Marcus Gheeraerts II, a complete collection of his signed, dated, documented and inscribed works, featuring his Captain Thomas Lee in Irish Dress, oil on canvas, 1594, in Tate Britain. (33 paintings).

Text and captions by John P. Walsh.

Captain Thomas Lee (c.1551-1601) had his portrait painted by 33-year-old Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger (Bruges, 1561-1636) in London in 1594. Captain Lee was 43 years old and had worked as a military adventurer for English colonization in Ireland since the early 1570s. The young artist was the son of Gheeraerts the Elder, a painter and printmaker associated with the Tudor court starting in the late 1560s and into the 1570s. Fleeing religious persecution in Flanders, Gheeraerts the Elder (c. 1520 – c. 1590) arrived into England with his 7-year-old son Marcus in 1568. By 1594, when the portrait of Captain Lee was made, Gheeraerts the Younger was already a rising young contemporary artist working in Elizabeth I’s Tudor court (Gheeraerts the Elder had likely returned to Flanders in 1577). Sir Roy Strong, the English art historian who served as director of both the National Portrait Gallery and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London is unequivocal about Gheeraerts the Younger’s artistic importance to English art history when he wrote that Gheeraerts is “the most important artist of quality to work in England in large-scale between (Hans) Eworth (c. 1520 – 1574) and (Anthony) van Dyck (1599-1641).”1 In addition to a discussion of the featured early painting of Captain Lee, a complete collection of Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger’s 33 signed and dated works, documented and dated works, inscribed and dated works, and inscribed and undated works is included in this post following this introduction.

At 22 years old in 1583, Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger’s world in and around London was ideally enclosed by marriage to the sister of talented Tudor court painter John De Critz (c.1555-c.1641). De Critz, like his new brother-in-law Gheeraerts the Younger, was a child expatriate from Flanders to England in 1568.2 In 1571 Gheeraerts the Elder had married his son’s future wife’s sister, making father and son Gheeraerts also eventually brothers-in law.3 Over two decades later, in 1602, Gheeraerts the Younger’s sister married the court artist Isaac Oliver (c.1565-1617).4 This was typical social behavior at the Tudor court where many active artists were connected by ties of marriage, family, and artistic training as well as shared European origin. In Gheeraerts the Younger’s circle, for instance, John De Critz was apprenticed to the wealthy portrait painter Lucas de Heere (1534-1584) who may also have helped train Gheeraerts the Younger.  De Heere – like Gheeraerts the Younger and De Critz – was a religious refugee to England from Flanders. Isaac Oliver, Gheeraerts the Younger’s other brother-in-law, studied under leading Tudor portrait miniaturist and goldsmith Nicholas Hilliard (c.1547-1619) 5 Roy Strong links Hilliard to Gheeraerts by way of the supreme artistic quality found in both of these contrasting artists’ masterpieces.6 One remarkable technical innovation that the young artist applied in his portraits was the use of stretched canvas in place of wood panel that allowed for larger and lighter surface areas on which to paint and more easily transport pictures of the grand gentlemen and ladies of the time.

By way of marriage to an Irish Catholic woman, Captain Thomas Lee became a man of considerable property in Ireland but had separated from his wife by the time of this portrait. The next year – in 1595 – Lee remarried an Englishwoman. Over the decades, Captain Lee’s military reputation became one of an enfant terrible which did not mellow over time. Rather it would be powerful friends who looked to explain Thomas’s frequent reckless political and military behavior as a justifiable occupational hazard of the longtime soldier in Ireland. Lee posed for Gheeraerts when the captain was straight off the battlefield from Ulster chieftain Aodh Mag Uidhir (Hugh Maguire, d. 1600) and in London for delicate negotiations. To presumably express Thomas’s faithful service to the Crown, the portrait includes a Latin inscription in the tree that refers to Mucius Scaevola (c. 500 BC), an ancient perhaps mythical Roman fighter who remained loyal to Rome even after he was captured by mortal enemies.  Thomas was related to Sir Henry Lee – they were paternal half cousins. Sir Henry up until his recent retirement in 1590 (though still active and influential in political affairs) was Elizabeth I’s Champion for nearly a quarter of a century and the creator of the stunning imagery included in her publicly-popular Accession Day festivals that Sir Henry annually planned. Along with Gheerearts the Younger’s Elizabethan allegorical portrait Lady in Fancy Dress (The Persian Lady) (#30 below) as well as the Ditchley portrait of Queen Elizabeth I (#31 below)both painted in the early 1590s, Henry may have helped devise the symbolism in Captain Lee’s portrait which also came from Ditchley – Sir Henry Lee’s timber-framed family house set in north Oxfordshire wooded farmland– around that same time. While the painting’s landscape where Captain Lee stands is likely a representation of Ireland’s wild landscape, Henry Lee’s symbolism may provide other more subtle and humorous features. Troublesome Thomas, for example, stands under an oak, which may refer to Sir Henry’s political protection but also that these trees are prone to dangerous lightning strikes. The final seven years of Captain Thomas Lee’s life iterated this legendary standard: at times negotiating with or killing Irish enemies he also served time in prison in Ireland on a charge of treason. Ultimately, Sir Henry could not save his familial junior – Thomas faced execution in England for treason against Elizabeth I in 1601.

English power became increasingly absolute in 17th century Ireland.  In the 1590’s, the Protestant Ascendancy in Ireland believed turning their backs on the mostly Catholic natives was the most effective governing strategy. While an oath of allegiance to the Crown remained law to divest Irish rebels of their property to English rule, it was not vigorously applied until the arrival in 1604 into Ireland of Lord Deputy Arthur Chichester (1563-1625) and thereafter. The 1590’s continued to implement England’s new plantation system in Ireland which amounted to confiscating Irish property for English and Scottish settlers. While this provided quick and lucrative rewards for the conquerors, the political situation was not free of ambiguity. English laws were attacked by Irish chiefs seeking protection under older common law. Protestant settlers had their own uneasy relationship with the English Crown who, in turn, fought a tug of war with an English Parliament. About half of settlers in Ulster were Presbyterians who were dissenters from the English church at war with Anglo- and Gaelic Irish Catholics. Moreover, London viewed new Protestant landowners in Ireland – such as Captain Thomas Lee – with as much, if not more, suspicion as despoiled Catholics. The Crown believed that the new Protestant vanguard in Ireland had the power to usurp the island’s treasure more readily than pillaged Catholics who could, ironically perhaps, be better disposed to the idea of royal governance.7

While Thomas Lee’s special status is expressed in the painting’s lace embroidery on his rolled-up shirt and inlaid pistol and Northern Italian-made helmet, the Captain is dressed as a common foot-soldier who traveled through Ireland barelegged (which in itself is humorous and serious) and lightly armed. Sir Henry must have been one of Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger’s earliest patrons, as the Ditchley collection had several portraits which can be ascribed to him.8

FOOTNOTES:

  1. Strong, Roy, The English Icon: Elizabethan & Jacobean Portraiture, The Paul Mellon Foundation for British Art London Routledge and Kegan Paul Limited New Haven Yale University Press, 1969, p.22.
  2. Ibid. p.259.
  3. Hearn, Karen, Marcus Gheeraerts II: Elizabethan Artist, In Focus (Tate Publishing), 2003, p. 11ff.
  4. Strong, p.269.
  5. Hearn, p.130.
  6. Strong, p.23.
  7. See Roger Chauviré, A Short History of Ireland, New American Library, 1965; T.W. Moody & F.X. Martin, editors, The Course of Irish History, Mercier Press, Cork, 1978; http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/gheeraerts-portrait-of-captain-thomas-lee-t03028 – retrieved May 28, 2017.
  8. The Captain Thomas Lee portrait was first recorded at Ditchley by Vertue in 1725 who noted there a portrait of ‘Lee in Highlanders Habit leggs naked a target & head piece on his left hand his right a spear or pike. Ætatis suae.43.ano.Dni 1594’.

SIGNED AND DATED WORKS (8 works):

Marcus Gheeraerts The Younger, Louis Frederick, Duke of Württemberg, 1608.
1. Marcus Gheeraerts The Younger, Louis Frederick, Duke of Württemberg, 1608, oil on canvas, 225.1 x 113.1 cm, St James Palace. Probably painted for James I and first recorded in Charles II’s collection. (Strong 255, The English Icon).
Gheeraerts the Younger Wm Camden 1609
2. Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, William Camden, 1609, oil of panel,, 76.2.x 58.5 cm, Bodleian Library, Oxford. Given to the Schools by Camden Professor (1622-1647) Degory Whear. (Strong 256).
Gheeraerts the Younger, Lucy Davis. 1623. Private collection.
3. Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, Lucy Davis, Countess of Huntingdon, 1623, oil on panel, 76.8 x 62.3 cm, Private Collection. (Strong 257).
Marcus_Gheeraerts_the_Younger_William_Pope,_1st_Earl_of_Downe, 1624
4. Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, William Pope, 1st Earl of Downe, 1624, oil on panel, 62.3.x 47.1 cm, Trinity College, University of Oxford. It was presented to Trinity College in 1813 by Henry Kett. (Strong 258).
Gheeraerts the Younger, Elizabeth Cherry, Lady Russell, 1625.
5. Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, Elizabeth Cherry, Lady Russell, 1625, oil on canvas, 194.5 x 105.6 cm, The Duke of Bedford. This painting has been at Woburn Abbey since 1625. (Strong 259).
Gheeraerts the Younger Sir William Russell, 1625
6. Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, Sir William Russell, 1625, oil on canvas, 195.6 x 111.8 cm, The Duke of Bedford. Always at Woburn Abbey. (Strong 260).
Gheeraerts the Younger, Richard Tomlins, 1628.
7. Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, Richard Tomlins, 1628, oil on panel, 111.8 x 83.9 cm. The Bodleian Library, Oxford. It was in the Library in 1759. (Strong 261).
Gheeraerts_Anne_Hale_Mrs_Hoskins
8. Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, Anne Hale, Mrs. Hoskins, 1629, oil on panel, 111.8 x 82.7 cm. Jack Hoskins Master, Esq. The painting remains in the family. (Strong 262). 

DOCUMENTED AND DATED WORKS (3 works):

Gheeraerts_Barbara_Gamage_with_Six_Children 1596
9. Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, Barbara Gamage, Countess of Leicester, and her children, 1596, oil on canvas, 203.2 x 260.3 cm, The Viscount De L’Isle. Always at Penshurst Place near Tonbridge, Kent, 32 miles southeast of London; first recorded 1623. (Strong 263).
Marcus_Gheeraerts_the_Younger_William_2nd_Lord_Petre
10. Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, William, 2nd Lord Petre, 1599, oil on panel. 111.8 x 90.2.cm. The Lord Petre; custody of the Essex County Record Office. (Strong 264).
Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, Katherine Somerset, Lady Petre, 1599.
11. Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, Katherine Somerset, Lady Petre, 1599, oil on panel, 111.8 x 90.2 cm. The Lord Petre. Always at Ingatestone Hall, the 16th century manor of the Barons Petre in Essex, England. Queen Elizabeth I spent several nights there in 1561. (Strong 265).

INSCRIBED AND DATED WORKS (18 works):

# 12 800px-Marcus_Gheeraerts_II_-_Portrait_of_Mary_Rogers,_Lady_Harington_-_Google_Art_Project
12. Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, Unknown Lady (Mary Rogers, Lady Harington), 1593, oil on panel, 114.3 x 94 cm, Tate (purchased 1974). The identity for the sitter is speculative, although her age (23 years old) is inscribed. It is one of the earliest known portraits by Gheeraerts. (Strong 266).
Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, Captain Thomas Lee in Irish Dress, 1594.
13. Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, Captain Thomas Lee in Irish Dress, oil on canvas, 1594 (purchased 1980), Tate Britain. (Strong 267).

