An Essex Farmyard

John Aldridge – Essex Farmyard, 1948, Lithograph

Some time ago I was asked the location of Essex Farmyard print by John Aldridge. This lithograph was made for the Society of Painter-Printmakers and exhibited as number 27 in the catalogue for the 1948 exhibition. The key to the identification was finding a painting of the same view while writing a post-script for Lucie’s book. It was a painting from 1939 of Grove Farm, Farmyard, Oxen End, Little Bardfield.

John Aldridge – The Grove Farmyard, 1939

The oil painting above was exhibited at Leicester Galleries, 1940, as with the watercolour study below you cans see the farmyard and the sheds, when printed the image is reversed and that’s why the print is a mirror image.

John Aldridge – (The Grove Farmyard) Essex Farmyard, 1948

Below is a photograph of the house today and part of the farmyard. This is from the local historical society:

Grove Farm was owned by the Adams family who owned other properties in Oxen End. An accident with a steam engine cable severely damaged Mr Adams’ legs. They built a bungalow and then sold Grove House.

The Crossman-Adams family owned the property as well as Crossman House in Braintree. Some of the family still live in Great Bardfield.

In 1969 Mrs Tennant of the Tennant brewery family owned Grove Farm.

Grove Farm, from Google Maps.

This is a drawing in the Fry Gallery collection, likely from 1939 when Aldridge was studying for the painting.

John Aldridge – The Grove Farmyard, c1939

Early Hockney

Most people have in their mind and idea of a David Hockney painting but I was surprised when I encountered his early work. Before his unique style came in he was imitating artists that had come before him with help from his tutors.

At Bradford College of Art he was taught perspective and painting by Derek Stafford and printmaking by Norman Stevens (1937-88). Other students at the college were Derek Boshier, Pauline Boty, Norman Stevens, David Oxtoby and John Loker. Hockney hitchhiked to London and toured the galleries absorbing new art and styles. In 1957 he got into the Royal College of Art and the rest is history.

David Hockney – Bolton Junction, Eccleshill, 1956

David Hockney – Bolton Junction, Eccleshill, 1956

David Hockney – Moorside Road, Fagley, 1956

David Hockney – The Village Street, Kirton, near Felixstowe, Suffolk, 1957

David Hockney – Tunwell Lane, 1957

David Hockney – Hen Run, Eccleshill, 1954

David Hockney – Landscape 1956-1957

David Hockney – Kirton, 1956/57

The Tragic Case of Simeon Solomon

This artical appeared in Lilliput magazine in 1944 by Thomas Burke. It is a brief biography of Simeon Solomon; the artist rejected by society because of his conviction for sodomy in 1873 (sentenced to Hard labour) and in ’74, when he was arrested in Paris for soliciting men and spent three months in a Paris jail.

From a wealthy family his brother Abraham was an artist as well as his sister Rebecca. His lifestyle bought him to alcoholism and he became a vagrant despite his family connections. He was a beautiful and talented young man.


Nobody pays much attention to the work of pavement artists, or to the “artists” themselves. So nobody, passing along Bayswater Road in the first years of this century, paid much attention to a blotchy, unkempt screever and his coloured chalk drawings. Nobody even noticed that the drawings had an assured ease not usual in the work of screevers. Pennies in the cap were few.

Simeon Solomon – Bacchus, 1867

But if people had been better informed they would surely have given more than a casual glance to the man who had been hung in the Academy for twelve consecutive years, and had been an admired friend of Burne-Jones, Walter Pater and Swinburne. For Simeon Solomon was an artist whose name appears, always with epithets of regret and compassion, in many volumes of the art and literary memoirs of the later nineteenth century.

A queer story, his; one of those stories of wreckage of bright hopes of which the nineteenth century holds so many; among them Thomas Dermody, John Mitford, Charles Whitehead, James Thomson (B.V.) and Ernest Dowson.

With most of them the cause was drink; for the drink of the nineteenth century was of more fiery and mordant temper than the drink of this century which, if it has fewer geniuses, has fever stories of wreckage. With Simeon Solomon the causes were many and obscure.

He was born in Shoreditch, son of a Jewish hatter. Drawing and painting came instinctively to him at an early age. At 15 he entered the Royal Academy Schools, and was first hung at the annual exhibition when he was 17. The subject of that first picture, like the subjects of most of his pictures, was taken from the Old Testament, and its manner was that now known as Pre-Raphaelite. At this time he is described as a handsome graceful figure, with red hair, an exquisite profile, and brilliant eyes. His appearance alone made people notice him, and when his work was seen he won the acclamation of many of the alert, among them Swinburne and Pater; white Burne-Jones, writing years latter in a perhaps over-generous mood, said that “Simeon Solomon was the greatest artist of us all.”

