Minggu, 29 Mei 2011

Arthur Grimshaw - Dock Scene, Glasgow

signed and dated l.l.: Arthur E. Grimshaw. 1895
oil on canvas
28 by 46cm.; 11 by 18in.

Lot Sold. Hammer Price with Buyer's Premium: 16,250 GBP

John Atkinson Grimshaw - Hull Docks at Night

signed l.r.: Atkinson Grimshaw
oil on canvas
61 by 92cm., 24 by 36in.

Lot Sold. Hammer Price with Buyer's Premium: 241,250 GBP

The work of Atkinson Grimshaw is valuable and unique in several respects. He made a great popular success out of that amalgam of Pre-Raphaelite sentiment, nature and industry that dominated the culture of northern England in the later nineteenth century. His work is our only visual equivalent to the great epics of industrial change, the novels of Gaskell and Dickens.' (David Bromfield, Atkinson Grimshaw 1836-1893, exhibition catalogue, 1979-1980, p. 5)

John Atkinson Grimshaw celebrated the age of industry, commerce and conspicuous wealth in a series of paintings in which moonlight and lamplight contrast with one another and skeletal trees or ship's rigging are interchangeable. In the present picture of the docks at Hull with the sailed-barges and steamers, horse-drawn hansoms make their way along the wet cobbled road which reflects the gaslight of the shop windows that face the dock. A young woman and her child are hurrying across the road whilst on the opposite pavement another woman stops to talk to an organ-grinder silhouetted against the glow of a street-lamp. Bromfield has interpreted Grimshaw's port scenes as 'icons of commerce and the city. They are remarkable in that they record the contemporary port's role within Victorian life; they appealed directly to Victorian pride and energy.

They also show that same darkness, a mysterious lack of complete experience of the subject which one associates with large cities and big business, which Dickens recounts so well in Bleak House and Great Expectations and for which Grimshaw's moonlight became a perfect metaphor.' (ibid Bromfield, p. 15). The number of ships-masts visible in the present picture demonstrates how busy Hull's docks were in the late nineteenth century when it was one of the busiest ports in the country. The imposing three-domed building in the present picture was the Dock Offices (it now houses Hull Maritime Museum), the headquarters of the Hull Dock Company in Queen Victoria Square. This magnificent example of Victorian architecture was built in 1871 and was relatively new when it was painted by Grimshaw which demonstrates the modernity of his cityscapes. The monument to the left is that of William Wilberforce, the Yorkshire MP and anti-slavery campaigner. The monument, built in 1834 comprised a ninety foot Doric column upon which stood a twelve foot statue of Wilberforce. It stood for almost a hundred years at the edge of Princes Dock until the 1930s when the dock was closed and the monument was moved. On the left of the
composition, behind the skeletal rigging of the sail ships is the silhouette of St John's Church, now demolished.

Another picture of Princes Docks dated 1882 is in the collection of the Ferens Art Gallery in Hull whilst another version was sold in these rooms (17 December 2009, lot 51).

Richard Ansdell - Gathering the Flock

signed and dated l.r.: R. Ansdell/1870
oil on canvas
79.5 by 203cm., 31¼ by 80in.

Lot Sold. Hammer Price with Buyer's Premium: 79,250 GBP

Thomas Agnew, London by whom sold, Christie's, 16 June 1906, lot 66, bought 'Lister';
Dunecht House, Aberdeenshire

Ansdell was the finest Victorian animal painter after Sir Edwin Landseer but unlike Landseer, who often painted violent melodrama, Ansdell's approach to the depiction of animals was to the more incidental aspects of everyday life. Even before Landseer's death, Ansdell's great talent was heartily recognised by collectors and the critics alike, the Art Journal writing in 1860; 'That picturesquely, and that his productions are among the best of their kind with our school –and indeed, any other –has brought forward, is to pay him and them no higher compliment than is
merited. If we had no Landseer, Ansdell would, unquestionably, occupy the very foremost place in this department
of art' (The Art Journal, 1860, p.223).