 

si francis drake 001 FIXED
14. Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, Sir Francis Drake, 1594, oil on canvas, 137.1 x 114.3 cm, private collection. Knighted by Queen Elizabeth in 1581, Sir Francis Drake, vice admiral (c. 1540 – 1596), circumnavigated the globe in a single expedition between 1577 and 1580. Drake was second-in-command of the English fleet against the Spanish Armada in 1588. Though he opened up the Pacific Ocean to European trade, Drake’s seafaring career ended in his mid-fifties when he died of dysentery following a failed attack on Spain’s Puerto Rico in 1596.  (Strong 268).
Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, Unknown Man, 1599.
15. Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, Unknown Man (Called the Earl of Southampton), 1599, location unknown. (Strong 269).
Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, Unknown Lady, 1600.
16. Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, Unknown Lady, 1600, oil on panel, The Lord Talbot de Malhide. (Strong 270).
Sir Henry Lee by Marcus Gheeraerts Tate Britain, 1600
17. Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, Sir Henry Lee, oil on canvas, 1600, private collection on loan since 2008 to Tate Britain. Sir Henry Lee (1533–1611) was a Tudor Court favorite under Elizabeth I, appointed as Queen’s Champion and Master of the Armoury. Sir Henry organised the annual public Accession Day festivals in honor of the queen and commissioned the famous Ditchley portrait of Elizabeth I by Gheeraerts for his house at Ditchley in Oxfordshire. In 1597 he was made a Knight of the Garter and in the painting wears that order’s gold chain and bejeweled medal of St George slaying the dragon. (Strong 271).
Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, Sir Henry Lee, 1602.
18. Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, Sir Henry Lee in Garter Robes, 1602, oil on canvas, 216.2 x 137.2 cm. Always at Ditchley until 1933. Today at The Armourers & Brasiers’ Company of the City of London. Founded in 1322, the livery company was awarded its first Royal Charter in 1453 from King Henry VI. In 1708 the Armourers joined with the Brasiers and received its current charter from Queen Anne. (Strong 272).
Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, Christophe de Harlay, Comte de Beaumont, 1605.
19. Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, Christophe de Harlay, Comte de Beaumont, 1605, oil on canvas, The Marquess of Salibury. The Comte de Beaumont was the French ambassador to England at a time when the Kings of England and France were looking in their own ways for a diplomatic solution to the religious controversies in Europe. The painting was made for Robert Cecil, 1st Earl of Salisbury, a politician who had won James I’s trust. (Strong 273).
Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, Alexander Seton 1st Earl of Dunfermline, 1606.
20. Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, Alexander Seton 1st Earl of Dunfermline, 1606. Alexander Seton, 1st Earl of Dunfermline (1555–1622), a Scot, was regarded as one of the finest legal minds of his time. Seton served as Lord President of the Court of Session (top judge) from 1593 to 1604, Lord Chancellor of Scotland (top presiding officer of state) from 1604 to 1622 and Lord High Commissioner to the Scottish Parliament. (Strong 274).
Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, Anne of Denmark, 1614
21. Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, Anne of Denmark, 1614, oil on panel, 109.4 x 87.3 cm, Windsor Castle. Anne married a future James I of England in 1589 at age 15. The Queen consort bore James three children who survived infancy, including the future Charles I (reigned 1625-1649). Once fascinated with his bride, observers regularly noted incidents of marital discord between the dour and ambitious James and his independent and self-indulgent wife. Before she died in 1619 the royal couple led mainly separate lives. (Strong 275).
Gheeraerts the Younger, Ulrik, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein, 1614.
22. Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, Ulrik, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein, 1614, oil on canvas, 211.2 x 114.3 cm, The Duke of Bedford. Prince Ulrik of Denmark, (1578 – 1624) was the second son of King Frederick II of Denmark and his consort, Sophie of Mecklenburg-Güstrow. As second-born Ulrick bore the merely titular rank of Duke of Holstein and Schleswig although he later became Administrator of Schwerin. After his sister Anne became Queen of England, Ulrik was godfather to Princess Mary. (Strong 276).
Gheeraerts the Younger, Sir John Kennedy, 1614.
23. Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, Sir John Kennedy, oil on canvas, 1614, The Duke of Bedford. Immediately after James I’s accession Elizabeth Brydges – Maid of Honour of Queen Elizabeth I – married Sir John Kennedy, one of the king’s Scotch attendants, at Sudeley Manor, Gloucestershire, England. Chandos appears to have opposed the match, and it was rumored early in 1604 that Kennedy had a wife living in Scotland. But James I wrote to Chandos (19 Feb 1603/4) entreating him to overlook Sir John’s errors because of his own love for his attendant. Elizabeth apparently left her husband and desired to have the matter legally examined, but as late as 1609 the lawfulness of the marriage had not been decided upon. Lord Chandos declined to aid his cousin, and Sir John Kennedy’s wife died deserted and in poverty in 1617. (Strong 277).
Gheeraerts the Younger, Catherine Killigrew Lady Jermyn, 1614.
24. Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, Catherine Killigrew, Lady Jermyn, 1614, oil on panel, 73.7 x 57.2 cm, Yale Center for British Art. (Strong 278). Catherine Killigrew was 35 years old when she sat for this portrait. The wife of a MP, and mother of three children,  Catherine was the daughter of Sir William Killigrew (d. 1622) who was a courtier to Queen Elizabeth I and to King James I. Sir William served as Groom of the Privy Chamber. (Strong 278).
Gheeraerts the Younger, Probably Mary (née Throckmorton), Lady Scudamore, oil on panel, 1615.
25. Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, Probably Mary (née Throckmorton), Lady Scudamore, oil on panel, 1615, 45 in. x 32 1/2 in. (1143 mm x 826 mm), National Portrait Gallery, London, purchased 1859. The sitter, once identified wrongly as the Countess of Pembroke, is probably Lady Scudamore about whom little is known. The portrait is likely for the occasion of her son’s marriage (John, later Viscount Scudamore) to Elizabeth Porter of Dauntsey, Wiltshire. The inscribed motto ‘No Spring Till now’, and wreath of flowers suggest the hope that this marriage must have represented within the family. (Strong 279).
Gheeraerts the Younger, Sir Henry Savile, 1621.
26. Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, Sir Henry Savile, 1621, 216.2 x 127 cm, Bodleian Library, Oxford. Gift from the sitter’s widow, 1622. Sir Henry Savile (1549-1622) was an enterprising Bible scholar. When he did not qualify for the role of Provost of Eton, he had Queen Elizabeth I waive the college’s rules for him. As Warden of Merton – a post secured with the help of influential friends – he was unpopular with students and faculty but the college itself flourished. Sir Henry’s brother was a powerful lawyer who helped guide his brother’s career which included knighthood in 1604. (Strong 280).
Gheeraerts the Younger, Sir Henry Savile, 1621.
27. Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, Sir Henry Savile, 1621, oil on canvas, 1621, 203.7 x 122 cm, Eton College. A second smaller copy of Bible scholar and administrator Sir Henry Savile. (Strong 281).
Gheeraerts the Younger, William Herbert, Earl of Pembroke, 1628.
28. Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, William Herbert, Earl of Pembroke, 1628, oil on panel, 68.5 x 48.2 cm, Philip Yorke. William Herbert, 3rd Earl of Pembroke (1580 –1630), founded Pembroke College, Oxford, under James I’s tutelage, in 1624. The year before, in 1623, the First Folio of Shakespeare’s plays had been dedicated to him and his brother Philip Herbert, Earl of Montgomery (the later 4th Earl of Pembroke). A bookish man, following failed marriage negotiations over the dowry payment, the 3rd Earl of Pembroke impregnated a mistress at court who he then refused to marry. He eventually married in 1604 but had an extra-marital affair with a cousin that produced two illegitimate children. A patron of the arts, William Herbert, 3rd Earl of Pembroke died suddenly at 50 years old in 1630 and was buried in Salisbury Cathedral in the family vault at the foot of the altar.  (Strong 282)
Gheeraerts the Younger, Charles Hoskins, 1629.
29. Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, Charles Hoskins, 1629, oil on panel, 66.1 x 52.7 cm, Jack Hoskins Master. Esq. (Strong 283).
Gheeraerts the Younger, Lady in Fancy dress (the Persian Lady), 1590.
30. Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, Lady in Fancy Dress (The Persian Lady), 1590s, oil on panel, 216.5 x 135.3 cm, Hampton Court. first recorded in the collection of Queen Anne but believed to be part of the Royal Collection before that time. In the cartouche a sonnet reads: “The restless swallow fits my restless minde, Instill revivinge still renewinge wronges; her Just complaintes of cruelty unkinde, are all the Musique, that my life prolonges. With pensive thoughtes my weeping Stagg I crowne whose Melancholy teares my cares Expresse; hes Teares in sylence, and my sighes unknowne are all the physicke that my harmes redresse. My only hope was in this goodly tree, which I did plant in love bringe up in care: but all in vaine, for now to late I see the shales be mine, the kernels others are. My Musique may be plaintes, my physique teares If this be all the fruite my love tree beares.” Portrait of a Woman is a good example of Elizabethan allegorical portraiture. Importantly, the painting may be related to the Ditchley portrait of Elizabeth I (Strong 285) as well as the portrait of Captain Thomas Lee (Strong 267 ). How may these three portraits be connected to an entertainment given by Sir Henry Lee, the Queen’s Master of the Armouries and Champion of the Tilt, when the Queen visited Ditchley in 1592? (Strong 284).
NPG 2561; Queen Elizabeth I ('The Ditchley portrait') by Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger
31. Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, Queen Elizabeth I (“The Ditchley portrait”), oil on canvas, 1592, 95 in. x 60 in. (2413 mm x 1524 mm). National Portrait Gallery, London. Bequeathed by Harold Lee-Dillon, 17th Viscount Dillon, 1932. Queen Elizabeth was nearly 60 years old when this portrait was made. It is traditionally understood to have been painted on the Queen’s visit to Ditchley, the timber-framed family house set in north Oxfordshire wooded farmland of Sir Henry Lee (1533-1611). Like John II Walshe (d.1546/7) of Little Sodbury, Gloucestershire, who was King’s Champion to Elizabeth’s father Henry VIII, Henry Lee served at that standard for Queen Elizabeth from 1570 until his retirement about two years before this painting was made. Ditchley once provided lodging and access to the royal hunting ground of Wychwood Forest.  (Strong 285). 
ditchley a-elizdetail-1g
Queen Elizabeth I is standing on a map of England.
ditchley.detail
Detailed study of the beautiful garment and accessories.
ditchley
Detail of garment and accessories in the Ditchley portrait.
ditchley detail fan
A bejeweled fan in Queen Elizabeth I’s right hand. Detail from the Ditchley portrait of 1592 by Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger.
ditchley 800px-queen_elizabeth_i_the_ditchley_portrait_by_marcus_gheeraerts_the_younger
Queen Elizabeth I. Ditchley portrait detail. The three fragmentary Latin inscriptions in the painting have been interpreted as: “She gives and does not expect”; “She can, but does not take revenge”; and, “In giving back, she increases.” An inscribed fragmentary sonnet, whose author is not known, takes the sun as its subject.
Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, Sir Henry Lee, 1590s.
32. Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, Sir Henry Lee, 1590s, oil on canvas, 117 x 86.4 cm, The Ditchley Foundation. Always at Ditchley. The painting and inscribed verses memoralize an incident where Bevis – Lee’s dog – saved his master’s life. “More faithfull then favoured…” (Strong 286).
Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, Michael Dormer, mid 1590s.
33. Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, Michael Dormer, mid 1590s, oil on canvas, 122 x 91.5 cm, J.C. H. Dunlop, Esq. Latin inscriptions surround and are written across the globe and shield. (Strong 287). 

This concludes the complete collection of Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger’s signed and dated works (Strong 255-262); inscribed and dated works (Strong 266-283); and, inscribed and undated works (Strong 284-287). Not included here are works dated and attributed to the artist (Strong 288-294) and attributed and undated (Strong 295-313). The last group includes several well-known portraits including William Cecil, Lord Burghley, c. 1595, in the National Portrait Gallery (Strong 295) and Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex, c. 1596, in collection of the Duke of Bedford. (Strong 300).

CAPTION NOTES:

Strong 264 and 265 – http://www.ingatestonehall.com/

Strong 266- http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/gheeraerts-portrait-of-mary-rogers-lady-harington-t01872

Strong 271- http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/gheeraerts-sir-henry-lee-l02883

Strong 272- http://www.armourershall.co.uk/armourers-hall

Strong 277 – http://www.tudorplace.com.ar/BRYDGES.htm#Catherine BRYDGES (C. Bedford)

Strong 278- http://collections.britishart.yale.edu/vufind/Record/1669266

Strong 279 – http://www.npg.org.uk/collections/search/portrait/mw05683/Probably-Mary-ne-Throckmorton-Lady-Scudamore#sitter

Strong 280 – https://artuk.org/discover/artworks/sir-henry-savile-15491622-228559/search/actor:gheeraerts-the-younger-marcus-1561156216351636/view_as/list/page/2;  White, Henry Julian (1906). Merton College, Oxford. pp. 93–94; http://www.historyofparliamentonline.org/volume/1558-1603/member/savile-henry-ii-1549-1622; https://www.oxforduniversityimages.com/results.asp?image=BOD000038-01; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_Savile_(Bible_translator)

Strong 284 – https://www.royalcollection.org.uk/collection/406024/portrait-of-an-unknown-woman; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Artists_of_the_Tudor_court; http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/gheeraerts-portrait-of-captain-thomas-lee-t03028; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Lee_(army_captain)https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:PKM/icon4

STRONG 285 – John II Walshe (d.1546/7) of Little Sodbury, Gloucestershire, was King’s Champion at the coronation of Henry VIII in 1509 and was a great favourite of the young king’s. Transactions of the Bristol & Gloucestershire Archaeological Society, Vol.13, 188/9, pp. 1–5, Little Sodbury”. Bgas.org.uk. Archived from the original on March 16, 2012. Retrieved 2012-03-19; Sir H Lee – Butler, Katherine (2015). Music in Elizabethan Court Politics. Woodbridge: Boydell and Brewer. pp. 129–42. ISBN 9781843839811.; Ditchley once provided lodging and access to the royal hunting ground of Wychwood Forest. – timber-framed family house in classic north Oxfordshire wooded farmland, – https://web.archive.org/web/20070404233018/http://www.ditchley.co.uk/page/37/ditchley-park.htm; Inscriptions – http://www.npg.org.uk/collections/search/portrait/mw02079/Queen-Elizabeth-I-The-Ditchley-portrait#description; http://npg.si.edu/exhibit/britons/briton1.htm

©John P. Walsh. All rights reserved. No part of this material may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by an means, electronic  or mechanical, which includes but is not limited to facsimile transmission, photocopying, recording, rekeying, or using any information storage or retrieval system.

