Federico Barocci, Mary with the Christ Child

We revisit an artwork , today, to add clarification. #Barocci (1533-1612) was an Italian painter and print maker. He was highly respected and influential in the Renaissance art world of the time. His work certainly influenced many artists who came after him, such as Rubens (Baroque era).

The work in my collection (shown) is a superb monochrome watercolour displaying a mother and child in a desert scene. I took the title from other etchings displaying almost the same image. They were all titled #HagarandIshmael, so I trusted the information. But as with numerous original artworks and their offspring via various artistic fields, they are renamed. The finished oil painting of this image hangs in the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen, Dresden. The title of the oil painting is #MarywiththeChristChild. Why or how the title was changed, we might never know. Certainly the image might represent either of the known titles.

Either way, both are superb artworks.

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Dean Wolstenholme, the Elder, painter

Because I collect in the manner I do, I find items which are considered valueless. Often times they are damaged and imperfect and in need of love and attention. Such is the case with today’s artwork.

I picked up this piece earlier this week. It was close to being thrown in the trash. Damaged and dirty, it was considered unwanted. It, in fact, is an artwork (approx. 220 years old) by a known artist and it has not been seen for over 100 year or more.

#DeanWolstenholme (1757-1837), the Elder, was a Yorkshireman by birth but lived most of his life in Essex and Hertfordshire – Cheshunt, Turnford, and Waltham Abbey. His early working life was centred around the sporting and hunting pastimes of the rich. He was at this point an amateur artist. Due to financial problems, Wolstenholme turned to painting professionally around 1800. At this point he also moved to London (East Street, Red Lion Square). In 1803, he began to exhibit (picture entitled – Coursing) at the Royal Academy and there after annually until 1824. His speciality was animal pictures, hunting/sporting scenes. After 1826, Wolstenholme painted little. He died in 1837 at a good age of 80 and is buried in Old St. Pancras churchyard. His son Dean Wolstenholme, the Younger, was to follow in his fathers artistic footprints to become a very famous painter of country sporting life, in his own right.

The painting I acquired is called #TomMoody’sFuneral. You can see the damage and it will soon be off to the restorer for cleaning, mending, and reframing. This is what many years of neglect can do to a fine piece of art.

The scene depicts the moment when, Tom Moody’s body (d. 1796) was consigned to the grave. It was his wish that the gathered give vent to the ‘view-halloo’ and ‘tally-ho’ as he was laid to earth. Moody was long time whipper-in to Mr George Forester’s hunt in Shropshire. His odd request led to a ballad being composed about him which was performed at Drury Lane.

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Isaac Beckett mezzotints

Today, we travel to the beginning of an art form. It was a privilege to add a piece by #IsaacBeckett (1653-1719) to my collection this week. Born in Kent, Beckett was apprenticed to a London based printer. While working there, he met Edward Luttrell who convinced him to learn the new art of mezzotint. Beckett began to work with John Lloyd. Troubles plagued his private life and the partnership was dissolved. Luttrell came to his aid again. At this point his circumstance changed. Beckett wed. His new wife was a woman of means which enabled Beckett to publish his own prints. Beckett collaborated with Luttrell on many pieces. Luttrell being adept at drawing and the execution of heads and portraits started many prints which Beckett would then fine tune before publishing.Beckett and an artist by name of Robert Wilson were the first two artists in England who specialised in mezzotint. Beckett was mainly a portraitist although he did engrave biblical and allegorical subjects. All his plates can be dated between 1681 to 1688.

The mezzotint shown bears the title ‘#TheDutchSchool’ and is after artist Egbert van Heemskerck the Elder. Mezzotint became popular due to the fact that great and fine variation in shading could be produced allowing for very subtle details to be brought forth.

From my research there exists at present 2 states of this print. Three copies of the second state and four of the first state are known. All of these previously known prints have been altered making the print in my collection the only unaltered first state.

The hand of a master.

