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Art History with Anne

Lectures for March-April 2021

Victorian Artists: From Realists to Symbolists

Victorian Artists: From Realists to Symbolists

Wednesday at 11.00

17th March   James Tissot: Fashionable London

24th March   James McNeill Whistler: An American Abroad

31st March   Lawrence Alma-Tadema: At Home in Antiquity

7th April        Gustav Klimt: ‘All Art is Erotic’

The lectures will be delivered live by Zoom.   They will be uploaded afterwards to my YouTube channel for a limited time and you will be provided a private link to view them again at your leisure.

The lectures last for around an hour.  There will be a question-and-answer session at the end.

As the lectures will be delivered live by Zoom, you will be able to ask your questions in person at the end. You can also use the ‘Chat’ function.

How to book

The lectures are priced at £10 a session. You can book each lecture separately. If you book all four lectures the cost will be £30 (one lecture for free!)

Please email Susan Branfield at susanbranfield@waitrose.com.

You can pay by cheque or BACS (details will be supplied). Cheques should be made payable to Anne Anderson.

Once you register and pay, you will be sent an email with your link. Keep it safe!

After the lecture you will be sent a private link so you can access the lecture on my YouTube Channel. Each lecture is accessible for four weeks.

James Tissot: Fashionable London

A French émigré in 1870s London, Tissot captured the nuances of fashionable society. At first glance his paintings appear rather shallow, being all surface and no substance. But there is more to Tissot than just gorgeous frocks. His gloss covers a world of double standards and class snobbery. It took an outsider to reveal the social anxieties of the day.

James McNeill Whistler: An American Abroad

The eponymous enfant terrible, nobody wanted to be on the wrong side of Whistler. His bark was as good as his bite.  The champion of ‘Art for Art’s Sake, which scorned the concept of pictorial story-telling or moralizing, Whistler ruffled many feathers, especially those of John Ruskin. When Whistler accused Ruskin of libel, for ‘flinging a pot of paint in the public’s face’, the artist and critic founding themselves arguing in court over the purpose of art in Society.

Lawrence Alma-Tadema: At Home in Antiquity

Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema, Lord Frederic Leighton and G.F. Watts have been classed as ‘Olympian’s. However, while Leighton and Watts opted for high-minded subjects drawn from mythology and ancient history, Alma-Tadema recreated the life of Ancient Greece and Rome.  He revelled in archaeological accuracy, painstakingly drawing, and photographing Pompeii and Herculaneum. Yet despite their fidelity, his ‘Victorians in Togas’ are also a reflection of the era.

Gustav Klimt: ‘All art is erotic’

During his lifetime, Gustav Klimt’s paintings were frequently vilified as lewd and even pornographic as he explicitly explored female sexuality. His works are deceivingly beautiful, the surface of the canvas richly ornamented  with complex patterns that carry symbolic meaning. They can be esoteric and hard to decipher. As Oscar Wilde warned you go below the surface at you peril.  Klimt epitomizes the luxury and decadence of an era destroyed by the First World War.

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Italian Stile Floreale or Stile Liberty

Notes to accompany my talk which you can find on my YouTube channel @ Anne Anderson Art and Design History Channel

Impressionism/ Divisionism

Reading

Fraquelli, Simonetta, Giovanna Ginex, Vivien Greene and Aurora Scotti Tosini, Radical Light, Italy’s Divisionist painters 1891-1910, exhibition catalogue, London: National Gallery/YUP, 2008

Gaetano Previati, 1852-1920, exhibition catalogue, Palazzo Reale, Milan, 1999

Greene, Vivien (ed), Divisionism/Neo-Impressionism: Arcadia and Anarchy, exhibition catalogue, New York: Guggenheim, 2007

Stutzer, Beat, Giovanni Segantini, Zürich: Scheidegger & Spiess, 2016

The Macchiaioli Masters of Realism in Tuscany, exhibition catalogue, Rome: De Luca Publisher, 1982

Divisionism emerged in Northern Italy around the end of the 1880s. The first generation included Vittore Grubicy De Dragon (1851–1920) who as an art critic and dealer also promoted their work; Emilio Longoni (1859–1932) who combined divisionism with hard hitting social realism;  Angelo Morbelli (1853–1919) who also depicted scenes of contemporary rural life; Plinio Nomellini (1866–1943) who focused on landscapes; Giuseppe Pellizza da Volpedo (1868–1907), whose powerful Human Flood or The Fourth Estate has become a socialist icon; Gaetano Previati (1852–1920) opted for symbolism and gentle Madonnas; and  Giovanni Segantini (1858–1899) who achieved international fame with his symbolist The Punishment of Lust (1891) and The Evil Mothers (1894). Their painting method was based on the juxtaposition of strokes of pigment, rather than French pointillist dots, to create the visual effect of intense single colours. Its roots were in the optical and chromatic ideas developed by scientists, particularly those published in De la loi ducontraste simultané des couleurs (1839) by French chemist Michel-Eugène Chevreul and Modern Chromatics (1879) by American physicist Ogden Rood.

Liberty Style

Reading

Bossaglia, Rossana and Valerio Terraroli, IL Liberty A Milano, Milano: Skira, 2003

Bugatti: Carlo/Rembrandt/Ettore: I Mobili/I Soprammobili/Le Automobili, exh. cat., Galleria dell’Emporio Floreale, Rome, 1976

Dejean, Philippe, Bugatti: Carlo, Rembrandt, Ettore, Jean, New York: Rizzoli, 1982.
Guttry, Irene, Maria Paola Maino, and Gabriella Tarquini, Italian Liberty Style, 20th Century Decorative Arts, Pero: 24 Ore Cultura, 2012

Howard, Jeremy, Art Nouveau International and National Styles in Europe, Manchester: MUP, 1996

Lopez, Guide and Elisabetta Susani, The Liberty in Milan and Lombardy, Milan: Celip Italy, 1999

Massé, Marie-Madeleine, Carlo Bugatti au Musée d’Orsay: catalogue sommaire illustré du fonds d’archives et des collections, exhibition catalogue, Paris: Réunion des musées nationaux, 2001

Roiter, Fulvio and Guido Lopez, Milano Liberty/Art Nouveau in Milan, Milano: Edizioni CELIP Milano, 1993

Speziali, Andrea (ed) Italian liberty. Una nuova stagione dell’ Art Nouveau, Flori: CartaCanta editore, 2015

Speziali, Andrea (ed), Italian Liberty. Il sogno europeo della grande bellezza, Flori: CartaCanta editore, 2016

Speziali, Andrea, Giuseppe Sommaruga (1867-1917). Un protagonista del Liberty, Flori: CartaCanta editore 2017

Speziali, Andrea (ed.) The World of Art Nouveau, Flori: CartaCanta, editore 2017

Squarotti, Silvia Barberi, Il Liberty nei quartieri torinesi, Torino: Daniela Piazza Editore, 2012

Stile floreale or Stile Liberty, initially named after Liberty’s of Regent Street, offers a wonderfully eclectic mix, with quintessential floral decoration cascading over buildings that often still reference the Baroque or Neoclassicism.  Stile Liberty quickly acquired a new sense, creative freedom transformed into an expression of Italian unification.  In Italy individualism prevailed over regulation, apparently leading to ‘aesthetic anarchism’. Gabriele Fahr-Becker considers the ‘floral sumptuousness…waxed into a wedding-cake building style of totalitarian pomp’ (Art Nouveau, 2015). Perhaps she had in mind Giovanni Brega’s seaside villa in Pesaro for Oreste Ruggeri, a pharmaceutical industrialist. Its four facades are covered with the most amazing abstract-floral decorations that swirl in all directions. The Villino Ruggeri (1902-1907) was designed to be a complete work of art; on the first floor are four themed rooms, the horse chestnut, the wisteria, the narcissus and the sunflower room, the ultimate expressions of Stile floreale. 

The obvious historical sources for such extremes can be found in Italian Mannerism, in the paintings of Giuseppe Arcimboldo (1526-93), who constructed faces out of vegetables and flowers, and the spectacular Boboli Gardens, created by the Medici family in Florence.  Here the notion of the ornamental grotto is taken to its limits (c.1550-1600); fantastical figures appear to grow out of the walls.   Flourishing between the High Renaissance and the Baroque, Italian Mannerism tends to get overlooked. Mannerist artists still relied on classical models, but they took liberties with the rules, deliberately distorting the established architectural vocabulary in bizarre and entertaining ways.  The ability to surprise, even shock clearly attracted Giuseppe Sommaruga (1867-1917) whose Milanese buildings certainly defy architectural conventions.

Giuseppe Sommaruga (1867-1917, Palazzo Romeo- Faccanoni 1911-13  Via Michelangelo Buonarroti 48 

Liberty in Turin

Although Liberty style can be found all over Italy, the style is concentrated in Turin, Milan, and the Regione Lombardia around Lake Como. Turin was briefly the first capital of the kingdom following the unification of Italy (Risorgimento) in 1861. The opening of the Fréjus Tunnel in 1871 transformed Turin into an important communication node between Italy and France. The Triple Alliance (1882),  an agreement between  Germany, the Austro-Hungarian Empire and Italy against France, Russia and Great Britain, resulted in an influx of capital that boosted the Italian economy.

Turin holds a particularly important place within the history of Liberty Style because of the groundbreaking exhibition of decorative arts held in 1902, the Prima Esposizione Internazionale d’Arte Decorativa Moderna.  The guidelines stated ‘Only original products that show a decisive tendency toward aesthetic renewal of form will be admitted. Neither mere imitations of past styles nor industrial products not inspired by an artistic sense will be accepted’. The city was chosen to host the exhibition because it was at the forefront of modernisation and industrialization; its first car companies date to the turn of the 20th century (Fiat 1899, Lancia 1906).

Central Pavilion. Raimondo D’Aronco architect, Giovanni Battista Alloati sculptor, Leonardo Bistolfi painter

With the Scottish entry showcasing works by Charles Rennie Mackintosh and the Glasgow Four, entire room settings presented by the Belgian master Victor Horta   and the German section dominated by an entrance conceived by Peter Behrens, this event marks the apogee of the new art.  

The exhibition was held in Valentino Park, overlooking the Po river. Its layout and principal buildings were conceived by Raimondo D’Aronco (1857-1932).  Trained in Graz, Austria, D’Aronco followed Austrian Secession models more closely than most of his Italian compatriots. In 1893, he was invited to Istanbul to prepare designs for the Istanbul Exhibition of Agriculture and Industry to be held in 1896. He remained the chief palace architect to the Ottoman Sultan Abdülhami II in Istanbul for 16 years. A handful of his buildings have survived:

Turbe (tomb) of Sheikh Zafir Effendi, in Yıldız, Beşiktaş district in Istanbul

Fountain, Karaköy, Şair Ziya Paşa Caddesi.

Former Imperial Stables (c.1903), Palanga Cd. 64, Istanbul.

Casa Botter (Botter Apartment, 1900–1901) on İstiklal Avenue in Beyoğlu, Istanbul. Built for Jean Botter, a Dutchman who worked as the Sultan’s tailor.

In Turin, the best example of his work is Villa Javelli, (Casa D’Aronco), Via Francesco Petrarca 44. Built 1904, the broad sloping roof line echoes a swiss chalet. Although the detailing is simple, a classic female face mask peers out from under the eave.

Important figures

Pietro Fenoglio (1865-1927)studied civil engineering under Carlo Cepp.  Fenoglio was one of the organizers of the 1902 and 1911 International Expositions in Turin. He was also a founder and contributor to the magazine L’architettura italiana moderna.  

In 1902-1903 he built his most indicative work, a visually arresting apartment block known as Casa Fenoglio-Lafleur on the corner of Corso Francia and Via Principe d’Acaja, Cit Turin. Other works that should be highlighted include the Villino Raby (1901 with Gottardo Gussoni),Corso Francia 8, with a wealth of sculptural details, Palazzina Rossi-Galateri, Via Giuseppe Luigi Passalacqua (1903) and Villa Scott (1902 with Gottardo Gussoni), hugging the hill side on the other side of the Po river.

Palazzina Ostorero   Via Claudio Beaumont 7 Built 1900 Pietro Fenoglio. This chalet style private residence only hints at Fenoglio’s mature Liberty style.

Villino Raby  Corso Francia 8  Built 1901 Pietro Fenoglio and Gottardo Gussoni. The sculptural detailing, notably the ornamentation around the projecting oriel window,  and the painted frieze, show Fenoglio’s progression.    

Villa Scott Corso Giovanni Lanza 57 Built 1902 Pietro Fenoglio and Gottardo Gussoni. Fengolio achieves his mature Liberty style.  The bay window, with its sequence of coloured-leaded glass windows, is especially impressive.  The corner tower provides another focal point. With the grotto-like fountain, at the foot of the steps rising to the entrance,  Fenoglio created a perfect ensemble.

