Stipple Engraving

I have been blogging in regards to art for over 5 years and I have done a great amount of research and looked at a huge amount of art over that time. This does not make me an expert but it does mean that I now recognise some artists and their techniques. Such is the case with this chapters work. The engraver, #FrancescoBartolozzi (1727-1815) has featured in a number of my previous posts and this week I acquired an engraving which although is unsigned is certainly by Bartolozzi. He was an Italian engraver whose most productive period occurred during his residence in London. For close to 40 years, he resided in London. During his working life he produced an enormous number of engravings A great number of his works were after fellow artists, especially Cipriani and Angelica Kauffman. At some point in his career, he worked on a series of etchings portraying children playing. I have seen nine different portrayals: swinging, playing at marbles, playing shuttle-cock, playing at hot cockles, playing thread the needle, playing with a mouse, playing trap ball, playing hunt the slipper, and feeding chickens. The engraving I came across is called ‘Seesaw’ (title in pencil on a separate backing sheet of paper). It shows the same set of children from the other engravings enjoying themselves. The engraving is an early pressing for no title nor accreditation to artist has yet been etched onto the plate. A fine example of the masters workmanship.

Posted in Etching | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Nicholas Pocock marine artist

A small watercolour by artist #NicholasPocock was added to my collection this week but it is the sketch on the verso that is more of interest. Pocock (1740-1821) is known for his detailed paintings of naval battles during the age of sail. Born in Bristol, the son of a seaman, Pocock followed his father and became a seaman. By the age of 26, he was master of a merchant ship. During his time at sea, Pocock became a skilled artist making ink and wash drawings for his log books.Pocock gave up the sea and became a full-time artist in 1778 and within four years he was exhibiting at the Royal Academy. His reputation grew and he moved to London in 1789 where he flourished. Eventually being appointed Marine Painter to King George. Pocock’s naval paintings were extensively researched. He interviewed eyewitnesses about weather and wind conditions, the positions, condition, and appearance of their ships. He then drew detailed plans of the battles and preliminary sketches of individual ships. He was even onboard the frigate HMS Pegasus at the Glorious First of June in 1794.The sketch on the verso is of a naval action. I have not yet tied it to a finished work but am still studying. Being known for his naval works, the verso side of this work is possibly the more interesting although it is less finished than than the face side. And finally the label on the back for the gallery through whose hands this work was sold.

Posted in Drawings and Sketches, Watercolour paintings | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Meissen Porcelain

This week, I came across a piece of what I believe to be #Meissen porcelain. It is a #tabatiere or #snuffbox. It measures out at 5″ by 3″ by 2″. I know that Meissen porcelain and its mark have been forged quite regularly but after you have seen the images of this snuff box I hope that you will agree with me that it is authentic. I will state from the outset that there is a major crack in the lid but even so it is a lovely piece.

We begin with a top/front view of the box with its’ gold trim. Please be assured that all the decorations and images which are on this tabatiere are hand done. There are four painted images and much gold scroll work on the box. Often with items such as this, one artist would decorate the outside of the piece and another would paint the interior – if it were decorated. The artist doing the interior was always the better artist.

We see images of the top, front, and rear of the box, all showing coastal/nautical scenes. All three done with exquisite finesse. Superb brush work and the colours still so vibrant for I place the making of this piece around 1760. Even the bottom is decorated not with an image as some tabatieres are but with wonderful scroll and line work.The piece also bears the crossed swords mark of the Meissen factory – although somewhat indistinct.

As I stated earlier the interior of a snuff box might be decorated or it might be gilt or even pure white with no adornment. For this box, the fourth image resides on the interior of the lid and more scroll work adorns the inner sides and bottom. When one opens the lid, we are greeted with another nautical/coastal scene. The finest work of the four painted. I believe that the same artist has painted all four scenes on this snuff box but it is possible that a second artist might have performed all the gold scroll and let line work.

A beautiful piece of porcelain as well as art from a factory renowned for both.

Ps. The most expensive snuff box to be auctioned was sold in 2011 and it sold for £870,000 ($1,200,000). That’s right. It sold for far far more than its’ estimate.

Posted in Ceramics/Pottery, Printing | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Stybarrow Crag, Ullswater

Having been to the Lake District on vacation, I can attest that it is truly one of those beautiful places which one should not miss. Around every corner traveled lies another vista worth stopping and taking in. Leave your car behind and walk. Follow the land and forest rushing down to the waters edge. Feel the peace, hear the wind in the trees, breathe deep the air filled with scents of moss and musk. Such a place is #StybarrowCrag, Ullswater.

