Burne Jones is not known to have sketched out of doors and this seems to be a purely imaginary woodscape. It is similar in style to woodscapes by his friend George Price Boyce who used the device here of placing tree stems across the front of the composition to give a sense of 'looking in' to the wood.
1870 oil on canvas signed ARTHUR HUGHES/1870 l.r. 43 x 30" portrait of Mary Elizabeth Blanche Mead, b 1866, daughter of the Hon Sir Robert Henry Meade and Lady Elizabeth Lascelles. The Mother died tragically just after child birth and Sir Robert married Caroline Grenfell daughter of the MP. She also died in childbirth and Mary effectively became the Mother of the son as he grew up in Taplow Court (Cliveden). Mary d in 1897. This picture descended through the family.
This is a portrait of the artists daughter Sophie wearing a dress of the 1770's and loosely based on a picture of Gainsborough's - though the character is from Samuel Richardson's novel of the same name. The torn letter refers to the style of the novel, which was epistolatory in form. The picture was owned by J. Staat Forbes a keen collector (he had over 3000 pictures by his death in 1904).
until it was sold by Sotherby's in 1996 it had not been seen on view in public since 1879.
The figure is Judith from the Bible and shows Sandy's interest in Jewish history. He was friends with Simeon Solomon (as well as close friends with Rossetti). The model was a gypsy girl called Keomi who was also the mistress of the artist and also modelled for Rossetti (eg, in The Beloved).
The Miss Burton (my Mother's maiden name incidentally) has not been identified but may have been the daughter of Sir William Frederick Burton (Irish watercolourist who later became the Director of the National Gallery) with who Rossetti was friends, especially in the mid 60's. Rossetti gave this painting to his close friend George Price Boyce who was also a friend of Burton's. The original title of the picture when sold at Boyce's sale in 1899 was 'Girl with a Blue Hood'. It sold for £32. At the Sotherby's sale in 1996 from which this is taken it was estimated at £25 - £35,000 (unfortunately I don't have the actual result).
After a visit to Florence (1891-2) his paintings were completely changed from those rather typical of the Newlyn School to very colourful, symbolic paintings often based around the theme of childhood, often featuring his daughter Phyllis and her friends.
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.
Herseem'd she scarce had been a day One of God's choristers; The wonder was not yet quite gone From that still look of hers; Albeit, to them she left, her day Had counted as ten years.
(To one it is ten years of years: ...Yet now, here in this place, Surely she lean'd o'er me,--her hair Fell all about my face.... Nothing: the Autumn-fall of leaves. The whole year sets apace.)
It was the terrace of God's house That she was standing on,-- By God built over the sheer depth In which Space is begun; So high, that looking downward thence, She scarce could see the sun.
It lies from Heaven across the flood Of ether, as a bridge. Beneath, the tides of day and night With flame and darkness ridge The void, as low as where this earth Spins like a fretful midge.
But in those tracts, with her, it was The peace of utter light And silence. For no breeze may stir Along the steady flight Of seraphim; no echo there, Beyond all depth or height.
Heard hardly, some of her new friends, Playing at holy games, Spake gentle-mouth'd, among themselves, Their virginal chaste names; And the souls, mounting up to God, Went by her like thin flames.
And still she bow'd herself, and stoop'd Into the vast waste calm; Till her bosom's pressure must have made The bar she lean'd on warm, And the lilies lay as if asleep Along her bended arm.
From the fixt lull of Heaven, she saw Time, like a pulse, shake fierce Through all the worlds. Her gaze still strove, In that steep gulf, to pierce The swarm; and then she spoke, as when The stars sang in their spheres.
'I wish that he were come to me, For he will come,' she said. 'Have I not pray'd in solemn Heaven? On earth, has he not pray'd? Are not two prayers a perfect strength? And shall I feel afraid?
'When round his head the aureole clings, And he is clothed in white, I'll take his hand, and go with him To the deep wells of light, And we will step down as to a stream And bathe there in God's sight.
'We two will stand beside that shrine, Occult, withheld, untrod, Whose lamps tremble continually With prayer sent up to God; And where each need, reveal'd, expects Its patient period.
'We two will lie i' the shadow of That living mystic tree Within whose secret growth the Dove Sometimes is felt to be, While every leaf that His plumes touch Saith His name audibly.
'And I myself will teach to him,-- I myself, lying so,-- The songs I sing here; which his mouth Shall pause in, hush'd and slow, Finding some knowledge at each pause, And some new thing to know.'
(Alas! to her wise simple mind These things were all but known Before: they trembled on her sense,-- Her voice had caught their tone. Alas for lonely Heaven! Alas For life wrung out alone!
Alas, and though the end were reach'd?... Was thy part understood Or borne in trust? And for her sake Shall this too be found good?-- May the close lips that knew not prayer Praise ever, though they would?)
'We two,' she said, 'will seek the groves Where the lady Mary is, With her five handmaidens, whose names Are five sweet symphonies:-- Cecily, Gertrude, Magdalen, Margaret and Rosalys.
'Circle-wise sit they, with bound locks And bosoms covered; Into the fine cloth, white like flame, Weaving the golden thread, To fashion the birth-robes for them Who are just born, being dead.
'He shall fear, haply, and be dumb. Then I will lay my cheek To his, and tell about our love, Not once abash'd or weak: And the dear Mother will approve My pride, and let me speak.
'Herself shall bring us, hand in hand, To Him round whom all souls Kneel--the unnumber'd solemn heads Bow'd with their aureoles: And Angels, meeting us, shall sing To their citherns and citoles.
'There will I ask of Christ the Lord Thus much for him and me:-- To have more blessing than on earth In nowise; but to be As then we were,--being as then At peace. Yea, verily.