Casa Fenoglio-Lafleur Via Principi d’Acaja 11 Built 1903 Pietro Fenoglio. His masterpiece. The corner, which rises to four storeys, is dominated by a projecting oriel window filled with coloured-leaded glass windows. The corner is surmounted by a glass canopy. The compass inscribed circles in the plasterwork and the painted frieze under the cornice are signature motifs.

Palazzina Rossi-Galateri Via Giuseppe Luigi Passalacqua 14 Built 1903 Pietro Fenoglio. On this symmetrical facade, note the highly ornamented projecting oriel windows as well as the deep decorative frieze, both painted and sculptural, running under the cornice.     

Coloured-leaded glass doors leading to the interior courtyard. These bold abstract patterns owe a debt to Victor Horta and Hector Guimard’s stylized curvilinear forms.

Casa Guelpa, Via Luigi Leonardo Colli 2, Built 1903 Pietro Fenoglio. One of a series of large apartment blocks. The detailing around the windows and the frieze of compass drawn lines are indicative.

Casa Macciotta, Corso Francia 32, Built 1904, Pietro Fenoglio

Casa Boffa-Costa-Magnani Via Ettore De Sonnaz 16  built 1904 Pietro Fenoglio

Casa Rey Corso Galileo Ferraris 16-18 Built  1904-06 Pietro Fenoglio. This dramatic oriel window extends through three storeys.

Gottardo Gussoni (1869-1951) stands alongside Fenoglio as the two architects often collaborated.  He created the last Liberty style building in Turin, the Palazzo della Vittoria, Corso Francia,  (House of the Dragons, 1918-20).  This massive apartment block masquerading as a medieval castle is covered with sculptural details, with dragons supporting the balconies and greeting you at the elabourate entrance.

Casa della Vittoria Corso Francia 23, built 1918-20 Gottardo Gussoni 

Alessandro Mazzucoteilli (1865-1938) was known as the ‘magician of iron’. His distinctive forms can be seen on the Villa Faccanoni-Romeo, via Buonarroti and Casa Ferrario, 1902 (Ernesto Pirovano, 1866-1934), in Milan. He created gigantic butterflies and dragonflies that perch on gate posts or hang from lamps.

Casa Maffei, Corso Rodolfo Montevecchio, Antonio Vandone di Cortemiglia. Built 1904-06 has iron balconies by Alessandro Mazzucotelli and relief sculptures by Giovanni Battista Alloati, whose work also featured at Turin 1902.

Carlo Bugatti (1856-1940) was born in Milan, studying at the Brera Academy before finishing his education in Paris at the Academie des Beaux Arts, where he may have acquired his taste for Japonisme.  He opened his workshop in Milan in 1880.  His fantastic furniture combines a heady blend of Moorish, Japanese, African, and Medieval elements. Bugatti stole the limelight at Turin 1902 with his ‘Salon escargot’. Father of sculptor Rembrandt Bugatti and automobile manufacturer Ettore Bugatti.

Eugenio Quarti (1867-1926) was a leading decorator and cabinet maker who favoured unusual materials and lavish ornamentation.  His use of inlays of silver, copper, bronze, pewter and nacre resulted in his nickname ‘goldsmith of furniture makers’. He designed furniture for the Palazzo Castiglioni, Milan and Villa Carosio, Baveno, Stresa, on Lake Maggiore for Giuseppe Sommaruga; for the Grand Hotel and Casino, San Pellegrino Terme (1904-06 architect Romolo Squadrelli) and the Ausonia and Hungaria Palace Hotel, Venice Lido (1907 architect Nicolo Piamonte) famed for its polychrome majolica mosaic facade, the largest in Italy, by Luigi Fabris (1913).

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Jugend Stila/ Jauniešu stils Riga





Riga, the capital of Latvia, is renowned for its fantastic Art Nouveau/Jugendstil buildings built at the beginning of the 20th century. Riga developed rapidly once the city walls were demolished in the mid-19th century (1857-63). The rapid expansion of the population, which almost doubled in the 20 years before the First World war, reaching over half a million, prompted a building boom. Many apartments blocks were constructed along the straight boulevards, laid in a grid pattern, of the ‘new town’.    By the 1930s, Riga was known as ‘The Little Paris of the North’. However, in addition to responding to modernity, with industrialisation and urbanisation signalling a new urban lifestyle, the emergence of Art Nouveau/Jugendstil in Riga also addressed Latvian identity. This helps to explain the variants of the style in the national capital, which reflect both a cosmopolitan internationalism and a desire to forge a distinctly Latvian architectural language based on native vernacular architecture and folk-art forms.  

Academics have broken the different stylistic forms into four categories:

Eclectic or Decorative

Architects simply adopted forms of Art Nouveau/Jugendstil decoration in lieu of earlier styles. The apartments along Alberta iela (Albert Street), many designed by Mikhail Eisenstein, who studied in St Peterburg, are typical. This approach embraced a cosmopolitan internationalism, particularly drawing on French decorative forms (female mascaron/face masks, stylized floral forms and peacocks).

Indicative buildings in the Old Town include:

Alfred Aschenkampf & Max Scherwinsky, Audēju iela 7 (1899), one of the first Jugend Stila buildings in Riga.

Heinrich Scheel et Friedrich Scheffe, Skunu 10/12, for a store for Henrich Dettmann (1903)

Pauls Mandelštams (1872-1941), Kalēju 23/ Meistaru iela 10 (1909).

 

Konstantīns Pēkšēns (1859-1926), 2 rue Smilsu (1902)

Perpendicular or Vertical

About a third of the Art Nouveau/Jugendstil buildings of Riga were built according to these ideals which became popular after c. 1905. The influence of the Vienna Secession and German Jugendstil is clear. Many examples can be found in Brīvības iela, Ģertrūdes iela and, Aleksandrqa Čaka iela. Architects associated with this style include Rūdolfs Filips Donbergs (1864-1918) and later works by Konstantīns Pēkšēns.

National Romantic 

Between 1905 and 1911 architects also tried to create a specific Latvian style of modern architecture, National Romanticism. With many stylistic aspects particular to Latvia, alongside the use of natural building materials, architects drew on vernacular architecture and folk art. There is a notable influence of Finnish National Romantic forms. Eižens Laube, Alberta iela 11, built in 1908, is typical, with its towers and tapered windows.

Neo-Classical

A late variant, a reaction to highly decorated earlier forms. Often used for banks. Fundamentally a return to historicism.

Given this localized diversity it would be useful to devise a Latvian term unique to Riga, such as Riga Jugend Stila, Jauniešu stils or Atdalīšanās (Secession).

Many architects were able to train locally, rather than in St Petersburg or Berlin. The Technical Society was founded in 1864, with some half of its members architects. The Polytechnicum (Riga Polytechnic Institute) opened a department for architecture in 1869. In 1872 the Crafts School of the Riga Trades Association was founded. These new institutions lay outside the immediate control of the Academy in St Petersburg. Graduates of the Riga Polytechnic Institute designed many Jauniešu stils buildings. Most notable were Konstantīns Pēkšēns, J. Alksnis, O. Bārs, R. Donbergs, E. Laube, A.Vanags, P. Mandelštams, E.Pole, B. Bīlenšteins and M. Nukša.

‘First Latvian National Awakening’

With the native Latvian population ‘oppressed’ in turn by the Germans, Swedes, and Russians, by the mid-19th century there was a conscious desire to reassert Latvian identity. Tsar Aleksandr III’s Russification policies stimulated the ‘First Latvian National Awakening’ (1850s-1880s). Krišjānis Valdemārs (1825-91), was the most prominent member of Young Latvia ( Jaunlatvieši). The Latvian language newspaper Mājas Viesis was launched. The Riga Latvian Society, which brought together Latvian intellectuals and radicals, was founded in 1868. The Society reclaimed Latvian history and folklore. Scholars and writers sought to prove that Baltic cultural traditions were as deep as those of other nations.  The ‘First Latvian National Awakening’ was followed by the New Current (Socialist) which led up to the 1905 First Russian Revolution.

In 1891, August Bielenstein was the first scholar to support the establishment of a folklore material archives. Fricis  Brīvzemnieks has been justifiably identified as the founder of Latvian folklore studies. The first collections of folk tales and legends assembled by Brīvzemnieks appeared in 1887. Stories often revolve around pre-Christian deities like the sun goddess Saule and the moon god Mēness. Another major theme is the human life cycle, especially the three major events: birth, wedding, and death (including burial). Ensuring a good harvest was the primary function of Jumis. Many stories revolve around the devil and warding off evil spirits.

Lacking a national hero, Andrejs Pumpurs gathered materials to create a national epic poem Lāčplēsis (Bear Slayer).  Composed between 1872–1887, the saga is set in the Livonian Crusades and the struggle against the German invaders. The Bear Slayer is commemorated on the Latvian Freedom Monument, which marks the brief period of Latvian independence following the First World War.

“I was Born and Raised Singing”

Collecting and publishing folk songs underpinned the ‘national awakening’. The first Latvian Song Festival was held in 1873. ‘Father of Folk Songs’, Krišjānis Barons (1835-1923) collected Latvju Dainas (folk songs). Dainas are lit­tle qua­trains of an­cient Lat­vian wis­dom cap­tured in song. Dating back some thou­sand years, Dainas were sung at cel­e­bra­tions and while at daily work. Songs commemorate Latvian mythology and traditional festivals rather than legendary heroes. They are re­flec­tions on life pre­served in oral form. There are more than 1.2 mil­lion Dainas.  German geographer and traveller J.G. Khol noted in his memoirs (1841): “[..]Every Latvian is a born poet, they all compose verses and songs, and they can all sing these songs [..] They deserve to be called the nation of poets.”

Barons formed the most complete anthology of Latvian folk songs. Between 1894 and 1915 he published seven volumes containing 217, 996 folk song texts. Baron’s Cabinet of Folksongs, containing around 150,000 texts, on slips of paper survives in the National Library of Latvia.

Barons is commemorated at the ‘Song Garden’, Sculpture Park, Sigulda, created by Indulis Ranka in 1985. 25 sculptures by Ranka convey the spirt of the Dainas.  One sculpture depicts Barons as a wise old man, while on the other side are singers from three generations (mother, daughter, granddaughter).  Beside them is a defender – a powerful young man.  The figures protect the dowry chest which symbolizes the dowry of songs. 

The unique character of Latvian culture was celebrated with the publication of Latvju dainas, by Krišjānis Barons, Latvju tautas mūzikas materiāli (Latvian Folk Music Materials) by Jurjāns Andrejs (1856-1922), and the seven-part publication by Ansis Lerhis-Puškaitis, Latviešu tautas teikas un pasakas. (Latvian Folk Tales and Fairy Tales)

The original building of the Riga Latvian Society was designed by J.Baumanis, the first professional Latvian architect, in 1869. It was conceived as a centre for Latvian culture accommodating a theatre as well as the Society’s archives.  Latvian theatre originated within the society. The building was rebuilt in 1909 by Eižens Laube and E.Pole. The decorative panels were designed by Janis Rozentals, Latvia’s leading Symbolist artist. 

Power, Sketch for the fresco for the Riga Latvian Society, 1910Janis Rozentāls.

The leading Latvian artists:

Janis Rozentāls 1866-1916. Trained at the St Petersburg Academy (1888-96). Vilhelms Purvītis was a fellow student. Both joined Rūķis (Elf) a Latvian artists’ society founded in St Petersburg. In 1903 married Elli Forssell (1871–1943), a Finnish singer. 1915 Rozentāls and his family fled to Helsinki. Lived here until his death in 1916.

Vilhelms Purvītis (1872, Zaube, Latvia- 1945 Bad Nauheim, Germany) known as the ‘philosopher of snow’ and ‘father’ of Latvian landscape painting. From 1890 to 1897, he studied at the Imperial Academy of Arts in St Petersburg. In 1899, Purvītis returned to Rīga. After Latvia gained independence, Purvītis became the rector of the Latvian Academy of Art (1919–1934).

Johann Walter-Kurau, also known as Jānis Valters (Latvian) (1869-1932). Studied art at the Imperial Academy of Arts in St. Petersburg with Janis Rozentāls and Vilhelms Purvītis. Left Latvia in 1906 to work in Dresden, then based Berlin from 1916/17.

They were influenced by the Peredvizhniki  (The Wanderers or The Itinerants), a group of Russian Realists who rebelled against the Imperial Academy in 1863. Fourteen students. They founded the Obshchestvo peredvizhnykh vystavok or Society for Travelling Art Exhibitions in 1870. Many of the Peredvizhniki gained fame for their depictions of the Russian land:

Iwan Iwanowitsch Schishkin (1832-96), known as ‘Singer of forest’.

Ilja Jefimowitsch Repin (1844-1930). Some Peredvizhniki canvases were overtly political, such as Ilia Repin’s monumental, Volga Barge Haulers (1870-73), which portrayed the inhumane conditions under which these men worked. Repin, Demonstration on October 17, 1905 (1907) commemorated the First Russian Revolution.  