 

 

 

Grace Kelly, Famous and Rare Photographs. Part 1: 1935 to 1955.

GK dressed up.

Grace Kelly in dress, fur and pearls.

Text and captions by John P. Walsh.

Here are some famous and rarely seen photographs of Philadelphia-born Grace Kelly (1929-1982) before and during her short but dazzling film career in Hollywood. Called the “Greatest Screen Presence in Film,”1 passionate and dramatically talented Grace Kelly was Alfred Hitchcock’s favorite actress when she starred in three of his classic films of the 1950’s: Dial M For Murder (1954), Rear Window (1954) and To Catch a Thief (1955).  After Grace was discovered in 1951 by Gary Cooper who said that she was “different from all these actresses we’ve been seeing so much of”2—and subsequently cast in High Noon (1951) as Cooper’s movie wife—Grace Kelly’s incomparable charm and allure swiftly impressed Hollywood and the world. From September 1951 to March 1956 Grace Kelly’s star blazed in eleven major motion pictures for five different Hollywood studios. Following High Noon for United Artists, her performance for M-G-M on John Ford’s Mogambo (1953) led to Grace’s first Academy Award nomination as Best Supporting Actress. Grace began work in July 1953 on Dial M For Murder for Warner Brothers where she met Alfred Hitchcock who became a cinematic mentor. Soon after, The Bridges at Toko-Ri (1954) at Paramount Pictures began Grace’s ground-breaking multi-film collaboration with Academy-Award winning costume designer Edith Head. Grace refused other lucrative film offers to work again with Hitchcock, this time at Paramount Pictures, on Rear Window co-starring Jimmy Stewart. In this landmark film which came out in summer 1954, one of Hitchcock’s dramatic emphases for Grace Kelly’s film persona was to display her natural elegance and sex appeal—he was amused by her public image as an “Ice Queen”3—by having her costumed in an array of fabulous Edith-Head-designed lingerie, dresses, and pants. Growing up in Philadelphia Grace Kelly as an adolescent and teenager had modeled in local fashion shows but, by the middle 1950’s in her mid-twenties, she became an international fashion and style icon. Following these first phenomenal film credits, what happened for Grace Kelly next was perhaps surprising but not unexpected, and a clear and certain capstone to, and beacon for, her professional acting career that was barely five years old. Never just a pretty face, Grace Kelly insisted in her studio contract that she be allowed regular breaks to be able to act in live theater.4 Grace admired the art of the live stage and welcomed demanding theater and film roles that challenged and exhibited her acting range and abilities. This was part of her motivation to go after the hardly glamorous but dramatically impressive role of Georgie Elgin in George Seaton’s The Country Girl (1954) for Paramount Pictures. With co-stars Bing Crosby and William Holden, the film featured Grace playing the long-suffering wife of an alcoholic actor struggling to resume his career (played by Crosby). At its release, the film was a hit and nominated for seven Academy Awards. On Wednesday, March 30, 1955, at the telecast of the 27th annual Academy Awards held at RKO Pantages Theatre,5 The Country Girl won two Oscars, including one for Grace Kelly for Best Actress. At just 25 years old Grace Kelly—of the ambitious and hugely competitive Philadelphia Kellys—had reached the highest echelons of the cinematic arts by way of her profession’s gold-plated statuette. Always looking ahead, Grace’s film career had already turned international. She did Mogambo for a host of reasons not least of which was being able to see Africa with “all expenses paid.”6 In early 1954 she had flown to South America to make Green Fire (1954) for M-G-M with Stewart Granger and then in May 1954 she was at the French Riviera to make her third film with Alfred Hitchcock: To Catch a Thief (1955) co-starring Cary Grant for Paramount Pictures.  Grace liked the Riviera enough to travel there one year later, in April 1955, this time for the 8th annual Cannes Film Festival. To what degree Grace could imagine in advance how that particular journey to that most beautiful part of the world would impact her film career as well as future life as wife and mother was beyond her. It was during that early spring 1955 Mediterranean trip that Grace Kelly was first introduced to Prince Rainier III of Monaco.

Grace Kelly stood five foot seven inches tall and weighed 118 pounds. Her dress size was two.7 She was born on November 12, 1929 into the Kelly family of Philadelphia. Grace Patricia Kelly was the third of four children and one of that Irish-German family’s three girls. Elder sister Peggy and younger sister Lizanne were athletic and shared their mother Margaret’s model looks. Margaret was also the family disciplinarian who the Kelly children liked to call “the Prussian General.”8 As a child Grace was dreamy and shy while her siblings were outgoing and athletic. Yet Grace too inherited a keen awareness of her body using her arms and legs to be dramatically expressive in an actress’s rather than athlete’s way.9 By the time she was 18 years old Grace’s beautiful rectangle-shaped face with soft pear-shape dimensions displayed thick blond hair, almond-shaped blue eyes, a small high-bridge nose and ruby lips. Each member of the Philadelphia Kelly family was an exuberant competitor in areas of American life such as athletics, business, politics, or high society.  As an adult one of Grace’s major strengths in addition to her incredible beauty was her ability to focus on whatever goal she decided to pursue whether professionally or personally until that goal was achieved. When Grace won the Academy Award for Best Actress in 1955 it was also a brick in the Kelly wall of ambition for success.  Before she was a teenager Grace performed in plays so that in her teenage years a desire to be an actress grew. Since Grace was situated within a protective and affluent family as well as educated in Philadelphia Catholic and private schools she sought theater work in New York City instead of Hollywood which Grace, even after she achieved film success, considered a pitiless machine of cinematic production.10

It was Aristotle Onassis who suggested to Prince Rainier that he marry a beautiful American movie star to bring the glitterati back to Monaco. Onassis’s list at the time did not include Grace Kelly.11 Invited to the 1955 Cannes Film Festival after she had won the Academy Award for Best Actress for The Country Girl one month before, Grace was curious enough about the prince to be introduced to him in Monaco on Friday, May 6, 1955. What is memorable from the photographs of their meeting at the palace is that the Prince looks chic and handsome and Grace is at her most beautiful in a black silk floral print dress with her blond hair pulled back into a German-style bun. That evening she returned to Cannes for the festival’s screening of The Country Girl helping to conclude a day that Grace herself called “pretty wild.”12 But Grace’s career in Hollywood wasn’t over—nor her life half begun. She was back in Paris before the festival’s winners were announced (she had won nothing there),13 and soon returned to Hollywood to make what turned out to be her final two Hollywood movies – The Swan and High Society.

TEXT NOTES:

  1. It was actually my brother Kevin, now deceased, who when he was working in the Chicago Film Office wrote to me this apt description of Grace Kelly (and Rear Window as the greatest film ever).
  2. Quoted in Roberts, Paul G., Style Icons Vol 4 Sirens, Fashion Industry Broadcast, p. 74.
  3. Dherbier, Yann-Brice and Verlhac, Pierre-Henry, Grace Kelly A Life in Pictures, Pavilion, 2006, p. 11.
  4. Edith-Head-designed apparel for Rear Window – Haugland, H. Kristina, Grace Kelly: Icon of style to Royal bride (Philadelphia Museum of Art), Yale University Press, 2006, p. 956; so she could act in live theater – TBA
  5. Date and place of 1955 Oscars- see https://www.oscars.org/oscars/ceremonies/1955 – retrieved April 26, 2017.
  6. did Mogambo for an all-expense paid visit to Kenya – TBA
  7. height and dress size- http://www.bodymeasurements.org/grace-kelly/ – retrieved April 28, 2017.
  8. Dherbier and Verlhac, p. 9.
  9. Conant, Howell, Grace: An intimate portrait of Princess Grace by her friend and favorite photographer, Random House, 1992, p.18.
  10. Preferred theater to film-TBA
  11. Leigh, Wendy, True Grace: The Life and Times of an American Princess, New York: Thomas Dunne Books, 2007, p.100.
  12. ibid., p. 112.
  13. Dherbier and Verlhac, p. 12.

©John P. Walsh. All rights reserved. No part of this material may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by an means, electronic  or mechanical, which includes but is not limited to facsimile transmission, photocopying, recording, rekeying, or using any information storage or retrieval system.

THE PHOTOGRAPHS:

Grace Kelly, December 29, 1954.Grace Kelly, December 29, 1954.
Grace Kelly portrait from the film “Rear Window” photographed by Virgil Apger, 1954.Grace Kelly’s glamorous portrait during filming of Rear Window photographed in 1954 by Virgil Apger. Apger led MGM’s portrait gallery for over twenty years following Clarence Sinclair Bull’s departure.
Grace Kelly in red by Howell Conant, 1955.
LADY IN RED: Grace Kelly by Howell Conant, 1955. For more than 25 years Conant was Grace Kelly’s friend and favorite photographer. 
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Grace Kelly as photographed by Mark Shaw in 1954.

Grace KellyTHE KELLY BAG: Paris-based high-fashion luxury-goods manufacturer Hermès renamed their sac à dépêche a Kelly handbag in 1956 after a pregnant Grace Kelly was spotted carrying one as the new Princess of Monaco.

1954 philippe halsmanGrace Kelly, at 24 years old, in a photograph by Philippe Halsman, 1954.
Grace Kelly, 1954 PHILIPPE HALSMANEXTREMELY RARE: Grace Kelly was muse for many, including photographer Philippe Halsman. This image is likely a test proof from a private sitting in 1954. The photograph has Philippe Halsman’s copyright stamp on the back which indicates it was in his own personal collection.
Grace Kelly 1954  Photo Cecil BeatonGrace Kelly in a photograph by Cecil Beaton, 1954.
Grace 1954Grace Kelly in 1954.
Grace 1955Grace Kelly in a promotional photograph in 1955 for Alfred Hitchcock’s To Catch A Thief in which Kelly co-starred with Cary Grant.
GK naked shouldersGrace Kelly poses with nude shoulders in 1955. In 2017 off-the-shoulder fashion has made a big comeback. 
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Grace Kelly by Apger Virgil, c. 1954. In 1929—the year Grace was born—Apger was hired in the portrait gallery at Paramount. In 1931 he went to work at M-G-M doing what he did at Paramount: developing negatives, working with the dryers, and making prints. Apger was an assistant to Clarence Sinclair Bull, but Jean Harlow gave Apger his start as a production still photographer on China Seas in 1935. After that, Apger shot M-G-M publicity stills for the stars.
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Grace Kelly had many reasons to do John Ford’s Mogambo which started filming in Africa in November 1952. Two of those reasons were to co-star with legendary Clark Gable and sultry Ava Gardner at the height of her fame.

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During filming of Bridges at Toki-Ri Grace Kelly fell madly in love with co-star William Holden.

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Grace Kelly, New York City, 1954. Photograph by Irving Penn.

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Photographer Howell Conant observed that every movement of Grace’s body was a telling gesture. Jamaica, 1955.

Grace Kelly and Cary GrantGrace Kelly and Cary Grant kiss on the couch in an interior scene from To Catch A Thief filmed in Hollywood in July-August 1954 as director Alfred Hitchcock and crew look on. 
studio publicity, To catch a thief 1954 001FIXEDDesigned by Edith Head, a dramatic sun suit for Grace Kelly to walk to the beach in To Catch A Thief (1954).
Grace Kelly and Cary Grant in To Catch a Thief.Cary Grant and Grace Kelly on location for To Catch A Thief
La Victorine studios 1954 Hitch directs GK on To Catch a Thief grace kellyCary Grant recalled that Grace commanded so much respect during the filming of To Catch a Thief that there was almost total silence when she arrived on the set.
Grace and Edith Head To Catch A ThiefGrace Kelly and costume designer Edith Head work on fabric selection during the making of To Catch A Thief.
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Grace Kelly arrives with Edith Head at the 1955 Academy Awards wearing the ice blue gown that Edith designed for her.

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In a dress and coat designed by Edith Head, Grace Kelly at the 1955 Oscar ceremony. She was nominated and won the Best Actress trophy in the lead role of George Seaton’s adaptation of The Country Girl. After the ceremony, alone in her Beverly Hills Hotel bungalow, Grace admitted that she felt that night like “the loneliest person on the planet.”
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Grace Kelly backstage after the 27th annual Academy Awards on March 25, 1955 when she won the Oscar for Best Actress for her role in The Country Girl.
1955 Academy Award

Grace Kelly with her Oscar for Best Actress in hand backstage at the 1955 Academy Awards.

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Grace Kelly posing for LIFE magazine in the Edith Head dress she wore to both the premiere of The Country Girl and the 1955 Academy Awards ceremony. Photographed by Philippe Halsman.

