A Child is Born

a-child-is-born-by-mrs-tun-jou-kuA Child is Born by Mrs. Tun-jou Ku (I-ching Ku).

I-ching Ku, was born ca 1915 in Hanchow, China. She was a well-known artist specializing in birds, flowers and Chinese landscapes. She became a professor of Chinese Art at the National College of Fine Arts, Hanchow, and Tunghai University, Taiwan.

  • She lectured extensively and had her work exhibited in numerous colleges, museums and art shows and at the World’s Fair.
  • She judged art shows and was an expert at authenticating Chinese paintings.
  • She is best known for painting wildlife on stone.

Her husband, Professor Tun-jou Ku died in 1998. I-ching Ku died at the age of 88, at McCandless, Pennsylvania, on October 26, 2003.

She is survived by her sons Andrew and Henry, grandchildren Charlene and Raymond; and great-grandchild Ronan; and in China by her older second brother, younger third sister and younger sixth brother.

Posted in #Art, #Paintings, Oriental Art, Watercolours | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

The Batavia Has it All – Mutiny, Shipwreck and Murder

batavia freemantle museumBatavia was a ship which belonged to the Dutch East India Company. It was built in Amsterdam in 1628 and armed with 24 cast-iron cannons and a number of bronze guns.

  • On 27th October, 1628, she sailed from Texel in The Netherlands to the Dutch East Indies, on a her maiden voyage to obtain spices. It sailed under the commandment of senior merchant Francisco Pelsaert, with Ariaen Jacobsz as his skipper.
  • Also on board was the junior merchant Jeronimus Cornelisz, a bankrupt pharmacist from Haarlem who was fleeing The Netherlands, in fear of arrest because of his heretical beliefs associated with the painter Johannes van der Beeck, (aka) Torrentius.

During the voyage, Jacobsz and Cornelisz conceived a plan to take the ship, which would allow them to start a new life somewhere, using the huge supply of trade gold and silver which would then be on board. They had already gathered a small group of men around them and arranged an incident from which the mutiny was to ensue.

  • After leaving Cape Town, where they had stopped for supplies, Jacobsz deliberately steered the ship off course, away from the rest of the fleet. Batavia became shipwrecked and was made famous by the subsequent mutiny and massacre that took place among her survivors.

In 1972, The Netherlands transferred all rights to Dutch shipwrecks on the Australian coasts to Australia. Some of the items, including human remains, which were excavated, are now on display in the Western Australian Museum – Shipwreck Galleries in Fremantle. Others are held by the Western Australian Museum, Geraldton, north west of Fremantle.

  • The Western Australian Museum in Fremantle houses the original timbers from the ship’s hull in its Shipwreck Galleries.
  • While a great deal of materials have been recovered from the shipwreck site, the majority of the cannons and anchors have been left in-situ.
  • As a result, the wreck remains one of the premier dive sites on the West Australian coast and is part of the Museum’s wreck trail, or underwater “museum-without-walls” concept.

A twentieth-century replica of the ship, also called the Batavia, can be visited in Lelystad, in The Netherlands. The Batavia replica was built with traditional materials, such as oak and hemp, and using the tools and methods of the time of the original ship’s construction. For the design, good use was made of the remains of the original ship in Fremantle.

  • On 25 September 1999, the new Batavia was transported to Australia by barge, and moored at the National Maritime Museum in Sydney.
  • In 2000, Batavia was the flagship for the Dutch Olympic Team during the 2000 Olympic Games. During its stay in Australia, the ship was towed to the ocean once, where it sailed on its own.
  • On 12 June 2001, the ship returned to the Bataviawerf in Lelystad, where it remains on display to visitors.
  • On the evening of 13 October 2008, a fire ripped through the wharf.  Luckily, the  moored Batavia was never in danger.

The reservation and the preservation of the Batavia shows that “breaking up is hard to do“.

Posted in #StreetArt | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Fall of the Boy

frederic-remingtonFrederic Remington – “Fall of the Boy“, 1895 (oil on canvas),  Amon Carter Museum, Fort Worth, Texas.

American painter, illustrator, sculptor, and writer, Frederic Sackrider Remington  was born in Canton, New York, on 4 October 4, 1861. He specialised in replicating the last quarter of the 19th-Century American West, including images of cowboys, American Indians, and the U. S. Cavalry within his artistic works.