Arkhip Ivanovich Kuindzhi (c.1842-1910) renowned for his atmospheric landscapes.

Jūlijs Madernieks (1870-1955), founder of Latvian decorative arts and design. Studied at Stiglitz The Central School of Technical Drawing, St Petersburg. Joined Rūķis (Elf) Latvian artists’ society founded in St Petersburg. Won a Travel scholarship to Paris in the late 1890s, where he was introduced to Art Nouveau. Illustrated the magazines Zalktis (1906-10, The Grass Snake) and Vērotājs. 1904 Madernieks established J.Madernieka Drawing and Painting workshop. Published Ornaments (1913) folk art; Patterns (1930)

Eclectic/Decorative Jugend Stila: Alberta iela 

Alberta Street carries the name of the man who founded Riga, Bishop Albert. Now it is one of the most beautiful and splendid streets in the city largely in the Eclectic/Decorative style. The construction of this street took place in a rather short period of time – from 1901 till 1908. The authors of these magnificent buildings are Mihail Eizenšteins (father of the film director Sergei) and Konstantīns Pēkšēns.

These buildings are rich in picturesque sculptural details. You will find astonishing facemasks (laughing, screaming, melancholy or thoughtful) a large bestiary of animals and references to Classical art. These motifs symbolized the spirit of the age, its intense mood, sense of urgency and the rapid pace of development.

Alberta iela 13, a residential building designed by Eisenstein, was built in 1904 for State Counsellor A. Lebedinsky.

Alberta  iela 13, 1904,  Mihail Eizenšteins

Lebedinsky also commissioned apartment houses designed by Eisenstein at Alberta iela 4 (in 1904) and Alberta iela 6 (in 1903) and at Elizabetes iela 10b (in 1903) distinguished by its blue tiled façade. The facades of all these apartment blocks provide a spectacular display of ornamental sculpture. It seems the creative imagination of this architect knew no bounds.

4 Alberta Street (M. Eisenstein 1904). The Lyebedinskiy apartment building

The Secession Building, Vienna, Joseph Maria Olbrich, 1898. The Gorgons: Painting, Architecture, Sculpture.

Black Cats House

In Old City, this National Romantic style building designed by F.Shefel is decorated with two black cats on the roof line (1909). An urban myth maintains that the owner of the building was angry with the City Council leading him to place the cats on top of the roof with their tails up in the direction of the City Council.

Reading

Grosa, Silvija, Art Nouveau in Riga, Riga: Jumava, 2003.

Hämäläinen, Pirjo, Jugend Suomessa, Helsinki: Kustannusosakeyhtiö Otava, 2010

Howard, Jeremy, Art Nouveau International and National Styles in Europe, Manchester: MUP, 1996.

Krastiņs̆, Jānis (ed), Art Nouveau Architecture of Riga, exhibition catalogue, Riga: Riga 800, 1998.

Krastiņs̆, Jānis, Art Nouveau Buildings in Riga, A Guide to Architecture of Art Nouveau Metropolis, Riga: ADD Projekts, 2012.

L’Age Du Symbolisme en Lettonie/The Age of Symbolism in Latvia, exhibition catalogue, Luxembourg: Musee national histoire et d’art Luxembourg, 2010.

Rush, Solveiga, Mikhail Eisenstein. Themes and Symbols in Art Nouveau Architecture of Riga, 1901-06, Riga: Neptns, 2003.

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Magyar Szecesszio: Art Nouveau in Budapest

Reading List

Art Nouveau A Hungarian Perspective, Gyorgy Rath Villa, Museum of Applied Arts, Budapest, 2018.

Art Nouveau A Hungarian Perspective, List of Exhibits, Gyorgy Rath Villa, Museum of Applied Arts, Budapest, 2018.

Bela Bede, 225 Highlights Hungarian Art Nouveau Architecture, Budapest: Corvina, 2012

Eri, Gyongyi and Zsuzsa Jobbagyi (ed) A Golden Age, Art and Society in Hungary 1896-1914, exhibition catalogue, London: Barbican Art gallery, 1989.

Fenyi, Tibor, The Glass Painting of Miksa Roth, from Historicism to Art Nouveau, Budapest: Roth Miska Memorial House, 2016.

Gerle, Janos, Art Nouveau in Hungarian Architecture, Budapest: 6Bt.Kiado, 2013.

Kieselbach, Tamás, Modern Hungarian Painting: 1892-1919, Volume 1, Budapest: Kieselbach, 2002.

Kovacs Daniel and Zsolt Batar, Budapest Art Nouveau, Budapest: Laszlo Kedves, 2018.

Taylor, Jeffrey, In Search of the Budapest Secession: The Artist Proletariat and  Modernism’s rise in the Hungarian Art Market, 1800-1914, Helena History Press, 2014.

Szabadi, Judit, Art Nouveau in Hungary: painting, sculpture, and the graphic arts, Budapest: Corvina, 1989.

Introduction

There are two noticeably different architectural styles in Hungary at the fin-de-siècle:  Magyar Szecesszio and Historicism both of which incorporated traditional Hungarian styles.  Comparing Budapest to the Secession in Vienna, what distinguishes Hungarian Szecesszio is the use of medieval or earlier vernacular architecture forms and folk-art motifs.  Hungarian architects were responding to the nationalistic fervour created by the millennial celebrations; in 1896 the country celebrated 1000 years of the Hungarian nation.  This nationalism also led to different responses in the search for a distinctly modern Hungarian style.

Searching for the mythic origins of the Hungarian nation in the East, Ödön Lechner turned to what he claimed were native architectural forms based on Indian and Persian architecture combined with Hungarian folk-art motifs.  Training many of the next generation, he created his own highly idiosyncratic Szecesszio school.  

The Fiatlok or ‘Youngs’, Károly Kós, Dezső Zrumeczky, Ede Toroczkai Wigand, and Dénes Györgyi went in further back, to Attila the Hun (c. 406-53) and the vernacular architecture of Transylvania and the Carpathians, the traditional Hungarian homelands, creating a Hun-Hungarian or Folk-art Szecesszio.

In search of a modern, progressive, pan-European style, others looked West, to the Vienna Secession and German Jugendstil. The Gresham Palace (1905-06,József Vágó and Zsigmond Quittner) exemplifies this internationalism.

Szecesszio Architecture

Architect Ödön Lechner (1845–1914) is often referred to as the ‘Hungarian Gaudi’. Inspired by Indian and Persian architecture, which Lechner combined with traditional Hungarian motifs, his buildings are a unique and original synthesis of several architectural styles. Lechner’s version of Szecesszio is very specific to Hungary, an expression of National Romanticism. His buildings are richly decorated with terracotta tiles made by the famous Zsolnay factory. These tile patterns were inspired by old Magyar and Turkic folk art. Lechner’ s weird exotic shapes may have been inspired by carpet patterns. An important source was József Huszka’s Magyarische Ornamentik (1898).

Much that is odd about Lechner is explained by his background and training. After the Hungarian revolution of 1848 had been crushed by the Austrians and Russians, his father confined his activities to running the family brickworks. This also produced ceramics, which inspired Lechner’s love of coloured ceramic materials. His architectural training was undertaken in Berlin, at the Bauakademie. There he absorbed the theories of Karl Bötticher and Gottfried Semper, especially the latter’s ‘cladding theory’ that architecture had evolved from structures hung with decorated fabrics. He also worked in France for three years and, like many of his contemporaries, became interested in the English Arts and Crafts movement.

But more significant was what he saw on his second trip to England in 1889, when he visited the South Kensington Museum (now the V&A) to study Indian and Persian art. For in that, he believed, lay the roots of Hungarian visual culture. Lechner was not the only one to subscribe to this engaging nationalist fantasy, but what is extraordinary is that he became interested in contemporary British colonial architecture designed in the so-called Indo-Saracenic style. As he later wrote, ‘The English, a highly cultured people, were not ashamed of researching into the relatively lower culture of a colony, adopting part of it and blending it with their own. Was it not at least as much the duty of us Hungarians to study the culture of our own people and weld it together with our general culture?’   

Lechner was criticised by the conservative Hungarian establishment, which tended to favour neo-baroque. In 1902, the minister of culture announced that ‘I do not like the secessionist style, and…it is not uncommon to meet the secessionist style under the name of the Hungarian style’ and made sure that Lechner received no more public commissions in the capital. Buildings in Budapest designed by Lechner include the Museum of Applied Arts (completed 1896), the Geological Museum (1896-99) and the Postal Savings Bank building (Postatakarékpénztár, 1900–01; with Sándor Baumgarten).

Béla Lajta and Aladár Árkay were initially inspired by Lechner’s secession style.

The other prominent architect was Károly Kós (1883-1977), a leading member of the‘Youngs’.  He was inspired by Hungarian folk culture, especially the Székelys, a Hungarian ethnic group in Transylvania. Buildings in Budapest designed by Kós include the Budapest Zoo and Wekerle Telep, a garden suburb based on the ideas of Ebenezer Howard.

Besides the two ‘homeland’ styles there are several buildings that reflect European trends, notably the Vienna Secession, German Jugendstil and French/Belgium Art Nouveau. Bedö-Ház (House of Hungarian Art Nouveau) houses a museum dedicated to the Hungarian Szecesszio movement. Built in 1903 by Emil Vidor in 1903 for the Bedő family, the house itself shows the influence of French Art Nouveau forms.

Artists/Craftsmen

József Rippl-Rónai: the Hungarian Nabi

One of the most famous artists of the era was József Rippl-Rónai (1861-1927).  A painter and designer, he was a Secession artist to the core, from the clothes he wore to his art. He designed entire interiors, such as the dining room of the Andrássy palace and a stained-glass window for the Ernst Museum. In 1884 he travelled to Munich to study painting at the Academy. Two years later he obtained a grant which enabled him to move to Paris and study with Mihály Munkácsy (1844 – 1900) the most important Hungarian realist painter. In 1888 he met the members of Les Nabis (meaning prophet), a group of French painters associated with the Académie Julian: Pierre Bonnard, Maurice Denis, Paul Ranson, Jean-Édouard Vuillard and Félix Edouard Vallotton. Under their influence he painted his first important work, The Inn at Pont-Aven.  Through Les Nabi he became interested in the decorative arts, which led to designs for tapestries and ceramics.

Aladár Körösföi-Kriesch (1863-1920) and Sándor Nagy (1869-1950) founded the Gödöllő Art Colony, a centre for the visual and applied arts. Many talented young artists attended this arts and crafts school inspired by Ruskin, Morris and the Pre-Raphaelites.

The Gödöllő Artists Colony attempted to realise the artistic and social ideals put forward by Ruskin & Morris. Aladar Körösföi-Kriesch a leading member of the colony published On Ruskin and the English Pre-Raphaelites in which he outlined a reforming role for artists in society and the belief that by making and using handcrafted folk objects people’s lives could be transformed. By training local young people in weaving, pottery, woodwork, and leatherwork they hoped to give them the means to live the ‘good life’ in a rural community rather than emigrating to the cities or to America. They won international acclaim for their craft/design work based on traditional Hungarian and Transylvanian designs. The community played a key role in the development of indigenous Hungarian design and in fostering the myths and legends that would help forge a national identity for Hungary. They were responsible for an influential five-volume study –The Art of the Hungarian People– on vernacular furnishings and architecture.

The Hungarian Tiffany: Miksa Róth

Miksa Róth (1865-1944) is considered the finest stained glass artist of the Szecesszio. His work was repeatedly awarded at international exhibitions. Born in 1865, Miksa Róth was 19 years old when he took over his father Zsigmond’s workshop.   In Budapest, you can see examples of his beautiful work in the Gresham Palace (now the Four Seasons Hotel), Parliament, the Liszt Music Academy, and at his own house-museum. The plans for the stained glass windows of the Parliament building were prepared in 1890. Róth took into account both the light sources, especially on the grand entrance staircase and the building’s interior decoration. He decided to use the Grotesque style associated with the Renaissance era. 

Visiting the 1893 Chicago World Trade Fair, Róth was inspired by the opalescent and “favril” glass made by Louis Comfort Tiffany. The displays featured shimmering, iridescent colours and a marbling effect within the glass. Róth was also influenced by the work of the Pre-Raphaelite artists, particularly partnership between Edward Burne-Jones and William Morris. In 1897, Miksa Róth purchased opalescent glass from the Hamburg glass painter Karl Engelbrecht, and began to regularly order glass from his factory. Róth won the silver medal at the Paris World Exhibition in 1900 with the Pax and Rising Sun mosaics made with opalescent glass. One of Róth’s most significant creations using opalescent glass was for the cupola of the Teatro Nacional in Mexico City, which he carried out according to designs by Géza Maróti.

