Sunday, May 31, 2009

Walter Crane - Lilies

signed with monogram and dated '93
29.5 x 21"
exhibited New Gallery 1894

John Melhuish Strudwick - When Sorrow comes to Summerday Roses bloom in Vain

c. 1910
Strudwick was one of the most accomplished of Burne-Jones's followers. He painted some thirty paintings of legendary and symbolic subjects with a lapidary technique and a style that derives from the Italian quattrocento.

Friday, May 29, 2009

John Dowland - Lute Songs

G F Watts - Portrait of Mrs Francis Lowther

c. 1865-7
the sitter was Louise Lowther, a French-born woman considered a great beauty who married Captain Frank Lowther RN. The coiled style of her hair seems to have been 're-used' in his sculpture Clytie.

25.5 x 20.5"

Ford Madox Brown - Cromwell on his Farm

Oil on canvas

Thursday, May 28, 2009

G F Watts - A Portrait of Lilian

oil sketch for a portrait of lilian Mackintosh - later Mrs Michael Chapman
c. 1900

Lilian Mackintosh later Mrs Michael Chapman
56 x 32"

G F Watts - Fog Off Corsica

inscribed on labels on the frame
14.5 x by 27.5in; 37 by 70cm
Painted in 1887

Collection: The Artist's daughter

It was included in three of the Memorial exhibitions of 1905 following the artist's death :Manchester, Newcastle and Edinburgh

Mrs. Watts recorded that the idea for this painting came to Watts while on his honeymoon trip of 1886-87. Towards the end of their travels, the artist and his wife took a slow boat sailing around Italy: "A summer sea fog drifted about us one day, through which Corsica was suddenly revealed like opal and pearl, and then lost again. The disabled ship loomed strangely through the fog, and the two pictures Off Corsica and The Sea Ghost were painted later from the impressions of that day". The latter work is in the Watts Gallery. In a letter of 1892 to James Smith (whose collection of works by Watts is at the Walker Art Gallery), the artist called the painting Fog Off Corsica.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Blackmore's night - Under a Violet Moon

Walter Crane - The Garden

Watercolour heightened with bodycolour

21 1/4 x 15"

John Byam Shaw - "Truly the Light is Sweet"

the verse is from Ecclesiastes XI v 7/8
oil on panel
Shaw did 30 "Sermons in Stone and Good in Everything" pictures exhibited in 1902

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Walter Crane - A Goose Girl

signed with monogram
17 x 15 3/4"

Art Journal, Easter 1898, pp. 7-8

"My sister made a translation of about half the 'Hallsmarchen' of the brothers Grimm, and this, with about a dozen full-page designs as well as headings, initial letters, and tail-pieces to each story, was published in 1881. The drawings were done about a third larger, and all were photographed upon wood and engraved by Messrs. Swain.

The design of The Goose Girl was seen at the time by my friend, the late William Morris, when I was at work in my studio one day - He called to ask me to do him a design capable of being worked in arras tapestry, which he was at that time practically engaged in reviving. He saw this design of the Goose Girl, and taking a fancy to it, asked me to reproduce it as a large colour cartoon, 8 feet by 6 feet, which I accordingly did; and it was duly worked out by him and his assistants as a tapestry. The cartoon afterwards was exhibited in the Grosvenor Gallery at a Winter Exhibition of decorative designs. It therefore has a dual existence as a black and white book illustration and also as a tapestry."

This is a watercolour sketch for the woodblock illustrating the story of The Goose Girl in the 1882 edition of 'Household Stories from the collection of The Brother's Grimm' published by Macmillan & Co, containing eleven full page designs. In the book a decorative semi-architectural border contained the inscription:

'0 wind, blow Conads hat away,
And make him follow as it flies,
While I with my gold hair will play
And bind it up in seemly wise.'

The large cartoon for the tapestry is in the Victoria and Albert Museum.