The hardy highland shepherd and his loyal border collie, herding flocks to new pasture, is the subject most associated with Ansdell. The wilderness and beauty of the Scottish landscape, combined with his animated study of animals and human figures, make Ansdell's work so immediately engaging. He painted several variants on the same theme of a flock being taken to safer ground or more fertile pasture. The first of this series of pictures Turning the Drove, Aviemore and the Grampians in the Distance (private collection) was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1851 and the International Exhibition in Paris in 1855, where it was awarded a gold medal. The second painting in the series Crossing the Moor (Tunbridge Wells Museum and Art Gallery, Ashton bequest) painted in 1863 and exhibited that year at the British Institution, was described by the Art Journal as 'sheep, heather, dogs and Scotch
shepherd, all vigorous even to violence' (ibid. pg.223). The third painting Crossing the Burn of 1863 (Sotheby's, 27 August 2003, lot 1179) was a variant in the series and in 1866 Ansdell painted another less-animated example. A similar subject of Sheep Gathering, Glen Spey dated 1871 and almost the same size as the present picture (35.5 by 77.5 in.) was in the collection of Josiah Radclyffe until the 1890s and another example with the same title is known (Sotheby's Gleneagles, 31 August 2005, lot 1038).

Joseph Farquharson - When the West with Evening Glows

signed l.l: J.Farquharson
oil on canvas
51 by 77cm., 20 by 30in.

Lot Sold. Hammer Price with Buyer's Premium: 73,250 GBP

When the West with Evening Glows is a version of a painting of the same title exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1910 (Bristol City Art Gallery). Two different compositions with the same title are also known, one depicting a snow
covered country road and a trio of crows was painted in 1901 (Manchester City Art Gallery) and another of a young girl in a winter woodland (Sotheby's, Gleneagles, 30 August 2006, lot 1014). It was not unusual for Farquharson to paint second versions of successful paintings for patrons who had admired pictures that had already been sold.

Archibald Thorburn

[Grey Partridge]

signed and dated l.l.: Archibald Thorburn/ 1899.
watercolour and bodycolour
54 by 74.5cm.; 21¼ by 29½in.

Lot Sold. Hammer Price with Buyer's Premium: 32,450 GBP


signed and dated l.l.: Archibald Thorburn/ Dec.7. 1899.
watercolour and bodycolour
37 by 54.5cm.; 14½ by 21½in.

Lot Sold. Hammer Price with Buyer's Premium: 18,750 GBP

[Red Grouse in Flight]

signed and dated l.l.: Archibald Thorburn/ 1899.
watercolour and bodycolour over pencil
54.5 by 75cm.; 21½ by 29½in.

Lot Sold. Hammer Price with Buyer's Premium: 34,850 GBP

[Goldfinches / Bullfinches]

Quantity: 2
each signed and dated l.l.: A. Thorburn/ 1908
both watercolour with bodycolour
each 27 by 18.5cm., 10½ by 7¼in.

Lot Sold. Hammer Price with Buyer's Premium: 16,250 GBP

[A Brace of Ptarmigan in the Snow]

signed l.r.: Archibald Thorburn
watercolour and bodycolour over pencil
36 by 31cm.; 14¼ by 12in.

Lot Sold. Hammer Price with Buyer's Premium: 15,625 GBP

School Games

Victorian Policeman

The Unreliable Life of Harry the Valet: The Great Victorian Jewel Thief

Selasa, 24 Mei 2011

Previously Unrecorded Work Highlights Bonhams European Paintings Sale in November 2007

Lawrence Alma-Tadema - The Vintage Festival

One of the Last 'Beautiful Boys" Painted by Henry Scott Tuke to Sell at Bonhams

Leighton House

Zeppelin over Jersusalem


Thomas Jefferson the Art Collector

John Trumbull (American painter, 1756-1843) Thomas Jefferson 1788

Thomas Jefferson was acutely conscious of the importance of historical icons in the formation of a national identity. Like the Indian artifacts and mastodon bones, Jefferson's collection of American art was his contribution to the creation of a new nation.

In 1803, a list of the artworks at Monticello showed 126 items, including "17 in the entrance hall, 49 in the parlor, 10 in the dining room, and 36 in the tearoom (most of the works in this small room were miniatures)." Jefferson was also known to have a "large portfolio of unframed prints and drawings."

This varied collection of sculpture, paintings, prints and maps had been acquired the way much of Monticello had been built, by accretion. When he was making plans for building the first Monticello, he included in his "Construction Notebook" a "wish list" of 19 works of sculpture and painting.

His primary interest was sculpture, for the same classical education that turned him to Rome for architectural inspiration directed him to statuary, the representational art form most directly linked to classical antiquity. At the head of his list were the Medici Venus and the Apollo Belvedere. Copies of these two works "were most likely intended for two niches in the parlor of the original house." He never acquired them, but during a lifetime of collecting, he managed to amass a sizeable number of sculptural busts, and enough paintings, prints, and maps to fill the available wall space of the public rooms of Monticello.

