24 Oct 2018

Scottish Romantic painting

I have been away from my blog for a while and it is with regret that I found out about six months ago and many of the blogs features can no longer be edted.
It gave me an uneasy feeling of lack of ownership...
Well, of course, I do not own it, Mr. or Mrs Google owns it and I play with the words and pictures on this platform at other entities discretion.

Ad meritum now:

I have for forwarded my research around the beautiful romantic landscape painting I had purchased earlier.
It is not signed so I have been tracing its possible via stylistic analysis.
So here is food for thought.
Definitely it is not a German style painting but Scottish.

Look at those two paintings by Charlotte Nasmith.

She was a daughter of Alexander Nasmith.

Alexander Nasmyth (9 September 1758 – 10 April 1840) was a Scottish portrait and landscape painter, a pupil of Allan Ramsay. (...)
Nasmyth's six daughters all became notable artists. His daughters were Jane, Barbara, Margaret, Elizabeth, Anne and Charlotte.[11] His eldest son, Patrick Nasmyth, studied under his father, then went to London and attracted attention as a landscapist.[1]  (Wikipedia)

Having at the moment on access to any European collections I had to relay on an online research.
Dropping of the German thread, I decided to try to identify the landscape on my painting, the particularly shaped mountain with two peaks and a cascading side and place it in a 18/early 19th century context.
Et voila, I immediately recognized the the hill, the lake  painted just slightly at a different angle, the sail boats, that shimmering golden air of Romanticism and of the mastic varnish.
The warmth of this discovery was quite remarkable.

Yes, my initial attempt at cleaning the surface was a serious mistake.
However, the waxy for i extracted pointed to the varnish being mastic.
It is also the clue that the landscape was painted before ca 1830 since more prevalent later Damar varnish was not in use earlier. I have also found that while Damar varnish used to contributing to more distinctive yellowing of the paint surface, Mastic did rather darken it.

So armed with this assumption I have successfully neutralized most of the wax and coated the rest of the canvas with Mastic. Mastic does not harden as much as Damar, it gave a gorgeous sheen.
This beautifully smelling mixture of natural resin (the Tears of Chios) and turpentine has brought the painting to a spectacular light.

I will surely one day travel to Scotland and devote more research to the subject.
As a younger person I did not quite understand the development of the Romantic style.
But now I am beginning to understand, particularly after reading Goncourt's French Eighteenth Century Painters) (1859–1875) comments on the artistry of Watteau.
The "back to the Nature" was the first underlying prompt, away from the stifle air of the cities, away from stiff and formal clothing. The air of Liberty was surely filling the sails.

1 Jul 2018

Wellington and Blucher

The love of print still going strong...
The most recent acquisition is this impressive in its size steel engraving by Lumb Stocks, RA.

it follows the wall mural at the Westminster by Daniel Maclise, RA representing - what else the Brits kicking French ass (sorry....) at Waterloo. Or rather, the battle's aftermath.
It is heavily imbued with the winners vs losers iconography: Wellington in the highlight and Bluthe in the shadows, the British solders in Roman helmets with plumage, the horse making its way in the knee-high carnage. Ohhhh, the Brits with solemn yet "just" faces, the French in their shacos are sad and lost.
The prints edition from 1876.
Original frame in serious need of repair, but recoverable.
I have replaced all brutally simple acidic backing with the ph balanced board and will insert clear acrylic instead of old seriously green glass.

The description from Doe & Hope Auction site
 These line engravings were published by The Art Union in 1876 after the 1868 original wall painting by Daniel Maclise in the Royal Gallery at the Palace of Westminster. Wellington and Blucher mounted on horses, with cavalry behind them, shake hands in front of ruined building surrounded by numerous mounted and dismounted soldiers and bandsman; dead and wounded lying in the foreground. The French army is seen in pursuit along the road behind. A somewhat fanciful rendering of one of the great melodramatic moments in history.

Late in the evening on the day of the battle of Waterloo (Sunday, June 18th. 1815) Wellington and Blücher met on horseback outside the somewhat battered but aptly named La Belle Alliance inn where they briefly shook hands and congratulated each other on their victory. "Quelle affaire!" the elderly Prussian Marshal exclaimed, - Wellington said afterwards that was all the French he knew. Blücher also suggested La Belle Alliance would be a good name for the battle, but the Duke made no reply.
Following the meeting of the victorious leaders, during the rest of the night the Prussians pursued the remnants of the routed French army, from the inn, down the road toward France by which they had come.

Daniel Maclise, R.A. (1806 -1870) was an Irish historical painter whose fame rests chiefly on a series of lithograph portraits of contemporary celebrities and on two vast frescoes that he painted in the Royal Gallery in the House of Lords, of which this is a copy of one.

Scale, originality, texture, grandeur; these really must be seen - stunning.

21 May 2018

Madonna on a Crescent Moon

This is a small XVIII century or perhaps earlier figure of Madonna with Child.
Beautifully polychromed and visibly worn.
Carved in a most darling manner - the wide coat, the style of the hand, the crescent moon, all so lovely.

The expression is that of an old aunt saying:
Didn't I tell'ya, Just keep on loving and everything's gonna be alright...

“Detail of a miniature of God creating the sun and moon.”, Bible historiale, f. 5v by Guyart des Moulins and art by “The Master of the Bedford Hours, and the Master of the Cite des Dames according to Meiss,…”, Paris, France c. 1420 via The British Library, Public Domain

17 Mar 2018

Old Paris

This book, a small album of panoramic photos from the 20-ies and earlier, bought early this spring.

Marvelous find. The enlarged images on rough heavy paper are simply spectacular feast for the eye.
The shot of the Opera is particularly splendid as it shows an authentic and lively human interaction of that day. On the right side there is a group of two women and a man seen from behind.
The fashion of the period dictated light loose jacket, gloves and a hat.
For a man - obligatory Panama hat, after all it is no longer winter!
The women remind me the way my grandma and her friend Nellie (we thought it is aunt Tralalla at first...)

27 Jan 2018

Early Collodion Prints

I have seen such photographs before, but never up-close.
This is the recent acquisition, from a young antiquarian and a collector of old photographs.
Most of his collection comes from Fredericton, New Brunswick - on the Atlantic side of Canada.
Some of the smaller photos I had purchased bear the embossed mark of Harvey, 164 Queen Street, F'ton N.B. The studio still exists, but doesn't bear any traces of its past...

Other photo, portrait of some Mr. Johnson and another man comes from a studio of Norman B. Henry in Clint, Ontario. I cannot locate any traces of the photographer, but there lives Johnson family.
Another yet from Belleville - Brock & Co.
My new anonymous great-great-grandfathers.

Beautiful golden tones and surprisingly neutral-to-friendly facial expressions!
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