Peter Henry Emerson

Peter Henry Emerson – In the Barley Harvest, 1888

When photography became commercially available, it was almost as if painting was redundant. Why should artists try to paint real life if there was a machine that could depict it? As a reaction, this was when Impressionism came along, followed by fauvism, surrealism and vorticism, all movements about subverting reality. However there were some photographers who used the camera and the subject as if they were painting, and one is Peter Henry Emerson. He set up pastoral ideals and posed people in the same way a painter would. The photographs were printed as photogravure, a photograph etched on to a metal plate. With this technique Emerson’s pictures could have a flatter look to them when printed with grain.

Peter Henry Emerson – Cattle on the Marshes, 1886

Emerson was born on La Palma Estate, a sugar plantation near Encrucijada, Cuba belonging to his American father, Henry Ezekiel Emerson and British mother, Jane, née Harris Billing. He spent his early years in Cuba on his father’s estate. During the American Civil War he spent some time at Wilmington, Delaware, but moved to England in 1869, after the death of his father. He was schooled at Cranleigh School where he was a noted scholar and athlete. He subsequently attended King’s College London, before switching to Clare College, Cambridge in 1879 where he earned his medical degree in 1885.

Peter Henry Emerson – Poling the Marsh Hay, 1885

Peter Henry Emerson – Crusoe’s Island, 1887

Peter Henry Emerson – Coming Home From The Marshes, 1885

Peter Henry Emerson – Towing the Reed, 1885

Peter Henry Emerson – Ricking the Reed, 1885

Peter Henry Emerson – Haymaker with Rake, 1888

Peter Henry Emerson – Setting the Bow Net, 1885

Peter Henry Emerson – Confessions, 1887

Peter Henry Emerson – A Fisherman at Home, 1887

Peter Henry Emerson – At the Grindstone-A Suffolk Farmyard, 1888

3rd London Group Show

Nov ‒ Dec 1915. Goupil Gallery, London

I thought this review of the London Group Show was of note as it features so many wonderful painters. I have found some of the paintings on show to illustrate it. Originally published in the magazine, Colour, 1915.

Harold Gilman – Leeds Market, 1913

London Group – The third Exhibition of this group is now on exhibition at the Goupil Salon is one of in which a certain sense of gaiety and experiment is to be seen. The spirit of adventure is also alive, and the group being one where members are not subject to the tyranny of a selecting committee, one notices that with a free hand these artists can give liberal expression to their point of view. There is much good painting in various Styles, and Little that is bad add, while a high level of excellence is in evidence throughout the show. W. B. Adeney show several canvases in which the design is obviously the first aim of the artist. In most cases he is successful. Thérèse Lessore is also greatly interested in the designing of her canvases, but colour also plays an important part. Harmonies of Pale colours, that always good colours, together with a simplified rendering of the figures which people her canvases, make for a series of distinguished works. As decorations they are complete.

Christopher R. W. Nevinson – Les Guerre de Trous, 1914

Figure work and portraits at this exhibition are few, and of the latter nana satisfactory. Of the former, Thérèse Lessore, who we have already mentioned, Mary Godwin, and Horace Brodzky, contribute. The last mentioned painter shows a decoration in which three nudes energetically struggle with a large stone. This work is evidently a sketch for a mural decoration to be painted on a large scale. Mary Godwin’s subjects display a searching after luminosity and texture.

Mark Gertler – Creation of Eve

R.P. Bevan sends a fine landscape “The Corner House,” which shows that he has learnt match from Cezanne without losing his own individuality. The excessive pink and mauve of his earlier work now makes place for dignified colour. His design has significance and weight. Harold Gillman’s best picture here, the interior of a fruit market, is a beautiful harmony in greens, whilst Charles Ginner expresses the greyness of things in a fine painting of Leeds Canal. Mark Gertler shows two intoxications of colour which we are sure were painted in the true spirit of joie de vivre. One piece of sculpture alone is on view, and that by C.R.W. Nevinson.

For the nation – A marble statue by Henri Gaudier-Brzeska has recently been presented to the South Kensington Museum, together with a number of this sculptors drawings.

Frederick Porter, a young painter at present residing in London and a New Zealander by birth, is a colourist of considerable merit. Porter studied at the Academy Julian in Paris from 1907 to 1910. He has also painted with success the landscape of Barbizon, particularly Moret, made famous through the paintings of Tisely, and he has painted for some time in Etaples. In 1911 Porter came to London, where he has exhibited on several occasions at the London Salon. Here his work received considerable attention from discriminating critics, and as he is still a young man and intensely serious, we may expect to find augmented interest in his new work.