  • His father was a colonel in the Civil War; whose family arrived in America from England in 1637.
  • His maternal family (the Bascom line) was of French Basque ancestry, coming to America in the early 1600s and founding Windsor, Connecticut.
  • He was also related to General George Washington, America’s first president.

The family moved to Ogdensburg, New York when Remington was eleven and he attended Vermont Episcopal Institute, a church-run military school. It was here that he took his first drawing lessons.

Remington later attended the art school at Yale University, leaving  in 1879 to attend to his ailing father who was suffering from and later succumbed to tuberculosis.  It was during this time that he secured a good paying clerical job in Albany, New York and Remington would return home on weekends to see his girlfriend Eva Caten whom he later married; although they suffered from recurring relationship problems throughout their married life.

At nineteen, he made his first trip west, going to Montana where he saw the vast prairies, the quickly shrinking buffalo herds, cattle, and the last major confrontations of U.S. Cavalry and native American tribes. These became inspirations for his artwork.

  • From that first trip, Harper’s Weekly published Remington’s first commercial effort, a re-drawing of a quick sketch on wrapping paper that he had mailed back home.
  • He made a gentleman’s agreement with Harper’s Weekly, giving the magazine an informal first option on his output but maintaining his independence to sell elsewhere if desired. As a bonus, the magazine launched a massive promotional campaign, stating that “He draws what he knows, and he knows what he draws.
  • His first full page cover under his own name appeared in Harper’s Weekly on January 9, 1886, when he was twenty-five.
  • With financial backing from his Uncle Bill, Remington was able to pursue his art career and support his wife Eva.

His status as the new trendsetter in Western art was solidified in 1889 when he won a second-class medal at the Paris Exposition.

Remington’s regular attendance at celebrity banquets and stag dinners fostered prodigious eating and drinking which caused his girth to expand alarmingly. Obesity became a constant problem for him.

In 1890, Remington and his wife Eva moved to New Rochelle, New York in order to have both more living space and extensive studio facilities, and also with the hope of gaining more exercise. But the financial panic of 1907 caused a slow down in his sales and Remington tried to sell his home to get further away from urbanization. One night he made a bonfire in his yard and burned dozens of his oil paintings which had been used for magazine illustration making an emphatic statement that he was done with illustration forever. He wrote, “There is nothing left but my landscape studies.

Near the end of his life, he moved to Ridgefield, Connecticut. In his final two years, he was veering more heavily towards Impressionism, and he regretted that he was studio bound due to his declining health. Remington died after an emergency appendectomy led to peritonitis on December 26, 1909. His extreme obesity (weighing approx. 300 pounds) had complicated the anesthesia and the surgery, and chronic appendicitis was cited in the post-mortem examination as an underlying factor in his death. He was buried in Evergreen Cemetery, Canton, New York.

With “The Fall of the Boy” it is obvious that Remington “Draws what he knows, and he knows what he draws.

Posted in #Art, #OilPainting, #Paintings, Illustrations | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

This Placement of the Casement has become a Famous Statement

fra-filippo-lippi-a-man-and-a-woman-at-a-casement(Above: Portrait of a Man and Woman at a Casement (c. 1440). Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City).

Fra’ Filippo Lippi (c. 1406 – 8 October 1469), aka Lippo Lippi, was a Florentine artist. In 1420 after his parents had died, he was admitted to the Carmelite Friars community of the Priory of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Florence. He stayed there until 1425, when he was ordained as a priest; remaining in residence until 1432. 

  • In 1452 he was appointed chaplain to the nuns at the Monastery of St. Mary Magdalene in Florence.
  • His paintings became popular and he was supported by the Medici family.
  • In June 1456, Fra Filippo moved to Prato (near Florence) to paint frescoes in the choir of the Cathedral.

In 1458, while engaged in this work, he set about painting a picture for the monastery chapel of St. Margherita, where he met the beautiful Lucrezia Buti, a novice of the Order. Lippi asked that she might be permitted to sit for the figure of the Madonna (or perhaps St. Margherita). Under that pretext, he engaged in sexual relations with her; abducted her to his own house, and kept her there despite the nuns’ efforts to reclaim her. Together Lippi and Lucrezia had a son Filippino Lippi, who became a painter; no less famous than his father.

