Spirit of England - The Arts - Painting

Great English Painting
see also 'Great Art'

The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood

The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood was a group of English painters, poets, and critics, founded in 1848 by William Holman Hunt, John Everett Millais and Dante Gabriel Rossetti.
The three founders were soon joined by William Michael Rossetti, James Collinson, Frederic George Stephens and Thomas Woolner to form a seven-member "brotherhood".
The group's intention was to reform art by rejecting what they considered to be the mechanistic approach first adopted by the Mannerist artists who succeeded Raphael and Michelangelo. They believed that the Classical poses and elegant compositions of Raphael in particular had been a corrupting influence on the academic teaching of art, hence the name "Pre-Raphaelite". In particular, they objected to the influence of Sir Joshua Reynolds, the founder of the English Royal Academy of Arts.
They wanted to return to the abundant detail, intense colours, and complex compositions of Quattrocento Italian and Flemish art.
The Pre-Raphaelites have been considered by some to be the first 'avant-garde' movement in art, though they have also been denied that status, because they continued to accept both the concepts of history painting and of mimesis, or imitation of nature, as central to the purpose of art, however, the Pre-Raphaelites undoubtedly defined themselves as a reform-movement, created a distinct name for their form of art, and published a periodical, 'The Germ', to promote their ideas.
Their debates were recorded in the 'Pre-Raphaelite Journal'.
Artists who were influenced by the Brotherhood include John Brett, Philip Calderon, Arthur Hughes, Evelyn De Morgan, Frederic Sandys (who came into the Pre-Raphaelite circle in 1857), and John William Waterhouse.
Ford Madox Brown, who was associated with them from the beginning, is often seen as most closely adopting the Pre-Raphaelite principles.
One follower who developed his own distinct style was Aubrey Beardsley, who was pre-eminently influenced by Burne-Jones.

Jesus Washing Peter's Feet
Fird madox Brown

Astarte Syriaca

Dante Gabriel Rossetti

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(1833 - 1898)
George Frederick Watts

Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones, 1st Baronet (28 August 1833 – 17 June 1898) was an English artist and designer closely associated with the later phase of the Pre-Raphaelite movement, who worked closely with William Morris on a wide range of decorative arts as a founding partner in Morris, Marshall, Faulkner, and Company.
Burne-Jones's early paintings show the heavy inspiration of Dante Gabriel Rossetti, but by the 1860s Burne-Jones was discovering his own artistic "voice".
In 1877, he was persuaded to show eight oil paintings at the Grosvenor Gallery (a new rival to the Royal Academy).
These included 'The Beguiling of Merlin'.
The timing was right, and he was taken up as a herald and star of the new Aesthetic Movement.
In addition to painting and stained glass, Burne-Jones worked in a variety of crafts; including designing ceramic tiles, jewellery, tapestries, mosaics and book illustration, most famously designing woodcuts for the Kelmscott Press's Chaucer in 1896.

In 1864 Burne-Jones was elected an associate of the Society of Painters in Water-Colours (also known as the Old Water-Colour Society), and exhibited, among other works, 'The Merciful Knight', the first picture which fully revealed his ripened personality as an artist.
The next six years saw a series of fine watercolours at the same gallery.
In 1866 Mrs Cassavetti commissioned Burne-Jones to paint her daughter, Maria Zambaco, in 'Cupid finding Psyche', an introduction which led to their tragic affair.
In 1870, Burne-Jones resigned his membership following a controversy over his painting 'Phyllis and Demophoön'.
The features of Maria Zambaco were clearly recognizable in the barely draped Phyllis (as they are in several of Burne-Jones's finest works), and the undraped nakedness of Demophoön coupled with the suggestion of female sexual assertiveness offended Victorian sensibilities. Burne-Jones was asked to make a slight alteration, but instead "withdrew not only the picture from the walls, but himself from the Society."
During the next seven years, 1870–1877, only two works of the painter's were exhibited.
These were two water-colours, shown at the Dudley Gallery in 1873, one of them being the beautiful 'Love among the Ruins', destroyed twenty years later by a cleaner who supposed it to be an oil painting, but afterwards reproduced in oils by the painter.
This silent period was, however, one of unremitting production.
Hitherto Burne-Jones had worked almost entirely in water-colours.
He now began a number of large pictures in oils, working at them in turn, and having always several on hand.
The first Briar Rose series, 'Laus Veneris', 'the Golden Stairs', the Pygmalion series, and 'The Mirror of Venus' are among the works planned and completed, or carried far towards completion, during these years.
These years also mark the beginnings of Burne-Jones's partnership with the fine-art photographer Frederick Hollyer, whose reproductions of paintings and—especially—drawings would expose a wider audience to Burne-Jones's works in the coming decades.