Two cartoons, entitled “A Place in the Sun” and “A Controller of Traffic” by Will Dyson, have been purchased by the Felton Bequest for the Melbourne National Gallery.

Randolph Schwabe – Head of an Old Woman

Christopher R. W. Nevinson – Bursting Shell, 1915

Artists on show:

William Ratcliffe – The Old Mill
Charles Ginner – The Angel, Islington
Adrian Paul Allinson – Casino de Paris
Adrian Paul Allinson – Mauve and Green
Christopher R. W. Nevinson – The Bridge at Marseilles
William Ratcliffe – The Mill Stream
William Bernard Adeney – The Spruce
William Ratcliffe – Interior
William Bernard Adeney – The Road through Woods
Mark Gertler – Swing Boat
William Bernard Adeney – Man and Horse
Charles Ginner – From Trinidad
Thérèse Lessore – An Old Woman
Stanisława de Karłowska – White Paintings
Thérèse Lessore – The Cyclist
Stanisława de Karłowska – Still life
Harold Gilman – Portrait
Harold Gilman – Interior
Harold Gilman – Still Life
Adrian Paul Allinson – Queen´s Hall
Stanisława de Karłowska – Woodlands
Horace Brodzky – The Little Mourner
Christopher R. W. Nevinson – A Deserted Trench
Thérèse Lessore – King Street
Robert Polhill Bevan – A Hillside, Devon
John Northcote Nash – Pine Woods
Horace Brodzky – Portrait
Mary Godwin – The Bedroom
Mary Godwin – Fish
Walter Taylor – Brighton
Walter Taylor – The Boat House
Randolph Schwabe – Mrs. Randolph Schwabe
Paul Nash – Tree Tops
Paul Nash – A Sunset
Paul Nash – Moonrise over Orchard
Paul Nash – Tryon´s Garden
Mary Godwin – Ways and Means
Douglas Fox Pitt – Brighton Front
Douglas Fox Pitt – Shoreham
Randolph Schwabe – Portrait
Charles Ginner – Surrey Landscape
John Northcote Nash – Landscape
John Northcote Nash – Steam Ploughing
Horace Brodzky – Expulsion
Sylvia Gosse – Versailles
Sylvia Gosse – The Toilet
Sylvia Gosse – Busch Bilderbogen
Sylvia Gosse – The Answer that turneth away Wrath
Sylvia Gosse – Sussex Meadows
Randolph Schwabe – Landscape in Devonshire
William Bernard Adeney – Dividing Roads
William Bernard Adeney – House and Trees
Thérèse Lessore – The Canal Bridge
Stanisława de Karłowska – The Lane
Stanisława de Karłowska – From an Upper Window
Mary Godwin – Still Life
Mary Godwin – Ewelme Alms House
Robert Polhill Bevan – The Corner House
Robert Polhill Bevan – Tattersall´s
Harold Gilman – My Lonely Bed
Thérèse Lessore – The Confectioner´s Shop
Adrian Paul Allinson – Cotswolds, Spring
Walter Taylor – Interior
Charles Ginner – The Timber Yard, Leeds
Charles Ginner – Crown Point, Leeds
John Northcote Nash – Threshings
John Northcote Nash – Woods
Adrian Paul Allinson – Still Life
Horace Brodzky – Decoration
Horace Brodzky – Cefalu
Mark Gertler – Fruit Stall
William Ratcliffe – London
Douglas Fox Pitt – In the Dome, Brighton

Living photos

In search of some eye-catching imagery to boost morale surrounding US involvement in WWI, the US military commissioned the English-born photographer Arthur Mole and his assistant John Thomas to make a series of extraordinary group portraits. Between 1915 and 1921, with the dutiful help of thousands of servicemen and staff from various US military camps, the duo produced around thirty of the highly patriotic images, which Mole labelled “living photographs”.

Mole (1889-1983) was born in Lexden, a suburb of Colchester, Essex but when he was 14 years old his family emigrated to America, where he became a citizen. He became a commercial and portrait photographer, came up with the idea of human photographs. These required the construction of a tower for the camera to be placed on and then with a megaphone Mole and his assistant John Thomas would move the troops into picture formation.