Lippi spent his latter life in Spoleto, where he was commissioned to paint the apse of the Spoleto Cathedral; and it was here that Lippi died on or about the 8 October 1469. The cause of his death remains in dispute. One rumour suggests that the Pope granted Lippi a dispensation to marry Lucrezia, but before the permission arrived, Lippi had been poisoned by the indignant relatives of either Lucrezia or some lady who had replaced her in Lippi’s wandering affections.

  • Lippi is buried on the right side of the transept within the Spoleto Cathedral.
Posted in #Art, #OilPainting, #Paintings, Artists A-Z, Gallery Art | Tagged , | Leave a comment

The Hounds of Love are Calling

edwin-landseer-the-faithfull-hound(Above: The Faithful Hound (1830) – where the bloodhound, as protagonist, howls a mournful lament for his dead master, as the the last rays of the sun fade).

English painter Sir Edwin Henry Landseer was born on 7 March, 1802. Landseer was born in London, the son of the engraver John Landseer. In 1815, at the tender age of 13, the young Landseer exhibited works at the Royal Academy. He was elected an Associate Member at the age of 24; and an Academician five years later in 1831, at the age of 29.

According to Wikipedia, he studied under several artists, along with his father, and the artist Benjamin Robert Haydon, who encouraged the young Landseer to perform dissections in order to fully understand animal musculature and skeletal structure. (This is why he is well known for his paintings of animals, including those of horses, dogs and stags).

Landseer was rumoured to be able to paint with both hands at the same time, e.g. paint a horse’s head with the right and its tail with the left, simultaneously. He was also known to be able to paint extremely quickly—when the mood struck him. Likewise, he could also procrastinate, sometimes for years, over certain commissions.

edwin-landseer-islay-and-tilca-with-red-macaw-and-2-lovebirds(Left: Islay and Tilca with Red Macaw and Two Lovebirds. (1839) – A depiction of five of Queen Victoria’s pets).

Queen Victoria commissioned many artists to produce numerous works of art. Initially asked to paint various Royal pets, Landseer moved on to portraits of the Royal family, which included the Queen’s children as babies, usually in the company of a dog. So popular and influential were Landseer’s paintings of dogs in the service of humanity, that the name Landseer came to be the official name for the variety of Newfoundland dog that, rather than being black or mostly black, features a mix of both black and white.

In his late 1830s, Landseer suffered what is now believed to be a substantial nervous breakdown, and for the rest of his life was troubled by recurring bouts of melancholy, hypochondria, and depression; often aggravated by alcohol and drug use.

  • Knighted in 1850, Landseer declined his Presidential election to the Royal Academy, sixteen years late  in 1866.
  • As for Landseer’s most renown works, in 1858, the British government commissioned him  to make four bronze lions for the base of Nelson’s Column in Trafalgar Square, London. The sculptures were installed in 1867 ( see image – below).


Landseer’s works can be found in the Tate Britain, Victoria and Albert Museum, Kenwood House and the Wallace Collection in London.

In the last few years of his life, Landseer’s mental stability was problematic; and at the request of his family he was declared insane in July 1872.

  • Landseer’s death on 1 October 1873 was widely marked in England: Shops and houses lowered their blinds, flags flew at half mast; his bronze lions at the base of Nelson’s Column in Trafalgar Square were hung with wreaths; and large crowds lined the streets to watch his funeral cortege pass. Landseer was buried in St Paul’s Cathedral, London.
Posted in #Art, #OilPainting, #Paintings, #Sculpture, #StreetFurniture, Artists A-Z, Gallery Art | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

I’ve understood Lidderdale’s Pensive Mood

charles-sillem-lidderdale-a-pensive-moodThe above is entitled: “A Pensive Mood” by C. S. Lidderdale.

There is not a lot of information about the artist Charles Sillem Lidderdale, however, it appears that he may have been born on 28 September 28, 1830, in St.Petersburg, Russia.

As a British artist whose work often focused on portraits of young women in outdoor settings, Lidderdale exhibited 36 paintings at the Royal Academy between 1856 to 1893.

  • Charles Sillem Lidderdale died  in London, on  June 7, 1895.
Posted in #Art, Artists A-Z, Gallery Art | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Circe and the Dawn of a New Age

circe-bertram-mckellarAustralian sculptor Sir Edgar Bertram Mackennal was born on 12th June 1863 in Fitzroy, an inner city suburb of Melbourne. Mackennal studied at the National Gallery from 1878 -1882. He then left to study in London, where he shared a studio with Charles Douglas Richardson and Tom Roberts.