Jefferson acquired much of his collection randomly, buying some items in Paris at auction, commissioning copies of others, and receiving some as presentation copies. The one distinguished artist whose work he owned was Jean-Antoine Houdon, whom he became acquainted with in Paris. He brought to Monticello a total of 7 busts by Houdon, mostly of American patriots, including the famous Houdon likeness of Jefferson himself.

Jefferson’s painting collection included a number of copies of old masters, including Raphael, Leonardo, and Rubens. Copies of famous paintings, particularly if done by a competent hand, were considered in good taste in the 18th century.

In addition, the walls of Monticello were decorated with geographical and historical scenes of America, as well as portraits of its luminaries. He acquired likenesses of such explorers of the Americas as Columbus, Cortez, Magellan, and Vespucci, and of the colonizer of Virginia, Sir Walter Raleigh.

To these were added a gallery of paintings or prints of American patriots, including Washington, Adams, Franklin, Lafayette, and Paine. He displayed in the lower tier of works hung in the parlor a set of ten medals of officers who had distinguished themselves during the Revolution.

There were also portraits of his private European heroes, "the three greatest men the world had ever produced," Bacon, Newton, and Locke, for their contributions to the intellectual foundations of the nation.

Jefferson had encouraged John Trumbull to paint scenes of the Revolutionary War, and acquired a print of the most famous of these, "The Declaration of Independence." It was added to a wide collection of Americana, including scenes of Harper's Ferry, Niagara Falls, the Natural Bridge, New Orleans, Mount Vernon, and an elevation of Monticello by Robert Mills.

Jefferson's Monticello collection of art works, natural history specimens, and American Indian artifacts, many from the Lewis and Clark expedition, has become emblematic of his remarkable intellect and his dedication to the country that he helped found.

(excerpts from McLaughlin, Jack. Jefferson and Monticello: The biography of a builder. New York : H. Holt, c1988, p.360-3)

For further information about the art collection of Thomas Jefferson, see:

Adams, William Howard. Jefferson and the arts: An extended view. Washington : National Gallery of Art, 1976.

Berman, Eleanor Davidson. Jefferson among the arts; An essay in early American esthetics. New York, Philosophical Library [1947].

McLaughlin, Jack. Jefferson and Monticello: The biography of a builder. New York : H. Holt, c1988.

Stein, Susan R. The Worlds of Thomas Jefferson at Monticello. New York : H.N. Abrams, in association with the Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation, Inc., 1993.

This information from our Smithsonian Institution's Ask Joan of Art!


Wordplay (but no fun at all) - Before the 20th century, the word sex did not refer to sensual pleasures, simply to the "other sex"

Sabtu, 21 Mei 2011

William Mellor - On the Ure, Wensleydale

Henry John Sylvester Stannard - The Little Gipsy

Mary L. Gow - The sampler

Mary L. Gow - The interlude


Julia Margaret Cameron - La Santa Julia 1867

Albumen Print, mounted on card with Messrs Colnaghi blindstamp and gilt-ruled border, titled and inscribed `From Life Registered Photograph Copy Right Julia Margaret Cameron Freshwater [deleted] Saxonbury April 1867' by the photographer in ink on the mount, original mount overmatted with modern window-mount,


Cameron's endorsement of this photograph as `my favourite picture of all my works' is the caption to the print in the so-called `Herschel Album', given by Cameron to Sir John Herschel in September 1867 and now in the collection of the National Museum of Photography, Film and Television in Bradford.

Saint Julia was the slave martyred for her refusal to give up her faith in exchange for her freedom.

Sylvia Wolf, Julia Margaret Cameron's Women, New Haven and London, 1998, the print in the collection of the N.M.P.F.T. illus. pl. 56.
Julian Cox and Colin Ford, Julia Margaret Cameron The Complete Photographs, London, 2003, cat. no. 302.