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Edith Head’s wardrobe for Grace Kelly in Rear Window (1954). Chic and modern, Grace’s memorable film entrance is in this black-fitted bodice with off-the-shoulder V-neckline on top of a full bunched and layered chiffron tulle skirt to mid calf marked by a pattern at the hip. Grace’s high fashion is cinched by a thin black patent leather belt and elbow-length white gloves. 
wardrobe by Edith Head for Rear Window
In the 1930’s Edith Head leaned liberal in her costume designs. But in the 1950’s her designs became more conservative. Grace Kelly for Rear Window
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For Rear Window released in the summer of 1954 Grace Kelly received equal billings with co-star Jimmy Stewart and director Alfred Hitchcock.

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Edith Head’s famous eau de nil suit and matching hat for Grace Kelly in Rear Window (1954).
NEW FIXED The Bridges at Toko-Ri is a 1954

In Bridges at Toko-Ri (1955) Grace is radiant in each scene she’s in. She plays Nancy Brubaker, the wife of Navy pilot William Holden who is killed in action in the Korean War. A story of an American family in war-time, the film’s cooperation with the U.S. Navy led to realistic aerial and carrier action scenes that won it the Academy Award for Best Special Effects in 1956.

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The director greets the leading lady for To Catch A Thief.

1955 portrait during her Hollywood years

Grace Kelly in a 1955 portrait during her Hollywood years originally shot in black and white.

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Grace Kelly in almost complete profile, 1954.

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The Kelly siblings in Philadelphia. Grace and Peggy flank Jack with Lizanne on his shoulders, c. 1946.

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Grace Kelly (center) with school chums. Grace had already started amateur modeling and acting by this time.

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Kelly family in Philadelphia, 1935. From left: son Jack and father Jack, Lizanne, mother Margaret. Back: Grace and Peggy.

GK 1951

Grace moved to Southern California to be in motion pictures. She appeared in her first film called Fourteen Hours for 20th Century-Fox in 1951 when she was 22 years old.

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Grace takes a comb to her hair, early 1950’s.

Grace in NYC 1950

Grace modeling in New York City in 1950.

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Portrait of Grace Kelly by theater and film photographer Marcus Blechman (1922-2010).

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Jack Kelly gives his daughter Grace a twirl at Ocean City, New Jersey, in 1937.

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Grace Kelly in 1954 in Philippe Halsman’s “Jump” series which featured celebrities jumping for the camera.

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Grace Kelly eating cotton candy on the 4th of July 1955 in Philadelphia.

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Grace Kelly in wardrobe tests for The Country Girl. Edith Head dressed Grace’s character of Georgie Elgin in brown wool clothes, cardigan sweaters and low-heel Capezio shoes.

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At the end of The Country Girl, Georgie Elgin is dressed by Edith Head in a dark dress with a low V-cut neckline and jeweled accent at the waist and in a strand of pearls. It allowed the movie audience to see how lovely Georgie Elgin really was.

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Grace Kelly photographed by Howell Conant on holiday in Jamaica 1955.

GK jamaica HC 1955

Grace Kelly, Jamaica, 1955. After making six films in 1954, Grace went on vacation with her sister Peggy and took along Howell Conant to be official photographer. Grace would return to Jamaica for family vacations as Princess of Monaco.

GK 1954 with sister mrs peggy

Grace in 1954 on Corsica with her sister Peggy and Oliver the dog.

GK with MOm

Grace Kelly modeling a fashionable dress for her mother in the mid 1950’s. Look at Grace’s reflection in the mirror.

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Grace Kelly in New York City by Milton H. Greene, 1955.

GK dressed up.

Grace Kelly in dress, white fur stole, and pearls.

GK 1955

Grace Kelly, 1955.

GK 1954 G Lester

Grace Kelly is dressed for St. Patrick’s Day in 1954. She has a copy of the MGM studio news on her lap. Photograph by Gene Lester.

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Grace Kelly and Alfred Hitchcock on the set of To Catch A Thief. Grace is sitting in Cary Grant’s chair. It could be tea but looks like coffee.

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Grace Kelly in a breakfast interview with Daily Mirror reporter Donald Zec at the May 1955 Cannes Film Festival. Grace Kelly was invited to the festival after winning the Oscar for Best Actress in The Country Girl. Elegant Grace wore pearl earrings and a big ribbon on her blue jacket as she sat near to the Promenade de la Croisette. Photographer Edward Quinn was also there.

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Grace Kelly and Edith Head working on costume designs. They had a close working relationship and remained great friends. After Grace left Hollywood, Edith traveled to Monaco several times to visit her.

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26-year-old Grace Kelly and 31-year-old Prince Rainier III on their first meeting at the palace in Monaco, May 6, 1955. They would be engaged to be married by the end of the year. Photograph by Edward Quinn.

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First meeting in Monaco of Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier III On May 6, 1955. He would tell her, “This is Europe, not America. We think differently here, and you will have to get used to it.”

Next  in CORRIDORS: Grace Kelly, Famous and Rare Photographs. Part II: Hollywood ends, Monaco begins (1956-1982).

Irish Folk Song: Bríd Óg Ní Mháille (Young Bridget O’Malley).

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Bríd Óg Ní Mháille is an Irish Gaelic folk song about a young man who lost his love, “the beauty of Oriel,” to another suitor. This painting by French Symbolist artist Louis Welden Hawkins (1849-1910) depicts Clytie, the Greek mythological figure whose love for Helios, the Sun god, is unrequited. The painting’s date and owner/location is not known.

By John P. Walsh

In Ireland only a generation ago the first name of Brigid for a girl (along with Mary) was one of the island’s most popular. Growing up in the American Midwest in the 1960’s and 1970’s, it seemed that many Irish-American girls were either named Brigid, or wished to be. By the 2010’s the girl’s name of Brigid was no longer, in Ireland at least, very popular because other girls’ names replaced it.1 In Ireland the name Brigid is rendered in a healthy variety of ways. The well-known Bridget is the English variant. In this Irish folk song Bríd Óg Ní Mháille (Young Brigid O’Malley), it is the Irish language Brid (pronounced Breed). Irish also offers Bride, Brídín, Brighid, Brighidín, Brigit, Breeda, and several others. With so many alternatives for a very ancient name it may be surprising that none of them rank high on the popularity charts although their accumulated usage may do so.2 With its root word being breo (which means fire), all variations of Brigid have the Irish word brígh in common. According to the Royal Irish Academy’s Dictionary of the Irish Language, brígh has multiple definitions and meanings. It primarily connotes “power, strength, force, and authority” but also translates as “vigor, virtue and fortitude.” In medicine, brígh refers to the antidote which proves to be strongly effective.3 As Brid is sometimes translated as “strong-willed” and “high born,” it becomes clear that this girl’s appellation possesses excellent qualities that, along with the beauty of its sound when spoken and its venerable ancient history,  may presume to reach into the top 100 Irish names for girls some time in the future.

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Saint Brigid of Ireland (c. 451 – 525) with St. Patrick and St. Columba is one of today’s three patron saints of Ireland. From the moment of her birth in the mid-fifth century her story is shrouded in Christian legends and tales. St. Brid is a direct descendant of the older pagan Celtic goddess of the same name. St. Brid’s fire – a flame kept constantly alight in her honor by nuns in the monastery she founded – burned for 1000 years until her monastery along with most others was closed during the Protestant Reformation in the mid-sixteenth century.

The first Irish historical figure directly associated with the name Brid or Brigid that is most relevant to the name in Ireland today is St. Brigid (c. 451 – 525). Along with Sts. Patrick (418-493) and Columba (540-615), she is one of Ireland’s three patron saints. Legends swirl around this early Christian figure from the moment of her birth, including the story of angels seen hovering over the Irish cottage where she was born near Dundalk at the foot of the Cooley Mountains. History records that her mother was a Christian slave and her father was a pagan chief. Soon after Brid’s birth, her mother was sold and had to leave her father’s house although young Brid stayed. There are many Irish fioretti relating Brid’s fantastical holy exploits during this period of her early youth. One appealing story among many tells of her disobeying her father so to journey to visit her enslaved mother. Traveling alone along Ireland’s wild pathways, Brid located her mother who was tending her owner’s cattle.  Mother and daughter worked side-by-side until their labors’ fruit proved so abundant that Brid was able to secure her mother’s freedom. How Brid later chose to consecrate her life to God as a nun which led to her founding Ireland’s first monastic community of women is also explained in legends.4

St. Brigid of Ireland’s misty past is informed by a pre-Christian Celtic goddess named Brigid whose mythology as we know it today was first recorded, ironically perhaps, by early Irish Christian monks. As in St. Brid’s story of liberating her enslaved mother, the pagan goddess Brid is closely aligned to the cow as well as the sheep, but also animals with mythological qualities of regeneration such as the rooster and snake. Surrounding this more remote Brid is a panoply of supernatural qualities and events told in legends and folklore.5 Yet this ancient pagan Celtic goddess has her older forebears in the Proto-Indo-European goddesses that are over 5,000 years old. In ancient Mesopotamia one finds a certain Brid who was deity of the hearth.6

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Brigit is a powerful religious form in Irish history, as she is one of the most complex and contradictory goddesses of the Celts. The pagan goddess is patroness to healers, poets, metal workers – all the practical and inspired civilized arts. Associated with fire and light she is also guardian of inner vital energy.

 

Bríd Óg Ní Mháille is an Irish folk song in a long line of Irish musical taste about forsaken love. It is performed here brilliantly in the Irish by singer Gillian Fenton who is accompanied on traditional Irish harp by Fiachra O’ Corragáin. There are many traditional and contemporary renditions, however, of this popular late nineteenth-century Irish Gaelic song. Its surge of popularity is an entirely local Irish story.  There was a certain young man in mid-20th-century County Mayo who was a Gaelic teacher. He took particular fancy to this tune about a young Irishman who lost his love – the titular Bridget O’Malley – to another suitor and was left “heartbroken…the arrows of death…piercing my heart.”7 The Gaelic teacher, armed with this air about “the beauty of Oriel without any doubt…now married to another…” took it with him back to the county just next door, his native Donegal, where its popularity first flourished.

Edward_Burne-Jones_-_The_Beguiling_of_Merlin
The Beguiling of Merlin, Edward Burne-Jones, 1872–77, Oil on canvas, 186 cm × 111 cm (73 in × 44 in), Lady Lever Art Gallery, Port Sunlight, Merseyside. There is a 12th century story in which Merlin is beguiled by a female figure whose vision thereof inspires or causes History. This female form is sometimes associated with Brigantia. In some stories she is the one who nurtures development of human potential.

There is another Irish Gaelic song referencing the name Brid that is titled “Fair Bridget” (“Brid Bhan”) and also emanates out of Donegal. It is not as popular as Bríd Óg Ní Mháille, but speaks about a modern young Brid – similar to the mother of ancient St. Brid – who is taken out of her home to tend cattle in a far-away place not her own. It is heartbreak for this fair Brid to begin a new life where the cows graze on the “sour grass” of the mountain sides. Like St. Brid’s mother, this fair Brid, it is told, eventually returned to her native place, although the song doesn’t tell us, only local legend. The listener, however, can be assured of the veracity of these melancholy verses for in Bríd Óg Ní Mháille it says: “There is nothing more beautiful than the moon over the sea or the white blossom, and my love is like that with her golden tresses and her honey-mouth that has never deceived anybody.”

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La Ghirlandata. Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828-1882). 1873. Oil on canvas. 124 x 85 cm. Guildhall Gallery, London. City of London Corporation.

Oh Bríd O’Malley
You have left my heart breaking 
You’ve sent the death pangs
Of sorrow to pierce my heart sore
A hundred men are craving
For your breathtaking beauty
You’re the fairest of maidens
In Oriel for sure

I’m a handsome young fellow
Who is thinking of wedlock
But my life will be shortened
If I don’t get my dear
My love and my darling
Prepare now to meet me
On next Sunday evening
On the road to Drum Slieve

‘Tis sadly and lonely
I pass the time on Sunday
My head bowed in sorrow
My sights heavy with woe
As I gaze upon the byways
That my true love walks over
Now she’s wed to another
And left me forlorn

(2.49 minutes).

Notes

  1. Topping the list of the 100 most popular girls’ names in Ireland today are Emily, Emma, Sophie, Ella, and Amelia, in that order. Mary ranks number 84 and Bridget is not even on the list. See – http://www.irish-genealogy-toolkit.com/Irish-girl-names.html
  2. In 2015, within the family of girl names directly related to Brígh, Brianna was the most widely used. Brian is the male form of the name.
  3. http://edil.qub.ac.uk/6813 retrieved March 29, 2017.
  4. See Irish Saints, Robert T. Reilly, Avenel Books, New York, 1981, pp. 16-26.
  5. Carey, John. “Tuath Dé” inThe Celts: History, Life, and Culture, edited by John T. Koch. ABC-CLIO, 2012. pp.751-753.
  6. See The Oxford Introduction to Proto-Indo-European and the Proto-Indo-European World, J.P. Mallory; D.Q. Adams, 2006, Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
  7. Folksongs of Britain and Ireland, edited by Peter Kennedy, Schirmer Books, New York, 1975, p. 82.