In 1884, Mackennal visited Paris for further study and married a fellow student, Agnes Spooner. On returning to England, Mackennal was appointed head of modelling and design at the Coalport Potteries, Shropshire in early 1886.

  • In the same year he won a competition for the sculptured reliefs on the front of Parliament House, Melbourne.
  • While in Australia, Mackennal obtained commissions, including the figure over the doorway of the Mercantile Chambers, Collins Street, Melbourne.

In 1893, Mackennal had his first success when his full-length figure “Circe“, now at the National Gallery of Victoria, (pictured above) obtained a “mention” at the Old Salon and created a good deal of interest. It was exhibited later at the Royal Academy where it also aroused great interest, partly because of the prudery of the hanging committee which insisted that the base should be covered. Because of this, commissions began flowing in, among them being the figures “Oceana” and “Grief” for the Union Club, Sydney.

bertram mackennal - dawn of a new ageAbove is: “Dawn of a New Age” (1924) Bronze; – Art Gallery of NSW, Sydney.  (Gift  of Mrs. D.V. Ritchie, 1951) Diploma work accepted 1924, by the Royal Academy –  who accepted Mackennal’s Diploma work. He was already a successful and highly sought-after sculptor in Britain and Australia at this time.

Other accolades include:

  • The British 1½d stamp of 1912 which was based on the Mackennal portrait of King George V.
  • Being the 1st Australian artist to be knighted, McKennal was created a Knight Commander of the Victorian Order in 1921, and was elected to the Royal Academy in 1922.

Sir Bertram Mackennal died suddenly from the rupture of an abdominal aneurysm at his house, Watcombe Hall near Torquay, Devon on 10 October 1931.

He is survived by Lady Mackennal and their daughter.

Posted in #Art, #Sculpture | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

No need to be frugal when you come across a Bruegel


(Above: The Peasant Wedding (1567) oil on panel 114x164cm, Vienna Kunsthistortisches Mueseum, Vienna).

Pieter Bruegel the Elder was a Flemish Renaissance painter and print maker known for his landscapes and peasant scenes and sometimes referred to as the “Peasant Bruegel“.

He was born c. 1525 in a town near Breda. The main source for Bruegel’s biography is from Karel van Mander’s Schilder-boeck (1604).

He was an apprentice of Pieter Coecke van Aelst, whose daughter Mayken he later married. He spent some time in France and Italy, and then went to Antwerp, where in 1551 he was accepted as a master in the painter’s guild. He received the nickname “Peasant Bruegel” or “Bruegel the Peasant” for his practice of dressing up like a peasant in order to socialize at weddings and other celebrations, thereby gaining inspiration and authentic details for his genre paintings.

bruegel111(The Wedding Dance ca 1566 – oil on oak panel, Detroit Institute of Art).

Although Bruegel often painted scenes of carousing and community gatherings, he often  depicted people with disabilities. The majority of Bruegel’s paintings have many different actions occurring at once such as the example in The Peasant Wedding where he painted both individual and  identifiable people.

He died in Brussels on 9 September 1569 and was buried in the Kapellekerk.

Posted in #Art, #OilPainting, #Paintings | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

All Hale this anniversary of Noel Hallé

noel-halleAbove: A lady entertaining a child of a Savoyard warden with a pinwheel (oil on panel 19.7×25.4cm) .

The artist of this painting is Noel Hallé.  Hallé was born in Paris, on September 2, 1711. He was a French painter, draftsman and print-maker, born into a family of artists; and the son of Claude-Guy Hallé. Noel took the Prix de Rome Award  in 1736.

Among his works Noël Hallé includes:

  • The Death of Seneca,
  • Cornelia,
  • Mother of the Gracchi; and
  • The Justice of Trajan.

 Noël Hallé died on June 5,  1781.

Vale Hallé until we meet another day.

Posted in #OilPainting, #Paintings, Artists A-Z, Gallery Art | Tagged | Leave a comment

Leighton’s Place in Art is Sealed with a Kiss

edmund blair leighton - alain chartierThe above painting is of “Alain Chartier sharing a famous kiss bestowed by Margaret of Scotland (Chartier, a French poet and political writer, was born c. 1385 in Bayeux, France, and died c.1430 and 1446).

About the artist:

Edmund Blair Leighton (born in London, 21 September 1852 – died 1 September 1922) was an English painter of historical genre scenes, specializing in Regency and medieval subjects.