Arthur Mole and John Thomas – The Human American Eagle, 12,500 Men

Arthur Mole and John Thomas – The Statue of Liberty, 18,000 Men

Arthur Mole and John Thomas – 27th Division Insignia, 10,000 Men

Arthur Mole and John Thomas – US Shield, 30,000 Men

Arthur Mole and John Thomas – Liberty Bell, 25,000 Men

Arthur Mole and John Thomas – WW1 Horse Memorial, 650 Men

Here are two more, I think they are by Mole, but I am not sure.

Street Children

About WordPress

This is a book from 1964, of children playing on the streets. The photos are by Julia Trevelyan Oman and the text (designed to read like observed opinions) was by Bryan Stanley Johnson. The whole thing reminds me of the Mass Observation movement of the 1930s. It is curious to see the streets of what I can only assume is East London and the children looking happy enough finding ways to entertain themselves. It also brought to mind this video called Through the Hole in the Wall.

Patriotic Messages

Looking in magazines during the First World War, there were adverts from tailors to domestic products all taking on a patriotic flare, as well as appeals for money to help various charities. There isn’t a great deal to say about it all, other than it looks to be profiteering somehow. The child above in the Pears soap advert looks to be sitting on a coffin with wreaths, very odd.

As the years go on the adverts become a little bit more distressing, the advert for Pears’ Soap again just is bizarre, I can’t help but think of the mothers who couldn’t afford it and wondered if they were letting their sons down after they had been slaughtered.

Good-bye dear, off to get blown up by the Germans, You won’t forget to send me some Wright’s Coal Tar Soap.

The charity adverts here also seem remarkably bossy. Have you helped yet?

The Samaritan Free Hospital was for Women and they found themselves with less funding.

Bawden in Dublin

In 1964 Edward Bawden went to Dublin. It is not known if it was a commision for House & Garden or not, but regardless, he illustrated a tour of the city. The magazine follows with a historical account of each of the locations, but below I have scanned the images in for you all to see, as I doubt there are many editions surviving.

Edward Bawden – St Stephen’s Church

Edward Bawden – Lower Baggot Street

Edward Bawden – Upper Mount Street

Edward Bawden – Wellington Bridge

Edward Bawden – Campanile Road

Edward Bawden – Trinity College

Edward Bawden – J O’Meara’s Irish House,

Edward Bawden – Cranes Near the Custom House

Edward Bawden – The Four Courts

Edward Bawden – The Botanic Gardens

Leaving your mark

This might be a short post but it is from something I discovered this week that is extraordinary to the western mind. When we think of leaving our mark behind on something we have owned it is normally a bookplate in our books, or maybe a label on the back of a painting we once bought from an exhibition, but in China and Japan there is a history of stamping the front of a work with the owners mark. They are called ‘collector’s seals’.

This is special type of seal are used by collectors. This tradition started in Tang Dynasty. When collector gets a valuable piece of art work, for example, painting, calligraphy, or book, he would use his collector seal to stamp on the art work. However, you need to be careful with where you stamp the seal. The principle is not to destroy the original painting balance. However, this principle is very easy to be broken since every collector wants to leave a stamp on the art work.

Ma Hezhi – ‘Illustrations to the Odes of Chen’, 1131-1162

Ma Hezhi – ‘Illustrations to the Odes of Chen’, 1131-1162

Wang Xianzhi – Xinfu Dihuang Tang Tie ,Tang Dynasty

Graveyard Pots

Here is an interesting artical from Ceramics Monthly, April, 1967 about traditional flower pots for American graveyards.

We had often heard the older potters in our area refer to the graveyard pots and markers their ancestors made, but though we had searched many old cemeteries in North and South Carolina, we could not find any surviving examples of this unique American tradition. When a neighbour told us recently that there were several graveyard pots in the older section of the cemetery where her family is buried, we dropped all work and drove to the graveyard.

It was one that we had visited before, but the pots had eluded us so well as several generation of passers by because the old section of the cemetery, some distance from the new, was quite grown- up in weeds and shrubs.

There, adorning forgotten graves dating from the 1830s to 1900, were more than thirty fine examples of traditional graveyard pots. None of these had escaped the ravages of time, for they were cracked and chipped, and some were badly broken. But the presence of hundreds of shards was a mute testament to the number of pots that once were there.

The urns, vases, and flower pots which had survived, however, were whole enough to have preserved their simple form and beauty. This section of South Carolina is rich in potting legend, but few examples by the dozen or more potters who kept shop up until the early 1900s have survived.