Edward Burne-Jones - vellum paintings

[Book of Psalms]
"This book was painted by Sir Edward Burne-Jones, Bt., and given to his friend, H. M. Gaskell."
10.5 x 7"
[The Apocrypha]
"This book was painted for H. M. Gaskell by her friend Sir Edward Burne-Jones, Bt."
both vellum binding illuminated in gouache and gold paint.
10.5 x 7"
Wisdom presenting Solomon with a book of knowledge and the mirror of revelation.
These were painted by BJ for his close friends usually on vellum.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Edward Burne-Jones - A Loving Hug

Watercolour heightened with bodycolour
inscribed "To Daphne"
5.5 x 4 3/4"

Edward Burne-Jones - Love at the Window

gouache heightened with gold paint
inscribed "To M. H. G. "
dated Jan 27 1898
the model is believed to be Maria Zambaco
8 3/4 x 6.5"

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Edward Burne-Jones - illustration from The Flower Book

26 of the original (38 I believe) illustrations are in the British Museum. BJ began working on these in 1882 and continued until his death. He developed a secret symbolism for each flower.
13 x 10.5"

Edward Burne-Jones - Sunset and Corn

Watercolour, bodycolour and gold paint
10 x 7"
For BJ, the Sun was the giver of life and wheat a symbol of knowledge and sacrifice. Symbols that featured a lot in his later works such as The Secret Book of Design and The Flower Book.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Edward Burne-Jones - portrait of Daphne Gaskell

coloured chalks on buff paper

25.5 x 21"

Edward Burne-Jones - portrait

portrait of a girl, probably Amy Gaskell
coloured chalks on red paper
signed twice with initials, inscribed "To L"
dated 1895
14 x 11 1/4"

Busy at the moment ...

I'll only be able to post two posts a day for a couple of months (at least) as I need more time at the moment. At least that will free your dashboards.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Edward Burne-Jones - The Masher

Watercolour, coloured chalks on buff paper
inscribed To A.G from E.B-J.
47 1/2 x 23 1/2"
A masher was a 'charmer of women'.

This is Burne-Jones's largest humorous drawing. Opinions vary as to the identity of the subject. John Christian suggested in the Catalogue to the Arts Council Exhibition that Philip Burne-Jones, who "liked to play the man about town" was the model. On the other hand, William Waters believes it to be a caricature of the type Burne-Jones disliked, a boorish philistine, possibly exemplified by Captain Gaskell. A third solution is the Gaskell family tradition that the dandified Society figure is what Burne-Jones wished himself to be. That the cockney term 'masher' means "a charmer of women" may lend support to this interpretation.

It is interesting to note the two paintings by Degas on the wall.

Evelyn de Morgan - Helen of Troy

A better image than I had before of a wonderful painting

Edward Burne-Jones - Daphne at the Piano

Daphne Gaskell.
By the way the reason there is so much Burne Jones material on this blog at the moment is I am working through a sale that featured a lot of his works - Sotheby's 1981.

Edward Burne-Jones - Canon David Melville

The Father of Helen Mary Gaskell

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Edward Burne-Jones - Miss Amy Gaskell

Used as the cover for 'A Profound Secret'. In that book it is owned by Andrew Lloyd Weber.
Here it was for sale by Sotheby's in 1981.
The sketch is from a letter to Amy about her portrait.

Edward Burne-Jones - llustrated love letter to Mrs Gaskell

pen and ink

The following collection provide a unique insight into an aspect of Burne-Jones which few people were aware of during his lifetime. It arose during a period from 1892 until the artist's death, in 1898.

From the time of his first affair in the late 1860s, Burne-Jones felt the need for a sympathetic friend with whom to create a secret intimate world of images and ideas. Helen Mary Gaskell was 25 years his junior and had just the qualities the artist required -sadness of expression, intelligence and artistic insight. She was married to Captain Gaskell of the 9th Lancers, a man of the world in every sense, and she managed the situation with great tact. The Gaskell children, particularly Amy and Daphne, inspired innumerable comic drawings, allowing the playful side of Burne-Jones to escape and giving him a necessary release from the pervading sadness of his later years, especially after the death of William Morris in 1896.

The majority of Burne-Jones's letters to Helen Mary are in the British Museum.

Rossetti/Siddal grave

Highgate Cemetery

Edward Burne-Jones - comical self-portrait


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Edward Burne-Jones - Helena

black chalk
26 x 11.5"
inscribed 'Speldhurst Vestry'
A design for the right top light in the East window of the North Aisle of the Church of St Mary the Virgin, Speldhurst, Kent. In his account book for 1875 he records being paid £8 for the design.

