Wednesday, November 27, 2013

John Everett Millais - The portrait of Miss Davison

signed with monogram and dated 1866 l.r.
oil on canvas
95 by 71cm., 36 by 28in.

J. Guille, Millais's Life and Letters, 2 volumes, Vol I., p.395, vol.II, p.472
Catalogue Note
‘I shd like to get on somewhat with Little Davison as children of that age grow so rapidly’ (Letter from Millais to his wife Effie, 9 August 1865, Millais Papers, Pierpont Morgan Library, New York)
A record of Millais’ account at Coutts bank shows a payment from J. Davison of 600 guineas on 8 February 1866 which was almost certainly for the present portrait and a considerable sum of money. This was probably made by James William Davison (1813-1885) a well-connected music critic for the TimesGraphic and Saturday Review. Davison was a great friend of many musical luminaries, including Mendelssohn and Berlioz and his wife Arabella (nee Goddard) was a noted pianist - hence the inclusion of the accordion in Millais' portrait of their daughter.
The portrait predates Millais' famous depictions of infancy, Cherry Ripe of 1879 (sold in these rooms, 1 July 2004, lot 21), Bubbles of 1886 (Unilever) and The Little Speedwell's Darling Blue of 1891 (Lady Lever Art Gallery, Port Sunlight). However, he had already established a reputation as a painter of children, whose perception and understanding of his sitters was both sympathetic and intuitive. Pictures such as The Woodman's Daughter of 1850 (Guildhall Art Gallery, City of London), The Return of the Dove to the Ark of 1851 (Ashmolean Museum, Oxford), L'enfant du Regiment of 1854 (Yale Centre for British Art) had captured the innocence of children  and the sentiments that pretty children invoke in adult spectators. The portrait of Miss Davison, dates from one of the most interesting periods in Millais' career, shortly after he painted My First Sermon and My Second Sermon (Guildhall Art Gallery, City of London; two versions of the former sold in these rooms, 19 November 2008, lot 140 and 15 July 2008, lot 55)
Millais' paintings of children are always characterful; they always have their own personalities and are not simply decorative children. Thus, when he portrayed Miss Davison he captured her chubby grumpiness at being made to pose for an artist on an oversized piece of furniture, the carved grotesques of which add to the playful humour. Her voluminous white gown compliments the effect of making her appear diminutive. The lacquered cabinet and painted fan show the fashion for Japanese art in the 1860s, also demonstrated in contemporary work by Rossetti and Tissot. 

John William Waterhouse - Study

signed and dated l.r.: J W.Waterhouse/ 1915
The head study appears to relate to the woman seated third from the left in John William Waterhouse's A Tale from the Decameron, 1916 (Lady Lever Art Gallery, Liverpool). One of Waterhouse's last paintings, it is based on Giovanni Boccaccio's literary masterpiece, The Decameron, written between 1348-53.

On the reverse of this drawing is a rough sketch of a sailing-boat on a calm sea at dawn, which may have been an alternative design for the background of Miranda - The Tempest of 1916 (private collection). 

'Out of Town' by Ford Madox Brown

They toil not, neither do they spin. 1903. Eleanor Fortescue Brickdale

Today for me. 1901. Eleanor Fortescue Brickdale

Is She Not Pure Gold, My Mistress. 1908. Eleanor Fortescue-Brickdale

Angel at the Door. Eleanor Fortescue-Brickdale

Kate Barlass. Eleanor Fortescue-Brickdale

The Book of Old English Songs and Ballads. Eleanor Fortescue-Brickdale

The Book of Old English Songs and Ballads. Eleanor Fortescue-Brickdale

Julia Margaret Cameron, Maud, photographic illustration of Tennyson’s Idylls of the King, 1875

The Art of Slumber blog post

Study for a figure in Burne-Jones’ Briar Rose series


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

John Ruskin - Abbeville 1852

Ink and wash and pencil heightened with white on buff coloured paper

John Ruskin

There is no wealth but life. Life, including all its powers of love, of joy, and of admiration. That country is the richest which nourishes the greatest numbers of noble and happy human beings; that man is richest, who, having perfected the functions of his own life to the utmost, has also the widest helpful influence, both personal, and by means of his possessions, over the lives of others.
— John Ruskin

Effie Gray

The painting by John Everett Millais, a portrait of Effie Gray who later became his wife


Ah, Effie -
You have such sad, wicked ways without knowing it - such sweet silver undertones of innocent voice - that when one hears, one is lost - such slight - short - inevitable - arrowy glances from under the bent eyelashes - such gentle changes of sunny and shadowy expression about the lovely lips - such desperate ways of doing the most innocent things - mercy on us - to hear you ask anybody “whether they take sugar with their peaches”? - don’t you recollect my being “temporarily insane” for all the day afterwards - after hearing you ask such a thing…
— John Ruskin

Nicola Roberts by Sven Arnstein for OK! Mag 2007

John Everett Millais - Ferdinand Lured by Ariel, 1850

Evelyn de Morgan - The Love Potion

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Pre -Raphaelite Style Theme

Photographer l Peter Weston
Makeup Artist l Georgina Thomas 
Model l Terri Morgan
Costume Designer l Victoria Newman
Headpiece l Crystal Calla Tiara /