©John P. Walsh. All rights reserved. No part of this material may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by an means, electronic  or mechanical, which includes but is not limited to facsimile transmission, photocopying, recording, rekeying, or using any information storage or retrieval system.

 

John Singer Sargent (American, 1856-1925): The Early Portraits. Part 1.

Text by John P. Walsh

The following 49 works by John Singer Sargent (1856-1925) in oil, watercolor, and pastel begin to present Sargent’s professional output during his formative years in France and England and his trips to the United States. While Sargent’s early portrait subjects range from famous people such as writer Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894) and actress Ellen Terry (1847-1928) in her role as Lady Macbeth, this post looks at mostly Sargent’s first portraits of family and friends, which included artists, writers, musicians, and romantic interests. Sargent’s artistic practice developed within a swiftly expanding social circle of prominent American expatriates and Europeans which included portrait commissions from business, military, legal and medical practitioners. His portrait work extended to their wives and children. It was during this creative period that Sargent painted his well-known group portrait The Daughters of Edward D. Boit (1882) and (to be included in a future post) the portrait of the exotic and controversial Madame X (Mme. Virginie Amélie Avegno Gautreau).  Each of the following art works is specifically identified in its brief caption. The text includes the art work’s title (usually the sitter’s name), year of production, dimensions, markings and location, if known. Further, it often discusses how the sitter knew Sargent as well as the historical context of the painting and some provenance and exhibition history.

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VIOLET SARGENT, c. 1875, oil on panel, 27.7 x 23.5 cm (10 ½ x 9 ¼ in.), private collection. Originally inscribed across the top “Violet” but removed in a later cleaning. The sitter was the artist’s youngest sister (1870-1955).
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Resting, c. 1875, oil on canvas, 8½ x 10 9/16 in. (21.6 x 26.8 cm), inscribed upper right: John S. Sargent, Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Massachusetts. Informal pose and setting, bold treatment of light, this is one of the artist’s early outdoor works. The identity of the sitter is unknown.
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MRS. EMILY SARGENT PLEASANTS, c. 1876, oil on canvas, 55.8 x 40.6 cm (22 x 16 inches), private collection. The artist’s aunt (his father’s sister). Dr. Pleasants (Emily’s husband) visited the artist’s family in France in 1875, but it is not known if she came along. The next year the 20-year-old American artist, born in Florence, Italy,  visited the United States for the first time and went to the Pleasants home in Radnor, Pennsylvania. The high-backed rocking chair in the painting points to this portrait being done there.
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FRANK O’MEARA, c. 1876, oil on canvas, 44.5 x 39.5 cm (17½ x 15½ inches), inscribed upper left: John S. Sargent. Inscribed upper right:1875. Typewritten label on reverse signed by Austin Strong, 14/5/1931, The Century Association, New York. O’Meara was an “impecunious and dreamy” Irish art student with Sargent in Carolus-Duran’s atelier. Sargent painted it for O’Meara to give to an American girl during a summer romance. Then Isobel Osbourne (1858-1953) returned home and married somebody else.
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MRS. CHARLES DEERING, c.1877, oil on canvas, 55.8 x 43.2 cm (22 x 17 in.), Rhode Island School of Design. The family of Annie Rogers Case (1848-1876) met the Sargents in Florence in the 1860s. Her father (“the Admiral”) owned a Sargent Salon picture and dined with them on Christmas Day 1874. In 1876 JSS visited with the Deerings at Newport, Rhode Island,  but did not paint Annie’s portrait. Mrs. Deering died the next year in childbirth. In the Sargent-Deering letters preserved at Chicago the artist agreed to the widower’s request to paint a posthumous work of his wife.
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VIOLET SARGENT, 1877, oil on canvas, 34.9 x 25.4 cm (13 3/4 x 10 in), inscribed upper right: Violet 17th May 1877/7 years old. Location unknown. Sargent’s younger sister, the later Mrs. Frances Ormond. It had been owned by French Academic painter Auguste-Alexandre Hirsch (1833 -1911).
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HARRIET LOUISE WARREN, 1877, oil on panel, 26.7 x 21 cm (10 1/2 x 8 1/4 in), inscribed lower right: JSS/Jan 18 1877. Private collection. Harriet Louise Warren (1854-1919) and Sargent were early friends. Later, in 1890, the artist painted her daughter, Beatrice.
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EMILY SARGENT, c.1877, oil on canvas, 31.1 x 22.9 cm (12 ¼ x 9 in.), private collection. Six siblings comprised the FitzWilliam and Mary Newbold Singer Sargent family. John was the second oldest and only boy. Of his five sisters only two lived to adulthood. This is JSS’s sister Emily (1857-1936) born one year after him. About 20 years old in this painting, the two were inseparable at home and roamed Europe and America together. Emily was a watercolorist and naturally cheerful.
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Eugène JUILLERAT, c. 1877-78, oil on canvas, 40.6 x 31.1 (16 x 12 ¼ in.), inscribed upper right: à mon ami Juillerat/J.S. Sargent. Inscribed on label on back by sitter on April 19, 1927. Private collection. Juillerat and Sargent were the same age and both studied under Carolus-Duran in Paris. Juillerat was an award-winning lithographer and sculptor receiving medals at the Salons of 1895 and 1899 and at the Exposition Universelle in 1900.
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Head of an Italian Girl, 1878, oil on canvas, 45.7 x 38.1 (18 x 15 in.), Inscribed upper center: To my cousin Kitty Austin/ John S. Sargent; upper left: 1878. The Sargents had roots in New England yet resettled in Philadelphia where JSS’s father was a surgeon and married JSS’s mother. With the death of their firstborn, the Sargents left for Europe and stayed. JSS was born in Italy in 1856. He first visited the U.S.A. at 20 years old. This painting’s whereabouts and sitter’s identity are unknown.
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MARY TURNER AUSTIN, oil on canvas, 45.7 x 38.1 (18 x 15 in.), Inscribed upper left: to my friend, Mary, John S. Sargent. The Christopher Whittle Collection. The Austins, like the Sargents, were American expats in Europe. Dr. Sargent mentions the Austins in correspondence and writes that the girls are “quite attractive.” Mary was an art student. Chicago artist J.C. Beckwith at dinner with the Sargents hoped to see “the pretty Miss Austin.” French artist Auguste Hirsch owned this portrait.
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Head of an Italian woman, c. 1878-1881, oil on canvas, 45.7 x 38.1 (18 x 15 in.), Inscribed upper right: J. S. Sargent. The Arkell Museum, Canajoharie, New York. Gift of Bartlett Arkell. Hair piled at the nape of the neck is a typical mid1870s woman’s hairstyle, though the dress is less fashionable. The model may be a Sargent cousin – a later Mrs. Wurts – who owned this picture in 1926.
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Portrait Sketch, c. 1910, graphite on thin, slightly textured off-white laid paper (tissue) 10 x 9.1 cm (3 15/16 x 3 9/16 in.). Gift of Mrs. Francis Henry Taylor, The Worcester Art Museum, Worcester, Massachusetts. Dated c.1910, this drawing had been only recently identified as the same model as “Head of an Italian Woman” painted by Sargent sometime between 1878 and 1881 and today in the Arkell Museum.
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CARMELA BERTAGNA, c.1879, oil on canvas, 59.7 x 49.5 (23.5 x 19.5 in.), inscribed upper L: à mon ami Poirson; upper R: John S. Sargent; lower L: Carmela Bertagna/rue du/16 Maine. Bequest F.W. Schumacher. The picture’s history is muddled by the sitter’s questioned identity (a professional model, possibly Carmela B.), its stylistic clues (no later than 1880), diverse inscriptions (to later friends) and exactly from whom it was acquired before it was given to the Columbus Museum of Fine Arts.
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Mme. François BULOZ, 1879, oil on canvas, 54 x 46.2 cm (21.25 x 18.25 in.), Inscribed lower L: à mon amie Me Buloz/John S. Sargent/Ronjoux 1879, Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Mme. Buloz was from a family of writers and musicians. In summer 1879, Sargent was in the Savoy to paint her daughter Marie’s full length portrait for her marriage. Madame complained that this portrait, painted in haste, made her look ten years older than she was.
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MARIE-LOUISE PAILLERON, 1879, 38.7 x 45.1 cm (15.25 x 17.75 in.), Inscribed, upper R: à ma petite amie Marie-Louise/John S. Sargent 1880, private collection. Daughter of Marie (Buloz) and Edward Pailleron, Sargent’s first important patrons. Two years after this portrait, Marie-Louise (1870-1950) was the subject of an important double portrait with her brother Edouard.
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MARIE-LOUISE PAILLERON, 1879, watercolor on paper? Dimensions? Untraced. Sargent did other wash drawings of Marie-Louise that are better documented. The head on the left has a halo or other decorative design. This image was taken from a photograph the sitter made available in 1948 when the sketch was in her house at Ronjoux.
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FANNY WATTS, 1877, oil on canvas, 105.7 x 83.5 cm (41.5/8 x 32.7/8 in.), inscribed upper R: John S. Sargent. Philadelphia Museum of Art. Following money reverses in the U.S.A., Fanny’s New York family traveled in the 1860s to Nice and Florence and met the Sargents. JSS and Fanny began a romance in 1876 that was nixed by Mrs. Sargent. The portrait is the artist’s attempt to reminisce about their time together. Dr. Sargent thought it his son’s “first serious work” and showed it at the Salon. Fanny and JSS stayed lifelong friends. 
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CAROLUS-DURAN, 1879, oil on canvas, 116.8 x 95.9 cm (46 x 37 3/4 in.), inscribed upper R: à mon cher maître M. Carolus Duran, sur élève affectioné/John S. Sargent 1879. Clark Art Institute, Massachusetts. Portrait painter and teacher Carolus-Duran (1838-1917) had a profound influence on JSS’s artistic practice in the mid to late 1870s. The sitter wears a red ribbon of the Légion d’honneur in his buttonhole. Being JSS’s second portrait exhibited at the Salon, this painting received critical praise in Europe and America.
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EDOUARD PAILLERON, 1879, oil on canvas, 127 x 94 cm (50 x 37 in.), Inscribed lower L: John S. Sargent. Musée d’Orsay. Edouard Pailleron (1834-99) was JSS’s first major patron. How the 45-year-old famed poet and playwright met the unknown 23-year-old painter is a mystery. One impetus may be the favored portrait of Carolus-Duran at the Salon of 1879. This casually posed portrait of studied bohemianism was painted in Paris in  summer 1879 and soon paired with one of Mme. Pailleron.
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MADAME EDOUARD PAILLERON, 1879, oil on canvas, 208.3 x 100.3 cm (82 x 39.5 in.), Inscribed lower R: John S. Sargent/Ronjoux 1879. National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C. JSS’s first full length portrait depicts Mme. Pailleron (1840-1913). It was painted at her parents’ house at Chambéry in the Savoy. She posed at the entrance to the allée des Tilleuls with house and garden behind. At the Salon of 1880 critics remarked that the black satin dress was out of place in an outdoor setting.
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Robert de Cévrieux, 1879, oil on canvas, 84.5 x 48 cm (33.25 x 18.875 in.), inscribed lower L: John S. Sargent, 1879. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. The Salon of 1879 was a watershed for JSS’s artistic career. Out of it came six portrait commissions in Paris including presumably this 6-year-old and his terrier. Carolus-Duran, by now JSS’s former teacher, painted children holding pets which were exhibited in mid1870s Salons. The child wears a velvet suit with no pant legs and matching jacket.
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JEANNE KIEFFER, 1879, oil on canvas, 43.2 x 35.6 cm (17 x 14 in.), inscribed upper right: John S. Sargent 1879. Private collection. By his early 20s JSS was seen by some as an artist of “great talent and a real future” but also described as “practically starving.” This portrait is quirky for the direct frontal pose of the sitter and that the pink dress was an afterthought. The artist had originally painted the 7-year-old sitter in a black velvet dress.
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Le Vicomte de Saint-Périer, 1879, oil on canvas, 61 x 50.5 cm (24 x 19.875 in.), inscribed upper L: John S. Sargent. Musée d’Orsay. JSS was paid 1500 francs – nearly a year’s wages for a typical French worker – for this portrait of a well-connected professional soldier. The expressive realism of the head recalls his recent portraits of Edouard Pailleron and Carolus-Duran.
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HENRY St JOHN SMITH, 1880, oil on canvas, 62.2 x 49.5 cm (24.5 x 19.5 in.), inscribed upper R: John S. Sargent 1880. Portland Museum of Art, Maine. Boston lawyer St. John Smith (1852-1896) graduated from Harvard in 1872 and went to Europe virtually annually. In 1880 he was a most eligible bachelor. Smith saw JSS’s studio in Paris and didn’t like it but friends Augustus Jay and Boston artist Francis Brooks Chadwick intervened and this head-and-shoulders portrait earned JSS another 1500 franc commission.
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PETER AUGUSTUS JAY, 1880, oil on canvas, 45.8 x 37.5 cm (18 x 14.75 in.), inscribed upper L: John S. Sargent 1880. Private collection. The future U.S.A. Ambassador to Argentina is painted when he was a 3-year-old with golden shoulder-length hair and dressed in a bibbed white blouse. It was when Henry St John Smith was with the boy’s father Augustus “Gussie” Jay at JSS’s Paris studio as Smith was having his portrait painted that the commission for the child’s portrait probably originated.
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ELEANOR JAY CHAPMAN, c.1881, oil on canvas, 43.8 x 53.3 cm (17.25 x 21 in.), inscribed upper L: John S. Sargent. Private collection. In 1881 Eleanor was the 16-year-old daughter of a stockbroker and, through her mother, a descendant of John Jay, first Chief Justice of the U.S.A. She and her younger sister Beatrix had their portraits painted by JSS in Paris (Beatrix’s was later destroyed). There is no evidence for how the Chapmans met JSS, but it happened before the father’s financial collapse in 1882.
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EDWARD BURCKHARDT, 1880, oil on canvas, 55.2.x 46.4 cm (21.75 x 18.25 in.), inscribed lower L: To my friend Valerie/John S. Sargent Paris June 1880. Private collection. JSS was an intimate friend of Swiss businessman Edward Burckhardt (1815-1903) and his American wife and their family. This portrait – which has inspired little positive critical commentary – was painted in Paris in May 1880.
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MRS. JAMES LAWRENCE, oil on canvas, 61 x 45.7 cm (24 x 18 in.), inscribed upper R: John S. Sargent 1881. JSS painted companion portraits of Boston’s James Lawrence (1853-1914) and new wife Caroline Estelle Mudge (1850-1920). Neither portrait has survived – both were destroyed by fire in Hingham, Massachusetts, in 1939. In 1888 it was noted that the sitter wore a black dress in front of a red background.
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The Pailleron Children, 1881, oil on canvas, 152.4 x 175.3 cm (60 x 69 in.), upper right: John S. Sargent. Des Moines Art Center. Édouard (b.1865) and Marie-Louise (b.1870), children of JSS’s first patron, are seated on a bench, the boy dressed in suit with Eton collar and silk bow tie and she, hair up, wearing a satin dress with lace trim. Only after Carolus-Duran calmed Marie-Louise did she cooperate during the 83 sittings for this work done in JSS’s studio and exhibited at the Salon of 1881.
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MARIE-LOUISE PAILLERON, c.1881, watercolor, 27 x 20 cm (10.625 x 7.875 in.). Private collection. Aside from a couple of dabs of blue, the portrait is executed nearly in one color, that is, en grisaille. Marie-Louise wears her hair “down” unlike in the formal portrait with her older brother done at the same time where the 10-year-old was exasperated by the artist’s insistence that she wear her hair “up.”
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MARIE-LOUISE PAILLERON, c.1881, pen, ink and wash on paper, 23.2 x 18.1 cm (9.125 x 7.125 in.), Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. A second monochrome facial study of 10-year-old Marie-Louise by JSS. The work has a playful aspect in that the paper’s back side (or verso) has a child’s drawing of a house.
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DR. POZZI (or DR. POZZI AT HOME), 1881. Oil on canvas, 204.5 x 111.4 cm (80 ½ x 43 7/8 in.). Inscribed upper right: John S. Sargent 1881. UCLA at the Armand Hammer Museum of Art and Cultural Center, Los Angeles.
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DETAIL of the left hand -DR. POZZI (or DR. POZZI AT HOME), 1881.
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MADAME Ramón SUBERCASEAUX, c. 1880-81, oil on canvas, 165.1 x 109.9 cm (65 x 43 ¼ in.). Inscribed, lower right: John S. Sargent. Private collection.
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Madame Ramón Subercaseaux, c. 1881, sepia wash, 22.2 x 32.4 cm (12 ¾ x 8 ¾ in.), inscribed, lower right: John S. Sargent. Private collection. This is not a study for the painting but a derivation from it. The artist made it for the painting’s reproduction in the Salon catalogue.
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MRS. JOHN JOSEPH TOWNSEND, 1881, oil on canvas, 124.5 x 83.8 cm (49 x 33 in.). Inscribed, upper right: John S. Sargent Paris 1881. Location unknown. Catherine Rebecca Bronson (1833-1926) was from a family of U.S.A. politicians and married a New York businessman. The Bronsons were part of the same American expat community in Florence and Venice as the Sargents. This is JSS’s first portrait of the old family friend. She sits on a low couch, right elbow on pillows and holds a swan’s-down fan.
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MRS. JOHN JOSEPH TOWNSEND, c. 1882, oil on canvas, 69.9 x 56.5 cm (27½ x 22¼ in.). Inscribed, upper left: to my dear friend Mrs Townsend/John S. Sargent. Location untraced.
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JOHN JOSEPH TOWNSEND, 1882, oil on canvas, 128.9 x 86.4 cm (50 ¾ x 34 in.). Incribed, upper right: John S. Sargent/Paris 1882. Private collection. Mr. Townsend (1825-1889) was a New York lawyer who served in the State Assembly. A Columbia University trustee and Union Club president, he married Catherine Bronson, an old Sargent family friend, in 1854.
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BEATRICE TOWNSEND, c. 1882, oil on canvas, 81.9 x 58.4 cm (32 ¼ x 23 in.). Inscribed, upper center: to my friend/Mrs. Townsend/John S. Sargent. National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. (Mellon Collection). (Eleanor) Beatrice Townsend (1870-1884), born in New York, was the sixth of seven children of Mr. and Mrs. Townsend. The teenager died tragically of peritonitis, an abdominal disease.
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MR. AND MRS. JOHN FIELD, 1882, oil on canvas, 111.8 x 82.5 cm (44 x 32½ in.). Inscribed, upper right: John S. Sargent, Paris 1882. Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Phil. Gilbert Stuart painted the father of Mrs. Field (Eliza Willing Spring Peters, 1820-1897) and she was painted by Thomas Sully in 1841 and now by JSS. Europe travel led Mr. Field (1815-1887), a trader, into art collecting. In a June 1882 letter, British writer Vernon Lee noted that it was either the Fields or Townsends who were nonstop talkers.
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Isabel Vallé, 1882, oil on canvas, 132.1 x 81.3 cm (52 x 32 in.). Inscribed, upper left: John Singer Sargent; upper right: Paris 1882. Private collection. Likely exhibited at the third exhibition of the Cercle des arts libéraux in 1882 on rue Vivienne in Paris. Isabel Vallé (1864-1947) became Mrs. Austin but later divorced. The three-quarter-length portrait of the 18-year-old possesses a “soft, liquid beauty.”
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Mrs. Jules Félix Vallé, 1882, 50.8 x 40.6 cm (20 x 16 in.), Inscribed, upper right: John S. Sargent/1882. Lost. Mrs. Vallé was Isabel Vallé’s mother.
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MRS. DANIEL SARGENT CURTIS, 1882, oil on canvas, 71.1 x 53.3 cm (28 x 21 in.). Inscribed, upper left: Venice 1882; upper right: John S. Sargent/to his kind friend Mrs Curtis. Spencer Museum of Art, KS. Ariana Randolph Wormeley (1833-1922) was from a family of writers and linguists. At 20 years old she married Dr. Sargent’s cousin and moved from Boston to a palazzo in Venice where she established a fashionable salon. JSS called her the Dogaressa and was a frequent guest in later years.
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MADEMOISELLE BOUSSENET-DUCLOS, 1882, oil on canvas, 55.6 x 46 cm (21 7/8 x 18 7/8 in.). Inscribed, upper left: John S. Sargent; upper right: 1882. Verso: Mr. John Sargent/ 8….. Private collection. The whereabouts of this portrait of a young woman dressed in a black outdoor coat with fur edging, was unknown until it reappeared in public in 1988.
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MADAME ALLOUARD-JOUAN. c. 1882, oil on canvas, 74.9 x 55.9 cm (29½ x 22 in.). Inscribed, upper left: à Mme Allouard Jouan/témoignage d’amitié; upper right: John S. Sargent. Musée du Petit Palais, Paris. Shown at French art dealer Georges Petit’s 1882 exhibition the portrait was described as being painted “with verve by the hand of a master…”
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MME. PAUL ESCUDIER, 1882, oil on canvas, 128.3 x 90.2 cm (50½ x 35½ in.). Inscribed,lower right: John S. Sargent 1882. Private collection. Louise Lefevre (1861-1950) married Paul Escudier (1858-1931), a sometime French entertainment lawyer. This informal portrait with a beautiful subject and setting in delightful light, the sitter’s identity is not certain. Sometimes compared to Belgian artist Alfred Stevens, the work’s reflection in the mirror seems to evoke Jan Van Eyck.
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MME. PAUL ESCUDIER, c. 1882, oil on canvas, 73.2 x 59.5 cm (18 ¾ x 23 ½ in.). Inscribed, upper left: à Madame Escudier/John S. Sargent. Clark Art Institute, Massachusetts. The sitter is dressed in a black coat and diamond pin – ready possibly for a soirée – wearing a fashionable white-ribboned black hat for a finish.
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LOUISE BURCKHARDT (or LADY WITH A ROSE), 1882, oil on canvas, 213.4 x 113.7 cm (84 x 44¾ in.). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.
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DETAIL of the right hand-LOUISE BURCKHARDT (or LADY WITH A ROSE), 1882.
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DAUGHTERS OF EDWARD D. BOIT, 1882, oil on canvas, 221.9 x 221.6 cm (87 3/8 x 87 5/8 in.). Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 1882. The group portrait depicts the four daughters of JSS’s friend and fellow American painter, Edward Boit and wife, Mary Louisa. In Europe the Boits lived in Rome and in Paris where this painting, directly influenced by Velázquez, was painted in the family flat on Avenue de Friedland. Exhibited at G. Petit and the Salon. The Japanese vases remain in the family today.