At last, in May 1877, the day of recognition came, with the opening of the first exhibition of the Grosvenor Gallery, when the 'Days of Creation', 'The Beguiling of Merlin', and the 'Mirror of Venus' were all shown.
Burne-Jones followed up the signal success of these pictures with 'Laus Veneris', 'the Chant d'Amour', 'Pan and Psyche', and other works, exhibited in 1878.
Most of these pictures are painted in brilliant colours.
A change is noticeable next year, 1879, in the 'Annunciation' and in the four pictures making up the second series of Pygmalion and 'the Image'; the former of these, one of the simplest and most perfect of the artist's works, is subdued and sober; in the latter a scheme of soft and delicate tints was attempted, not with entire success.
A similar temperance of colours marks 'The Golden Stairs', first exhibited in 1880.
The almost sombre 'Wheel of Fortune' was shown in 1883, followed in 1884 by 'King Cophetua and the Beggar Maid', in which Burne-Jones once more indulged his love of gorgeous colour, refined by the period of self-restraint.
He next turned to two important sets of pictures, 'The Briar Rose' and 'The Story of Perseus', though these were not completed for some years to come.
Burne-Jones was elected an Associate of the Royal Academy in 1885, and the following year he exhibited (for the only time) at the Academy, showing 'The Depths of the Sea', a painting of a mermaid carrying down with her a youth whom she has unconsciously drowned in the impetuosity of her love.
This picture adds to the habitual haunting charm a tragic irony of conception and a felicity of execution which give it a place apart among Burne-Jones's works.
He formally resigned his Associateship in 1893.
One of the Perseus series was exhibited in 1887, two more in 1888, with 'The Brazen Tower', inspired by the same legend.
In 1890 the second series of 'The Legend of Briar Rose' were exhibited by themselves, and won the widest admiration.
The huge tempera picture, 'The Star of Bethlehem', painted for the corporation of Birmingham, was exhibited in 1891.
A long illness for some time checked the painter's activity, which, when resumed, was much occupied with decorative schemes.
An exhibition of his work was held at the New Gallery in the winter of 1892-1893.
To this period belong several of his comparatively few portraits.
In 1894 Burne-Jones was made a baronet.
Ill-health again interrupted the progress of his works, chief among which was the vast 'Arthur in Avalon'.
In the winter following his death a second exhibition of his works was held at the New Gallery, and an exhibition of his drawings (including some of the charmingly humorous sketches made for children) at the Burlington Fine Arts Club.

(1833 - 1898)

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Frederic Lord Leighton - (1830 - 1896)

Frederic Leighton, 1st Baron Leighton PRA (3 December 1830–25 January 1896), known as Sir Frederic Leighton, Bt, between 1886 and 1896, was an English painter and sculptor.
His works depicted historical, biblical and classical subject matter.
Leighton was born in Scarborough to a family in the import and export business. He was educated at University College School, London. He then received his artistic training on the European continent, first from Eduard Von Steinle and then from Giovanni Costa.
When in Florence, aged 24, where he studied at the Accademia di Belle Arti, he painted the procession of the Cimabue Madonna through the Borgo Allegri.
He lived in Paris from 1855 to 1859, where he met Ingres, Delacroix, Corot and Millet.
In 1860, he moved to London, where he associated with the Pre-Raphaelites.
He designed Elizabeth Barrett Browning's tomb for Robert Browning in the English Cemetery, Florence in 1861.
In 1864 he became an associate of the Royal Academy and in 1878 he became its President (1878–96). His 1877 sculpture, Athlete Wrestling with a Python, was considered at its time to inaugurate a renaissance in contemporary British sculpture, referred to as the New Sculpture.
His paintings represented Britain at the great 1900 Paris Exhibition.Leighton was knighted at Windsor in 1878, and was created a Baronet, of Holland Park Road in the Parish of St Mary Abbots, Kensington, in the County of Middlesex, eight years later.
He was the first painter to be given a peerage, in the New Year Honours List of 1896. The patent creating him Baron Leighton, of Stretton in the County of Shropshire, was issued on 24 January 1896.
Leighton died the next day of angina pectoris.

