Clifford George Blampied artist

Today, we look at an artist from The Channel Islands. #CliffordGeorgeBlampied (1875-1962) was a watercolour artist from St Helier, Jersey. A talented artist who produced many works from his local region – The Channel Islands. The scene which we see here is titled ‘Janvrin’s Tomb’. It is found on the tidal island of L’Ile au Guerdain in Portelet Bay. The tomb/tower is also known as Portelet Tower. It was built in 1808 by the British. It was 17ft (5m) tall and 27ft (8m) in diameter – housed a garrison of 12 men and their commanding sergeant and was armed with an 18-pounder carronade.

It is named after a local seafaring man, Philippe Janvrin, who died from the plague in 1721. The local authorities feared the contagion and refused the body’s return to the island and requested that it be interred on the tidal island. Thus, the tower became Janvrin’s tomb. His body was re-interred at a later time at St Brelade.

This watercolour displays a favourite painting site of the artist. I have seen a number of other watercolours which are painted from varying angles around the bay.

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Edmond Adolphe Rudaux artist

Today, we look at an artist from France. EdmondAdolpheRudaux (1840-1914) was a painter, etcher and illustrator of genre and idealised scenes. He was born in Verdun and went on to study painting and etching under artists like Lanielle, Leclaire and Boulanger. He began to exhibit at the Salon in 1863. Rudaux was a foundational member of a group of artists which revived etching in France after the passing of Charles Meryon. He along with others like Corot, Daubigny, Jacque, and Bracquemond all made etching a vital part of their artistic life and output.

At the same time , we find Alfred Cadart, publisher, who promoted artists and their etching by publishing most the their works. Cadart, certainly, published most of Rudaux’s etchings.

Both etchings shown here (from my collection) Passablement…pas du tout (Quite a bit…not at all) and Il M’aime un peu..beaucoup? (He loves me a little …a lot?) bear the publisher’s name and printers address “Vve Cadart Edit. Imp. 56 Blvrd Haussman, Paris. ┬áBoth were printed between 1874 and 1882.

One can see the wonderful technique and artistry which Rudaux possessed and also delight in the scenes for which he became so well known for.

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Chinese Painting

I have a number of Chinese paintings in my collection and love the techniques used. The utter simplicity with which the artist creates. Chinese landscape painting is considered the epitome of Chinese painting styles. It is associated with a refined scholarly taste. The Chinese term for ‘landscape’ is made up of two characters which translate as ‘mountains and water’. This type of painting is also tied to Daoism and its’ emphasis on harmony with the natural world. Mountains are seen as reaching up to heaven and therefore good for the soul to look upon.

Chinese landscapes usually portray imaginary places and idealised scenes.

The techniques used by Chinese painters is closely tied to the art of calligraph. The brush strokes are the same in both art forms. Colours are often subdued, restrained and subtle. Ink is the primary medium and watercolour secondary

Chinese paintings are generally not framed but mounted on silk for use as hanging scroll, handscrolls, book leaves, or fans. Painters and calligraphers were well respected and usually scholars. There are four items which a scholar would have in his studio. Paper, brushes, ink, and an inkstone. The intensity of the ink colour would depend on the wetness or dryness of the brush and the amount of water used in the ink.

All the items in the artist’s studio were precious: inkstones made of Duan stone, brushes made with deer, goat, wolf, or hare, hand-made lokta paper, and the finest ink cakes. Other items would include wrist rests or supports, seals, seal paste, brush pots, brush stands, and brush washers. During the 17th century training manuals began to appear. They described a step-by-step approach as to how to paint like a particular artist. They explained the techniques used in illustrating various subjects/objects. The different types of brush strokes were named and explained.

Simplicity. A combining of sublime technique and imagination to produce art that inspires and lifts the spirit. What more could one ask for.

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Duncan Grant artist

A little over 5 years ago, I wrote a chapter on a sequence of prints displaying their progression through subsequent states. I, at that time, had another set of prints which until this past week remained unattributed. By accident, I came across a painting from which the prints in my collection are taken.

#DuncanJamesCorrowrGrant (1885-1978) was born at Rothiemurchus in Scotland but resided for most of his young life in India. It was intended that he would have an army career but he chose to study art/painting. He studied at the Westminster School of Art, traveled to Italy where he studied the works of Masaccio, followed this by studying at Jacque-Emile Blanche’s school- La Palette in Paris and finally returning to study at the Slade School of Art.

