Thursday, September 29, 2011

Jan Marsh at the Red House,27 

Thanks Daniela
(nb. there is a second part)

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Having a break again ...

I'm having a lot of health tests at the moment and moving into my new flat has been put back to mid-October. I am still posting news on
Back when life is not so damn hectic.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Ford Madox Brown: Pre-Raphaelite radical who shocked the Victorians

First exhibition in 50 years sheds new light on the man whose work was described by the establishment as 'grotesque'

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Having a break again ...

Sorry I am just too busy till early October with all sorts of things.
I'll still post news on my Facebook page
Back when live is not so damn hectic.

Edward Frederick Brewtnall - Wimbledon Tennis Party

Friday, September 16, 2011

Ford Madox Brown: pre-Raphaelite pioneer and working-class hero

More Fiona - Last Pre-Raphaelite: Edward Burne-Jones and the Victorian Imagination - reviews

BBC History Magazine

Fiona MacCarthy, author of a previous tome on William Morris, is an expert on Victorian art, sensibility and personalities. She does justice to Burne-Jones’s immense output. Long as it is, her book is never dull. But it is the human drama that keeps one turning the pages.

I wish I were more susceptible to Ned’s dream visions of scenes of chivalry and Arthurian legend. But his stunners are indeed stunning. It irks me that I have never come across such amazing women in life. Where were they - those pale, intense goddesses of yearning with their enveloping bronze tresses?
Perhaps - just a suspicion - they never really looked like that except through the fervent eyes and paintbrushes of Rossetti and his chum, Burne-Jones?

Edward Frederick Brewtnall - Sleeping Beauty

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Edward Burne-Jones - Portrait of Frances, Lady Horner [Sale]

Other Ruskin resources

Ruskin Library and Research Centre

Ruskin Library

Ruskin Today

Ruskin Society

Ruskin Museum - Coniston

Dante Gabriel Rossetti - Study for Benedick and Beatrice

Phoebe Anna Traquair - The Bonskeid cabinet


oak cabinet, comprising a carved scroll pediment above a central recess containing three arched niches and with four ring-turned columns flanked by a pair of panels on sliding doors. The breakfront base with a central hinged panel door enclosing a pair of hinged pigeon holes before open horizontal shelving, above three graduated drawers with carved scallop handles and cast foliate escutheons. These are flanked by a pair of arched doors with rose and oak leaf carved spandrels above turned pillars with foliate capitals each enclosing two fixed shelves and two pull-out shelves. The patent lever locks are stamped G. Harley & Co W. Hampton. The moulded base on shaped bracket supports with recessed trefoil medallions.

The panels comprise:
1. The Red-Cross Knight, Una with her Lamb and the Dwarf, canto I, verses 1 to 6 (top left),
13.75 by 44 cm., 53 3/4 by 17 3/4 in.

2. They Meet the Sorcerer, Archimago, who Points to a Chapel Beside his Hermitage, canto I, verses 29 and 34 (top centre, left), 20.5 by 16.75 cm., 8 by 6 5/8 in., ogivate top

3. Archimago, by Deceit, Separates the Red-Cross Knight and Una, canto II, verse 9 (top centre, centre), 20.5 by 16.75 cm., 8 by 6 5/8 in., ogivate top

4. Una, Still Seeking the Red-Cross Knight, is Worshipped by a Group of Fauns and
Satyres, canto VI, verse 30 (top centre, right), 20.5 by 16.75 cm., 8 by 6 5/8 in., ogivate top

5. The Procession of Lucifera and her Councillors, canto IV, verses 17 to 36 (top right),13.75 by 44 cm., 53 3/4 by 17 3/4 in.