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Battle of Anzio

In one month we will see the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Anzio, Italy. And today , I came across a drawing related to that event. The #BattleofAnzio was a part of the Italian Campaign and occurred between January 22nd and June 5th, 1944. It began with #OperationShingle – the amphibious landing of Allied troops which would hopefully allow the Allied troops to outflank the German forces and lead to an attack on Rome. The surprise landing went unexpectedly well with very few casualties. Those casualties came over the next 5 months of struggle (7000 killed, 36,000 wounded or missing). The image shown is an ink drawing by Sergeant K Moss (4697586 – his military ID number) in 1944. Sergeant Moss was a member of the #FieldSecurityService. Their main aim was to gather intelligence/information from prisoners of war and civilians friendly to the Allies. The data collected would then hopefully assist the Allied troops to overcome the Germans. After the war the FSS immediately took to investigating Nazi war crimes and those who perpetrated them.

The drawing shows the Head Quarters of the British FSS near Anzio.

I have found little about Sergeant K. Moss. He may not have survived to the end of the war but hopefully the information which he and his compatriots gathered would have led to Allied victories and many U.S., British and Canadian lives saved at the Battle of Anzio and after.

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A technique not always associated with painting but it has been used by some fine artists. One might not even realise that one is looking at this technique. #Sgraffito is the scratching away of one layer to reveal another. In painting, one coat of paint is applied and left to dry. When dry a second layer of a varying colour is applied. The artist then uses a palette knife or a scraping tool ( even the non-bristled end of the paint brush) to scrape away the top coat to reveal an image displayed in the original colour. The piece displayed here is one I picked up a few days ago. It does not use multiple layers of paint. It begins with a layer of grey watercolour on artist paper. The artist has then rubbed and etched/cut into the paper (thus allowing shadows to appear in the deeper cuts) to reveal the scene he has chosen. Here a ship is seen floundering close to a pier and the sgraffito is well used in the portrayal of the waves and the outlining of the ship and pier.

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Henry Perronet Briggs portraitist

As I acquire pieces for my collection, I find myself leaning towards original works. Even works from artists that I may not have heard of. Certainly, #HenryPerronetBriggs (1793-1844) was one of those artists. Briggs was born in the town of Walworth, County Durham. He exhibited talent early on and by 1811 he was a student at the Royal Academy in London. He exhibited at the Academy in 1814 and every year after till his death as well as at the British Institution. Briggs was elected a member of the Royal Academician (RA) in 1832. From this point on he devoted his artistic life to portraiture even though his historical scenes were quite fine.

I acquired a small graphite sketch showing a woman’s portrait. It still amazes me that through so little so much can be expressed. I think he captures something in her face. The eyes and lips – finely done – with a bit of high-light on the nose and there is beauty shown. The capturing of an essence and displaying it with such ease. He certainly was a talented man.

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John Clare poet

One might consider a chapter on a poet to be out of place in a blog about collecting art I have a previous chapter on Robert Bloomfield (rural bard). So when I came across a hand written edition of ‘The Wren’, I thought John Clare would be a fine literary artist to share with people.

#JohnClare (1793-1864) was born in Helpston, near Peterborough. He was the son of a farm labourer. Clare’s writings celebrate the English countryside and his dismay at its’ disruption. His poems are poignant and reminiscent of his rural upbringing. Powerful portrayals of nature in its’ rawest form. Clare spent a number of years in his later life in an asylum where he continued to write and produce his poetry.

This hand written edition of the poem #The Wren comes from 1864. It was the second sheet of a pair. The first is displayed as the second image here. Possibly written by a Master Wallis on June 22, 1864. I have not found a publication date for ‘The Wren’ but John Clare is considered its’ author. John Clare died in May of 1864. Both sheets of paper bear an 1862 watermark.

This blog ,I guess, inadvertently, enters me into the area of the true wordage used by Clare. In the seventh line With mine are other birds that bear the bell occurs as With mine, there’s other birds that bear the bell and again in the penultimate line Tending my sheep: and still they come to tell is given as Tenting my sheep: and still they come to tell. Questions have been raised by scholars as to the correct words or possible meaning of the words used in the versions of the poem. I confess that I prefer the words used in the copy in my collection.