REFERENCE: John Singer Sargent, Complete Paintings, Volume 1: The Early Portraits by Richard Ormond and Elaine Kilmurray, Yale University Press/Paul Mellon Centre, 1998.

©John P. Walsh. All rights reserved. No part of this material may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by an means, electronic  or mechanical, which includes but is not limited to facsimile transmission, photocopying, recording, rekeying, or using any information storage or retrieval system.

 

 

 

Irish Folk Songs: An Exploration. “Weile Weile Waila” performed by The Dubliners.

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The Casey Sisters (Nollaig Casey, Mairéad Ní Chathasaigh, and Mairé Ní Chathasaigh). Irish harper Mairé Ní Chathasaigh with UK acoustic guitarist Chris Newman has performed in over 20 countries on 5 continents.

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Mairé Ní Chathasaigh with friends in 2010.

By John P. Walsh

There are thousands of Irish folk songs, a traditional and often nationalistic musical genre that is experiencing today a renaissance and renewal as song collections are widely available that began to be compiled in the nineteenth century and continued into the twentieth century at a productive pace. These folk song collections include the Francis James Child collection of 305 Scottish and English ballads (which has ramifications for the first Irish song discussed here) from the final decades of the nineteenth century to more recent collections including Folksongs of Britain and Ireland compiled by Peter Kennedy in 1975.1 The popularization of an extensive range of Irish folk songs proliferated in the last century with the inclusion of sound recordings and broadcast programs on mass media such as radio and television. Music and words that started in local communities returned to them by way of mass media such as the popularity of “Beidh ceol, caint agus craic again” (“We’ll have music, chat and craic”) used by Seán Bán Breathnach for his Irish-language chat show SBB inaShuí, broadcast on RTÉ from 1976 to 1982. Folk songs, local songs, are experiencing a twenty-first century renaissance with a return to traditional, local cultural sources through the prism of contemporary interpretations and arrangements by established and new musical performers in Ireland and other countries around the world including the United States. These artists find commercial value in performing mainly traditional material on their own terms.3 I hope to add more Irish folk songs, old and new, to this blog where I might offer further discussion on this topic which has been of great enjoyment for me over a lifetime. Now on to the first Irish folk song!

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Craicing Selfie with Seán Bán Breathnach.

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The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem with bassist Bill Lee, ca. 1964. Photo: Don Hunstein.

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The Dubliners, ca. 1970 (left to right. top: Ciarán Bourke, Barney McKenna, Luke Kelly; front: John Sheahan, Ronnie Drew).

Weile Weile Waila is a folk song that emerged in Ireland during the hardship of the Great Hunger of the 1840s and early 1850s when by necessity hundreds of thousands unto millions of Irish emigrated to the United States and Canada and to many other parts of the world out of sheer desperation.4  Weile Weile Waila is a children’s nursery rhyme specific to Ireland first catalogued by Harvard English professor and folklorist Francis James Child (1825-1896) who discovered over a dozen variants for this song titling them “The Cruel Mother.”5 In Child’s incomplete catalogue of ballads – his project interest in the British Isles in the 1880s and 1890s was more literary than musical – its overall subject offerings range from romance and legends, the supernatural, history, morality tales, and riddles, and in no way precludes even darker subjects and themes as is found in Weile Weile Waila. This folk song could be called a “murder” ballad as well as a “family strife” ballad or “abuse of authority” ballad, all of which are considered “Child” ballads named for Francis James Child who catalogued their type. Which of the 17 versions of this song that Child collected as“The Cruel Mother” best meshes with this Irish ditty belies traits they all appear to share: a woman gives birth and using a pen-knife kills the child, often with the descriptive relish to tear “the tender heart.”6

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The English and Scottish Popular Ballads, 1882–1898 of Francis James Child.