Jumat, 20 Mei 2011

Daniel Maclise - Robin Hood

signed and dated l.r.: D.MACLISE 1839/ retouched 1845; bears an inscription on an old label attached to the backing: Maclise's Robin Hood
oil on canvas

Hammer Price with Buyer's Premium: 336,650 GBP

Maclise's large and magnificent painting Robin Hood comes from the early years of his career in London. He had arrived in the city from his native Ireland in 1827, enrolling at the Royal Academy Schools, where he was regarded as a brilliant student. In the 1830s he exhibited portraits and historical subjects at the Royal Academy, and in 1836 he became an associate member of that body. Robin Hood was shown at the Academy in 1839 and was a resounding critical success. The Art Union enthused: `How delicious is this picture of All-a-Dale; How glorious this of Friar Tuck ... How famous this of the jovial captain of the merry-men all; how admirable are the minor details; how finely has all been imagined; how skillfully all has been executed.' The review continued to enthuse about the work, declaring it: 'An outbreak of genius and unquestionably the leading attraction of the exhibition'. It was the conviviality of the scene which gave most delight, as Fraser's Magazine indicated when observing that `in the large picture everybody grins and shows his whole ratelier; and you look at them, and say ``These people seem all very jolly.''' As a consequence of the warm reception given to the painting, Maclise was elected as a full member of the Academy, his professional prospects clearly in the ascendancy. Shortly afterwards he was a prize winner at the competition for the decoration of the Palace of Westminster, and was commissioned to paint subjects entitled The Spirit of Chivalry and The Spirit of Justice for the House of Lords. From the late 1830s onwards Maclise was regarded as one of the most eminent painters of his generation.

The subject of the painting was given at length in a ballad published in Fraser's Magazine at the time that it was first exhibited at the Royal Academy. Set in a forest glade, King Richard I, just returned from imprisonment in Austria following the Third Crusade, encountered the outlaw Robin Hood and was challenged by him. In the combat between the two the king was victorious. So impressed was Robin Hood by his opponent's skill and strength that he invited the unknown adversary to feast. When all were gathered together Robin Hood raised a goblet to drink the health of the king, still unaware of his presence in their midst. At this point, heartened by this demonstration of the loyalty of Hood and his men, King Richard announced himself.

The king is seated in the foreground, wearing chain mail and the red cross of a crusader, while Robin Hood stands at the centre of the composition. As was described in the catalogue of the 1839 Royal Academy exhibition, Robin `is represented according to old ballads, - ``Yclad in Scarlette Redde, His men in Lyncolne Grene.'' He raises a silver goblet to drink a ```Health unto the Kynge,'' whom as yet he does not know - ``The Kynge himself drank to the Kynge, and round about it went.''' The popular legend of the outlaw Robin Hood tells of his struggles against the corrupt figure of John, younger son of Henry II and usurper of the crown of England during the years that his older brother Richard was away. These owed much to the eighteenth-century literary antiquarian Joseph Ritson, who had gathered together many of the early stories as Robin Hood: a collection of all the ancient poems, songs and ballads now extant relative to that outlaw (1795), and which was illustrated by Thomas Bewick. Percy's Reliques, of 1765, had previously included the story of Robin Hood and Guy of Gisborne.

However, as Joanna Banham has made clear in her essay `Images of the Middle Ages in the early nineteenth century' (in the exhibition catalogue William Morris and the Middle Ages, Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester, 1984, pp.17-31), the immediate inspiration for both the published ballad and Macl

Julia Margaret Cameron - Leonora illus by Daniel Maclise


Cooking Cakes in the 18th Century


During the 18th-century, cooking special cakes to celebrate royal commemorations, weddings, anniversaries, religious holidays, revolutionary victories, and birthdays called for a Rich Cake which was sometimes called a Great Cake in early America.

"To Make a Rich Cake
Take four Pound of Flower well dried and sifted, seven Pound of Currants washed and rubb'd, six Pound of the best fresh Butter, two Pound of Jordan Almonds blanched, and beaten with Orange Flower Water and Sack till they are fine, then take four Pound of Eggs, put half the Whites away, three Pound of double refin'd Sugar beaten and sifted, a quarter of an Ounce of Mace, the same of Cloves and Cinnamon, three large Nutmegs, all beaten fine, a little Ginger, half a Pint of Sack, half a Pint of right French Brandy, Sweetmeats to your liking, they must be Orange, Lemon, and Citron. Work your Butter to a Cream with your Hands before any of your Ingredients are in, then put in your Sugar, mix it well together; let your Eggs be well beat, and strain'd thro' a Sieve, work in your Almonds first, then put in your Eggs, beat them all together till they look white and thick, then put in your Sack and Brandy and Spices, and shake your Flour in by Degrees, and when your Oven is ready, put in your Currants and Sweetmeats as you put it in your hoop; it will take four Hours baking in a quick Oven, you must keep it beaten with your Hand all the while you are mixing of it, and when your Currants are well wash'd and clean'd, let them be kept before the Fire, so that they may go warm into your Cake. This Quantity will bake best in two Hoops."
---The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy, Hannah Glasse, London [1747]