Frederic Lord Leighton - (1830 - 1896)

'The Sluggard'
Frederic Lord Leighton - (1830 - 1896)


Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema - (1836-1912)

Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema  OM, RA (8 January 1836 – 25 June 1912) was one of the most renowned painters of late nineteenth-century Britain.
Born in Dronrijp, the Netherlands, and trained at the Royal Academy of Antwerp, Belgium, he settled in England in 1870 and spent the rest of his life there.
A classical-subject painter, he became famous for his depictions of the luxury and decadence of the Roman Empire, with languorous figures set in fabulous marbled interiors or against a backdrop of dazzling blue Mediterranean sea and sky.
Admired during his lifetime for his draftsmanship and depictions of Classical antiquity, he fell into disrepute after his death, and only since the 1960s has his work been reevaluated for its importance within nineteenth-century English art.

Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema - (1836-1912)

Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema - (1836-1912)


'Self Portrait'
Henry Scott Tuke, RA RWS

Henry Scott Tuke, RA RWS (12 June 1858–13 March 1929), was an English artist.
His most notable work was in the Impressionist style, and he is probably best known for his paintings of nude boys and young men.
He was born into a Quaker family in Lawrence Street in York.
He was the second son of Daniel Hack Tuke (1827–1895) and Maria Strickney (1826–1917).
In 1875, Tuke enrolled in the Slade School of Art under Alphonse Legros and Sir Edward Poynter.
Initially his father paid for his tuition but in 1877 Tuke won a scholarship, which allowed him to continue his training at the Slade and in Italy in 1880.
From 1881–1883 he was in Paris where he met Jules Bastien-Lepage, who encouraged him to paint en plein air.
While studying in France, Tuke decided to move to Newlyn Cornwall where many of his Slade and Parisian friends had already formed the Newlyn School of painters.
He received several lucrative commissions there, after exhibiting his work at the Royal Academy of Art in London.
Tuke suffered a heart attack in 1928 and died in March, 1929.
In his will he left generous amounts of money to some of the men who, as boys, had been his models.
Today he is remembered mainly for his oil paintings of young men, but in addition to his achievements as a figurative painter, he was an established maritime artist and produced as many portraits of sailing ships as he did human figures.
Tuke was a prolific artist—over 1,300 works are listed and more are still being discovered.

Henry Scott Tuke, RA RWS


Aubrey Beardsley

Aubrey Vincent Beardsley (21 August 1872 – 16 March 1898) was an English illustrator and author.
His drawings, done in black ink and influenced by the style of Japanese woodcuts, emphasized the grotesque, the decadent, and the erotic.
He was a leading figure in the Aesthetic movement which also included Oscar Wilde and James A. McNeill Whistler.
Beardsley's contribution to the development of the Art Nouveau and poster styles was significant, despite the brevity of his career before his early death from tuberculosis.

'Of a Neophyte, and How the Black Art Was Revealed unto Him by the Fiend Asomuel'
Aubrey Beardsley


Sir Edward John Poynter, 1st Baronet, PRA  -  (1836-1919)

Edward Poynter was born in Paris, the son of painter and architect Ambrose Poynter and great grandson of sculptor Thomas Banks.
Poynter's family relocated to England while he was still a young child.
He attended the Royal Academy Schools in 1855 where he exhibited from 1861.
It was at the Royal Academy Schools that he met and became close friends with Pre-Raphaelite painter Simeon Solomon.
After leaving the Academy, Poynter traveled to Italy and was introduced to Lord Frederick Leighton who would help start Poynter's life long interest in classical art.

Sir Edward John Poynter, 1st Baronet, PRA  -  (1836-1919)

'Portrait of John Collier'
(circa 1882-1883)

Marion Collier

The Honourable John Maler Collier OBE RP ROI (27 January 1850 – 11 April 1934), called 'Jack' by his family and friends, was a leading English artist, and an author.
He painted in the Pre-Raphaelite style, and was one of the most prominent portrait painters of his generation.
Both his marriages were to daughters of Thomas Henry Huxley.
He studied painting at the Munich Academy where he enrolled on 14 April 1875 (Register: 3145) at the age of 25.

The Honourable John Maler Collier OBE RP ROI


Herbert James Draper

Herbert James Draper (1863 – 22 September 1920) was an English Classicist painter whose career began in the Victorian era and extended through the first two decades of the 20th century.
Born in London, the son of a jeweller named Henry Draper and his wife Emma, he was educated at Bruce Castle School in Tottenham and then went on to study art at the Royal Academy.
He undertook several educational trips to Rome and Paris between 1888 and 1892, having won the Royal Academy Gold Medal and Travelling Studentship in 1889.
In the 1890s he worked also as an illustrator, settling in London.
In 1891 he married his wife Ida (née Williams), with whom he had a daughter, Yvonne.
He died of arteriosclerosis at the age of 56, at his home on Abbey Road.

'Summer Seas'
Herbert James Draper


'A Sense of Sight' - (Detail)

Annie Swynnerton - (1844 - 1933)

Annie Louisa Robinson Swynnerton (1844 – 24 October 1933) was an English painter.
She was born in Kersal, then a suburb of Manchester. She was one of the seven daughters of solicitor Francis Robinson; she began painting to contribute to the family's support.
Later she trained at the Manchester School of Art and the Académie Julian in Paris.
She married sculptor Joseph Swynnerton in 1883 and lived with him if Rome for much of her maturity.
She was an active feminist and suffragette.
With Susan Dacre she founded the Manchester Society of Women Painters in 1876.
Among her creations were 'Cupid and Psyche'.
In 1922 she became the first female associate of the Royal Academy since the 18th century. She died on Hayling Island in 1933.

Annie Swynnerton - (1844 - 1933)


'Self Portrait'
Charles W. Bartlett - (1860 - 1940)

Charles William Bartlett (born 1 June 1860 in Bridport, Dorset) was an English painter and printmaker.
He studied metallurgy and worked in that field for several years.
At age 23, he enrolled in the Royal Academy in London, where he studied painting and etching. After three years of study in London, he entered the private studio school Académie Julian in Paris, where he studied under Jules Joseph Lefebvre (1836–1911) and Gustave Boulanger (1824–1888).
The Bradford Museums and Galleries (West Yorkshire, UK), the Bristol City Museum and Art Gallery (Bristol, England), the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Honolulu Academy of Arts, and the Library of Congress (Washington, D. C.) are among the public collections holding work by Charles W. Bartlett.

Charles W. Bartlett - (1860 - 1940)


Eric Gill

Arthur Eric Rowton Gill - (22 February 1882 – 17 November 1940) was a British sculptor, typeface designer, stonecutter and printmaker, who was associated with the Arts and Crafts movement.
He is a controversial figure, with his well-known religious views and subject matter being seen as at odds with his sexual and paraphiliac behaviour and erotic art.
Gill was named Royal Designer for Industry, the highest British award for designers, by the Royal Society of Arts.
He also became a founder-member of the newly established Faculty of Royal Designers for Industry.
In 1925 he designed the Perpetua typeface, with the uppercase based upon monumental Roman inscriptions, for Morison, who was working for the Monotype Corporation.
The Perpetua design was followed by the Gill Sans typeface in 1927–30, based on the sans serif lettering originally designed for the London Underground.
In the period 1930–31 Gill designed the typeface Joanna which he used to hand-set his book, 'An Essay on Typography'.
After the initial shock, as Gill's history of adulteries, and incest, became public knowledge in the late 1980s, the consequent reassessment of his life and art left his artistic reputation strengthened.
Gill emerged as one of the twentieth century's strangest and most original controversialists, a sometimes infuriating, always arresting spokesman for man's continuing need of God in an increasingly materialistic civilization, and for intellectual vigour in an age of encroaching triviality

Jesus is Nailed to the Cross
Eric Gill

Perpetua Typeface - 1925
Eric Gill


 'Portrait of Paul Nash'
Rupert Godfrey Lee - (1887-1959)

Paul Nash (11 May 1889 – 11 July 1946) was an English landscape painter, surrealist and war artist, and the older brother of the artist John Nash.
He is widely considered one of the most important English artists of the first half of the twentieth century.

Paul Nash (11 May 1889 – 11 July 1946) 


see also 'Great Art'

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