB. With such a vast output, I have yet to find to which story these drawings refer but I will keep looking.
Fame passed him by because he would work for everyone and anyone – even very poor quality publications. Had he focused on the more popular magazines or certain authors, he would likely be remembered today as a very fine illustrator. Even so, I think a lot of people have seen his work when they were young and not realised his vast artistic output.