He was friends with French artist Simon Bussy, was acquainted with Matisse as well as Picasso.

After his studies Grant set up a studio in Fitzroy Square in London. Grant was a member of an influential circle of artist, writers and critics called the ‘Bloomsbury Group’. The group consisted of Lytton Strachey, Maynard Keynes, Roger Fry, Virginia and Leonard Woolf, and Vanessa and Clive Bell.

The painting from which this set of six etching states is taken from is entitled ‘Bathing’. It was painted in 1911 under the theme ‘London on Holiday’ for the dining room of Borough Polytechnic, London. It presently hangs in the Tate, London.

Grant’s painting shows seven nude male figures inq the act of diving into the water, swimming to and clambering into a boat. They are seven individual figures and yet could be the movements of one person. His figures are based on his studying of Michelangelo’s nudes. The scene is of the Serpentine in Hyde Park. A site associated with London’s gay culture.

The painting was controversial at the time of it’s making due to it’s homoerotic implications.

I cannot say for sure that these etching were created by Grant or another of the Bloomsbury Group since they are unsigned but it would be a brave artist to create these without his permission. I have not found anything like these six ‘states’ on the web.

The progression through the states from fine lines to multicoloured displays a wondering mind and an artist willing to experiment with hue and tone.

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Sir Edwin Landseer

Today, we look at an artist whose reputation as a painter of animals was and is unrivalled. #EdwinHenryLandseer (1802-1873) was and is best known for his paintings of horses, dogs, and stags. Landseer was also a sculptor and if you have been to Trafalgar Square, you would have seen his handiwork. He created the four bronze lions at the base of Lord Nelson’s Column.

I acquired two 9″ diameter mahogany plaques with finely painted representations of Landseer’s work. ‘Sleeping Bloodhound’ and ‘Suspense’ are presented here done with black oil paint over graphite. They were painted no later than 1900 and possibly much earlier even to Landseer’s time. Might they even be by the great artist. He was known to paint on mahogany panel. They are fine works and unique in shape and material in my searchings.

Like most artists, Landseer made most of his renown and income from the publication of engravings of his works. A number of these engravings were made by his brother Thomas Landseer. I have a number of engravings in my collection done by various engravers. The mezzotint ‘Waiting for Master’ was etched by William Giller after Landseer’s painting called ‘Favourites’ which resides with the Royal Collection.

I also have mezzotints of ‘High Life’ and ‘Life’ both engraved by CC Hollyer. One can understand Edwin Landseer’s popularity just from these few works and the reproducing of his work in other mediums allowed his reputation to grow and grow and grow. One quirky point about Landseer is that he was reported to be able to paint with both hands at the same time. A skill indeed seeing the wonderful technique in his works.

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Persian Miniatures

Today, we travel to Iran to look at miniature paintings. And we begin with artist #ArdeshirMojaradTakestani. Takestani was born in the city of Rasht in 1949 and is presently one of the foremost painters in the miniature style. He is also trained as a tasheir. A tasheir is an artist who decorates the margins of books.

Takestani studied with a number of master miniature painters and then traveled to Germany to continue his research into the gilding of books. After completing his studies he return to his home town to work for the local museum conserving and repairing the traditional precious manuscripts which it held. He was called upon by other museums and mosques to manage the care of their manuscripts. He, presently, teaches miniature painting at Tehran University and other centres, adjudicates art exhibitions, and has published works on painting, gilding, and book decorating. A multi-talented artist who looks after ancient manuscripts, teaches miniature painting at Tehran University, and is a professional artist.

The decorating of books by great artists has been done in most societies. Each with their own styles and techniques. Here presented are the recto and verso of a decorated book. And we finish with a piece which has been decorated – but in this case the painting has been inserted over the top of the original written text. Still beautiful but why paint over the text.

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Myles Birket Foster

Today, we return to an artist whom we have previously visited but in regards to a couple of new pieces in my collection and also a change of technique from last time. #MylesBirketFoster (1825-1899) was a popular English illustrator, watercolourist, and engraver. Birket Foster was employed as an illustrator for Punch magazine and the London Illustrated News but during the 1850’s he learned painting in watercolours. Birket Foster traveled widely ; Scotland, Germany, the Alps, Italy, Venice, the Mediterranean, and the Rhine Valley. He eventually settled in Witley near Godalming, Surrey where he built his residence called ‘The Hill’. He was friends with William Morris and Edward Burne-Jones, his contemporaries, and decorated his home with a number of their works.