6. The Red-Cross Knight Slays the Dragon on the Third Day of Combat, canto XI, verses 54 and 55 (bottom left), 69.5 by 38 cm., 27 1/2 by 15 in., arched top

7. Una, Still Seeking the Red-Cross Knight, is Pitied by a Lion, canto III, verse 9 (bottom right), 69.5 by 38 cm., 27 1/2 by 15 in., arched top

8. The Betrothal of the Red-Cross Knight and Una, canto XII, verses 4 and 6 (bottom
centre), 32.5 by 52 cm., 12 3/4 by 20 1/2 in.
signed with monogram and dated 1893

all oil on panel

overall 157 by 188 by 69 cm., 62 by 74 by 27 in.

ESTIMATE 70,000-100,000 GBP

Commissioned by Margaret Barbour for her younger brother Dr Hugh Freeland Barbour of Bonskeid, Pitlochry and thence by descent to Professor R. Barbour;
Edinburgh, Shapes, 1 July 2000, lot 349;
Private collection

Edinburgh, Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Phoebe Anna Traquair, 1993, no. 34

Elizabeth Cumming, Phoebe Anna Traquair, 1993, illus. p. 64

Traquair was commissioned to decorate a cabinet by Margaret Barbour in the early 1890s. A letter dated 16 May 1890 from Traquair to her friend Willie Moss mentions 'a cabinet keeping me busy just now. Seven panels in which I am trying to get in Spenser story of he Red Cross Knight' (she eventually painted eight panels rather than seven). On 9 January 1893 she mentioned that she had begun to paint panels for a second cabinet, but unfortunately did not describe these panels. In the catalogue for the Traquair exhibition in 1993, Elizabeth Cummings suggested that the present cabinet relates to the second commission, although the whereabouts of the first cabinet are not known. Traquair had known the Barbour family as early as 1889 when Robert William and Charlotte Rachel Barbour (brother and sister-in-law of Margaret and Hugh Barbour) joined her on a visit to Florence. Traquair had met the Barbours through her friendship with Dr Alexander Whyte who patronised her work.

The first of the two large arched panels on the doors of the cabinet, depicts the Red Cross Knight slaying the dragon.

Robert Barbour was the model for the armoured knight whilst the landscape background was painted in the Perthshire countryside close to the Barbour's home. The pose of the knight recalls the various versions of a celebrated composition by Edward Burne-Jones entitled St George Slaying the Dragon. The subjects of St George or the Red Cross Knight were particularly popular with nineteenth century artists as it symbolised heroism and gallantry.

The other arched panel depicts Una the virginal heroine of the Fairee Queen, accompanied by her devoted pet lamb and lion, paying in the garden of Bonskeid with the house in the background. The model for Una was Margaret Barbour.

The central panel depicts the marriage of the Red Cross Knight and Una accompanied by the knight's heralds and squire and Una's handmaidens. The body of the dragon is laid out in the foreground amongst the spring flowers of the meadow and above the happy group is a radiant rainbow, an element often found in Traquair's work. This panel is also reminiscent of Burne-Jones' series of paintings on the subject of St George.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Oscar Wilde himself (1985)

The Elements of Drawing website - Ruskin

Phoebe Anna Traquair - Motherhood ...

incised with monogram and dated l.r. and further signed with monogram and dated 1906 on the reverse
three enamels with foil on copper set in a copper alloy frame decorated with enamel beads
central enamel 17 by 14 cm., 6 3/4 by 5 1/2 in., arched top; subsidiary enamels, each
radius 3.5 cm., 1.5 in.

ESTIMATE 6,000-8,000 GBP
Lot Sold: 6,875 GBP

Phoebe Anna Traquair - The Helper

inscribed with the title, signed with monogram and dated 1911 on the reverse
ogival enamel with foil on copper, set in a silver mount
4 by 4.5 cm., 1 1/4 by 1 3/4 in.