  • He was the son of the artist Charles Blair Leighton and educated at University College School, before becoming a student at the Royal Academy Schools.
  • He married Katherine Nash in 1885 and they had two children, a son and a daughter.
  • Exhibiting annually at the Royal Academy from 1878 to 1920, he produced highly-finished, popular and decorative pictures, displaying romanticised scenes.
  • Although exhibiting for over forty years, Leighton was never an Academician or an Associate.
Posted in #Art, #OilPainting, #Paintings, Artists A-Z, Gallery Art, Illustrations, Watercolours | Tagged , | Leave a comment

So who designed the true coat of the Chester Blue Coat?

blue coatThe Blue Coat Hospital, is the site of a medieval hospital originally known as  St. John the Baptist, located at Upper Northgate Street, in the English city of Chester,  Cheshire.

The Blue Coat Hospital was founded by the Bishop of Stratford (1700) to house and educate the poor boys in religion and learning. Despite its ‘Blue Coat Hospital name‘, it was a boy’s school, rather than an hospital where the students learned their four ‘R’s’: “reading, ‘riting, ‘rithmetic and religion.”.

To qualify as a “Blue Coat“, parents had to prove that they had not enough money to send their sons to regular boarding school. Then, once qualified, their son was dressed in the distinctive blue uniform that represented The Blue Coat.

So who designed the true coat of the Chester Blue Coat on the edifice of this building?

The answer is, I still do not know


Posted in #Architecture | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Compare the Pair #14: Cagey Keiji’s Poorman’s Voormann

32beatles-revolverRevolver was released in the UK 50 years ago on 5th August 1966. It was released 3 days later in the US. Revolver is considered to be The Beatles psychedelic rock album, it lives up to this title with its track “Tomorrow Never Knows” which featured tape loops, backward recordings, using vari-speedings, reversed tapes and close audio miking which led to the invention of Automatic Double Tracking(ADT) – a technique invented by Abbey Road Studio engineers.

Album tracks include: Taxman, Eleanor Rigby (featuring a classical string octet), I’m Only sleeping, Love You To, (with its Indian music backing) Here There and Everywhere, Yellow Submarine, She Said She Said, Good Day Sunshine, And Your Bird Can Sing, For No One, Doctor Robert, I Want To Tell You, Got To Get You Into My Life, Tomorrow Never Knows”.

Tomorrow Never Knows“was adapted from Timothy Leary’s book ‘The Psychedelic Experience: A Manual Based on the Tibetan Book of the Dead‘.  It was this song that influenced Klaus Voormann’s cover art for the album.

Voormann received a Grammy Award for the Best Album Cover, Graphic Arts Award in 1966. Voorman combined his four large line drawings with a collage of photos by Bob Whitaker (who shot the infamous “Butcher Cover” for The Beatles Yesterday and Today LP. His spacey collage of drawings and photos complemented the songs that reflected the group’s LSD experiments during its production.

Klaus Voormann (born on 29 April, 1938) is a German-born bassist, record producer and artist whom The Beatles met in their Hamburg days in the early 1960s.  He was a bassist for Manfred Mann’s band from 1966-1969 and produced Trio’s hit “Da Da Da” in the 80s.

32ito - black magical mystery tourAbove:  “Black Magical Mystery Tour” 2010 Shinko Music Entertainment E-book, analog collage and drawing 31.5×31.5cm.

The artist is Keiji Ito born in 1958 in Tokyo, Japan. He is the Director of Unidentified Frying Graphics Inc and a guest lecturer and Professor of Art and Design at Kyoto University of Art. His main works include: painting, collages, art direction and art work for advertisements, books, music CD sleeves, video clips, etc. Some examples of his work include:

  • Cover art works in Japanese magazines such as BRUTUS and Cut
  • Art direction or art work of CD sleeves for BONNIE PINK, Orange Pekoe
  • Book list: ‘Sunshine Girl Meets Gravity Boy‘ (UFB). More information about Keiji Ito can be found at this website or his Facebook page.
Posted in #Art, Illustrations | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Partake in a Stake of the Great William Blake

william blakeEnglish painter, poet and print-maker, William Blake (b. 28 November 1757 – d. 12 August 1827) was largely unrecognised during his lifetime. He was born in Soho, London, the third of seven children; and left school at the age of ten. He was later to continue his education at home by his mother.