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Princess Victoria

When it comes to identifying a person in a portrait, it can be a painstakingly long process. A number of months back, I considered that the young woman in a graphite and body colour portrait in my collection might have been Jane Austin. I was informed that this was definitely not Jane since the dress worn by the young woman was from the 1830’s – after Jane’s time. Since then, I have looked at a lot of drawings and portraits. Here, now is another consideration which I put to my readers. Here are two images of the portrait I own and now I wish to show you a couple of images found on line of the young #PrincessVictoria. I see quite a resemblance from the known images to my artwork. The royals have always been a popular choice to portray and many a fine artist has attempted it. My portrait comes from 1836 which would make Victoria 17 years of age (1 year prior to her taking the throne). The portrait bears a date 1836 and a stylised ‘A’ (I think) which might stand for #Alexandrina, which was Victoria’s first name. Which would make this image a possible self-portrait. Victoria was known to be a very respectable artist. My artwork also bears the name Ellen Douglas but she could not have been the artist since she would have been 12 years old (a gift to a friend perhaps). It is certain she knew Victoria and likely spent a good deal of time with her since she was the daughter of the 17th Earl of Douglas who was a Scottish Tory politician who spent time at Westminster in London (House of Lords). I also have a small watercolour which I will set beside another portrait of the young princess. After looking at more online images, another thought has crossed my mind. Queen Victoria’s husband Albert was also a fine artist. This can be seen in the drawings held by the Royal Collection. He at times is signified by a stylised ‘A’. Might this be a portrait of the young Victoria by her yet to be husband. I think both of the portraits in my collection might actually be of the young Princess Victoria. I leave you to ponder the images and what might be.

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Pietro Annigoni – portrait artist

A man whose name you might not know but you have likely seen his work. #PietroAnnigoni (1910-1988) was a portrait artist from Italy. His nickname was ‘the painter of queens’ for his renown came from his portraiture of royals and important personages from around the world.

He was born in Milan (1910) but spent most of his life in Florence (1920 onwards). He studied at the Academy of Fine Arts and had his first solo exhibition at the age of 22. His technique was most reminiscent of the great Italian Renaissance painters. Throughout his life, he stood against modern art and other movements which arose in his life time.

The list of names whom he painted is a veritable who’s who. He has painted Queen Elizabeth II (twice), HRH Prince Phillip, Princess Margaret, Pope John XXIII, US Presidents JF Kennedy and Lyndon B Johnson, the Shah and Empress of Iran, Salvatore Ferragamo, Margot Fonteyn, Julie Andrews, Rudolf Nureyev and the list goes on.

The portrait of a man’s head in my collection bears a dedication to Nicholas Eadon. It is done in #sanguine (blood on paper) which is a red-brown iron oxide chalk (hematite). Today most artists draw with conte crayon or coloured pencil but sanguine was a staple tool of the old masters especially when used on cream paper. It works wonderfully well for figure drawing. Even though Annigoni uses only the one colour, yet, he is able to evince a depth, a personality, even a mood into his portraits. They make you want to look at them.

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Emmanuel Mane-Katz

An artist who loved more than one country. #EmmanuelMane-Katz was born in the Ukraine. He use to say his real home was Paris (He became a French citizen) but his spiritual home was Israel where he is buried.

His Jewish heritage meant that he was born Mane Leyzerovich Kats (1894-1962). His father wished him to become a rabbi but Katz loved to paint. At the age of 19, he moved to Paris to study. During WWI, he went to live and paint in Petrograd but eventually left to return to his home town of Kremenchuk to teach art. In 1921, he again returned to Paris, where this time he met and became friends with Pablo Picasso. He was associated with the group of artists known as the #SchoolofParis and was considered a member of the #JewishSchoolofParis.

He first visited Israel in 1928 and thereafter he was an annual visitor to the state.

His painting style was classical and somber using darker and earthier colours but after WWII his painting style changed. He began to utilise primary colours, brighter, more vivid, more life affirming colours to paint his #Hasidic characters – rabbis, musicians, beggars, yeshiva students – and scenes of shtetl life in Eastern Europe.

The painting, I acquired this past week, comes from his early period in which he used more somber colours. Large brush strokes laden with paint enable a three dimensional aspect to the painting which allows light and shadow to play a part in ones viewing of the painting.

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