ESTIMATE 3,000-4,000 GBP
Lot Sold: 3,250 GBP

H. M Traquair, the artist's son;
Edinburgh, Shapes, 30 June 2001, lot 193;
Private collection

The Bruce Presentation Copy of Rossetti's Early Italian Poets

Rossetti, D[ante]. G[abriel]. (transl.), THE EARLY ITALIAN POETS FROM CIULLO D'ALCAMO TO DANTE ALIGHIERI: (1100-1200-1300) IN THE ORIGINAL METRES TOGETHER WITH DANTE'S VITA NUOVA (London: Smith Elder & Co., 1861). First edition, 18 x 12cm (8vo), rebound w/new russet ep.s in black diaper-grain cloth w/most of the original dark olive rib-grain cloth laid down, w/gilt title & design (by the author) to covers & spine, a.e. untrimmed, [i-vi] vii-xxxvi, [1] 2-464, [1-2 Errata & announcement of DGR's forthcoming Dante at Verona and Other Poems] pp. Printed by Whittingham & Wilkins at the Chiswick Press, London. Inscribed in ink to half-title: "To Mrs William Bruce with kind regards- D.G. Rossetti 1864," below which "A.M. Bruce 1866" & "A.H. Martin 78" are inscr. in pencil. This copy corresponds with Colbeck 4, in which p.352 is misnumbered "252"; however, B2 B6 E6 F2 H1 H4 & DD5, which are pasted into most copies, appear to be sewn into this one. Binding Very Good (moderate rubbing to cloth); contents Very Good (sl. creasing to a few leaves, & lt. marginal dampstains to pp.131-160, 193-206 & 290-300). Athenæum 22 Feb. 1862 pp.253-54 (by H.C. Barlow), Slater 2, Rossetti 9, Vaughan 11, Ashley IV 113, Ehrsam & Deily 219, Fredeman 23.3, Fennell 19, Ball 159, Colbeck 4. (Inv. #661) C$2,500

Provenance: Gifted by the author in 1864 to Mrs. William Bruce; thence in 1866 to her daughter Anna Mary Bruce (b.1846); A.H. Martin by 1878.
The original recipient, Mrs. Mary Elizabeth née Conybeare Bruce (ca.1818-1866), was the daughter of the Dean of Llandaff & the wife of Canon William Bruce, who in 1869 approved DGR's request to retouch his Llandaff Cathedral reredos (see DGR as Designer & Writer 1889, p.67); she was also the sister-in-law of Sir Henry Austin Bruce, a friend of DGR's since 1856. In 1862, in a fit of profound remorse & sadness, DGR buried his manuscript poems, which were to be published as Dante at Verona and Other Poems, with his recently-deceased wife. In Sept. 1869, after being convinced by a few friends that he should publish his lost poetry, DGR wrote to Sir Henry personally requesting his legal consent for Elizabeth Siddal Rossetti's exhumation in order to retrieve his manuscript notebook. This remarkable copy, dedicated to DGR's wife & advertising his forthcoming but soon abandoned edition of poetry, was presented to the sister-in-law of the man whose later consent for the exhumation made such an edition (Poems 1870) possible.

And, The Rare Issue With Seven Integral Leaves

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Lucy & Catherine Madox Brown

Ruskin's Turner's in the The Fitzwilliam Museum

Phoebe Anna Traquair - Mary teaching Christ to walk

signed with monogram and dated 1906 on the reverse and bears an inscription: H. M.
enamel with foil on copper

7 by 7 cm., 2 3/4 by 2 3/4 in.

ESTIMATE 3,000-4,000 GBP
Lot Sold: 3,250 GBP

H. M. Traquair, the artist's son;
Edinburgh, Shapes, 30 June 2001, lot 192;
Private collection

Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Phoebe Anna Traquair, 1993, no. 94

Elizabeth Cumming, Phoebe Anna Traquair, 1993, illus. p. 80

Phoebe Anna Traquair - The pems of Daniel Rossetti ...


volume bound in vellum with 31 illuminated pages, the front cover decorated with
strawberry flowers, leaves and fruit; the back cover decorated with kidney vetch flowers,leaves and seed-pods
many pages signed with monogram and dated 1883 or 1884, variously inscribed

27 by 20 cm., 10 1/2 by 7 3/4 in.