Edward Burne-Jones - Figure study for Clotho

black chalk
15.5 x 10.5"
Clotho is a figure in his proposed painting The Fates.
This seems to date from about 1869.
The Fates was never completed.

Edward Burne-Jones - The Sleeping Princess

1886 - 1888
gouache with gold paint
signed and 'to M.J.M.'
38 x 58"
Given to Margaret Burne-Jones in 1888.


See: M. Harrison & W. Waters, Burnejones, 1973, plate 208

The theme of the Sleeping Beauty, adapted from Perrault's fairy tale and Tennyson's poem, pre-occupied Burne-Jones throughout all his working life, from his first designs for tile panels of c. 1862 to a circular gouache of the Prince embracing the Princess, reproduced in the Flower Book. The first 'Briar Rose' series of three oils, painted c. 1870-3, is now in the Ponce Museum of Art, Puerto Rico. When Burne-Jones repeated these compositions on a much larger scale he added a fourth, The Garden Court. This group was exhibited at Agnews in 1890 to great acclaim, bought by Alexander Henderson for £5,000 and later installed at Buscot Park, Berkshire where they are still in situ in the salon.

This work is a very large and finished study for the fourth and final painting of the series, 'The Sleeping Princess', without the left hand side which depicts two sleeping attendants. There are other minor differences between the study and the Buscot painting. The gouache has only a few token briars in the background, instead of abundant growth. Perhaps most important, the oil omits the scarlet heart on the princess's breast. This motif was surely Burne-Jones's tribute to his model and daughter, Margaret Burne-Jones, to whom the work is dedicated. On the 4th September 1888 she was married to Mr. J. W. Mackail, and it is therefore likely that the work was a wedding gift to the couple. The muted and elegiac mood of the work expresses Burne- Jones's melancholy at the loss of his daughter, which emerges clearly in his wife's 'Memorials'. Thus 'The Sleeping Princess' might be viewed as a valedictory image.

More from the Christie's important sale

[The Roll of Fate - Walter Crane]
oil on canvas

[Study for The Magic Circle - John William Waterhouse]
oil on canvas

Monday, May 18, 2009

John Brett - The Hedger

Exhibited at the RA in 1860
signed and dated
35.5 x 27.5"
on the frame and stretcher inscribed "In dim recesses hyacinths drooped / and breadths of primroses lit the air." Angel in the House.

William Holman Hunt - A Bloodhound

Given to William Michael Rossetti by the artist c. 1853,
oil on board.
circular diameter 10"


Holman Hunt's contributions to the Royal Academy exhibitions of 1847 and 1848 were both literary subjects containing bloodhounds. The dog was not an integral part of the scene illustrating Sir Walter Scott's Woodstock, exhibited in 1847, but the 1848 Royal Academy catalogue revealed the central importance of the dogs to The Eve of St. Agnes: The wakeful bloodhound rose, and shook his hide,
But his sagacious eye an inmate owns.

Although William Michael Rossetti considered his panel to be a study for the Keats subject, there is no exact correspondence. The bloodhounds were lent to the artist by John Blount Price of Islington, a wealthy friend who was later to supply Hunt with the horses for Rienzi. A similar oil panel of Hounds was sold at Sotheby's Belgravia on 9th April 1980.

Dante Gabriel Rossetti - Portrait of Mrs Stillman

coloured chalks on buff paper
signed with monogram
12 x 10"
A study for the right hand attendant for 'Dante's Dream at the time of the Death of Beatrice'

This painting, commissioned by William Graham in 1869, was the largest of Rossetti's works and shows an episode from the Vita Nuova in which Dante in a dream sees his dead love laid upon a bier. In the painting two women attendants lower a pall strewn with symbolic blossoms of may flower over the dead Beatrice. The model for the figure was Mrs. Marie Spartali Stillman.

Compare: V. Suttees, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, plate 100, cat. no. 81b R.I.

"For the ladies holding the suspended veil momentarily ere it covers the form and features of Beatrice. Miss Marie Spartali, the daughter of the Greek consul for London was one. She possessed a face superlatively beautiful. The other one was Alice Wilding and with these sympathetic faces he made his group pathetically complete." [Letters to Ellen Heaton].

Ford Madox Brown - Byron's Dream

pen and ink and pencil
signed with monogram
inscribed 'A Dream'
4 1/4 x 4"
A design for the 1870 Moxon edition of 'Poetical Works of lord Byron'.
for the version in oil
This is different and more closely shows Byron's dog Boatswain. The oil was commissioned c. 1874-5 by William Michael Rossetti and is now in the Manchester City Art Gallery.

See: F. M. Hueffer, Ford Madox Brown, A Record of his life and Work, 1896, p. 298¬300

"January 1875 saw the completion of the oil picture of Byron and Mary Chaworth, a sufficiently important representative of Madox Brown's style at this period. The design had formed the 'title-vignette' for the Moxon's 'Byron.' The treatment of the subject is simple. The circumstances of the poet's attachment to the beautiful Mrs. Musters, then Mary Chaworth, granddaughter of the man whom Byron's great-uncle had killed in a duel, are sufficiently well known.

Byron is represented in the picture as a somewhat early matured youth of sixteen or seventeen years of age. He has ridden over from Newstead to Annesley, and in company with the dog Boatswain has taken a stroll with the heiress of the latter place. The day is a hot one, and the poet and his beloved have seated themselves on a little knoll overlooking the great plain in Nottinghamshire. Byron has told of Mary Chaworth's hand and is pouring out impassioned nothings, whilst Mary has only cars for the distant sound of hoofs of that sturdy Nimrod Jack Muster's horse, and eyes for that scarlet-coated gentleman himself. Boatswain, too, looks in the direction whence the sounds come, just preparing to cock his ears and perhaps utter the bark that will bring Byron to a sense of the world around him, and, to a certain extent, to his own senses.

He only realised the unprofitableness of his passion when subsequently, standing in the hall at Annesley, he heard the fair Mary refer to him, speaking to her old nurse on an upper landing, as that 'lame schoolboy'. She seems, indeed, only to have regarded him as an interesting and rather amusing lad. On Byron, however, the attachment made a very lasting impression, to which he referred to infrequently to the day of his death, deeming that a marriage with her might have made him a better man."

This is a design for the title vignette of Moxon's 1870 edition of the 'Poetical Works of Lord Byron', in which it is reproduced almost exactly, but without the inscription 'A Dream'. This volume was edited by William Michael Rossetti who later commissioned an oil of the same composition (circa 1874-5, now in Manchester City Art Gallery). There is also a watercolour replica (Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester) and other copies by his son Oliver.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Edward Burne-Jones - Astrologia

Private collection
The model was Augusta Jones.

Edward Burne-Jones - Le Chant D'Armour

Metropolitan Museum

Edward Burne-Jones - Laus Veneris

oil and gold paint
Laing Art Gallery

Dante Gabriel Rossetti - Sibylla Palmifera

Lady Lever Art Gallery
Commissioned in 1866 by George Rae. Originally just called Palmifera, the prefix was added by the artist a little later. The model was Alexa Wilding, representing the principle of beauty.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Christie's June 4th sale

[Portrait of Margaret Fuller Maitland - Sir John Everett Millais]

Pre-Raphaelite Sisterhood has already mentioned the sale in this important auction of the 1860 drawing of Annie Miller by Dante Gabriel Rossetti.

but there are many other 'goodies' in this sale, both PRB and in general Victorian Art.

There is a good general report on ArtDaily:

and the catalogue is here:

Dante Gabriel Rossetti - Regina Cordium or The Queen of Hearts

Red and black chalk on paper, and signed with a monogram

THE blessed Damozel lean'd out
From the gold bar of Heaven:
Her blue grave eyes were deeper much
Than a deep water, even.
She had three lilies in her hand,
And the stars in her hair were seven.

Her robe, ungirt from clasp to hem,
No wrought flowers did adorn,
But a white rose of Mary's gift
On the neck meetly worn;
And her hair, lying down her back,
Was yellow like ripe corn.

Dante Gabriel Rossetti - sketch of Lizzie Siddal

a rare sketch (which my scanner found hard to reproduce) in his Blackfriars Studio in 1855