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An undated engraving of Child, by Gustav Kruell (German, 1843-1907). Note the rose at the upper right.

The song’s title phrase Weile Weile Waila is itself murky. Likely medieval in origin, the term’s original meaning is lost to history although in Ireland in the nineteenth century it was primarily used for a popular exclamation of grief – an emotion much roused and justified on the island in that time period.7 This Irish version of Francis James Child’s “The Cruel Mother” poses its own specific plot. An “old” (no longer “cruel”) woman who “lived in the woods” stabs an infant “three months old” to death along the banks of the River Saile, a stream which may refer to one that flows today in and near Dublin.

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The River Saile which features in the Irish folk song Weile Weile Waila may be a local name given to the River Poddle in the city of Dublin. The River Poddle is a tributary of the Liffey, rising in Cookstown to the north of Tallaght. From its source, it flows into Dublin City, and splits at Mount Argus at what is known as the “Tongue” or “stone boat.”

In the Irish version, the old woman is probably not the mother of the baby which provides a remarkable variant to a historic song that extensively describes a cruel mother. Yet the old folk song’s dark flavor is retained for use as a nursery rhyme obviously sung by a young mother to her child perhaps with humor and loving, benign menace. The old woman uses the song’s prevalent pen-knife (here made “long and sharp”) and is quickly approached and arrested by “two policemen” and “a man” to be “sent to jail” where she is dispatched to the gallows and executed for the crime. This series of events unique to the Irish lyric (some of it updated as recently as the 1970s) is that the cruel mother’s hope for eternal mercy or fear of eternal damnation that ends the many Child Ballad versions is replaced with harsh justice for the old woman in the here and now. The death of the baby also is specifically lamented.

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Suffering associated with The Irish Famine of 1845-50 depicted in a contemporary sculpture (1997) called Famine by Rowan Gillespie in Dublin. While causes and numbers are hotly debated, approximately one million people died and at least one million more emigrated from Ireland according to David Ross in Ireland: History of a Nation (2002, Geddes & Grosset, New Lanark).

The song retains in each verse that popular Irish exclamation of grief – Weile Weile Waila –injecting into its dark proceedings, now made into a nursery ditty, a forlorn lyric that stands on the precipice to describe with open eyes shocking and oftentimes glossed-over ancillary misfortunes in Ireland during years of mass starvation and disease in the mid-nineteenth century. Its specificity of Irish suffering –  the “end” of the old woman and the baby – describes a cycle of viciousness met by harsh earthly justice that makes for a sobering two minutes of Irish folk music. The song’s material carries forward to the present a sharp slice of  Ireland’s former meaner times when members of local communities could be driven to despicable acts when necessary resources for survival are long delayed. In this short nursery rhyme with an ample and well-documented folk song history (and popularized in the 1970s by the folk band The Dubliners) Irish parents and children alike could be entertained by others’ calamities where the guilty are meted out justice and the innocent are bemoaned.

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Woman begging with baby in Clonakilty (County Cork), Ireland. Portrait print of a destitute mother holding her baby in one arm and a begging bowl in the other. These miserable conditions were brought on by the Great Famine and compounded by socio-economic practices such as forced evictions of poverty-stricken peasants from their homes and farms (“There was an old woman and she lived in the woods…”)

The Dubliners featuring Ronnie Drew perform Weila Weila Waila in a 1988 television performance (2:19 minutes). Twenty years later, at Ronnie Drew’s funeral in 2008, the large gathering of mourners sang this song to his memory in unison clapping and stamping their feet.8

LYRICS:

And there was an old woman and she lived in the woods
A weila weila waila
There was an old woman and she lived in the woods
Down by the River Saile

She had a baby three months old
A weila weila waila
She had a baby three months old
Down by the River Saile

She had a penknife long and sharp
A weila weila waila
She had a penknife long and sharp
Down by the River Saile

She stuck the penknife in the baby’s heart
A weila weila waila
She stuck the penknife in the baby’s heart
Down by the River Saile

Three loud knocks came knocking on the door
A weila weila waila
Three loud knocks came knocking on the door
Down by the River Saile

There was two policeman and a man
A weila weila waila
There was two policeman and a man
Down by the River Saile

They took her away and they put her into jail
A weila weila waila
They took her away and they put her into jail
Down by the River Saile

They put a rope around her neck
A weila weila waila
They put a rope around her neck
Down by the River Saile

They pulled the rope she got hung
A weila weila waila
They pulled the rope she got hung
Down by the River Saile

Now that was the end of the woman in the woods
A weila weila waila
And that was the end of the baby too
Down by the River Saile

NOTES –

  1. Child collection – see http://harvardmagazine.com/2006/05/francis-james-child.html; Folksongs of Britain and Ireland, Peter Kennedy, Schirmer Books, New York, 1975.
  2. Quote Seán Bán Breathnach – Fintan Vallely, Companion to Irish Traditional Music, New York University Press, New York, 1999, p. 9.
  3. New bands recording Irish folk songs include, in Ireland, The Corrs; in Britain, The Pogues; and in the United States, Dropkick Murphys as well as Flogging Molly. There are many others.
  1. There are many sources on the subject of Irish emigration in the mid-nineteenth century. What is noteworthy is that the causes for it and numbers involved in it frequently remain intensely debated.
  2. On the subject of Child Ballads – see Mary Ellen Brown, Child’s Unfinished Masterpiece: The English and Scottish Popular Ballads, University of Illinois Press, Urbana, 2011 and E. Housman, British Popular Ballads, Ayer Publishing, 1969.
  3. Child’s 17 versions of “The Cruel Mother” – http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/eng/child/ch020.htm.
  4. Meaning of term weila weila waila – Robert E. Lewis, Middle English Dictionary, 1999, University of Michigan Press. p. 232.
  5. Drew funeral – http://www.independent.ie/irish-news/mourners-give-ronnie-a-rare-ould-sendoff-26470805.html

©John P. Walsh. All rights reserved. No part of this material may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by an means, electronic  or mechanical, which includes but is not limited to facsimile transmission, photocopying, recording, rekeying, or using any information storage or retrieval system.

 

FRANCISCO DE GOYA (1746-1828): the first suites (or series) of tapestry cartoons for the princes of Asturias in Madrid, 1775 to 1778.

A selection of Goya’s first two suites of decorative tapestry cartoons (or designs) completed for El Escorial in 1775 and El Palacio Real del Pardo between 1776 and 1778. Both palaces were the residences of the Prince and Princess of Asturias, the future Carlos IV (reigned, 1788-1808) and his wife, Queen consort of Spain, María Luisa de Parma.

Dining room of the princes of Asturias in San Lorenzo de El Escorial, 1775.

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1. Decoy Hunting 1775. Oil on canvas, 112 x 179 cm.

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untitled10fixedThis cartoon called Decoy Hunting is part of the first commission that Goya received for the Royal Tapestry Factory of Santa Bárbara in 1774-1775. It was part of a series of fourteen tapestries – of which Goya rendered 9 – depicting hunting subjects to hang as decoration in the dining room at El Escorial of the Prince and Princess of Asturias. Newly arrived to Madrid in January 1775 , Goya completed and submitted his cartoons for this commission between May and October 1775.

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2. Dogs on a leash 1775. Oil on canvas, 112 x 174 cm.

untitled16fixed2This is Goya’s tapestry cartoon of two hunting dogs chained together – one of which sits up and holds a fixed gaze on the viewer – with hunters’ tools on the ground. It is part of a series of decorative tapestries depicting hunting subjects for the new Bourbon rooms installed in 1773 by the architect Juan de Villanueva (1739-1811) at El Escorial. Goya, newly arrived to Madrid from Zaragoza in 1775, was brought into the project because one of its originators, Ramón Bayeu y Subías (1746-1793), after having completed five of the intended fourteen cartoons by March 1775, was appointed to assist painter Anton Raphael Mengs (1728–1779) at El Palacio Real de Madrid in the execution of several frescoes there. Goya rendered the remaining nine cartoons, six of which are in this blog post.

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3. Hunting Party 1775. Oil on canvas, 290 x 226 cm.

untitled4fixedHunting Party is one of the nine cartoons Goya provided for the royal dining room at El Escorial. This cartoon scene displays different types of hunting. While Goya worked closely with the designs of Ramón and elder brother Francisco Bayeu y Subías (1734-1795), the originators of this project, the young artist placed his own stamp upon the commissioned work. Goya’s sprinting greyhound, for instance, provides an original and engaging study of how to represent rapid animal movement in a painting.

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4. Hunter with his Hounds 1775. Oil on canvas, 268 x 67.5 cm.

untitled8fixedPaired with Hunter Loading his Rifle (below), the cartoon called Hunter with his hounds is for a tapestry in El Escorial to hang by a door (or window). It is notable for Goya’s successful rendering of “a figure in a landscape” – here, a hunter depicted from the back with a rifle on his shoulder and two leashed dogs – whose artistic quest became a leading challenge for the French Impressionists about 100 years later.

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5. Hunter loading his Rifle 1775. Oil on canvas, 292 x 50 cm.

untitled9fixedGoya’s cartoon is called Hunter loading his rifle. It depicts a face-forward hunter with a sitting dog who stares at the viewer. In the background are others in the hunting party. The design is for a dining room tapestry at El Escorial for the future Carlos IV (1748-1819) and his wife, María Luisa de Parma (1751-1819). It is paired with Hunter with his hounds.

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6. The Angler 1775. Oil on canvas, 289 x 110 cm.

Two activities are represented in this cartoon scene – fishing and hunting – with a transition between them marked in the sports’ different tools overlapping in the middle of the canvas. The Angler completed the commission begun in 1774 by Francisco and Ramón Bayeu to prepare a set of fourteen tapestry cartoons for the decoration of the dining room of the future Carlos IV and María Luisa de Parma at El Escorial, of which Goya produced nine of them. The theme of hunting was specifically selected to merge with the monarchs’ use of El Escorial in the autumn as a hunting grounds.

Dining room of the princes of Asturias in the Palace of El Pardo, 1776-1778.

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7. The Picnic 1776. Oil on canvas, 271 x 295 cm.

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untitled12fixedThe Picnic is part of Goya’s 10-tapestry decorative cartoon series depicting leisure in the countryside for a dining room tapestry at El Pardo for the Prince and Princess of Asturias. Notable for its foreground still life, this scene depicts young revelers sitting on the banks of the Manzanares River at Madrid’s periphery. The Picnic is joined in Goya’s second cartoon series by Dance on the Banks of the Manzanares, A Fight at the Venta Nueva, An Avenue in Andalusia (or The Maja and the cloaked Men), The Drinker, The Parasol, The Kite, The Card Players, Children blowing up a Bladder, and Boys picking Fruit. 

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8. A Fight at the Cock Inn 1777. Oil on canvas, 41.9 x 67.3 cm.

untitled15fixedThis is Goya’s preparatory sketch for the cartoon of A Fight at the New Inn, whose name in this early draft is El Mesón del Gallo. For a tapestry in the royal house, the 32-year-old Goya presents a brutal and ironically humorous scene showing country folk from diverse regions of Spain and of varying social roles using several weapon types to violently contest a card game involving money. Goya’s artistic models for this cartoon range from typical seventeenth century Flemish and Dutch genre scenes to elements of Italian classicism.

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9. Dance on the Banks of the Manzanares 1776 – 1777. Oil on canvas, 272 x 295 cm.

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Goya’s cartoon called Dance on the Banks of the Manzanares depicts a scene of majos and majas (country folk) dancing the seguidillas, a dance that was popular in Madrid and throughout Spain’s Castile region. The view of the river banks and the figure of the man clapping his hands are composition elements preserved in Goya’s drawing notebook suggesting they were taken from life. The resulting tapestry was to be hung on a wall of the dining room at the Palacio de El Pardo in Madrid for the princes of Asturias. Progressing from his hunting cartoon suite done on behalf of the brothers Bayeu the year or so before, this 10-part series of country life scenes was completely Goya’s own invention.

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10. Children blowing up a Bladder 1777 – 1778. Oil on canvas, 116 x 124 cm.

untitled18fixedThe tapestry resulting from this cartoon hung in the dining room of the future Carlos IV and Queen consort María Luisa de Parma in El Palacio de El Pardo in Madrid. Notably, Goya initiated with this cartoon the first of his childhood scenes in this series of ten tapestries of “country” subjects for the royal house. In a playful yet dramatic scene, a boy of about 7 or 8 years old inflates an animal bladder as his companion awaits the outcome raising one hand to her heart. Two women seated in the background are perhaps the children’s mothers, one of which presents a melancholic disposition as she holds a hand to the head while the other looks straight ahead at the viewer.