ESTIMATE 15,000-20,000 GBP
Lot Sold: 17,500 GBP

Monday, September 12, 2011

Marianne Preindelsberger Stokes 1855-1927

Kate Elizabeth Bunce 1856-1927

Edward Burne-Jones - Girl’s Head late 1880s - early 189

red, black and white chalk on terracotta paper

39.3 x 27.6 cm

This attractive drawing exemplifies the wistful, enigmatic expression that Burne-Jones loved to give his models. The technique is one he often used at this period. Lady Burne-Jones quotes him writing on the subject of red chalk to the artist E. R. Hughes, who also favoured the medium for his drawings:

The ancient red is a far more crimson and rosy tint than the dusty brown sticks they give us now, and I have understood always that the ancient red is exhausted and that we have fallen on evil days and can get no more of it, and…I am always asking about it of every colourman I meet, in vain…I am waiting till I can find one stick of the tint Correggio used (Memorials of Edward Burne-Jones, 1904, vol.2, p.322)

As so often with Burne-Jones at this date, the drawing seems to have been conceived as an independent study, unrelated to a picture. Given his tendency to impose his own visual ideal on his models, it is unlikely that the sitter will ever be identified.

Tthe drawing was in the vast collection formed by William Hesketh Lever, first Viscount Leverhulme, the wealthy manufacturer of Sunlight Soap. The drawings were given by him to the Lady Lever Art Gallery, Port Sunlight, which he built after the first world war for the benefit of his workforce and in memory of his wife; but they were among many items which were sold by the Trustees at Christie’s in 1958, at a time when Victorian art was out of fashion.


PROVENANCE: Thos. Agnew & Sons Ltd; 1st Lord Leverhulme; Lady Lever Art Gallery, Port Sunlight; Christie’s, 6 June 1958, part of lot 23, with P.239, purchased by Gallery.

EXHIBTIONS: Drawings and Studies by Sir Edward Burne-Jones, Bart., Berlin, 1898; The English Tradition, Bedford, Cecil Higgins Art Gallery, 1972, no.11; Burne-Jones, London, Hayward Gallery, Southampton, Southampton Art Gallery, & Birmingham, City Museum & Art Gallery, 1975-6, no.322; The Last Romantics, London, Barbican Art Gallery, 1989, no.11.

REFERENCE: R.R. Tatlock, A Record of the Collection in the Lady Lever Art Gallery, Port Sunlight, vol.1, 1928, p.123, no.718.

Copyright © Trustees of Cecil Higgins Art Gallery, Bedford.

Extract taken from Watercolours and Drawings, Cecil Higgins Art Gallery by Evelyn Joll.

William Bell Scott - Keats' Grave in the Old Protestant Cemetery in Rome, 1873

William Bell Scott - Salisbury Crags, Edinburgh

Saturday, September 10, 2011

The Last Pre-Raphaelite - review Financial Times

Charles Lutwidge Dodgson - Simon Winchester, author of 'The Alice Behind Wonderland'

Charles Dodgson's love affair with photography

Charles Dodgson and the Liddell family

Textiles and Wallpapers by William Morris

William Morris in Oxford - Tony Pinkney

Morris's Epic of Hades, in Fine Binding with Fore-Edge Painting

[Morris, Sir Lewis], THE EPIC OF HADES IN THREE BOOKS (London: Henry S. King & Co., 1877). First edition thus, 16.5 x 10cm (small 8vo), handsomely bound in midnight blue crushed morocco by Birdsall & Son, Northampton (stamped in gilt to fr. turn-in) w/gilt ornaments & borders to covers & spine, gilt title & 4 raised bands to spine, a.e.g. with fore-edge painting of Dante Gabriel Rossetti's Proserpine, decorative gilt turn-ins, burgundy ep.s, [i-iv + i-iii] iv, [1-3] 4-76 + [i-ii] [1] 2-152 + [1-3] 4-54 pp. Printed at the Caxton Press, Beccles. With the decorative bookplate of Eleonora Lady Trevelyan (designed by William Bell Scott, w/his monogram & date ["1857-8"]--see Franks 29799) to fr. pastedown, & inscr. "Eleonora A. Trevelyan, July 1877, prs: by J. Bright" to titlepage. Binding Very Good (extremities sl. rubbed); contents Near-Fine. Colbeck 6. (Inv. #778) C$1,000