What many people do not realise is that this beauty spot on Ullswater was almost lost to the British public in 1924. The owner had offered this plot of land to the National Trust in 1922 but the Trust passed on purchasing the property even at the reduced price at which it had been offered to them. William Wordsworth walked along this lake and his poem ‘The Daffodils’ was a tribute to these wild flowers (Lenten Lilies) which each spring bloom on the banks of Ullswater. A. W. Wainwright, writer and hill walker, loved to holiday here to walk the lake shore. Other literary greats such as Samuel Coleridge (Rime of the Ancient Mariner) and Sir Walter Scott (Ivanhoe) have ties to Ullswter also.

Stybarrow Crag’s beauty is captured here by artist J. Rigg. There is a Jack Rigg, a marine painter, from Farley, West Yorkshire and this painting may be by his hand. It is undated but has great semblance to post cards from the late 1800’s and very early 1900’s. This would mean that the present day Jack Rigg painted this from another image since he was born in 1927. No matter. A fine image of a place worth seeing.

Posted in Watercolour paintings | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Chinese Porcelain

I certainly am not knowledgable enough in the area of Chinese porcelain and it is not something that I regularly collect but every once in a while I come across a piece that catches my eye. Such is the case with this piece of Kangxi (1662 – 1722) porcelain – I think. The blue colour is derived from cobalt oxide which is then painted onto a white clay. It then is covered by a clear glaze and baked in a kiln oven at very high temperatures. Blue and white porcelain wares appear to have their beginning in the Tang dynasty (618-907). The quality of both porcelain and artwork improved and some believe peaked during the Yuan dynasty (1271-1368). During the 14th century this blue and white porcelain began to be mass produced with quality being carefully monitored.

The blue and white pottery industry became more important during the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties. It was at this time that it became a commodity on the international trade market and expanding to become a worldwide commodity. Blue and white wares are common to this day in daily life in forms ranging from dinner sets to vases.

And to finish a small piece made with a yellow and brown glaze with a favourite dragon image.

Posted in Ceramics/Pottery, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Robert Scott engraver

Today, a friend from Church gave me an old bible. It was the second volume out of a set. Covers intact but some water damage had occurred to the pages. Printed in 1815 (New Testament) and 1817 for the minor prophets section from the Old Testament. This printing introduced me to #RobertScott the engraver.

Robert Scott was born in Lanark, Scotland in 1777. At the age of ten, he was articled to Andrew Robertson, an engraver in Edinburgh. His career began with book illustrations but Scott soon found his niche. Scott decided early in his career to focus on engraving because it was a more economically profitable career. Scott’s most significant works were landscapes. He engraved the illustrations to George Barrie’s History of the Orkney Islands, 1805, and to Scenery of Allan Ramsay’s Gentle Shepherd, 1808. He also for many years contributed plates to the Scots Magazine and worked with artist John Bell providing the landscape backgrounds for Bell’s Poets of Great Britain. Scott ran his own business in Edinburgh and employed numerous assistants. His publishing house was equipped for copperplate engraving, etching, mezzotinting, aquatinting, and lithography. Scott introduced the art of steel engraving to Edinburgh. He died early in 1841.

The etchings displayed here are fine examples of his artistry.

Posted in Etching | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Albert Edward, Prince of Wales

I bought a picture at a charity shop in town this week past. Nothing new there. It was old, stained, and mediocrely framed. Due to its’ condition most people would pass it by but that is just not me. So, for only a few pounds, it was mine.And now the fun begins. The shop likely did as I in looking for information on the picture. I entered the name at the bottom of the picture into the web but nothing comes up in regards to this name. It is now time to study the picture and gain clues. The first thing I discover is that what I took in the shop to be a lithographic print was actually a drawing done in charcoal with added body colour (white) and other light touches of colour.