Simeon Solomon – The Magic Crystal, 1878

Like many of the artists of that group he had a literary gift., and a rare little pamphlet of his – A Vision of Love Revealed in Sleep – May sometimes be turned up by the curious. Swinburne gave his work an enthusiastic review; Pater too admired it. Written in the rather inflated prose used by De Quincey, it records the wanderings of a spirit conducted through a land where he sees the figure of Love in different stages of suffering, caused by the wrongs and abuses inflicted on man. For some years Solomon was a vogue and a figure in intelligent circles. He was often Pater’s guest at Oxford he visited Lord Houghton (Monckton Milnes); stayed with Oscar Browning, then a master at Eton; and was much seen with Swinburne.

But he didn’t want his gifts or his personal beauty. He threw them to the dogs. The rot set in when he was about thirty. What caused it is not clear, but at that time it was not drink. It was something more serious; something that caused Oscar Browning , when he was talking him on a tour of the Italian galleries, to part company with him and come home alone. There are stories of drugs and of indiscreet aberrations. Unpleasant elements began to appear in his work, notably in those presenting ideas of love. Also, it became coarse and careless in treatment, and he repeated his subjects. Friends warned him against prostituting his genius. He ignored them.

His aberrations soon became too extreame even for Bohemia. Men began to withdraw from him, and his name began to be spoken in polite circles only in a pitying murmur. Swinburne not only broke with him; he spoke of him as “a thing abhorrent to man, woman and beast.”

The end of his vogue came as abruptly as it began. He had some fifteen years if success, prosperity and respect. Then he turned his back on it all, and deliberately lived the rest of his life as an exile, among the social outcasts.

Simeon Solomon – Mrs Fanny Eaton, 1859

His conduct eventually led to a term in prison, but in prison he wrought no cure. His family got him into a mental home; that, too, was ineffectual. When he came out, many efforts were made to reclaim him. They were futile. By that time he had added drink to his other indulgences and seemed beyond hope. He was set up with clothes, a studio and a decent home. He never used the studio. He sold only the clothes and furniture and returned to the gutter.

Dealers were still willing to buy his work, and one or two supplied him with the necessary materials and small advances, though they could never rely on actually getting the drawings. But though he had lost all moral sense, he did not lose his good human feeling. For long periods he was an inmate of St. Giles Workhouse, and when he did deliver a drawing and collect the money, he would take some of the old workhouse boys for the day and bring them all home tight.

He was not above sponging on successful artists with whom he had once been equal, and there is a story that, having successfully touched a prosperous artist and noticed the rich contents of his home, he repaid the loan by coming back with one of his gutter friends, a professional burglar, and breaking in. But he and the burglar were both so drunk, and made so much noise, that they roused the artist. He came down, and found Simeon Soloman with the dining room silver dropping out of his pockets. He contented himself with kicking the once famous artist down the steps. For a time Solomon sold matches in the gutter at Whitechapel, but no more successful at that than as a pavement artist.

The decline and fall of a sensitive spirit is usually pitiful, but Soloman needs no pity. In his outcaste state he was quite happy, and seemed to enjoy the shabby freedom of rags and irresponsibility.

A friend of mine, one of the few living men who met him, told me of his first sight of him in the closing years. My friend, then a young man, saw a drawing in a Regent Street print shop, and was struck by it and bought it for three guineas. He had never heard of the artists, and asked the dealer who was this Simeon Solomon. The dealer said “If you look through the door you’ll see him.” My friend looked out to Regent Street, but could see no artist. He saw a ragged, decrepit old waif of the streets looking in the window, but nobody like an artist. He said “I don’t see anybody.” The dealer said “There – at the window. That’s Simeon Solomon, friend of Burne-Jones and Rossetti and Swinburne. He’s waiting till you’ve gone to come in and touch me for five bob on account.”

Somehow or other he supported this submerged and vagrant life for thirty years. He lingered on in drink and degradation till he was 64; til all those who had known him had forgotten him or presumed him dead. Then, one night in 1905, he was found unconscious on the pavement in Holborn, and was carried to his old home, St Giles Workhouse, and in its infirmary he died.

Tributes, to the genius which he threw away, are many. Even the respectable Oscar Browning, a reputed social snob, could say of this ruined outcast “He was a genius both in art and writing, and his name deserves to be remembered… I am proud to acknowledge that he was one of my friends.”

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