On 14 Oct. 1875 Eleonora (aka Eleanor) Anne Campbell became the 2nd wife of Sir Charles Edward Trevelyan, who inherited the Wallington Estate from Sir Walter Trevelyan in 1879. When considering this book's subject, the fore-edge painting of Rossetti's Proserpine is entirely appropriate; the combination of that & the bookplate designed by Bell Scott makes this book a true Pre-Raphaelite association copy. Rossetti & Bell Scott were close friends of the Trevelyans & visited Wallington Hall on numerous occasions.

Ruskin At Walkley, 1875-90

I've been away a few days and perhaps I came back with a renewed interest but there is just SO MUCH pre-raphaelite material about - I must bore the pants off must people. And more and more I realise for all his very odd personal life Ruskin was a Genius and a key figure of the Victorian era. I came across this while looking at his life:

In 1875, Ruskin came to Sheffield to visit a former student. Henry Swan was an engraver whom Ruskin had taught in the 1850s at London's Working Men’s College. Swan had moved to Sheffield because of its reputation for fine metal work. He set up home with his family in the suburb of Walkley.

Much taken by Swan's new surroundings, Ruskin saw the opportunity for a museum that would meet the needs of local 'workers in iron' (Works, 28, p. 395). He hoped it would be 'extended into illustration of the natural history of the neighbourhood'. A cottage was purchased for the purpose in 1875, and Ruskin installed his old student in the role of museum curator.

Ruskin called this new foundation The St George's Museum. He had been interested in the legend of St George from a young age, having characterised the saint in 'The Puppet Show', a work he wrote at the age of nine or ten. Its first stanza read,

'"I am the bravest Knight of all
My armour is of gold;
O'er all the field death spreads his pall
When I my wrath unfold."'
(Works, 2, p. xxxiii).

On the original picture on the web site, there are useful hot spots on some of the objects.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Edward Burne-Jones on Angels

The more materialistic science becomes, the more angels shall I paint. Their winds are my protest in favour of the immortality of the soul.

Burne-Jones and the Dissolution of Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co

Burne-Jones -- A Quest for Love

Edward Burne-Jones and stained glass in Cumbria

Other good Burne-Jones books

Burne Jones [Paperback]
Christopher Wood
W&N; New edition edition (10 Jun 1999)

Edward Burne-Jones (British Artists series) [Illustrated] [Paperback]
David Peters Corbett
Tate Publishing (2 July 2004)

Edward Burne-Jones: The Earthly Paradise [Illustrated] [Hardcover]
Edward Burne-Jones
Hatje Cantz Publishers (30 Nov 2009)

A Profound Secret: May Gaskell, her daughter Amy, and Edward Burne-Jones [Paperback]
Josceline Dimbleby
Black Swan; New edition edition (1 Feb 2005)

A Circle of Sisters: Alice Kipling, Georgiana Burne-Jones, Agnes Poynter and Louisa Baldwin [Paperback]
Judith Flanders
Penguin; New Ed edition (2 May 2002)

The Last Pre-Raphaelite: Edward Burne-Jones and the Victorian Imagination, By Fiona MacCarthy

Not a lot to like, but plenty to admire

Reviewed by Suzi Feay

Funnily enough just found my copy of Penelope Fitzgerald's 'Edward Burne-Jones' which at 300 pages is at least lighter to hold!

From the review:
MacCarthy is also probing of his relationships with his male friends, detecting more buried hostility than is usually seen in his affectionate cartoons of "Topsy" (Morris). The result is a rich and thought-provoking portrait. I liked Burne-Jones a bit less after reading it, but admired him a lot more.