The fields are covered with shards, but only a few churns and pitchers remain to tell of the work of such men as Brown, Fullbright, Clayton, Belcher. Atkins. Williams, Van Patton and Johnson, all of whom had potteries within a ten-mile radius. Their community was called “Jugtown” (not to be confused with the well- known Jugtown, North Carolina). There is no way to tell now which of these potters made the surviving graveyard pots, for it was never the custom for the potters to sign their work, but the pots do represent the skills of at least a half-dozen different potters.

Only one badly-damaged grave marker (illustrated) has survived, but old-timers in the area remember when they were many. It was reportedly the custom for potters’ own graves, and those of their families, to be distinguished by such markers. These graveyard pots are a testament to the ability and imagination of nineteenth century American potters. The same potters who took extra time to make the painstaking decoration on these graveyard pots were content to make perfectly plain vessels for everyday use. The pots were often the only adornment for graves marked with a fieldstone or crudely-lettered tombstone. Since it was the custom, until recent years, for rural churches and families to take constant interest in the appearance of their graveyards, it is probable that the vases were often filled with fresh flowers.

Bernard Gay

Bernard Gay, was born at Exmouth, Devon on 11 April 1921, son of Ernest Garfield Gay and his wife Marguerite née Allen, who married at Newton Abbot, Devon in 1916. He grew up with a ‘baby farmer’ called Miss Wellaway an early type of foster family because his parents were poor and they sent him away. Miss Wellaway was an abusive woman who kept the children on bread and Margarine.

Bernard Gay – Plant Pot, 1955

When I was 16 and I eventually went home, I went to London to find my mother; I then discovered I had two sisters which I had never known about. One was two years younger than myself and was quite nice, and one was two years older who wasn’t very nice actually, though I mean I hardly knew them. I stayed there for about a year and a half and then I left, I went away and never went back. There was nothing to hold me there, there was no…no family feeling really.

Bernard left school at the age of 14 and after various jobs, just before the Second World War joined the merchant navy and travelled the world being introduced to art by Muriel Hannah in New York.

It was not until 1947 that he returned to education, when he studied textile part-time at the Willesden School of Art 1947-1952 and changed course to fine-art under Maurice de Sausmarez (1915-1969) and Eric Taylor (1909-1999) and began drawing classes at St Martins School of Art and quickly established himself as a painter.

While at Willesden School of Art Gay got involved with the drawing club:

Stanley Spencer came to do a criticism, and I remember him looking at an absolutely pathetically awful little painting and he turned to me and said you know, ‘Oh I do wish I could do something like that’. It was just ghastly. And I remember saying to him, ‘By the way, how do you do those huge paintings of yours?’ And he told …he painted in the kitchen, and he said, ‘What I do, I have the roll of canvas and I square up my drawings and I start from the top left-hand corner and I work my way across the canvas, rolling it up as I go, and when I get to the other end I finish the painting’. And, it meant that he never ever saw, those huge Crucifixions and things, he never saw the paintings until they were stretched and framed. He just started from the top left-hand corner and worked his way across. And I remembered him saying to me, ‘Of course, the real difficulty is that I have an oil heater in the kitchen, and quite often the tops of my canvases get rather black with the smoke from the heater.’ But I thought it was lovely that he worked in this strange way, from left to right, right across his canvas… Stanley Spencer came. William Coldstream came, Minton came, Colquhoun and MacBryde came, they all came to give crits of our little sketch club events, and they happened every month. And it was marvellous, one met in that little art school on top of the technical college… Edward Bawden came I remember. So that was a wonderful thing really, that that little school could do all that.

Gay worked in setting up the Lisle Street Gallery, building shelving for them and went on to work for the Artists International Association. He moved to Hampstead and became involved with the Hampstead Artists Council. Then went on to give lectures for the Design Council.

During this time Gay was exhibiting London’s top galleries: Gimpel Fils, Rowland Browse & Delbanco, Leicester, Redfern, Wildenstein and Piccadilly Gallery.

It was at this time that the Hertfordshire Collection of Pictures for Schools bought his painting of an Ivy Still life from the Pictures for Schools exhibition: 23 January – 14 February 1954. I acquired it when the Council sold off their art collection. The fact that he was chosen to be in the Pictures for Schools scheme so early means a great deal, as many of his contemporaries at the time were incredibly famous. 