It was after he moved to Witley that he began to paint in the style for which he is now renowned. A sentimentalised view of life in the English countryside especially Surrey. He was criticised for this idealised depiction of life but lauded for his detail and execution. The two paintings, presented here, are, I believe, early in his watercolour phase. They are monogrammed (in the regular way) and titled on the verso ‘Whitby Harbour’ and ‘Whitby from West Cliff’. They show only the beginnings of the sentimentality found in his later works and certainly show his eye for detail and hand for execution. Both pieces are 6.25″ by 10.5″ and traveled through the hands of J Pratt Art Dealer in Nottingham. Two lovely pieces by a deservedly well thought of artist.

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Monochrome means ‘one colour’, so art created in monochrome uses only one colour. Most would think that using one colour would restrict the freedom of the artist but might it not also focus the intent of the artist and thereby produce something more which if colours were used would not be achievable. Do we when looking at the seascape miss colour? I think not for this painting exudes an image of the sea which has depth and life, movement and presence. Would that all art even using colours could be so evocative.

Painting in #blackandwhite or #grisaille was predominately religious based from the Middle Ages to the 17th century. The art produced this way might not be paintings but might be done using charcoal, crayon, graphite, or ink. From Dutchman Adriaen van de Venne to artists like Van Eyck, Giacometti, Picasso, Velasquez, Goya, Ingres, Richter, and Pollock all have produced works in grisaille.

The pieces, I present here some of which I have talked about previously are all watercolour paintings. They span from a 20th century Cornwall? coastal scene to a 19th century Welsh?landscape to an 18th century ( maybe earlier yet) portrait (Hagar and Ishmael) – all done in monochrome. Each trying to invoke some response from the onlooker. They all display excellence but the last is still possibly one of the best pieces of art that I own.

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Henry George Hine artist

I came across a watercolour this past week by artist #HenryGeorgeHine (1811-1895). Henry Hine was born at Brighton, Sussex, the son of a coachman. Henry taught himself to draw and paint and his further training was encouraged by a local vicar . This vicar owned several paintings by #CopleyFielding which Henry truly appreciated. For a number of years Henry produced sea themed pieces and coastal scenes. To improve his technique. Henry traveled to London and apprenticed as a draghtsman to Henry Meyer. After his apprenticeship, Henry traveled to Rouen where he lived and painted. He stayed in France for about two years, when he moved back to Brighton and then to London.In London, he used his skills to produce wood engravings for illustrated publications. Henry contributed to PUNCH magazine for 3 years and then went to work for the Illustrated London News. Hine returned to painting landscapes. He was elected to the Institute of Painters in Watercolour in 1863 and exhibited regularly with the Institute until his death in 1895.

The piece, I came across, shows a number of female labourers stripping the bark off of willow branches or osiers for later use in basket weaving. It is signed H. Hine but not dated. I place it around 1860-1880. I have opted for Henry George Hine as the artist rather than his son #HenryWilliamHine (known as Harry) as the younger regularity signed his works ‘Harry Hine’. A look into life of the female workforce and the hard labour which they struggled with to earn a living. Willow stripping was entirely done by hand as each stem is pulled individually through a hand-brake. The willow stripping machine appeared between the two world wars.

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Marine etching

As I have have been collecting , I have come across some superb etchings. It is true that I think the art of etching/engraving is under-valued by the art world and general public. There are, of course, those few like Rembrandt, Hollar, Holl, Bartolozzi whose name you might recognise but even their etchings are usually a side display rather than the focus of an exhibition. I cannot attribute the etching we will look at in this chapter, but suffice it to say that it is a truly fine piece of work.

A marine etching. A harbour view – possibly Dordrecht harbour. I am guessing that this work is of Dutch origin and since it is on laid paper printed prior to 1850. What one does see when your look at this work is the sublime tonal quality achieved by this artist. The exactness and finesse allows one to enlarge the image and see the individuals in the boats and ships. The workmanship seen in the clouds, the rippling water, and the shadows is sublime. It presents a depth and variance of tone which is only seen in the work of a master.

After more research, I believe, I can attribute this etching to #EgideFrancoisLeemans (1839-1883). He was a Belgian painter and engraver who lived in Antwerp and is best know now for his realistic waterscapes, harbour scenes, and seascapes. He specialised in evening and moonlit scenes with special attention to the reflections on the water. The title for this etching is #KanalinDordrecht.

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