Happy Birthday William Bell Scott


Tuesday, September 13: Happy Birthday William Bell Scott. Join Lloyd Langley to celebrate the 200th birthday of the northern pre-Raphaelite William Bell Scott, the artist who created the magnificent paintings of Northumbrian History in the Central Hall at Wallington, and explore his work and influence. At Wallington. 10am–1pm. £20 including coffee and lunch. Booking essential, call 01670 773600.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Phoebe Anna Traquair - Triptych, The Rainbow

[Phoebe 1900]

inscribed with the title, signed with monogram and dated 1903 on the reverse of the central enamel; the side enamels are each signed with monogram and dated 1903
enamel with foil on copper, set in a copper alloy frame designed by the artist's son Ramsay Traquair (1874-1952) and made by Johan Maitland in 1903
overall height 27.2 cm., 10 3/4 in.; central enamel 7 by 7 cm., 2 3/4 by 2 3/4 in.; each side
panel 7.25 by 2.5 cm., 3 by 1 in.

ESTIMATE 15,000-20,000 GBP
Lot Sold: 17,500 GBP

H. M. Traquair, the artist's son;
Edinburgh, Shapes, 3 March 2007, lot 589;
Private collection

Dublin, Arts and Crafts Society of Ireland, no. 371;
Edinburgh College of Art, Edinburgh and Dublin 1885-1985, Arts and Crafts in Edinburgh, 1985, no. 76;
Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Phoebe Anna Tarquair, 1993, no. 74 as Triptych: The Kiss

Paul Larmour, The Arts & Crafts Movement in Ireland, 1992, p. 74;
Revue du Vrai et du Beau, 10 April 1926, illus. p. 24
Elizabeth Cumming, Phoebe Anna Traquair, 1993, p. 75

"To the artist, be he the poet, painter or musician, the world is a great treasure house, stored with endless material for him to use, teach yourself to match the beauty of red-lipped buds, sunlight through green leaves, the yellow gorse on the hill, the song of the wild birds, so on, step by step, the world opens out. This is life. This is to live, the perfection comes when one's own life is in harmony with this beauty"
Letter from Traquair to her nephew c. 1883

J.W. Waterhouse: The Modern Pre-Raphaelite

Video: Curator Peter Trippi looks at key works in the exhibition

Thanks to Cathy Baker for finding this.

Thomas Cooper Gotch - Monsigneur Love

Richard Burchett - View across Sandown Bay, Isle of Wight c. 1855

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Our Living Painters 1859

Anon, OUR LIVING PAINTERS: THEIR LIVES AND WORKS (London: James Blackwood, 1859). First edition, 18 x 12cm (8vo), in publisher's goldenrod fine net-grain cloth w/embossed decorations to covers & gilt design to fr. cover & spine, pale yellow ep.s, 276 (viii) pp. +4pp. publ. adverts to rear. Printed by M'Corquodale & Co., London & Glasgow. Association copy signed by Ruthven Todd to recto of fr. ep. Included are essays on the Pre-Raphaelites (D.G. Rossetti, W. Holman Hunt, J.E. Millais) & many of their early followers (F. Madox Brown, William Dyce, A.L. Egg, J.F. Lewis, J.N. Paton, W.B. Scott, etc.). Binding Fair (extremities moderately bumped & worn, & spine darkened [edges of covers less so] w/small piece chipped from head); contents Very Good (moderate browning to leaves). Athenæum 2 July 1859 pp.22-23 (by F.G. Stephens). (Inv. #641) C$150

Edward Burne-Jones - The Love Song 1868–77

Arguably the most important Burne-Jones in America.

"Burne-Jones' The Love Song (47.26), one of the most important Victorian pictures in a U.S. collection, represents a branch of the Aesthetic movement, with its subject derived from no literary source, its dreamy medievalism, and its inspired blend of Gothic and Renaissance prototypes combined with a Pre-Raphaelite intensity of detail and effect. There is a subtle religiosity in the twilight sun shining through the stained-glass windows of the church in the background and falling on the organ pipes. And the contemporary blended conceptions of female and male beauty, as well as literal musicality echoed in the mood, presented both a challenge to traditional historical art and a rarefied transformation of the early concerns of Pre-Raphaelitism. "

Source: The Salon and The Royal Academy | Thematic Essay | Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History | The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Edward John Poynter - Study of a Woman's Head

signed with initials and dated l.r.: 19 EJP 12
pencil, charcoal and bodycolour
19 by 15cm., 7½ by 6in.