"To Ice a great Cake another Way
Take two Pound double refin'd Sugar, beat and sift it very fine, and likewise beat and sift a little Starch and mix with it, then beat six Whites of Eggs to Froth, and put to it some Gum-Water, the Gum must be steep'd in Orange-flower-water, then mix and beat all these together two Hours, and put it on your Cake; when it is baked, set it in the Oven again to harden a quarter of an Hour, take great Care it is not discolour'd. When it is drawn, ice it over the Top and Sides, take two Pound of double refin'd Sugar beat and sifted, and the Whites of three Eggs beat to a Froth, with three or four Spoonfuls of Orange-flower-water, and three Grains of Musk and Ambergrease together; put all these in a Stone Mortar, and beat these till it is a white as Snow, and with a Brush or Bundle of Feathers, spread it all over the Cake, and put it in the Oven to dry; but take Care the Oven does not discolour it. When it is cold paper it, and it will keep good five or six Weeks."
---The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy, Hannah Glasse, London [1747]

Churning the Butter

"A Rich Cake
Take six pounds of the best fresh butter, work it to a cream with your hands; then throw in by degrees three pounds of double refined sugar well beat and sifted; Mix them well together; then work in three pounds of blanched almonds, and having them altogether till they are thick and look white. The add half a pint of French brandy, half a pint of sack, a small quantity of ginger, about two ounces of mace, cloves, and cinnamon each, and three large nutmegs all beaten in a mortar as fine as possible. Then shake in gradually four pounds of well dried and sifted flour; and when the oven is well prepared, and a thin hoop to bake it in, stir into this mixture (as you put it into the hoop) seven pounds of currants clean washed and rubbed, and such a quantity of candied orange, lemon, and citron in equal proportions, as shall be thought convenient. The oven must be quick, and the cake at least will take four hours to bake; Or you may make two or more cakes out of these ingredients, you must beat it with your hands, and the currants must be dried before the fire, and put into the cake warm."
---The Frugal Colonial Housewife, Susannah Carter [1772]

Gathering the Eggs

"Bride Cake
Take four pounds of fine flour well dried, four pounds of fresh butter, two pounds of loaf sugar, a quarter of an ounce of mace, the same of nutmegs well beat and sifted, and to every pound of flour put eight eggs, four pounds of currants well washed and picked, and dry them before the fire till they are plump, blanch a pound of Jordan almonds, and cut them lengthways very thin, a pound of candied citron, the same of candied orange, and the same of candied lemon peel, cut in thin slips, and half a pint of brandy; first work your butter to a fine cream with your hand, then beat in your sugar a quarter of an hour, and beat the whites of your eggs to a strong froth, and mix them with your sugar and butter; beat your yolks for half an hour with one hand, and mix them well with the rest; then by degrees put in your flour, mace, and nutmeg, and keep beating it till your oven is ready; put in the brandy, currants, and almonds lightly: tie three sheets of paper round the bottom of your hoop to keep it from running out, and rub it well with butter, then put in your cake, and lay your sweetmeats in three layers, with some cake between every layer; as soon as it is risen and coloured, cover it with paper before your oven in closed up, and bake it three hours. You may ice it or not, as you choose, directions being given for icing in the beginning of this chapter."
---The New Art of Cookery According to the Present Practice, Richard Briggs [W. Spotswood, R. Campbell & B. Johnson:Philadelphia] 1792

"Icing for Cakes.--Take the whites of twelve eggs, and a cound of couble-refined sugar pounded and sifted through a fine sieve, mix them together in a deep earthen pan and beat it well for three hours with a strong wooden spoon till it looks white and thick, and with a thin paste knife spread it all over the top and sides of your cake, and ornament it with sweet nonpareils, or fruit paste, or sugar images, and put it in a cool oven to harden for one hour, or set it at the distance from the fire, and keep turning it till it is hard. You may perfume the icing with any sort of perfume you please."
---The New Art of Cookery According to the Present Practice, Richard Briggs [W. Spotswood, R. Campbell & B. Johnson:Philadelphia] 1792

A Little Coffee with Your Cake...

Information from  Foodtimeline.org