'Yea, verily; when he is come We will do thus and thus: Till this my vigil seem quite strange And almost fabulous; We two will live at once, one life; And peace shall be with us.'
She gazed, and listen'd, and then said, Less sad of speech than mild,-- 'All this is when he comes.' She ceased: The light thrill'd past her, fill'd With Angels, in strong level lapse. Her eyes pray'd, and she smiled.
(I saw her smile.) But soon their flight Was vague 'mid the poised spheres. And then she cast her arms along The golden barriers, And laid her face between her hands, And wept. (I heard her tears.)
As the RA stages a major survey of John William Waterhouse’s work, Frank Whitford evokes the world of the 1888 Summer Exhibition, the year the celebrated artist’s most famous painting The Lady of Shalott was unveiled.
Wallis' method of painting, especially in the early years of his career, and in particular on "Death of Chatterton", was to do the initial sketch, saturate it in water, use a grey tint to block in the shade, put on the colour and allow it to dry. When firm, he would use a hair pencil to add in the details, for which he is so renowned. For the light, he would touch the area in question with water and then rub it with a piece of bread.
Lorenzo (offering Isabella the fruit) was modelled by his brother William Michael, Rossetti is in profile at the back drinking from the glass, Millais' father is wiping his mouth with the napkin (half way down on the right) and Fred Stephens can also be seen with Walter Deverell on the left.
Much has been made of the leg of the brother which points straight at his sister, both reflecting the death of Lorenzo and perhaps at a hint of his erotic feelings towards his sister. The nutcracker he is holding is no dount also meaningful.
A very mature and arresting painting for anyone, let alone a 19 year old.
Walter Howell Deverell (1827 – 1854) wasn't a member of the PRB but was friends and closely associated with them. It was Deverell who discovered Lizzie Siddal in the draper's shop where she worked and she is in this picture on the left as Viola. Rossetti was the model for the clown. Orsino was a self-portrait by the artist.
He never actually got to join the PRB and died at the early age of 21 of Bright's disease.
It was Mrs Deverell who visited the Siddal's to persuade them that it was okay for Lizzie to model for her son (artist's models were often regarded as or were actually prostitutes at the time). Oddly the Siddal's were related to the Hill's who had a daughter already modelling for Ford Madox Brown (Rossetti's tutor) and was engaged to him. Deverell was very handsome and from a respectable family and this may have been part of the attraction for the family and Lizzie.
(1828-1907) Frederick George Stephens was a student at the Royal Academy with Holman Hunt, Gabriel Rossetti, John Everett Millais, and Thomas Woolner. He was asked to join the original three members of the PRB (Hunt, Rossetti, and Millais) in 1848. It is generally agreed that Stephens' talent for painting was sparse, however, and he eventually gave up art for teaching. In 1860, Stephens wrote a biography, published anonymously, of William Holman Hunt. In 1861, he became the art critic for The Athenaeum, a job he held for forty years.
In 1848, Holman Hunt, Millais and Rossetti were good friends and looking through a book of engravings from Pisa's Campo Santo, they decided to form a 'League of Sincerity' looking at life and nature in a new 'realistic' way and throwing off what they saw as the mannerism and artificiality of the painting styles of the time.
Hunt though that Pre-Raphaelite was a better name given their love of medieval artists who they thought had approached their art with an uncomplicated honesty. Rossetti suggested they add the word Brotherhood.. And so on that night, the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood was born. To bring the number of members up to the mystical number seven, they invited Fred Stephens, Thomas Woolner and James Collinson to join and a little later, Rossetti's brother William Michael (as secretary). Hunt later recalled how they discussed reinventing furniture, fabrics, buildings and even fashion.
They wanted to live in a house with PRB mext to the front door, that those not in the know would read as 'Please Ring Bell'.
Rossetti studied oil painting with Holman Hunt. Hunt already had a student, Fred Stephens but Rossetti persuaded him to teach him and Holman Hunt rented an extra single bedroom at the top of the house he was in. Rossetti struggled at first, not having painted in oils before and actually used the oils as though they were watercolours, applying the oils very thinly and using slender brushes. He primed the canvases with white until it was like the paper he was used to and almost inadvertantly he developed a new techniqies of the oils becoming almost transparent.
. Franny Moyle mentions that Millais spent hours in a real carpenter's shop in Oxford Street studying wood shavings. Joseph was modelled on a grocer from Holborn and the sheep in the background were modelled on stinking sheep's heads from a local butchers. 'Jesus' was a 'skinny child with rather large feet'.
Many reports go on about the attacks made by critics (and some of the public) about the realism of this picture. In the 15th June (1850) edition of Household Works, Charles Dickens wrote: "You behold the interior of a carpenter's shop. In the foreground of that carpenter's shop is a hideous, wry-necked, blubbering red-headed boy, in a bed=gown, who appears to have received a poke in the hand, from the stick of another boy with whom he has been playing in an adjacent gutter, and to be holding it up for the contemplation of a kneeling woman, so horrible in her ugliness, that (supposing it were possible for any human creature to exist for a moment with that dislocated throat) she would stand out from the rest of the company as a Monster, in the vilest cabaret in France, or the lowest ginshop in England. Two almost naked carpenters, master and journeyman, worthy companions of this agreeable female, are working at their trade; a boy with some small flavour of humanity in him, is entering with a vessel of water; and nobody is paying any attention to a snuffy old woman who seems to have mistaken the shop for the tobacconist's next door, and to be hopelessly waiting at the counter to be served with half an ounce of her favourite mixture. Wherever it is possible to express ugliness of feature, limb, or attitude, you have it expressed."