ESTIMATE 3,000-5,000 GBP
Lot Sold: 3,750 GBP

Simeon Solomon - Songs of Innocence

signed with initials and dated 1886 l.r.; inscribed along the bottom edge: From W. Blake's
"Songs of Innocence"
18 by 26 cm., 7 by 10 in.

ESTIMATE 4,000-6,000 GBP
Lot Sold: 5,250 GBP

Simeon Solomon was the younger brother of the artists Abraham and Rebecca who were known for their interesting but traditional Victorian genre paintings. Simeon developed a more visionary approach to art, developed from the paintings of Dante Gabriel Rossetti and Albert Moore and the poetry of Algernon Swinburne, all of whom he was closely associated with in the 1860s. He had studied at the Royal Academy Schools from 1855 and exhibited his first picture at the Academy The Mother of Moses in 1860. During this early period in his life, he was hailed as a genius and much praised for his bold illustrations of biblical scenes, some of which were made for Dalziel's famous bible, and for his drawings of Jewish life and ritual. In 1871 everything changed when he was arrested for lewd conduct and shunned by his family and former friends. He was condemned to a life of squalor in the St Giles Workhouse in Holborn, making money by selling matches on the street. With his meagre earnings he bought artist's materials and continued to draw (usually in coloured chalk) and his work developed a haunting Symbolist intensity. With a few loyal patrons and sympathetic friends, Solomon survived for over thirty years living this precarious life and producing some of the most remarkable drawings of the period. Throughout the 1880s and 1890s his pictures were popular among the undergraduate students of Oxford and the champion of the Aesthetes Oscar Wilde wrote to Lord Alfred Douglas from Reading Goal about his regret at the loss of his cherished drawings by Solomon. Following his death in 1905, accelerated by chronic alcoholism, his work was exhibited at the Baillie Gallery in London and at the Winter exhibition at the Royal Academy. In modern times he has again been judged to be one of the most important members of the Aesthetic movement and in a wider European context, an active exponent of Symbolism.

Another illustration of 1886 to William Blake's Songs of Innocence entitled The Vision of the Doubter was exhibited at Birmigham City Art Gallery's exhibition of Solomon's work in 2005.

Simeon Solomon - The Mystery of Faith

Monday, September 5, 2011

Edward Burne-Jones - Chant d'Armour

A large hi-res version of the Met oil (last two images above) are here:

signed with initials and inscribed l.l.: EBJ/ to/ JCC
28 by 37 cm.; 11 by 14 1/2 in.

ESTIMATE 120,000-180,000 GBP
Lot Sold: 145,250 GBP

Joseph Comyns Carr;
Major C. S. Goldman;
Sir John and Lady Witt;
Their sale, Sotheby's, London, 19 February 1987, lot 173;
Private collection;
Sotheby's, London, 4 June 1997, lot 166;
Private collection

London, Franco-British Exhibition, 1908;
Vienna, Galleries of the Secession, 1927;
London, Tate Gallery, Centenary Exhibition of Paintings and Drawings by Sir Edward Burne-Jones, Bart, 1933, no. 48

Fortunée de Lisle, Burne-Jones, 1904, p. 188 (where included in section II of the list of works);
Stephen Wildman and John Christian, Edward Burne-Jones – Victorian Artist-Dreamer, exhibition catalogue, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1998, p. 214 note 3.

Burne-Jones's interest in the subject Le Chant d'Amour originated in about 1864 when he made a design for a decorative panel to go above the keyboard of an upright piano that he and his wife Georgiana had been given at the time of their marriage. The piano itself is now in the Victoria and Albert Museum. The theme – appropriate to a musical instrument and perhaps also for the decoration of a piano received as a wedding present – was inspired by a traditional Breton song the refrain of which goes 'Hélas! Je sais un chant d'amour, / Triste ou gai, tour à tour.'