By the opening years of the 20th century, Róth’s geometric designs show the influence of Jugendstil and the Viennese Secession, as seen in the windows for the Gresham Palace (1907 Zsigmond Quittner and József Vágó) and the Lizst Music Academy (1907 Flóris Korb and Kálmán Giergl). Róth worked with many of the best architects, builders, and designers of the time. Reflecting the varied character of Hungarian architecture at the turn of the century, Róth created windows in many styles: Historic, Hungarian Szecesszio, Art Nouveau, Jugendstil, Viennese Secession and even Mackintosh/Glasgow style.

Róth collaborated with artists from the Gödöllô artists settlement, Sándor Nagy, Ede Toroczkai Wigand and Aladár Körösfői-Kriesch. Together they created the Hungarian Szecesszio style windows and mosaics for the Palace of Culture, Marosvásárhely/ Târgu Mureș, present day Romania.

Zsolnay: architectural ceramics

Located in Pécs, SW Hungary,  Zsolnay, the famous manufacturer of fine porcelain, stoneware, and pottery, especially tiles, was founded in 1853. It was established by Miklós Zsolnay (1800–1880).  In 1863, his son Vilmos Zsolnay (1828–1900) became its director. He led the factory to worldwide recognition by displaying its innovative products at international exhibitions, including the 1873 World Fair in Vienna and the 1878 Universalle Exposition in Paris, where Zsolnay received a Grand Prix. By 1914, Zsolnay was the largest ceramics company in Austro-Hungary.

Early Zsolnay was not marked, but by 1878 the five towers trademark was used. It shows five towers, for the five medieval churches in Pécs. The German name for the city of Pécs is Fünfkirchen, meaning “five churches.” There are three main periods of Zsolnay porcelain production:
(FIRST) 1868 to 1897 – Folklorism, Historicism & Victorian Eclecticism
(SECOND) 1897 to 1920-Art Nouveau/ Szecesszio and Art Deco
(THIRD) 1920 to the present-Modernism.

Pyrogranite, which was practical and ornamental, was in production by 1886. Fired at high temperature, this durable material remains acid and frost-resistant making it suitable for use as roof tiles, indoor and outdoor decorative ceramics, and fireplaces.

Influenced by the iridescent glazes of Clement Massier, Zsolnay produced its own lustre glazes. The factory is noted for developing the eosin process, introduced in 1893. The process results in a light iridescence, hence the term eosin (Greek eos, “flush of dawn”). Different eosin colours and processes were developed over time. Typical colours include shades of green, red, blue, and purple. The eosin-based iridescence became a favourite with the Szecesszio artists, among them Sándor Apáti AbtLajos MackGéza Nikelszky, and József Rippl-Rónai.

Featured

Joaquín Sorolla: Spanish Master of Light

I am presenting a study course on the Spanish painter Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida (1863-1923) for Greater London Arts Society.  The traditional study day with three one-hour sessions will be replaced with three following days, one hour each morning.

The dates are:

Monday 9, 16, 23 November (FULL)

Tuesday 10, 17, 24 November

Due to popular demand Monday is already at full capacity.

But there are still places left for Tuesday.

Start time each morning is 11.00 am.  The session will last until around 12.30/1.00, allowing time for questions and discussions.

The fee for each individual one-hour session is £10, with a bargain rate of £25 for all three.

If you are interested, please contact Susan Branfield….

susanbranfield@waitrose.com

Happy to offer this to all Art Societies, as a study day or short course.

Joaquín Sorolla: Spanish Master of Light

This series of three interconnected lectures follows on from the highly acclaimed exhibition held at the National Gallery, London in 2019.  For many this will have been their first experience of ‘Spain’s John Singer Sargent’.  In his day Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida (1863-1923) was acclaimed for his dexterous representation of people and landscapes under the bright sunlight of his native land.  Sorolla’s work is often exhibited together with that of his contemporaries and friends, Sargent, Anders Zorn and S. Peder Kroyer. The Spanish painter Velazquez influenced their painterly style, all three artists known for their bravura technique. Born in Valencia, Sorolla and his sister were orphaned at an early age. His talent recognised, Sorolla was awarded a grant which enabled a four-year term studying in Rome.  A long sojourn in Paris in 1885 provided his first exposure to modern painting. He created a high-chrome version of impressionism, with many paintings lit and composed like snapshots. His art looks fast; Sorolla was known to be quick, not least because he normally worked outdoors, even when painting on vast canvases.

Sorolla’s breakthrough was but one aspect of Valencia’s fin de siècle culture. Modernisme Valencià was comparable to developments taking place in Barcelona in literature, art and architecture.   Sorolla’s Valencia had opened its eyes to modernity, aided and abetted by both prosperity and a desire to assert Catalan identity. The city was transformed by the architects Demetrio Ribes Marco (1875-1921) and Francisco Mora Berenguer (1875-1961), who was appointed the municipal architect.   Typically, Modernisme Valencià used modern materials, iron, glass and ceramics.  As in Barcelona, mosaics played their part in decorating exteriors and interiors, most notably the famous railway station, Valencia North. Local motifs include oranges, fishermen and the fallera, girls dressed in traditional costumes and jewellery, that parade during Las Fallas, Valencia’s spectacular festival of fire on the 19th March.   Sorolla tried to capture this spirit of Spain in his monument series The Provinces of Spain, depicting all the regions of the Iberian Peninsula, painted for the millionaire Archer Huntington. Famous in his day, Sorolla’s reputation was eclipsed by Cubism and Abstraction.  But like his contemporaries, Sorolla has been recuperated, his art seen to embody the modernity of the fin de siècle.

Three sessions:

Modernisme Valencià: architecture and design

Sorolla: painting quickly out of doors

Visions of Spain

Featured

Pre-Raphaelite Circles: De Morgans and Lovelaces

In her reminiscences, The Lilac and the Rose (1952), Susan Buchan, Baroness Tweedsmuir, the daughter of Caroline and Norman Grosvenor, recalled:

We did not know many artists when we were children. But William de Morgan and his wife were friends of the Lovelaces and I saw them for time to time, though they were hard working artists with little time for social life.  They lived at The Vale, King’s Road and I recall that it was heavy with Virginia Creeper, whose strands had to be parted to allow passage to the house, where a pleasant shabbiness reigned. There was a gentle charm and philosophy about Willian De Morgan and he was a delightful talker. I remember we once went to see them in Florence one evening- in their little apartment. Conversation turned to life after death, and William De Morgan said ‘I should like to be a speck somewhere in the sky when I die, a speck with intense perception’ (1952, p. 56)

This Blog relates to a Zoom presentation I gave on the De Morgans and the Lovelaces for the De Morgan Foundation. Ralph Gordon King Noel Milbanke (1839-1906), Viscount Ockham and Baron Wentworth from 1862 and 2nd Earl of Lovelace from 1893, was William De Morgan’s friend since childhood. He married Mary Caroline Stuart-Wortley (1848-1941) in 1880; Mary attended the Slade School of Art alongside Evelyn Pickering, William De Morgan’s future wife. I first came across Mary Stuart-Wortley while researching Edward Burne-Jones’s painting The Golden Stairs (1880, Tate Britain). Several sources placed Mary on the stairs alongside her contemporaries: Francis Graham, May Morris, Laura Lyttelton and Burne-Jones’ daughter Margaret.

Penelope Fitzgerald, Edward Burne-Jones: A Biography, 1975.

Having never come across her before, I set out to recover Mary Stuart-Wortley’s story. Over the following twenty years this endeavour has taken me down some strange paths. Lady Mary became a prominent activist in the Royal Amateur Art Society, Octavia and Miranda Hill’s Kyrle Society and the Home Arts and Industries Association founded in 1884. It is worth tracing Mary’s trajectory from aspiring artist to committed philanthropist. Her story also offers insight into the complexities of Victorian society. Family ties and friendships formed during childhood and schooling forged alliances later in life. 

As the interconnections through family ties and marital alliances are so complex, I have broken my account of the Stuart-Wortleys into sections on individual family members. I am rapidly concluding everybody in this story is a ‘cousin’.  In addition, we are dancing on the edges the coterie known as The Souls, who dominated intellectual life at the close of the century.

Physical proximity also played its part: Mary’s neighbours in Chelsea included her two brothers, portrait painter Archie Stuart-Wortley and Charles, 1st Baron Stuart of Wortley. The famous tea merchant and anthropologist Elmslie Horniman, George Frederick Samuel Robinson, 1st Marquess of Ripon and Sir Robert Collier, 1st Lord Monkswell, lived close by on the Chelsea embankment, while novelist Henry James resided at Carlyle Mansions on Cheyne Walk.

Marital home of the Wentworths from 1880.

Wentworth House, 12, Chelsea Embankment. Designed by John Hungerford Pollen for Ralph, Lord Wentworth in 1877.

File:George Frederick Samuel - 9 Chelsea Embankment Chelsea London SW3  4LE.jpg - Wikimedia Commons

Turners Reach House, 9, Chelsea Embankment, London

Home of George Frederick Samuel Robinson, 1st Marquess of Ripon. Block designed by Richard Norman Shaw.

No.7 Chelsea Embankment, ‘Monkswell House’.

Designed for the judge and amateur painter Sir Robert Collier, later 1st Baron Monkswell, by R. Phené Spiers, architectural master at the Royal Academy. This large residence also included a flat with a studio for Collier’s son, the Hon. John Collier and his wife Marion Huxley, both professional painters.

Chelsea Lodge built in 1878 for the Hon. Archibald Stuart-Wortley to the design of E.W. Godwin. Archie shared this studio-house with Carlo Pellegrini (1839 – 1889), nicknamed Ape, Italian for Bee.

A Circle of Siblings

Although Oscar Wilde keenly observed Society was ruled by women, Victorian social networks were centred on birth: ancestral, familial and marital ties.  Marriages resulted in complicated interconnecting family genealogies. A web of relationships, family allegiances and alliances, could ensure the progression of one’s career.

Mary or ‘Mamie’, as she was known by her family, was the eldest of nine children.  Her father the Rt Hon. James Archibald Stuart-Wortley, Q.C., M.P., Privy Councillor (1805-81), was the third son of James Archibald Stuart-Wortley-Mackenzie, 1st Baron Wharncliffe.  In 1846 Stuart-Wortley married the Hon. Jane Lawley (1820-1900), who was the daughter of Paul Beilby Lawley Thompson, 1st Baron Wenlock. 

See the source image

Rt Hon. James Archibald Stuart-Wortley, Q.C., M.P.

Mary spent much of her early childhood in a handsome London town house, 3 Carlton Gardens (Tweedsmuir, 1952, p.26). 

Inside London's £95 million mansion - MyLondon

Stuart-Wortley was Solicitor General from 1856 to 1857.  He was expected to become the Speaker of the House of Commons until a crippling stroke (or riding accident) left him a permanent invalid and her mother had to cope with increasingly reduced means (Moore, p. 2).  This necessitated moving out of London, to East Sheen Lodge (which was renamed Wortley Lodge) near Mortlake. With his condition worsening, the family moved back into central London to 16, St. James’s Place. Despite this burden, and the loss of two siblings, William aged 10 and James aged four, who died in 1863, the household was described as ‘a rookery, densely crowded by active talkative young birds.’ (Hayles, p.120). As the eldest daughter, Mary had the greatest family responsibilities, particularly nursing her father.  This may account for her younger sister Margaret marrying before her and her own marriage coming relatively late in life: ‘They were an exceptionally devoted family, and their interests were wide and varied’ (Moore, p.1).

Despite financial difficulties, the Stuart-Wortley boys were well educated. Mary’s eldest brother Archibald, ‘Archie’, Stuart-Wortley (1849-1905) attended Eton from 1862 to 1865 before going up to Merton College, Oxford, where he roomed with Lord Randolph Churchill. However, he did not shine academically, failing to graduate. Forsaking a legal or political vocation, he was apparently encouraged by John Everett Millais to pursue a career as an artist. Deemed Millais’s ‘only pupil’, Archie would become a well-known portrait and sporting painter (Hayles, p121).

His portrait of the great cricketer W.C. Grace, the original at Lords Cricket Museum, in his best known work.

Mary’s younger brother Charles Beilby (1851-1926) went to Rugby and then Balliol College, Oxford before being called to the bar in 1876.  Following a distinguished political career, he was raised to the House of Lords being created the 1st Baron Stuart of Wortley in 1917.  His second marriage in 1886 was to Alice Sophia Caroline Millais, the artist’s third daughter, a romantic attachment surely fostered by his brother’s friendship with the famous painter. Carrie, as she was known in the family and Charles shared an interest in music, playing Grieg and Schumann concertos on two grand pianos at their home, 7, Cheyne Walk, on the Chelsea Embankment. Among their friends were the art critic Claude Phillips, the arts patron Frank Schuster, and the composer Edward Elgar to whom Carrie was known as ‘Windflower’ (Moore, p.2).