Bernard Gay – Ivy, 1954

In 1957 Jack Beddington was asked by The Studio Magazine to write a book on Young Artists of Promise. Beddington was the Art Director at Shell from 1928 until the late 40s and also was instrumental in setting up the Lyons Lithograph series of prints due to his working with new and young artists. In Young Artists of Promise Beddington selected Bernard Gay for one of the books colour plates (most of the works were in black and white) and when the Studio Magazine promoted their book they used one of Gay’s pictures The Gate in the Hedegrow, 1955 on the cover of the magazine (It is also the same edition that features a report on the Great Bardfield open-house exhibitions).

image

A parallel career in arts education led him to become principal of the London College of Furniture and a member of Her Majesty’s Inspectorate. An artistic all-rounder, author of ‘Botticelli’ (1961), co-founded the Camden Arts Centre, where he was chairman for 25 years and joined the council of the British School in Rome.

He set up the Committee for Higher Education in Art and Design and in the early 1970s, helped expand art and design programmes in many of the polytechnics, that later became universities. In 1974, Bernard was living at Church Cottage, Cookley, near Halesworth, Suffolk and married secondly at Islington in 1984, Catherine Ann Wilson (1952-1995) and in the late 1980s, they moved to Herefordshire where he became a board director at Hereford College of Arts. He died, after a short illness, on 15 March 2010 being survived by four children.

Clifford & Joan

Stanley Clifford Smith at home in Great Bardfield in the 50s

It is a sad fact that histories are penned by the winners, or the people left to write it. In the case of the Great Bardfield artists that history was left to Olive Cook. When the Fry Art Gallery was set up in 1986 she wrote the history of the local artists and for about 10 years that version of the truth was printed and reprinted. It has now thankfully been corrected now but with more time on my hands I went back to the original copies of their visitors guides and found she had erased Stanley Clifford-Smith totally. It might have been due to the Fry Art Gallery not owning any of his work at the time they opened. But history can be uncovered and re-penned (and as I mentioned, has been). This happened to some lengths when Stanley’s son, Silas Clifford-Smith wrote ‘Under moon-light’ a biography his of father and his mother Joan Glass.

Joan Glass – The Reflected Gardener

Stanley Clifford-Smith, known mostly as Clifford, was three years younger than Bawden and had four children by the time he moved to Great Bardfield. When young, Clifford was partly raised and schooled in Paris as his father was working there. As a child he had seen Debussy perform Clair de Lune and the composer came to their home for dinner. He had served in the Navy during the war as a navigation officer and lived in various properties in East Anglia, focusing on painting and designing textiles with his wife. Joan Clifford-Smith (née Glass) worked under her maiden name. She had studied at Chelsea Polytechnic under Graham Sutherland and one of the life models was Quentin Crisp. At Chelsea she started designing textiles and selling designs to carpet manufacturers. During the war she joined the Wrens and worked in the BBC Canteen.

Joan and Stanley married in Newmarket in 1946, and in 1952 they moved to Buck House, Great Bardfield and later the Old Bakery opposite Edward Bawden’s Brick House. Unlike the artists in St Ives that tended to influence each other, these Essex artists all had different styles and influences. John Aldridge being a traditional painter, Bawden more comic and print based, Rothenstein taking abstraction to it’s limits and becoming more like Britains Picasso, and then George Chapman who’s modernist welsh pictures looked rather alien in the East of England and also favoured etchings. Clifford was the most experimental painter of the village (Rothenstein being the most experimental printmaker) and his style was inspired by French painters and Expressionism, but like all the artists, translated it into his style.

Stanley Clifford-Smith – Clair de la lune, 1965

This small Essex village in the 1950s and 60s became a refuge for artists who had moved out of London when looking to start a family, but where still working in the city, mostly as art teachers and found it easy to commute back and forth. Having so many artists in a small location, the village applied for a money to have an art exhibition as part of the 1951 Festival of Britain arts grant. They got the money, had the exhibition and found it to be so successful that they wanted to do one again in 1954, and these became known as the Great Bardfield Open House exhibitions. Other Open house exhibitions were in 1954, 1955 and a touring exhibition was in 1957 and 1958.

Stanley Clifford-Smith – Harbour and Figures, 1956

It was Stanley Clifford-Smith who helped set up these open-house days in Great Bardfield and exhibited with the other artists of the village. They would turn their houses into art galleries and thousands of people came into their homes to view the work.

In the 1960s the artists with larger families all started to move away from Great Bardfield and Clifford Smith moved to London. By the 70s very few artists were left and John Aldridge was the only artist to stay until his death in 1983.

Stanley Clifford-Smith – Woman Bewitched by the Moon