Georgiana loved these old folk songs, and it is said used to sing them to her husband in the evenings when his work was over. The composition in its various forms is loosely derived from Giorgione and the Venetian tradition of concert champêtre.

It was characteristic of Burne-Jones to reuse and develop compositions and subjects which particularly appealed to him, adapting the treatment of the figures and the mood through successive versions in different mediums and on a range of scales, but each of which may be regarded as an independent work of art. The Chant d'Amour theme led to a gouache dated 1865 now in the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, on which occasion he introduced the figure of the knight in armour at the left who listens attentively to the notes of music played on a portable organ and which inspire in him thoughts of love. A further gouache version of the subject was made in 1866 and subsequently belonged to Euphrosyne Cassavetti, the mother of Maria Zambaco who was the woman with whom the artist would fall passionately in love a few years later. Then, in 1868, the artist was commissioned by William Graham, who already
owned the work now in Boston, to paint a large oil version of the subject, broadly repeating the scheme of the gouache but with many variations and adaptations – some, but perhaps not all, making the composition more pleasing and harmonious. A drawing of a kneeling nude male figure holding a pair of bellows, now in the British Museum, recalls the project in its final stage (although mistakenly dated 1865 by the artist). The oil version, which since 1947 has been in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, is the most famous of the various
versions and one of the artist's most admired subjects. It appeared on the cover of the catalogue of the magnificent exhibition organised in 1998 to mark the centenary of Burne-Jones's death. In 1896 Burne-Jones permitted a reproductive engraving– an etching by the Scottish painter and printmaker Robert Walker Macbeth – to be made of the subject, and which was published by the Fine Art Society.

The present drawn version of the subject follows precisely in its treatment of figures and landscape setting the oil version of the subject (in for example the figure of Love, who is seen with his head raised and exposed, whereas in the Boston gouache he is blindfolded so as not to be able to witness the amorousness which may follow and which he had been instrumental in bringing about). Burne-Jones's studio records (kept at the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge) reveal that he had worked intensively on the oil in 1872-3, but that it had then been set aside until 1877 when a month of uninterrupted work was given to it leading to its completion. In 1878 it was one of nine works by the artist to be shown at the second Grosvenor Gallery exhibition, lent along with Laus Veneris (Laing Art Gallery, Newcastle upon Tyne), by William Graham. The second Grosvenor exhibition was met with enormous interest, almost equal to the frenzy which had been caused by the first display the previous year, and gave pause for reflection on how a new and poetic school of painting had established in London since the late 1860s, and which has come to be known generically as Aestheticism, but which until the establishment of the Grosvenor by Sir Coutts Lindsay in 1877 had been largely unsuspected by any except the close friends of the artists and a closed circle of devoted aficionados.

When lent to the Tate Burne-Jones exhibition of 1933 (marking the centenary of the artist's birth), it was assumed that the drawing was a compositional study for the subject in its original state as a gouache from the mid-1860s, and was given the date 1865. However, it seems clear that it is in fact a replica of the subject (in 1998 John Christian described it as a ricordo (see Literature)), probably made at the time the oil version was finished in 1877 or when it was first shown in 1878.

Its inscription, which records its having been given by the artist to his friend Joseph Comyns Carr, is significant in this context – for Carr was one of Coutts Lindsay's assistants in the running of the Grosvenor, and the person – along with Charles Hallé – who was responsible for day-to-day liaising with the artists who were invited to exhibit their works at the Grosvenor. It is therefore tempting to imagine that the drawing was made as a way of saying thank you to Carr for kindnesses and good services to Burne-Jones in connection with the display of the oil version of Le Chant d'Amour. As a presentation drawing of such an important subject made at the time when the artist's reputation was rising meteorically as a result of the prestige and fashionability of the Grosvenor exhibitions, the work may be seen as something very personal and heartfelt.