Circles within Circles

From left to right

Blanche, Mrs Frederick Firebrace,

Caroline, the Hon. Mrs Norman Grosvenor, married 1881,

Margaret, the Hon Lady Talbot, married 1877 (playing the piano),

Katharine, the Hon Lady Lyttelton, married 1883 (leaning on the piano),

and finally, with her back turned, Mary, Countess of Lovelace.

From Alice Buchan, A Scrap Screen, London: Hamish Hamilton, 1979.

Alice was the daughter of Susan Buchan, Lady Tweedsmuir, who in turn was the daughter of Caroline Grosvenor (nee Stuart-Wortley).

It could be argued that marriage was the making of the Stuart-Wortley girls; in 1877 Margaret (1855- 1937), became the first of the sisters to marry.  Her husband, Major General Hon. Sir Reginald Chetwynd-Talbot (1841-1929), was the third son of Henry, Viscount Ingestre, later 3rd Earl Talbot and 18th Earl of Shrewsbury. From 1869 to 1874, Talbot represented Stafford as a conservative MP. He returned to active duty, serving in the Zulu War (1879), Egypt (1882) and the Nile expedition which did not rescue General Gordon (1884-85). He became General Officer Commanding the British Troops in Egypt in 1899. Talbot was appointed Governor of Victoria, Australia, in 1904. As the Governor’s wife, Margaret, Lady Talbot, ‘far from being… the woman behind the man behind the times’, actively promoted social welfare projects. 

The Talbot match established a pattern, with the Stuart-Wortley girls marrying younger sons from illustrious families.  In 1881 Caroline Susan Theodora (1858-1940) married Captain the Hon. Norman de L’Aigle Grosvenor (1845-98), a younger son of Robert Grosvenor, 1st Baron Edbury, third son of Robert Grosvenor, 1st Marquess of Westminster.

Katherine (1860-1943), the youngest sibling, became the Hon. Mrs Neville Lyttelton in 1883. After a distinguished military career, General Sir Neville Lyttelton (1845-1931) eventually became the Governor of the Royal Hospital, Chelsea.

These liaisons were largely determined by family ties; their mother Hon. Jane Lawley was connected to the Grosvenor family. Jane’s brother, Beilby Richard Lawley, 2nd Baron Wenlock(1818-80)married Lady Elizabeth Grosvenor (1824-99), daughter of Richard Grosvenor, 2nd Marquess of Westminster. Their son Beilby Lawley, 3rd Baron Wenlock (1849-1912), who came into the title in 1880,  married Lady Constance Mary Lascelles (1852-1932), daughter of the 4th Earl of Harewood. Lady Constance Wenlock was a prominent member of The Souls.

Stuart-Wortley cousins therefore include Lady Constance Wenlock and Lady Emmeline ‘Nina’ Welby-Gregory (1867-1955), who married  the notorious ‘rake’  Henry John Cockayne-Cust (1861-1917); all were prominent members of The Souls.


Confused by all the titles and marriages? Don’t worry, the important point is to realize that Victorian society was highly ‘incestuous’.

However, it was Mary Caroline Stuart-Wortley (1848-1941), the eldest sister, who made the most striking match, marrying at the ‘advanced age of thirty-two’, Ralph, Lord Wentworth, afterwards 2nd Earl of Lovelace (1839-1906), the grandson of Lord Byron. Mary’s marriage must have come as a surprise to her family; she had spent much of her life caring for her invalid father and pursuing a career as an artist.  Marriage did not curtail her ambitions, as she continued to exhibit at the Grosvenor Gallery; it was only when her husband inherited the Lovelace title and estates in 1893 that Mary’s life took a different turn. Determined to revive the family’s extensive properties in Leicestershire, Surrey and Somerset, Mary sought instruction from architects C.R. Ashbee and C.F.A. Voysey; she has even been described as Voysey’s pupil.

My next Blog will cover Mary’s career as an artist….


Notes

Some authorities do not hyphenate Stuart Wortley.

Many of the records relating to the Lovelace estates in Leicestershire, Somerset and Surrey were lost after the last world war.  The Blunt Papers are held by the British Museum, the Lovelace Papers are in the Bodleian Library, Oxford.  The latter contains approximately 130 letters relating to Lady Lovelace.

References

Hayles, Sally. 2014. ‘Archibald Stuart Wortley (1849-1905) Sport and Art in Union’, pp.119-32, Barnsley Art On Your Doorstep.

Archibald John Stuart Wortley – Barnsley Art On Your Doorstep barnsleyartonyourdoorstep.org.uk › uploads › 2015/04

Lee, Vernon. 1884. Miss Brown A Novel. Edinburgh and London: William Blackwood & Sons.

Moore, Jerrold Northrop. 1989. Edward Elgar: The Windflower Letters.  Correspondence with Alice Caroline Stuart Wortley and her family. London: Clarendon Press.

Tweedsmuir, Susan, 1952.  The Lilac and the Rose, London: Duckworth.

Jugend Stila/ Jauniešu stils Riga





Riga, the capital of Latvia, is renowned for its fantastic Art Nouveau/Jugendstil buildings built at the beginning of the 20th century. Riga developed rapidly once the city walls were demolished in the mid-19th century (1857-63). The rapid expansion of the population, which almost doubled in the 20 years before the First World war, reaching over half a million, prompted a building boom. Many apartments blocks were constructed along the straight boulevards, laid in a grid pattern, of the ‘new town’.    By the 1930s, Riga was known as ‘The Little Paris of the North’. However, in addition to responding to modernity, with industrialisation and urbanisation signalling a new urban lifestyle, the emergence of Art Nouveau/Jugendstil in Riga also addressed Latvian identity. This helps to explain the variants of the style in the national capital, which reflect both a cosmopolitan internationalism and a desire to forge a distinctly Latvian architectural language based on native vernacular architecture and folk-art forms.  

Academics have broken the different stylistic forms into four categories:

Eclectic or Decorative

Architects simply adopted forms of Art Nouveau/Jugendstil decoration in lieu of earlier styles. The apartments along Alberta iela (Albert Street), many designed by Mikhail Eisenstein, who studied in St Peterburg, are typical. This approach embraced a cosmopolitan internationalism, particularly drawing on French decorative forms (female mascaron/face masks, stylized floral forms and peacocks).

Indicative buildings in the Old Town include:

Alfred Aschenkampf & Max Scherwinsky, Audēju iela 7 (1899), one of the first Jugend Stila buildings in Riga.

Heinrich Scheel et Friedrich Scheffe, Skunu 10/12, for a store for Henrich Dettmann (1903)

Pauls Mandelštams (1872-1941), Kalēju 23/ Meistaru iela 10 (1909).

 

Konstantīns Pēkšēns (1859-1926), 2 rue Smilsu (1902)

Perpendicular or Vertical

About a third of the Art Nouveau/Jugendstil buildings of Riga were built according to these ideals which became popular after c. 1905. The influence of the Vienna Secession and German Jugendstil is clear. Many examples can be found in Brīvības iela, Ģertrūdes iela and, Aleksandrqa Čaka iela. Architects associated with this style include Rūdolfs Filips Donbergs (1864-1918) and later works by Konstantīns Pēkšēns.

National Romantic 

Between 1905 and 1911 architects also tried to create a specific Latvian style of modern architecture, National Romanticism. With many stylistic aspects particular to Latvia, alongside the use of natural building materials, architects drew on vernacular architecture and folk art. There is a notable influence of Finnish National Romantic forms. Eižens Laube, Alberta iela 11, built in 1908, is typical, with its towers and tapered windows.

Neo-Classical

A late variant, a reaction to highly decorated earlier forms. Often used for banks. Fundamentally a return to historicism.

Given this localized diversity it would be useful to devise a Latvian term unique to Riga, such as Riga Jugend Stila, Jauniešu stils or Atdalīšanās (Secession).

Many architects were able to train locally, rather than in St Petersburg or Berlin. The Technical Society was founded in 1864, with some half of its members architects. The Polytechnicum (Riga Polytechnic Institute) opened a department for architecture in 1869. In 1872 the Crafts School of the Riga Trades Association was founded. These new institutions lay outside the immediate control of the Academy in St Petersburg. Graduates of the Riga Polytechnic Institute designed many Jauniešu stils buildings. Most notable were Konstantīns Pēkšēns, J. Alksnis, O. Bārs, R. Donbergs, E. Laube, A.Vanags, P. Mandelštams, E.Pole, B. Bīlenšteins and M. Nukša.

‘First Latvian National Awakening’

With the native Latvian population ‘oppressed’ in turn by the Germans, Swedes, and Russians, by the mid-19th century there was a conscious desire to reassert Latvian identity. Tsar Aleksandr III’s Russification policies stimulated the ‘First Latvian National Awakening’ (1850s-1880s). Krišjānis Valdemārs (1825-91), was the most prominent member of Young Latvia ( Jaunlatvieši). The Latvian language newspaper Mājas Viesis was launched. The Riga Latvian Society, which brought together Latvian intellectuals and radicals, was founded in 1868. The Society reclaimed Latvian history and folklore. Scholars and writers sought to prove that Baltic cultural traditions were as deep as those of other nations.  The ‘First Latvian National Awakening’ was followed by the New Current (Socialist) which led up to the 1905 First Russian Revolution.

In 1891, August Bielenstein was the first scholar to support the establishment of a folklore material archives. Fricis  Brīvzemnieks has been justifiably identified as the founder of Latvian folklore studies. The first collections of folk tales and legends assembled by Brīvzemnieks appeared in 1887. Stories often revolve around pre-Christian deities like the sun goddess Saule and the moon god Mēness. Another major theme is the human life cycle, especially the three major events: birth, wedding, and death (including burial). Ensuring a good harvest was the primary function of Jumis. Many stories revolve around the devil and warding off evil spirits.

Lacking a national hero, Andrejs Pumpurs gathered materials to create a national epic poem Lāčplēsis (Bear Slayer).  Composed between 1872–1887, the saga is set in the Livonian Crusades and the struggle against the German invaders. The Bear Slayer is commemorated on the Latvian Freedom Monument, which marks the brief period of Latvian independence following the First World War.

“I was Born and Raised Singing”

Collecting and publishing folk songs underpinned the ‘national awakening’. The first Latvian Song Festival was held in 1873. ‘Father of Folk Songs’, Krišjānis Barons (1835-1923) collected Latvju Dainas (folk songs). Dainas are lit­tle qua­trains of an­cient Lat­vian wis­dom cap­tured in song. Dating back some thou­sand years, Dainas were sung at cel­e­bra­tions and while at daily work. Songs commemorate Latvian mythology and traditional festivals rather than legendary heroes. They are re­flec­tions on life pre­served in oral form. There are more than 1.2 mil­lion Dainas.  German geographer and traveller J.G. Khol noted in his memoirs (1841): “[..]Every Latvian is a born poet, they all compose verses and songs, and they can all sing these songs [..] They deserve to be called the nation of poets.”

Barons formed the most complete anthology of Latvian folk songs. Between 1894 and 1915 he published seven volumes containing 217, 996 folk song texts. Baron’s Cabinet of Folksongs, containing around 150,000 texts, on slips of paper survives in the National Library of Latvia.

Barons is commemorated at the ‘Song Garden’, Sculpture Park, Sigulda, created by Indulis Ranka in 1985. 25 sculptures by Ranka convey the spirt of the Dainas.  One sculpture depicts Barons as a wise old man, while on the other side are singers from three generations (mother, daughter, granddaughter).  Beside them is a defender – a powerful young man.  The figures protect the dowry chest which symbolizes the dowry of songs. 

The unique character of Latvian culture was celebrated with the publication of Latvju dainas, by Krišjānis Barons, Latvju tautas mūzikas materiāli (Latvian Folk Music Materials) by Jurjāns Andrejs (1856-1922), and the seven-part publication by Ansis Lerhis-Puškaitis, Latviešu tautas teikas un pasakas. (Latvian Folk Tales and Fairy Tales)

The original building of the Riga Latvian Society was designed by J.Baumanis, the first professional Latvian architect, in 1869. It was conceived as a centre for Latvian culture accommodating a theatre as well as the Society’s archives.  Latvian theatre originated within the society. The building was rebuilt in 1909 by Eižens Laube and E.Pole. The decorative panels were designed by Janis Rozentals, Latvia’s leading Symbolist artist. 

Power, Sketch for the fresco for the Riga Latvian Society, 1910Janis Rozentāls.

The leading Latvian artists:

Janis Rozentāls 1866-1916. Trained at the St Petersburg Academy (1888-96). Vilhelms Purvītis was a fellow student. Both joined Rūķis (Elf) a Latvian artists’ society founded in St Petersburg. In 1903 married Elli Forssell (1871–1943), a Finnish singer. 1915 Rozentāls and his family fled to Helsinki. Lived here until his death in 1916.

Vilhelms Purvītis (1872, Zaube, Latvia- 1945 Bad Nauheim, Germany) known as the ‘philosopher of snow’ and ‘father’ of Latvian landscape painting. From 1890 to 1897, he studied at the Imperial Academy of Arts in St Petersburg. In 1899, Purvītis returned to Rīga. After Latvia gained independence, Purvītis became the rector of the Latvian Academy of Art (1919–1934).

Johann Walter-Kurau, also known as Jānis Valters (Latvian) (1869-1932). Studied art at the Imperial Academy of Arts in St. Petersburg with Janis Rozentāls and Vilhelms Purvītis. Left Latvia in 1906 to work in Dresden, then based Berlin from 1916/17.

They were influenced by the Peredvizhniki  (The Wanderers or The Itinerants), a group of Russian Realists who rebelled against the Imperial Academy in 1863. Fourteen students. They founded the Obshchestvo peredvizhnykh vystavok or Society for Travelling Art Exhibitions in 1870. Many of the Peredvizhniki gained fame for their depictions of the Russian land:

Iwan Iwanowitsch Schishkin (1832-96), known as ‘Singer of forest’.

Ilja Jefimowitsch Repin (1844-1930). Some Peredvizhniki canvases were overtly political, such as Ilia Repin’s monumental, Volga Barge Haulers (1870-73), which portrayed the inhumane conditions under which these men worked. Repin, Demonstration on October 17, 1905 (1907) commemorated the First Russian Revolution.  

Arkhip Ivanovich Kuindzhi (c.1842-1910) renowned for his atmospheric landscapes.

Jūlijs Madernieks (1870-1955), founder of Latvian decorative arts and design. Studied at Stiglitz The Central School of Technical Drawing, St Petersburg. Joined Rūķis (Elf) Latvian artists’ society founded in St Petersburg. Won a Travel scholarship to Paris in the late 1890s, where he was introduced to Art Nouveau. Illustrated the magazines Zalktis (1906-10, The Grass Snake) and Vērotājs. 1904 Madernieks established J.Madernieka Drawing and Painting workshop. Published Ornaments (1913) folk art; Patterns (1930)

Eclectic/Decorative Jugend Stila: Alberta iela 

Alberta Street carries the name of the man who founded Riga, Bishop Albert. Now it is one of the most beautiful and splendid streets in the city largely in the Eclectic/Decorative style. The construction of this street took place in a rather short period of time – from 1901 till 1908. The authors of these magnificent buildings are Mihail Eizenšteins (father of the film director Sergei) and Konstantīns Pēkšēns.

These buildings are rich in picturesque sculptural details. You will find astonishing facemasks (laughing, screaming, melancholy or thoughtful) a large bestiary of animals and references to Classical art. These motifs symbolized the spirit of the age, its intense mood, sense of urgency and the rapid pace of development.

Alberta iela 13, a residential building designed by Eisenstein, was built in 1904 for State Counsellor A. Lebedinsky.

Alberta  iela 13, 1904,  Mihail Eizenšteins

Lebedinsky also commissioned apartment houses designed by Eisenstein at Alberta iela 4 (in 1904) and Alberta iela 6 (in 1903) and at Elizabetes iela 10b (in 1903) distinguished by its blue tiled façade. The facades of all these apartment blocks provide a spectacular display of ornamental sculpture. It seems the creative imagination of this architect knew no bounds.

4 Alberta Street (M. Eisenstein 1904). The Lyebedinskiy apartment building

The Secession Building, Vienna, Joseph Maria Olbrich, 1898. The Gorgons: Painting, Architecture, Sculpture.

Black Cats House

In Old City, this National Romantic style building designed by F.Shefel is decorated with two black cats on the roof line (1909). An urban myth maintains that the owner of the building was angry with the City Council leading him to place the cats on top of the roof with their tails up in the direction of the City Council.

Reading

Grosa, Silvija, Art Nouveau in Riga, Riga: Jumava, 2003.

Hämäläinen, Pirjo, Jugend Suomessa, Helsinki: Kustannusosakeyhtiö Otava, 2010

Howard, Jeremy, Art Nouveau International and National Styles in Europe, Manchester: MUP, 1996.

Krastiņs̆, Jānis (ed), Art Nouveau Architecture of Riga, exhibition catalogue, Riga: Riga 800, 1998.

Krastiņs̆, Jānis, Art Nouveau Buildings in Riga, A Guide to Architecture of Art Nouveau Metropolis, Riga: ADD Projekts, 2012.

L’Age Du Symbolisme en Lettonie/The Age of Symbolism in Latvia, exhibition catalogue, Luxembourg: Musee national histoire et d’art Luxembourg, 2010.

Rush, Solveiga, Mikhail Eisenstein. Themes and Symbols in Art Nouveau Architecture of Riga, 1901-06, Riga: Neptns, 2003.

Modernisme Valencià

This post will be one of a series looking at Art Nouveau Architecture. They compliment the publication of my book on Art Nouveau Architecture published by Crowood in November 2020. The post also relates to my series of lectures on the artist Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida (1863-1923) providing a cultural context for the famous Valencian artist. There is a book list at the very end.

Barcelona was not the only Catalan city to respond to modernity and nationalism at the close of the 19th century. Modernisme Valencià is the name given to the new art and literature associated with the Valencian Community:  the architects Demetrio Ribes Marco (1875-1921) and Francisco Mora Berenguer (1875-1961), who was appointed the municipal architect, transformed the regional capital, Valencia, while Vicente Pascual Pastor (1865-1941) and Timoteo Briet Montaud (1859-1925) worked in Alcoy. Alongside Alcoy, Novelda (Alicante) and Sueca are all members of the Art Nouveau European Route.

Typically, Modernisme Valencià used modern materials, iron, glass and ceramics.  As in Barcelona, mosaics played their part in decorating exteriors and interiors. Local motifs include oranges, fishermen and the fallera, girls dressed in traditional costumes and jewellery, that parade during Las Fallas, Valencia’s spectacular festival of fire on the 19th March.  Hundreds of giant papier-mâché figures – the actual fallas – are set alight. 

Route: Modernism in Valencia

We begin at the Estacion del Norte or North Station opened in 1917 (architect Demetrio Ribes Marco). The exterior is covered with oranges, as Valencia was the ‘fruit bowl’ of Spain. The eagle is said to represent speed.

The city’s coat of arms bears a distinctive double L for ‘doubly loyal’ and the red and yellow strips of Catalonia. Above the crown you often see a bat, an emblem that harks back to the Battle of Valencia in 1238. Just before the battle, which would drive out the Moors, a bat is said to have landed on the standard of James I the Conqueror. Even since it has been Valencia’s good luck charm.

Inside we find various mosaics that welcome or bid farewell to travellers in different languages.

Note the use of trencadis, or broken tiles, on the ceiling and columns, as you would find on Modernista buildings in Barcelona.

In the central section note the girl in colourful Valencian costume (a ‘fallera girl’) and the octagonal El Miguelete/ Micalet bell tower, a famous landmark in the old town.

We pass through the Plaza del Ayuntamiento (Town Hall Square) [1931, planned by Javier Goerlich Lleó], with the grandiose Post Office Building on the right hand side. Construction started in 1915 and its inauguration dates to 1923. Miguel Ángel Navarro Pérez (1883-1956)created a flight of fancy topped with a dramatic iron tower-Valencia’s very own Eiffel Tower! Its worth checking out the central hall, capped with a magnificent dome.

The City Hall is made up of two connected blocks: the Casa de la Enseñanza (the old Mayoral School) and the section that was added by the architects Francisco de Mora y Berenguer and Carlos Carbonell Pañella at the beginning of this century.

Modernist neo-gothic buildings facing Plaza del Ayuntamiento, the Suay building on the corner by Francisco Mora dates from 1910.  

From here we head for Calle Colon, one of the main streets of Ensanche, which takes us into the extension to the old city, an area comparable to the Eixample of Barcelona. As we enter Sorní Street, we find the House of Dragons designed in 1901 by José María Manuel Cortina Pérez (1868-1950). As St George is the patron saint of Catalonia, the dragon was a national emblem. This also explains the love of roses. The blood from the slain dragon caused a rosebush to grow. St George offered one of its roses to the princess he had rescued.

The Mercado de Colon (Christopher Columbus Market), built in 1914, was completely restored in 2003 and has become an up-market meeting point with shops and bars. The building was inaugurated on New Year’s Eve 1916 and was designed by the City architect, Francisco Mora, who was influenced by Catalan Modernisme.

The spandrels are filled with mosaics, beautifully over-dressed girls (fallera) picking flowers, oranges and grapes. I love the bulls heads at the top reminding you this was originally a food market.

The area around the Mercado is where you will find the best Modernista residential buildings.

On the Calle Cirilo Amorós (74) this apartment block has plenty of sculptural details. The tripartite windows echo those of Victor Horta in Brussels.

On Gran Vía Marqués del Turia, Casa Ortega (1906) by Manuel Peris Ferrando.

On Calle de la Paz, were find a clutch out outstanding apartment blocks.

Casa Sancho is a mix of different architectural styles, known at the time as Eclecticism. It would be fun to sit in that tower on the corner and watch the world go by on the street below. It was built in 1901 by Joaquin María Arnau Miramón. The blue and white sgraffito frieze around the top of the façade is eye catching.

On the corner facing, Calle de la Paz No.31. Gómez I building, (1903) by Francisco Mora also known as Casa Sagnier I. It was influenced by Valencian Gothic architecture and Gaudi’s Casa Calvet in Barcelona. 

Calle de la Paz, No.21. Gómez II building or Casa Sagnier II (1905) by Mora and Enric Ferran Josep Lluís Sagnier. This also has a striking oriel window dominating the corner.

Edificio Grau, built in 1905 by Pelegrín Mustieles Cano, was originally a private residence for Ángeles Grau. It is now home to the Red Nest Hostel.

Now head back towards the Old Town.

In the Plaza de la Reina (Queen Square), in front of the Cathedral, there are two complimentary Modernista buildings.

Edificio Monforte begun in 1895 by Lucas Garcia Cardona is another architectural mix, blending Eclecticism with Art Nouveau. It pays homage to Ancient Greece, with a frieze of bacchante, female followers of the God Dionysus, interspersed with blue pillars, running around the top of the façade. It was once a famous department store, Almacenes Isla de Cuba (Department Store Island of Cuba) as it opened when the the Cuban Independence War broke out.

On the opposite corner, in a similar style is Edificio Sánchez de León, also built by Lucas Garcia Cardona in 1896. 

In the Market Square you will find the Casa Ordeig built c.1907, by architect Francisco de Mora y Berenguer. Its neo-Gothic motifs are inspired by the nearby La Lonja de la Seda (1483-98, Pere Compte), the late medieval Market Hall and Silk Exchange.

Mora’s building is topped by a complimentary neo-gothic tower. The façade is decorated with blue and white coloured tiles. A distinguishing feature in the box bay-window or mirador.

In front of  La Lonja, we find the Central Market built between 1910 and 1928. The commission was awarded to Alexandre Soler March and Francesc Guàrdia Vidal. It has a dramatic dome 30 meters high. 

Ceramics, iron, stone and stained glass decorate the building’s exterior and interior. Its also has two distinctive weathervanes: a swordfish and a parrot, known by the name of ‘Cotorra del Mercat’.

Saving one of the best buildings to last…on the Plaza de la Almoina we find the quirky Punt de Ganxo. The pilasters on its façade mimic branching trees. The floral sgraffito decoration on a red ground really stands out. The architect is Manuel Perris Ferrando.

Further Reading

Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida (1863-1923)

General

Valencia History of the City Walks and Routes. Valencia: Ajuntament de Valencia

Perio, Javier Garcia. 2015. Benlliure House-Museum. Valencia: Ajuntament de Valencia

Sorolla

Colomer, José Luis; Pons-Sorolla, Blanca; Roglán, Mark A. (eds.) 2015. Sorolla in America: friends and patrons. Dallas: Meadows museum.

Díez, Jose Luis; Barón, Javier (eds). 2009. Joaquín Sorolla: 1863-1923. London: Thames & Hudson.

Facundo, Tomás (ed.) 2007- 2009. Epistolarios de Joaquín Sorolla. 3 v. Rubí: Anthropos.

Garcia-Bermejo, Jose Maria Faerna. 2015. Masterpieces Joaquín Sorolla. Barcelona: ediciones poligrafa. In Spanish and English editions.

Garcia Sanchez, Laura. Sorolla. Madrid: Susaeta Ediciones.

López Modéjar, Publio. 2017. Sorolla en su paraíso: álbum fotográfico del pintor. Madrid: Fundación Sorolla. In Spanish and English. 

López Fernández, María. 2016. Sorolla and the Paris years. New York: Skira Rizzoli. 

Menéndez Robles, María Luisa (ed.). 2015. Joaquín Sorolla: técnica artística. Madrid: Tecnos.

Pons Sorolla, Blanca. 2012. Sorolla: obras maestras. Marid: El Viso. 

Exhibition Catalogues

Cazando impresiones: Sorolla en pequeño formato. Madrid: El Viso, 2019. 

Fiesta y color: la mirada etnográfica de Sorolla. Madrid: Fundación Museo Sorolla, 2013.

Sargent / Sorolla. Madrid: Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, 2006.

Sorolla: Spanish master of light. London: National Gallery, 2019. 

Sorolla: un jardín para pintar. Madrid: El Viso, 2017. 

Sorolla y la Hispanic Society: una visión de la España de entresiglos. Madrid: Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, 1998

European Naturalism/Impressionsim/Modernisme

Donate, Merce; Fondevila, Mariangels; Mendoza, Cristina; Quilez I Corella, Fransesc. 2010. Modernisme in the MNAC Collections. Barcelona: MNAC (Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya.

Thompson, Richard. 2012. The Art of the Actual Naturalism and Style in Early Third Republic France, 18880-1900. New Haven

Pre-Raphaelite Circles: Artistic Chelsea

Monkswell House, 7 Chelsea Embankment

Robert Collier, 1st Baron Monkswell

Mary Collier, Lady Monkswell 1849-1930

Hon. John Collier 1850-1934

Marion Huxley Collier 1859-87

My presentation on the De Morgans and Lovelaces, for the De Morgan Foundation, included the Lovelace’s neighbours on the Chelsea Embankment. The Lovelaces lived at No.12, Wentworth House, commissioned by Ralph King-Noel-Milbanke, Baron Wentworth, later 2nd Earl of Lovelace, Byron’s grandson. The area became a renowned artistic enclave best described as ‘haute-bohemian’, as residents along the Embankment included Sir Percy Florence Shelley, 3rd Baronet of Castle Goring, the son of the poet, and solicitor and art collector Wickham Flower.   At No.7, Monkswell House, commissioned by Sir Robert Porrett Collier, 1st Baron Monkswell, we find another artistic family. This magnificent town house, described as a ‘Victorian country house brought to town’, housed the entire Collier clan. It was a complicated household, with Sir Robert’s son, the artist the Hon. John Collier and his wife Marian ‘Mady’ Huxley, accommodated in a self-contained flat and studio with a separate entrance behind on Dilke Street. The premises comprised:

the big studio on the 1st floor & the billiard room on the ground floor. There was sufficient space in the billiard room for another if rather smaller studio. There were enough small rooms built off the big studio to make it a self-contained domicile…The connecting link between the studio (Dilke Street) portion of the house & the main building fronting the Chelsea Embankment was a large greenhouse. (Collier 29)

Monkswell House, 7 Chelsea Embankment, designed by R. Phené Spiers, architectural master at the Royal Academy.

Despite his aristocratic title, the Hon. John ‘Jack’ Maler Collier (1850-1934) was no amateur ‘Sunday afternoon painter’. His father, Sir Robert acted as Solicitor General and Attorney General before serving as a full-time judge of the Privy Council.

Sir Robert Collier, later 1st Lord Monkswell, 1817-1886

Sir Robert Collier, The Jossen Horn (Christie’s South Kensington, 2002)

A gifted amateur artist himself, Sir Robert encouraged his son’s artistic ambitions. Collier recalled, ‘I was a younger son and my father thought he might risk it’ (Obituary, Yorkshire Post) The Collier family appears to have been exceptionally talented; Sir Robert’s brother, Arthur Bevan Collier (1832-1908) was a professional artist best known for his Scottish, Welsh, and Cornish landscapes.  

Arthur Bevan Collier, Carthamartha (Plymouth City Council)

Hon. John Collier, Portrait of Robert Collier, 2nd Baron Monkswell (1845-1909), Secretary of State for War in 1895, Chairman of the Royal Commission on Health and Safety for Miners and author of the novel Kate Grenville (City of London Guildhall Art Gallery, formerly in the GLC Heritage Collection). After Sir Robert’s death in 1886, Robert succeeded his father as the 2nd Lord Monkswell.

John’s elder brother Robert (‘Bob’) and his wife Mary (nee Hardcastle, 1849-1930) were also content to live in this patriarchal fashion; no doubt they enjoyed being cared for by eighteen servants. As Mary Collier tells us in her journal, Monkswell House was a pleasant place to live: ‘A big red house, where we shall all live, with stables, billiard room & studio- a separate drawing room for me and a study for Bob…This will suit me down to the ground as we shall have country air & yet be in town’. (Collier 28) The neighbours were certainly of the right calibre: ‘To the East of us are three houses supposed to belong to Shelly, Lowndes [barrister and writer John James Lowndes, 1814-91]  & Dundas [Hon. John Charles Dundas, youngest son of Lawrence Dundas, 1st Earl of Zetland, 1845-92] (Collier 29). Able ‘to live in one of the nicest houses in London with that view of a mile of river, and right up to Sydenham; very often to use the family carriage; to be allowed to give 4 or 5 dinner parties of our own…’ the Colliers saw no reason to move out. (Gooch 97)

Mary, Lady Monkswell’s journals provide a rich source of information on the Collier/Hardcastle/Huxley families. As Mary was a fellow-student of John Collier at the Slade School of Art, they also provide insight into artistic life. However, the published journals, edited by her youngest son Eric Cecil Frederick Collier were expurgated. With access to the uncensored volumes in the Dorset History Centre, Simon Gooch was able to present a more accurate picture in his The Collier Family (2007), particularly Mady Huxley’s tragic descent into psychosis and John Collier’s subsequent marriage to her sister Ethel ‘Babs’ Huxley (1866-1941). Such a union was not possible in England before the passing of the Deceased Wife’s Sister’s Marriage Act 1907. Lady Monkswell did not approve, cutting the Collier’s off.

A Liberal MP, Robert Collier’s politics were radical, which must have placed him at odds with his wife. While he endorsed Irish Home rule, she was a flag-waving jingoistic Unionist. Nevertheless, she supported his political career becoming a dutiful wife, making the social rounds and holding dinner parties. As to her brother-in-law, John Collier, she considered his ‘views most advanced’.(Collier 9)

As a young woman she took her time at the Slade seriously, even continuing to attend after her marriage: ‘I went to my Slade school and worked for 2 ¼ hours at the head of my Apollo Belvedere. My enthusiasm is somewhat cooled by hearing that it is only a Roman copy of the Greek original’. (Collier 9, 29 Jan 1874) Her son Eric claimed, ‘in drawing and painting she could be really good’ (Collier ix). Mary was present to see her brother-in-law John Collier  awarded 1st prize for the painting from life: ‘All the students were assembled in the life room in a great semi-circle some 200 or more & Poynter [Edward Poynter, first director) lectured upon the competition drawings and announced the prizes’. (Collier 13, June 1874)

Mary was keen gallery goer: ‘We went to the Academy & had a good look at all the pictures except the popular Roll-Call by Miss Thompson which was surrounded by a struggling multitude’ (Collier 13, May 1874). In June 1877, we find Mary visiting Mr Heathcote’s ‘amateur drawings’: ‘in nearly all the “amateur” was very strong’, and practice at drawing was sorely needed (Collier 24).  

In addition to her education at the Slade, Mary Collier had the benefit of tuition and criticism from her father-in-law and John Collier.  Lawrence Alma-Tadema, a close friend of Sir Robert, was a regular visitor to Monkswell House.  Mary recalled a visit to Alma-Tadema’s studio-house, Townshend House, Regent’s Park, in 1878:

I went to a party at Alma Tadema’s which suited me exactly. I sat on a comfortable sofa & heard Brühl (?), a new man, play a most wonderful what I took to be a fantasia of Liszt’s. Then dear Joachim [Joseph Joachim, the famous violinist) played a Bach suite and afterwards these two great swells played the 2nd part of the Kreutzer Sonata together. My eyes, it was nice!… Joachim’s sleepy eyes blazed open & his face quite changed while he played.

I afterwards examined Tadema’s picture for Sir H. [Henry] Thompson [the famous physician]- a Roman inner court planted quite full with great red poppies & sunflowers. The story of the picture seemed to be that the Roman father & mother have just come back home & are being welcomed by a charming little daughter aged about 12. The mother, a young woman with red hair, a glorified edition of Mrs Tadema, is embracing the daughter. Behind is a smaller daughter sitting on her heels & beckoning to a Skye terrier (I did not know they existed with the ancient Romans). The father is coming down some steps on the right with a grand toga. It looks so natural and life-like that I can hardly believe the originals are buried along the Appian way….

It was certainly a very distinguished party. Alma Tadema, one of the first of living painters. Sir Henry Thompson, the first of living surgeons. Thomas [Huxley], the first physiologist. [Robert] Browning, poet. (Collier 31)

A Corner of a Roman Garden or Hearty Welcome (1878, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford) features Alma-Tadema’s family: his second wife, Laura Epps and his daughters by his first wife, Laurence and Anna. Much later John Collier would paint Laurence Alma-Tadema’s portrait; an accomplished novelist and poet, her artistic dress indicates that Laurence wished to be depicted as a successful New Woman.

Miss Laurence Alma-Tadema, 1864-1940 (exhibited at the RA 1900)

Alma-Tadema and his wife were invited to John Collier and Mady Huxley’s wedding on 30th June 1879. After the service, Mary was ‘very much pleased and amused by sitting in the little garden, talking and looking at Herbert Spencer [philosopher and biologist], Alma Tadema, Sir Joseph Hooker [botanist and explorer, Darwin’s closest friend] & Mrs Alma Tadema, who was enveloped in a most wonderful garment which looked like a cream coloured pillow case.’ (Collier 36)

Much later, in 1893, Lady Monkswell recorded a trip to Alma-Tadema’s studio in the company of Henrietta Vyne, Lady Ripon, her neighbour who lived at ‘Turners Reach House’, 9 Chelsea Embankment:

It was a delightful afternoon. I picked her up & she talked to me in her charming, brilliant emotional manner all the way up to St John’s Wood. Old Tadema was most attentive to us & showed her everything. I had seen before the studio with the apse lined with silver, & the upper gallery & the Pompeian Court where he writes his letters, & the recess looking into the greenhouse with the painted panels. But Tadema himself is as the hymn says, ‘new every morning’. I certainly had not seen the garden door; the upper half is very thick inlaid glass in a sort of Japanese design with a broad border of what might well be uncut jewels. It faces east & Tadema said in his wonderful enthusiastic, eloquent & also unintelligible manner (the manner of genius) ‘When the sun shines through it, it is like a hallelujah’. He said another pretty thing; we were remarking how forward the trees were in his garden & I was lamenting their infatuation at coming out & being frost-bitten year after year—He half whispered to me ‘It is because they are getting old—they forget’. (Collier 220-1)

‘I had seen before the studio with the apse lined with silver, & the upper gallery’

Alma-Tadema’s Studio-House, Grove End Road: Rudolph de Cordova, ‘Hall of Panels’, The Strand Magazine (December 1902). This numbered fort-five panels, a memorial to an entire circle of artist-friends. John Collier contributed Temple at Philae (The Windsor Magazine, Vol. XX, 1904, p. 255). 

As her family grew- her first son, Robert Alfred Hardcastle Collier, was born in December 1875- and her husband’s political career prospered, Mary evolved into a society grand dame. Her social circle was wide and varied judging by the dinner parties she attended.  In 1886 the Colliers died with the Stewart Hodgsons. James Stewart Hodgson, a partner in Barings bank, was a patron of Frederic Leighton, PRA. Mary Collier sat between her host and George du Maurier, the famous cartoonist, observing ‘he is quite absurdly like Alma Tadema.’ (Collier 125)  March 1889 saw them dining with their neighbours the Wentworths: Mary Collier was almost overwhelmed at meeting the ‘GOM’(Grand Old Man), William Ewart Gladstone, even though he was undermining the ‘foundations of the Empire’ with Irish Home Rule. On this occasion she sat between Mr Leveson Gower [Edward Frederick Leveson-Gower, Liberal MP for Bodmin] and the American author Henry James: ‘Every word he says is worth taking down’ (Collier 148).  At a ‘nice party at the George Trevelyans’, Mary attempted to converse with Trevelyan, ‘one of the most interesting men in London to talk to, tho’ he does not converse, he holds forth & you have to listen- but that suits me.’ (Collier 149) Apparently, it looked as if the curse of Cain were upon Trevelyan, as ‘his right eyelashes are white and his left black. Perhaps this is since he turned Home Ruler.’

Dinner Guests:

Sir Lawrence Alma Tadema, 1836-1912

George du Maurier, 1834-96

Sir George Otto Trevelyan, 2nd Baronet, 1838-1928

Mary invited the ‘great and the good’ to her own dinner parties. In May 1889, the ‘pretty members of the party’ were Virginia, Lady Goldsmid (‘a fair Italian… with lovely blue eyes, a sweet smile & a sweet voice’) and Dorothy, Lady Grey, the wife of Sir Edward Grey, ‘a very young Gladstonian member’[later 1st Viscount Grey of Fallodon]: ‘There was a perfect roar of conversation; I don’t think anyone was bored’. (Collier 149-50)

Dorothy, Lady Grey, the wife of Sir Edward Grey, by Cyril Flower, 1st Baron Battersea (NPG)

There were also plenty of house parties, such as the long weekend with the Goldsmids at their country estate Somerhill, near Tonbridge, Kent in November 1884.  Sir Julian Goldsmid, 3rd Baronet, lawyer, businessman and Liberal MP, expanded Somerhill, a Jacobean mansion, to accommodate his large family – he had eight daughters!  Mary Collier entered the mansion with some trepidation but as Count Münster and Mrs Childers treated her kindly she ‘felt in my proper place.’ (Collier 117) Georg Herbert Fürst zu Münster von Derneburg, German diplomat and politician, served as ambassador to London 1873–1885.  Hugh Culling Eardley Childers was appointed Secretary for War in the Liberal Government returned in 1880; by 1882 he was Chancellor of the Exchequer.  It would have been his second wife, Katherine Anne Gilbert, who reassured Mary, who was suffering from ‘imposter syndrome’.

Mary’s accounts of dinner parties, musical soirees, and ‘weekends’ catalogue an incredible array of ‘swells’, with many celebrities drawn from the world of politics and diplomacy. The Huxley family introduced men of letters, scientists, and figures from the medical profession into the mix. John Everett Millias, Lawrence Alma Tadema, Frank Dicksee and George du Maurier added a touch of glamour; these successful artists enjoyed an unprecedented degree of social mobility.   

Sir Julian Goldsmid, 3rd Baronet, 1838-96

Unlike her sister-in-law Mady Collier, Mary Collier never professionally exhibited.  Like many lady artists, she painted for pleasure and used her artistic talents to support her philanthropic causes.  When the committee of the Amateur Art Society asked for a sketch for their annual exhibition, she never refused; ‘ her sketch- usually of flowers, but she was just as good at landscape—was invariably sold at once’ (Collier x).

Mary, Lady Collier, Walkham River, Devon (1898, Private Collection)

John Collier, portrait of Mary Collier (1874, private collection)

In July 1874 Mary sat to John Collier for her portrait: ‘I gave Jack a long sitting for my picture which is gradually getting a little more like. Artists conspire to make me the living image of despair when my disposition is rather cheerful otherwise.’ (Collier 14) When not able to sit, Jack had improvised a lay-figure; ‘It gives one a horrid shock to see your favourite gown suffered with cushions sitting on a raised chair in the most indifferent manner’.   Fortunately, Mary was pleased with the final outcome: ‘Jack has made the most flattering likeness of me: I look so mild, sensible and pleasant I really do not know myself; I could not wish of anything better to go down to posterity (Collier 14, July 1874)

The Hon. John Collier and his wife Mady Huxley Collier will be the subject of separate blogs.

You can also watch a short video on the Hon. John Collier’s portrait of Lewis Waller as Monsieur Beaucaire on my YouTube channel:

Anne Anderson Art and Design History Channel – YouTube

www.youtube.com › channel

Acknowledgements

My research on the Hon. John Collier and his family would not have been possible without the assistance of Simon Gooch who supplied me with a PDF copy of his book on the Collier Family.

The full, unexpurgated diaries of Lady Monkswell are held at the Dorset History Centre.

References

Collier, Hon. E.C.F. 1944.  A Victorian Diarist Extracts from the Journals of Mary, Lady Monkswell 1873-1895. London: John Murray.

Gooch, Simon. 2007. The Collier Family. Privately Printed.

Obituary, Yorkshire Post. ‘Hon John Collier, Artist Dies in his 85th Year’, Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer, Thursday 12th April 1934, p.5.

Pre-Raphaelite Circles: Mary Caroline Stuart-Wortley, Lady Artist

Mary Caroline Stuart-Wortley on her Wedding day on 30th December 1880

Although needed at home to nurse her invalid father, Mary Stuart-Wortley wanted to be a professional artist. She even considered commercial work, notably designing greetings cards. Perhaps she hoped to supplement the family’s income. According to family tradition Mary yearned to be an artist from her youth: ‘She ardently wished to study painting, and she put all the force of an exceptionally strong will into becoming an artist. She decided to have training at the Slade School in Gower Street.  Her parents always bent to her will and they agreed to this’ (Tweedsmuir 1952, p. 28). Unlike the Royal Academy Schools, the Slade, which opened in 1871, admitted both male and female students to the life classes.

Although Mary might have envied her brother Archie’s educational opportunities, he likewise enrolled at the Slade.  Their attendance may have overlapped, as Mary was enrolled c.1872-73. She would have found herself in the company of Evelyn Pickering (1855-1919), who married William De Morgan in 1887 and Mary Fraser-Tytler (1849-1938), the second wife of the painter and sculptor George Frederick Watts. 

Evelyn De Morgan: pioneering professional female artist - The De Morgan  Foundation

Drawings from cast and life undertaken by Evelyn De Morgan at the Slade School of Art, De Morgan Collection. 

Apparently, Mary S-W hung her martial home Wentworth House with Evelyn’s paintings.  Her family had little regard for them, although ‘they respected Evelyn de Morgan as a hard-working and dedicated artist’ (Tweedsmuir 1966, p. 23). I only painting I can securely document is The Sea Maidens (1886), as this was returned to Mrs Wilhelmina Stirling, Evelyn’s sister and biographer.

‘Aunt Mary had strong views about the necessity of helping artists of her date and age, and she inveighed against the many people who bought old masters or hung reproductions on their walls’. Mary preferred ‘the company of architects and craftsmen’ (Tweedsmuir 1966, p.23).

Susan Buchan, Lady Tweedsmuir claims that once married, her aunt had ‘to endure a quiet and ingrown existence’ (1966, p.22). Her ‘strange and lonely life caused her opinions to be frozen into the attitudes of her youth’. Mary, Lady Monkswell’s Diary, gives us a rather different picture of life at Wentworth House (Sat 16th March 1889; Collier 1944, p.148):

‘We dined with the Wentworths our neighbours & had the great, almost overwhelming honour of meeting the Grand Old Man (William Ewart Gladstone). I cannot say what I feel when I see him & consider his wonderful appearance his age (79), his past…I sat between an agreeable Mr Leveson Gower & Henry James, the American…Every word he says is worth taking down.’

Also present was Lady Compton, 5th Marchioness of Northampton (1860-1902) the Hon. Mary Florence Baring, daughter of the 2nd Baron Ashburton. Lady Monkswell noted ‘I should like to have her for a friend’. Apparently she was ‘the only child of an exigeante Mother & had to look after an exigeant husband & a very exigeant father-in-law’ (p.149). On the evening in question she was wearing black velvet with strings of diamonds & turquoises, ‘tall & pretty but extremely thin, which is not to be wondered at’.

Lady Monskwell observed: ‘Wentworth House was charming, full of old pictures, china and the central figure Lady Wentworth, with her fair hair, in white and diamonds’.

Lady Monkswell, nee Mary Josphine Hardcastle (1849-1930), married Hon. Robert Collier in 1873, becoming Lady Monkswell upon the death of her father-in-law Robert Collier, 1st Baron Monkswell (1817-1886).

Mary Hardcastle also enrolled at the Slade during its opening years, her attendance perhaps overlapping with her brother-in-law, the Hon. John (Jack) Collier (1850-1934), who took 1st prize for painting from life in 1874.

Mary Hardcastle, Lady Monkswell by the Hon. John Collier

Portrait of the Hon. John Collier by his wife Marion Huxley (1859-87)

The Slade attracted serious female students from the middle and upper classes. Their aspirations were satirized by novelist Vernon Lee:

‘Young ladies, varying from sixteen to six-and-thirty, with hair cut like medieval pages, or tousled like moenads [sic], or tucked away under caps like 18th century housekeepers, habited in limp and stayless garments, picturesque and economical, with Japanese chintzes for brocade, and flannel instead of stamped velvet– most of which young ladies appeared at one period, past, present, or future, to own a connection with the Slade school, and all of whom, when not poets or painters themselves, were the belongings of some such’ (1884, p.309).

According to her niece, Mary S-W was the only girl in the family with no dress sense. Allegedly, she never wore corsets. Her family clearly regarded her as an ‘oddity’, referring to her paintings as ‘Mary’s Daubs’.  Yet Mary was still anxious to safe-guard her social position as a respectable lady. Travelling from St. James’s Place to the Slade on Gower Street was a tricky task:

‘When she was young, no girl of quality could be seen alone in the street without scandal.  She had to leave too early for the schoolroom party and their governess to be free to go with her. Her mother’s maid was busy with the much more congenial task of running up the seams of cheap stuff for ball dresses for the young ladies, and the daily ride in a four-wheeler (hansoms were barred as being too exposed to the public gaze) was much too expensive to be contemplated.  However, by sheer force of character and insistence she managed to get an escort through the danger zone of Bond Street and Regent Street, where friends and acquaintances might be met.  Then, alone, she embarked on a quick rush through the remaining streets till she reached the Slade, and she told me amusingly of her terror lest any friends, returning in a luggage-laden four-wheeler from King’s Cross or Euston, should catch a glimpse of her.  After all these dangers were past, she stood at her easel all day, walked to within a shilling fare for a cab in the evening, and came home to amuse her invalid father’ (Tweedsmuir 1952, p.28). 

Mary would have studied under Edward Poynter, Burne-Jones’s brother-in-law, who was appointed the first Slade Professor at University College in 1871. 

Edward Poynter 1836-1919

Poynter forged a friendship with the Stuart-Wortley family through several different avenues.  He was a close friend of Millais, who tutored Mary’s brother Archie. Through Millais, Poynter secured a prestigious commission from Edward Montagu-Stuart-Wortley-Mackenzie, Earl of Wharncliffe (1827-99), Mary’s cousin. Poynter was charged with decorating the billiard room of Wortley Hall, near Sheffield, in June 1871.  Poynter’s pencil drawing of Margaret Stuart-Wortley, dated 1875, appears to have been a preliminary study for a portrait (Christie’s Victorian Paintings, 1995, Lot No.66, p.43).

It seems probable that Mary was introduced to Edward Burne-Jones by Poynter. Their relationship is dealt with in a further post.

Although Mary allied herself to the avant-garde, preferring to show her paintings at the Grosvenor Gallery rather than the annual summer exhibition of the Royal Academy, her style was informed by Poynter’s academic standards. Her illustrations to The Story of Zelinda and the Monster or Beauty and the Beast, re-told after the old Italian version and done to pictures by Mary Stuart Wortley, Countess of Lovelace (London: Dent, 1895) would appear to place her amongst the so-called ‘Olympians’. The classical setting echoes paintings by Poynter and Lord Frederic Leighton.

There stood the Monster, and he came down to meet them.

“Zelinda, canst thou love me?”

Marriage did not deter Mary, Lady Wentworth from exhibiting. The following were shown at the Grosvenor Gallery, the titles giving us a good idea of the subject matter she was attracted too:

1879: Evening on the Cherwell

1882: Perdita

Here’s flowers for you; hot lavender, mints, savory, majoram.

The marigold that goes to bed wi‘ the Sun, And with him rises weeping.

1884: Bavarian Orchard

Marsh Marigolds

April Gardening

1885: In an upright country

Portrait of Five Sisters.

Of these works, only a photographic copy exists of Portrait of Five Sisters in the archives of the National Portrait Gallery. Mary based her self-portrait on an image by Frederick Hollyer (1837-1933), the famous photographer who reproduced many paintings by Burne-Jones. She sits with her face in profile, turned away from the viewer. Both the painting and the photograph depict a fashionably dressed lady, not the ‘oddity’ described by Susan Tweedsmuir.

References

Collier, Hon. E. C. F. 1944. A Victorian Diarist Extracts from the Journals of Mary, Lady Monkswell, 1873-1895, London: John Murray.

Lee, Vernon. 1884. Miss Brown A Novel. Edinburgh and London: William Blackwood & Sons.

Tweedsmuir, Susan. 1952.  The Lilac and the Rose, London: Duckworth.

Tweedsmuir, Susan. 1966. The Edwardian Lady. London: Duckworth.

Pre-Raphaelite Circles: De Morgans and Lovelaces — Anne Anderson

In her reminiscences, The Lilac and the Rose (1952), Susan Buchan, Baroness Tweedsmuir, the daughter of Caroline and Norman Grosvenor, recalled: We did not know many artists when we were children. But William de Morgan and his wife were friends of the Lovelaces and I saw them for time to time, though they were hard […]

Pre-Raphaelite Circles: De Morgans and Lovelaces — Anne Anderson