So, discovery number one. It is an artist rendering. Next, the boy has a falcon. Falconry was an aristocratic sport when this picture was done, 1862. We might deduce from that that the young man is an aristocrat. The young man is wearing Scottish garb. Thusly either Scottish or British royalty. The tam which adorns his head is a #Balmoral ribboned and the tartan we wears could be a royal tartan although without colours I am not sure. Now, if we do suggest that the young man is a royal and possibly at Balmoral, who might he be. In 1862 that royal would have to be Albert Edward, Prince of Wales. Later to be #KingEdwardVII. He is grandfather to our present queen. I have looked at images of Albert Edward and am convinced I am correct in naming the young man pictured as #AlbertEdward,PrinceofWales. There is also a clue in the picture which may mean nothing but I think it a cheeky clue to insert. The chain which is tethering the falcon is an ‘albert’ chain.

I hope you enjoy this image and I wish I could tell you more in regards to the artist for it is a fine likeness even though stained. It has live and will continue to live a well loved life.

Posted in Drawings and Sketches | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Genius of Paper

I thought I would begin this year with a short chapter on something which must be one of man’s greatest inventions. #Paper is something which we take for granted nowadays and are now limiting or trying to eradicate some of its’ uses. But paper is in so many ways a fundamental part of the arts. Paper is an amazing concept. We fold it, mould it, pierce it, print on it, paint on it, etc. The pieces which I display in this post show a number of combinations to which paper has been put to use. The first is a keepsake card/bookmark with moulded and pierced edges surrounding a printed etching. The second is another with moulded edges (far more extensive) enclosing a printed image. The final piece is one which has been embossed, impressed, pierced, cut, coloured, layered, and printed. The creation of something unique and personal. Paper an invention which changed the world and continues to influence the world of art. An amazing and versatile creation.

Posted in Etching, Modern prints, Printing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Christmas Rose – A Legend

Today is Christmas and I offer (a poor effort of poesy on my part) a tale which is known near and far.

There is a tale told from old

Two thousand years plus a number more

Of starry skies and winds blown cold

From heav’n to earth with angels by score

To shepherds appearing at dark of night

Telling of a glorious delight

Quiver and shake in dread they fear

As news of great joy rings round their state

A King is born in Bethlehem near

Why stand thus still, for time does not wait

With haste to see your King new born

And Bethlehem gain ere the morn

Our flocks to care, the young lass, we allot

Haste then we with gifts to see that which is new

To Bethl’hem we traverse and tarry not

To see our King which was told to so few

Kneel in adoration in place so low

Gifts we have not only hearts to bestow

Pensive sits she and ponders all that was brought

Then rises and runs with pace and fast

O’er hill and dale with anxious thought

She hurries on while strength does last

To see this King in Bethlehem born

Tho’ clad in rags, so rough and torn

A stable warm with ox and ass

Manger blest, and parents rest

Sweet smell of hay and breath of kine

Animals nigh, kneel before their guest

Here shepherds bow, their homage pay

Good news to men they then relay

In vain she seeks a gift from near

But naught is found for such a King

Who lies in stable sleeping without fear

Dare she enter with nothing

In despair, she searches near and far

For that which is pure and without mar

A seraph nigh, with piteous eye

Whisks with wing, the snow aside

A rose, pure, white and fair, for her to espy

And gathering close, with ox and ass beside

She gifts a ‘Christmas rose’ to the infant King

And all heav’n and earth rejoice and sing

Posted in Modern prints | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dolly Varden

It is at this time of year that Dickens becomes a household name. His story ‘A Christmas Carol’ is a stalwart on television and radio with numerous productions and remakes for every following generation. It is in so many ways a timeless tale and worthy of note. But there is a good possibility that you have never heard of #DollyVarden. Dolly Varden is a young lady in Dickens’ Barnaby Rudge. #BarnabyRudge was produced by Dickens during 1840-41 in serial form. It was intended to be Dickens’ first publication in book format but due to publication problems it was actually his fifth published book. If it had been published first, he might have struggled with other books because it is considered to be his weakest effort. Barnaby Rudge is largely set during the Gordon Riots of 1780. The Gordon Riots began as an anti-Catholic protest in London against the Papist Act of 1878. The protests devolved into rioting and looting. The riots also occurred at the height of the American War of Independence and rumours ran that they were influenced by France and Spain in an attempt to weaken Britain.

The mixed method mezzotint pictured is by #SamuelWilliamReynolds (the younger) and is taken from the painting by #WilliamPowellFrith. It was etched in 1844 and published by Thomas Agnew & Sons. Dolly is described by Dickens as “the very pink and pattern of good looks, in a smart little cherry coloured mantle”. A wonderful piece added to my collection..

Posted in Etching, Mezzotint | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment