Thursday, February 25, 2010

Frederick Sandys - Mary Magdalene

Oil on wood panel

13 1/4 x 11 inches

Frederick Sandys - Cleopatra

Wood engraving on paper

10 1/2 x 7 3/4 inches

Edward Burne-Jones - Drawing of Wings

Chalk on paper, double-sided drawing

| 9 x 11 1/4 inches

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

William Morris - The Haystack in the Floods

HAD she come all the way for this,
To part at last without a kiss?
Yea, had she borne the dirt and rain
That her own eyes might see him slain
Beside the haystack in the floods?
Along the dripping leafless woods,
The stirrup touching either shoe,
She rode astride as troopers do;
With kirtle kilted to her knee,
To which the mud splash'd wretchedly;
And the wet dripp'd from every tree
Upon her head and heavy hair,
And on her eyelids broad and fair;
The tears and rain ran down her face.

By fits and starts they rode apace,
And very often was his place
Far off from her; he had to ride
Ahead, to see what might betide
When the roads cross'd; and sometimes, when
There rose a murmuring from his men, 20
Had to turn back with promises;
Ah me! she had but little ease;
And often for pure doubt and dread
She sobb'd, made giddy in the head
By the swift riding; while, for cold,
Her slender fingers scarce could hold
The wet reins; yea, and scarcely, too,
She felt the foot within her shoe
Against the stirrup : all for this,
To part at last without a kiss 30
Beside the haystack in the floods.

For when they near'd that old soak'd hay,
They saw across the only way
That Judas, Godmar, and the three.
Red running lions dismally
Grinn'd from his pennon, under which,
In one straight line along the ditch,
They counted thirty heads.

So then,
While Robert turn'd round to his men,
She saw at once the wretched'end,
And, stooping down, tried hard to rend
Her coif the wrong way from her head,
And hid her eyes; while Robert said :
'Nay, love, 'tis scarcely two to one,
At Poictiers where we made them run
So fast — why, sweet my love, good cheer,
The Gascon frontier is so near,
Nought after this,'

But, 'O,' she said,
'My God! my God! I have to tread
The long way back without you; then 50
The court at Paris; those six men;
The gratings of the Chatelet;
The swift Seine on some rainy day
Like this, and people standing by,
And laughing, while my weak hands try
To recollect how strong men swim.
All this, or else a life with him,
For which I should be damned at last,
Would God that this next hour were past!'

He answer'd not, but cried his cry, 60
'St. George for Marny!' cheerily;
And laid his hand upon her rein.
Alas! no man of all his train
Gave back that cheery cry again;
And, while for rage his thumb beat fast
Upon his sword-hilts, some one cast
About his neck a kerchief long,
And bound him.

Then they went along
To Godmar; who said: 'Now, Jehane,
Your lover's life is on the wane 70
So fast, that, if this very hour
You yield not as my paramour,
He will not see the rain leave off —
Nay, keep your tongue from gibe and scoff,
Sir Robert, or I slay you now.'
She laid her hand upon her brow,
Then gazed upon the palm, as though
She thought her forehead bled, and — 'No.'
She said, and turn'd her head away,
As there were nothing else to say, 80
And everything were settled: red
Grew Godmar's face from chin to head:
'Jehane, on yonder hill there stands
My castle, guarding well my lands :
What hinders me from taking you,
And doing that I list to do
To your fair wilful body, while
Your knight lies dead?'

A wicked smile
Wrinkled her face, her lips grew thin,
A long way out she thrust her chin: 90
'You know that I should strangle you
While you were sleeping; or bite through
Your throat, by God's help — ah!' she said,
'Lord Jesus, pity your poor maid!
For in such wise they hem me in,
I cannot choose but sin and sin,
Whatever happens : yet I think
They could not make me eat or drink,
And so should I just reach my rest.'
'Nay, if you do not my behest, 100
O Jehane! though I love you well,'
Said Godmar, 'would I fail to tell
All that I know.' 'Foul lies,' she said.
'Eh? lies my Jehane? by God's head,
At Paris folks would deem them true!
Do you know, Jehane, they cry for you,
"Jehane the brown! Jehane the brown!
Give us Jehane to bum or drown!" —
Eh — gag me Robert! — sweet my friend,
This were indeed a piteous end > 100
For those long fingers, and long feet,
And long neck, and smooth shoulders sweet;
An end that few men would forget
That saw it — So, an hour yet:
Consider, Jehane, which to take
Of life or death!'

So, scarce awake,
Dismounting, did she leave that place,
And totter some yards : with her face
Turn'd upward to the sky she lay,
Her head on a wet heap of hay, > 120
And fell asleep: and while she slept,
And did not dream, the minutes crept
Round to the twelve again; but she,
Being waked at last, sigh'd quietly,
And strangely childlike came, and said:
'I will not.' Straightway Godmar's head,
As though it hung on strong wires, turn'd
Most sharply round, and his face burn'd.

For Robert — both his eyes were dry,
He could not weep, but gloomily > 130
He seem'd to watch the rain; yea, too,
His lips were firm; he tried once more
To touch her lips; she reach'd out, sore
And vain desire so tortured them,
The poor grey lips, and now the hem
Of his sleeve brush'd them.

With a start
Up Godmar rose, thrust them apart;
From Robert's throat he loosed the bands
Of silk and mail; with empty hands
Held out, she stood and gazed, and saw, > 140
The long bright blade without a flaw
Glide out from Godmar's sheath, his hand
In Robert's hair; she saw him bend
Back Robert's head; she saw him send
The thin steel down; the blow told well,
Right backward the knight Robert fell,
And moan'd as dogs do, being half dead,
Unwitting, as I deem : so then
Godmar turn'd grinning to his men,
Who ran, some five or six, and beat
His head to pieces at their feet.

Then Godmar turn'd again and said:
'So, Jehane, the first fitte is read!
Take note, my lady, that your way
Lies backward to the Chatelet!'
She shook her head and gazed awhile
At her cold hands with a rueful smile,
As though this thing had made her mad.

This was the parting that they had
Beside the haystack in the floods. 160

Morris, William. The Defence of Guenevere, The Life and Death of Jason, and Other Poems.

His first volume, The Defence of Guenevere and Other Poems (1858), was the first book of Pre-Raphaelite poetry to be published. The dark poems, set in a sombre world of violence, were coolly received by the critics, and he was discouraged from publishing more for a number of years. "The Haystack in the Floods", one of the poems in that collection, is probably now one of his better-known poems. It is a grimly realistic piece set during the Hundred Years War in which the doomed lovers Jehane and Robert have a last parting in a convincingly portrayed rain-swept countryside.

Edward Burne-Jones - The Legend of St. Frideswide

1859. Oil on cartoon for the lower half of the centre-left panel. East Window of the Latin Chapel, Christ Church Cathedral, Cheltenham Ladies College, Oxford, UK.

Christina Rossetti and her mother

Dante Gabriel Rossetti - Sir Launcelot in the Queen's Chamber


Monday, February 22, 2010

Edward Burne-Jones - The Nativity cartoons

one inscribed u.l.: HAWARDEN/ No 1 Left of 4 lights/ 2/3 full size/ No1; further inscribed l.l.: The Nativity No 1; another inscribed u.l.: l.r.: HAWARDEN/ No 2 Left of 4 lights/ 2/3 full size/ No2; futher inscribed l.l.: The Nativity No 2; another inscribed u.l.: HAWARDEN/ No 3 Left of 4 lights/ 2/3 full size/ No3; further inscribed l.l.: The Nativity No 3; the other inscribed u.l.: HAWARDEN/ No 4 Left of 4 lights/ 2/3 full size/ No4; further inscribed l.l.: The Nativity No 4; bears an inscription l.r.: These 4 cartoons comprising The Nativity were designed and drawn/ by the late Sir Edward Burne Jones Bt for Messrs./ Morris & Company of Merton Abbey Surrey/ signed. Morris Company H Dearle (partner)/ April 2 1901

pen and ink over coloured chalks
each 241 by 53 cm. ; 95 by 21 in.

Dante Gabriel Rossetti - The Loving Cup

signed with monogram and dated 1867 l.l. and inscribed on a label attached to the backboard: The Loving Cup / Watercolour / D. G. Rossetti

21 by 14 ½ in.
Hammer Price with Buyer's Premium: 300,500 GBP

John Brett

[Portrait of Mary Brett]
oil on canvas
12 by 10 in.

[Mount's Bay, Cornwall]

dated l.l.: Septr 2 76; bears an inscription on a fragment of canvas attached to the stretcher; St. Ives Cornwall by John Brett. R.A.

oil on canvas
10 by 19 in.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Friday, February 19, 2010

John William Waterhouse - Hylas and the Nymphs

Oil on canvas, 1896. Oil on canvas. 98.2 x 163.3 cm. Manchester City Galleries. Purchased 1896.

Life imitates art (article)

The Pre-Raphaelite ideal of female beauty is back, judging by the looks of some current screen idols. Debra N. Mancoff tracks the influence of the Waterhouse Woman,223,RAMA.html

Relics of old London: Photography and the spirit of the city

10 February—22 June 2010

In the Architecture Space

Adjacent to the Royal Academy Restaurant

Monday, February 15, 2010

Apologies again!

Just when I'd about caught up with most of my emails and blog friends, British Telecom changed my phone number after they made a mistake; deleting my entire line rather than re-assigning it to another phone company. Mind you, you have to wonder if it was an accident as they did everything possible to try and stop me changing supplier, and its taken me nearly two months to get this far.

Anyway by 'loosing' my phone number I lost my broadband connection and Orange had to treat me as a new customer with a new phone number. I've only just got my internet connection back. It's amazing how you come to rely on email and the Internet!

Excuses over I'll start blogging again tomorrow if all is still working.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Edward Burne-Jones - Study for St. George

signed with initials l.r.: E. B. J. ; inscribed and signed on an old label attached to the backboard: Study for painting of/ St George/ E. Burne-Jones

black and white chalks on red paper
12 by 6 1/2 in.

The story of St George is perhaps the most famous legend of chivalry, telling the tale of how the early Christian hero liberated a beautiful maiden from the claws of a fearsome dragon. According to tradition the town of Selene in Libya was terrorised by a blood-thirsty dragon which demanded the flesh of the townspeople's children. When the time came for the King's own daughter, Sabra to be led to her doom she was saved by a valiant knight named George who later married the grateful damsel. Later interpretations of the legend state that George and Sabra later moved to England where they made their home in the area which is now called Coventry.

The present drawing is a study for Burne-Jones' third version of a single figure depiction of St George painted in 1897 (Collection Hessische Hausstiftung, Kronberg) and exhibited as one of his last exhibits at the New Gallery in the winter of 1898. Burne-Jones painted two earlier versions, in 1873-1877 (Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford) and in 1892 (untraced, formerly in the collection of George Howard, Earl of Carlisle). In all three versions the depiction of St George is treated in symbolic rather than narrative terms, his figure standing impassive and monolithic over the coils of the slain monster like a personification of valour or the embodiment of Good over Evil.

Frederick Sandys - Study for Antigone

signed and inscribed c.l.: Study for/ Antigone/ F. Sandys.

black, white and red chalks
20 1/2 by 16 1/2 in.

Lot Sold. Hammer Price with Buyer's Premium: 5,400 GBP

Sandys wrote of the present drawing and its pendant Faustine (Sotheby's Belgravia, 5 November 1974, lot 36), which depicts the malevolent Roman Empress of Swinburne's poem, in a letter dated 10 July 1880 to Charles Augustus Howell, 'they are the best drawings I have ever done' (MS letter, John Rylands University Library, Manchester).

Antigone was the daughter of Jocasta and Oedipus of Sophocles' Thebean tragedy, condemned by her uncle King Creon to be walled-up alive in a tower but spirited away by her cousin Haemon. Sandys drew Antigone startled by her captors, in a pose which is very similar to that of a contemporary painting of the same title painted by Leighton (sold in these rooms, 6 October 1980, lot 44).