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11. An Avenue in Andalusia or The Maja and the cloaked Men 1777. Oil on canvas, 275 x 190 cm.

untitled21fixed untitled20fixeduntitled19fixedThis tapestry cartoon presents an ostensible love scene of a well-dressed young woman with her companion, both of whom Goya identified in the tapestry factory invoice as gitanos, or gypsy people. The scene is also populated with more stealthily dressed figures, perhaps with their own sinister intent, that suggests an undercurrent of jealous spying on the gitano pair. For a Madrid royal palace’s dining room (El Pardo), Goya considered this scene a fanciful contemporary walk in far-off Andalucia in southern Spain.

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12. The Parasol 1777. Oil on canvas, 104 x 152 cm.

 

untitled22fixed-closerThe bottom-to-top perspective view joined by its format indicates that this tapestry cartoon for the El Pardo dining room was intended to decorate an over-arch. A cortejo holds a green-color parasol to shade an elegant young woman from the Iberian sunshine. Goya’s cartoon could have possibly been modeled on the work of Jean Ranc (1674–1735), a French portrait painter or a lunette entitled Vertumnus and Pomano of Pontormo (1494-1557). If it is the Pontormo that inspired Goya then, in this instance, the artist creatively transformed what was an ancient mythological subject into a scene of modern Spanish life.

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13. The Kite 1777 – 1778. Oil on canvas, 269 x 285 cm.

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untitled25fixedGoya describes this scene as young people who “have gone out to the field to fly a kite.” An observably mid-to-late eighteenth century contemporary scene, a majo is smoking, body splayed upon the ground, sending smoke into the air. In the cartoon’s center three majos fly the popular kite with a sun face on it. One figure holds the spindle, another guides its string, and a third in heroic stance, launches and maintains the kite aloft. In the background, couples chat and watch the kite’s flight, while a dog sits and looks towards the viewer. The building in the cartoon’s upper right part has been interpreted as an astronomical observatory, a scientific project popularly spoken of in the days of Carlos III (1716-1788).

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14. The Drinker 1777. Oil on canvas, 107 x 151 cm.

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untitled29fixedA cartoon for a tapestry in the dining room in the Palace of El Pardo in Madrid, one of a series of ten made by Goya between 1776 and 1778. This scene of a young man drinking from a boot with a boy eating a raw turnip snatched out of a meager collection of such vegetables with a round loaf of bread that constitutes the cartoon’s still life has been seen as Goya’s allegory of gluttony. Such would be based on characters from a 1554 Spanish novella entitled The Life of Lazarillo de Tormes and of His Fortunes and Adversities which tells the story of a boy named Lazarillo who learns the world’s wiles from a blind beggar to whom he is apprenticed. The format and bottom-to-top perspective view indicates the modern tapestry cartoon was for an over-window decoration.

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15. Boys picking Fruit 1778. Oil on canvas, 119 x 122 cm.

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untitled31fixedAnother of Goya’s childhood scenes, this joyful and playful cartoon depicts four boys gathered at a tree to shake down its fruit. It is one of four scenes of a set with Children blowing up a Bladder, The Parasol, and The Drinker which hung as overhead decorations in the dining room at El Pardo.  It is part of a series of ten tapestry cartoons of “country” subjects – all conserved in the Prado Museum in Madrid – that Goya composed and produced.

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16. The Card Players 1777 – 1778. Oil on canvas, 270 x 167 cm.

untitled32fixedTo give this scene an appearance of realism, Goya carefully crafted each individual face and unique expression for each figure which enhances the depiction of country folk cheating and being cheated at cards. Goya’s accurately-studied contrast of light and shadow enhances his varied colors which works to heighten the scene’s realism. A group of majos situate themselves in a field under a man’s cloak placed on a tree branch that shadows them from the siesta-time sun as three of them play cards. With gold coins having flitted into the hat on the ground of one of the players, the other two majos study their hands – each with an expression of concern. It is darkly humorously revealed to the cartoon’s viewer that accomplices standing behind two players are sending signals to a third player about the unsuspecting victims’ cards. The Card Players thus concludes Goya’s 10-part cartoon series of scenes of country life for the tapestries in the dining room of El Pardo for the princes of Asturias.

AFTERWARD:

Between 1775 and 1792, Goya painted more than 60 cartoons for the Royal Tapestry Factory located in Madrid since 1720 (it moved to its present site by the main train terminal in the nineteenth century). Like its older counterpart in Paris, the Gobelins, the Royal Tapestry Factory supplied the Spanish royal court with tapestries which were among the most prestigious objects owned by them. By the late eighteenth century, large tapestries were hung in palaces mainly for decoration where Goya’s contemporary scenes illuminated newly-built Bourbon rooms at El Escorial and the dining room at El Pardo. That the Prince and Princess of Asturias hung tapestry scenes about the hunt – an activity that was the future Carlos IV’s passion – or about peasant life had, by 1775, already been the fashionable choice for the ruling class for around two hundred years. For Goya’s designs to display the artist’s playfully sensuous invention joined with a deep well of dark and often ironically humorous wit – along with a candid appreciation of the modern scene based on first-hand observation (especially the costumes) as well as finding stock social characters doing things that can intelligently impress and amuse a royal audience and their guests – makes these disposable cartoons (only retrieved largely intact in the basement of a Madrid royal palace three generations after Goya’s death and in the Prado today) the more remarkable.

SOURCES:

On Goya’s cartoons:

https://www.goyaenelprado.es/obras/lista/?tx_gbgonline_pi1%5Bgocollectionids%5D=5-56;

Goya, Robert Hughes, Knopf, New York, 2003.

On tapestries:

http://www.artic.edu/aic/collections/exhibitions/divineart/usefunctap;

http://www.millefleurstapestries.com/en/history-of-tapestries.

©John P. Walsh. All rights reserved. No part of this material may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by an means, electronic  or mechanical, which includes but is not limited to facsimile transmission, photocopying, recording, rekeying, or using any information storage or retrieval system.

 

 

 

David Adler (1882-1949), Chicago Architect. (20 photographs).

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David Adler, architect (1882-1949).

By John P. Walsh

David Adler (January 3, 1882 – September 27, 1949) was an American architect who made major contributions in domestic architecture for mostly affluent clients in and around Chicago. Unlike German-American modernist architect Mies van der Rohe (1886-1969) who also practiced in Chicago, David Adler’s important work drew from the past for his architectural idioms.What are those artistic arrows in  Adler’s quiver and what makes them interesting and valuable today?

A great amount of his domestic buildings are extant and mainly intact for the viewer today. These monuments of a gilded age attract one’s attention by their powerful presence based on their typical enormity, ornate details, and tasteful grace rooted in the classic European style. Gigantic skylights, curved staircases, ornate fanlight windows, columns, working fountains, and many other features, often characterize Adler’s homes.

Based on his commissioned projects, David’s Adler’s architectural career spanned from 1911 (following his return from Europe) until 1949, the year of his death. By 1913 he was
designing and building outside of the Chicago area (a chapel and iron gates at Greenwood Cemetery in Galena, Illinois) and, by 1915, out-of-state (the Berney house and garage in Fort Worth, Texas). Adler’s grandiose floor plans appeared from the start in 1911 and sustained themselves over 38 years in more than 200 major works – many of which he returned to at a later date. He planned and built in many locations in the United States and internationally including Chicago and its suburbs; Illinois; Fort Worth, Texas; Wisconsin; Minnesota; Massachusetts; New York City and State; Connecticut; Colorado; Georgia; California; Florida; Honolulu, Hawaii; Louisiana; Virginia; New Mexico; British Columbia; and London, England. The vast majority of his commissions, however – whether planned and built or planned only – are found in the American Midwest, especially in Illinois, and particularly in and around Chicago. His work includes mostly houses, whether complete or in alterations and additions, but also apartments, townhouses, gates and terraces, various outbuildings and dependencies, clubhouses, locker rooms, bathhouses, swimming pools, cottages, commercial buildings, boardrooms, lodges, prefabricated houses, houseboats, and even, in 1924, a dining car for the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad and, in the late 1940s, an altar and headstones for the social elite.

While several Adler commissions were planned but not constructed, only a handful of those substantial projects that did get built have been subsequently razed. This translates into an almost complete body of  his architectural work which remains to be viewed today. As streamlined, monumental and functional modernist architecture made its appearance in the late nineteenth century based in part on the stylistic language of industrialization, the wealth generated in that prosperous machine age became concentrated in the accounts of individuals and their families who, having begun the perennial pilgrimage of American tourists to Europe, desired to live in private residences that evoked the palatial surroundings of a historical nobility.3 David Adler’s “traditionalist” work in the first half of the twentieth century was part of, and built on, the great American tradition of architects who relied on European antecedents but adapted them to contemporary American taste. Additionally, Adler’s years in Europe between 1908 and 1911, especially in France, and upon his return to Chicago which like other cities in the United States after 1890 was experiencing a renaissance in the Beaux-Arts (academic neoclassical) style, led him to embrace  traditional architectural systems and rules for his clients throughout his successful career.

Adler’s architectural practice -he was not a licensed architect but did receive an honorary one almost half way into his practice – encountered socioeconomic conditions in Chicago and elsewhere throughout the 1910s and 1920s that benefited its early and later success. Proliferation of his traditional work is more remarkable when viewed in the context of the modernist architectural achievements which were materializing on the landscape in the United States and Europe in those same years.By the end of his life Adler expressed regret that the long era of the “great house” was over and he was, since the Great Depression, having to adapt to designing smaller-scaled projects. When Adler died unexpectedly at 67 years old in 1949, he left several new commissions on the drafting table. His memorial service was held in The Art Institute of Chicago where Adler had been a board member for almost a quarter of a century and he was buried in Chicago’s Graceland Cemetery.

NOTES

  1. The Country Houses of David Adler, Stephan M. Salny, Introduction by Franz Schulze, W.W. Norton & Company, New York and London, 2001. p. 9.
  2. Ibid., pp.193- 203.
  3. Ibid., p. 10; see We’ll Always Have Paris, American Tourists in France since 1930, Harvey Levenstein, The University of Chicago Press, 2004.
  4. Country houses, p.11.

©John P. Walsh. All rights reserved. No part of this material may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by an means, electronic  or mechanical, which includes but is not limited to facsimile transmission, photocopying, recording, rekeying, or using any information storage or retrieval system.

 

Mrs. and Mrs.Charles B. Pike, 955 Lake Road, Lake Forest, Illinois. Built in 1916 in the Italian Villa style.

The house at 955 Lake Road in Lake Forest, Illinois, sits on Lake Michigan and is designed in the Italian villa style. Built in 1916 for Charles and Frances Pike, the 21-room house possesses one of Adler’s most successful outdoor spaces – the entrance Courtyard. Creating paths using paving beach stones with embedded designs, this outdoor garden was encapsulated on four sides by the back wall of the house (the main entrance which faces the road) as well the Kitchen, classically-proportioned Entrance Loggia and fifty-foot-long Gallery. The Courtyard was further integrated with the interior space where one enters the house’s main rooms from the Entrance Loggia into the Vestibule (with Adler’s masterful treatment of pediments and coffered ceiling) or by way of one of three sets of French doors with pilaster-supported archways into the vaulted Gallery.

In addition to the Vestibule and Gallery with its airy fifteen foot-tall ceilings, the interior first-floor plan of the Pike house contained the Living Room, Dining Room and East Loggia. Each of these main rooms was oriented to the balustraded landings of two staircases which led to an expansive sunken garden and towards Lake Michigan.  The second floor of the Pike house contained bedrooms.

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D. Adler. Pike House. Lake Forest, Illinois. 1916. Entrance Facade.

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D. Adler. Pike House. Lake Forest. 1916. Entrance Loggia.

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D. Adler. Pike House. Lake Forest. 1916. Entrance Loggia, another view.

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D. Adler. Pike House. Lake Forest. 1916. Courtyard.

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D. Adler. Pike House. Lake Forest. 1916. Courtyard with view of his design of the pavement using beach stones creating an interplay of color, texture, and shape.

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D. Adler. Pike House. Lake Forest. 1916. Vestibule. From the Entrance Loggia one enters the house’s main rooms into this Vestibule with Adler’s masterful treatment of pediments and coffered ceiling.

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D. Adler. Pike House. Lake Forest. 1916. Gallery.

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D. Adler. Pike House. Lake Forest. 1916. Living Room (or Library). The black stone fireplace mantel was the focal point of the room. 

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D. Adler. Pike House. Lake Forest. 1916. Living Room (or Library) more recently.

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D. Adler. Pike House. Lake Forest. 1916. Dining Room. The same size as the as the Living Room, the black terrazzo floor was consistent on the first floor, but Adler achieved greater intimacy with the beamed ceiling.

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D. Adler. Pike House. Lake Forest. 1916. Dining Room today.

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D. Adler. Pike House. Lake Forest. 1916. Garden/Main Facade. The house was inspired by Charles A. Platt’s Villa Turicum from 1908, but Adler turned the Pike house’s orientation to the Lake and away from the road.

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D. Adler. Pike House. Lake Forest. 1916. Sunken Garden. Looking toward Lake Michigan.

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D. Adler. Pike House. Lake Forest. 1916. Garden/Main Facade today.