Drawn towards art, Blake started engraving copies of drawings of Greek antiquities and classical forms through to the works of Raphael and Michelangelo. It was during this time that Blake made explorations into poetry.

william blake anteaus1Despite joining the Royal Academy in 1779, Blake despised its director Joshua Reynolds. During his 6 year tenure, he rebelled against what he regarded as the unfinished style of fashionable painters such as Rubens, championed by Reynolds.  Although Blake came to detest Reynolds’ attitude towards art, especially his pursuit of “general beauty” he exhibited on six occasions between 1780 and 1808.

Left: Antaeus Setting Down Dante and Virgil in the Last Circle of Hell (illus. from “The Divine Comedy” by Dante Alighieri). Blake has used pen and ink; and watercolour over pencil and black chalk; with sponging and scraping to achieve this outcome.

Blake met and married Catherine Boucher on 18th August, 1782 at St Mary’s Church, Battersea. Despite her illiteracy, Blake taught her to read, write and become an engraver. Thereupon she became an invaluable aid, helping to print his illuminated works and maintaining his spirits throughout numerous misfortunes. In turn, she helped him colour his printed poems.

In 1788, aged 31, Blake experimented with “Relief Etching,” a method he used to produce most of his books, paintings, pamphlets and poems. The process is also referred to as “illuminated printing.” This involved writing the text of the poems on copper plates with pens and brushes, using an acid-resistant medium. Illustrations appeared alongside words in the manner of earlier illuminated manuscripts. He then etched the plates in acid to dissolve the untreated copper and leave the design standing in relief. This is the reversal of the usual method of etching, where the lines of the design are exposed to the acid; and the plate printed by the intaglio method.

Blake used illuminated printing for most of his well-known works, including his more  famous written poems: “The Lamb”, “The Tyger” and “Songs of Innocence and of Experience”, as well as “The Book of Thel” and “The Marriage of Heaven and Hell.”

In 1800, Blake moved to a cottage at Felpham, in Sussex (now West Sussex), to take up a job illustrating the works of William Hayley, a minor poet. It was in this cottage that Blake began Milton from 1804-1808. The preface to this work includes a poem beginning “And did those feet in ancient time“, which became the words for the anthem “Jerusalem“.

Blake returned to London in 1804 and began to write and illustrate “Jerusalem” which became his most ambitious work; having conceived the idea of portraying the characters in Chaucer’s “Canterbury Tales.”

william blake - vala hyle & skofeldAbove – “Vala, Hyle & Skofeld” (Plate 51, from Jerusalem ca.1820, relief etching, white-line etching printed in orange ink with watercolour pen and ink and gold paint).

Jerusalem was the last and the longest of Blake’s Prophetic Books. It tells of the struggles of Albion and his female counterpart Jerusalem; and their fall and final redemption through Christ. Here Vala, shown crowned, represents the fallen Jerusalem overcome; and incarcerated in the fiery depths of absolute despair. Her companions are Hyle, and Skofeld.

william blake - dante running from the 3 beasts(Above: Dante running from the three beasts).

The commission for Dante’s Divine Comedy came to Blake in 1826 with the aim of producing a series of engravings. Blake’s death in 1827 cut short this enterprise, and only a handful of watercolours were completed; and because of this, Blake’s intent may be obscured. It is said that Blake’s central preoccupation was his feverish work on the illustrations to Dante’s Inferno; where he is said to have spent one of  his last shillings on a pencil to continue sketching.

On the day of his death, on 12 August, 1827, Blake worked relentlessly on his Dante series. Eventually, it is reported, he ceased working and turned to his wife, who was in tears by his bedside. Beholding her, Blake is said to have cried,

Stay Kate! Keep just as you are
I will draw your portrait
for you have ever been an angel to me.

Posted in #Paintings, Artists A-Z, Illustrations, Watercolours | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

San Marco Basilica, the Church of Gold

st marks basilicaThe Basilica of St. Mark (San Marco) in Venice, Italy has stood since 829 in the time of Doge Giustiniano Partecipazio who had it built to hold the remains of the Evangelist St. Mark who became the one patron of the city. It became the Basilica of St. Mark with its shape derived from the Basilica of the Twelve Apostles in Constantinople – one of the wonders of Byzantine architecture. It was destroyed by fire in 927 and rebuilt in the same architectural form that it has today by Doge Domenico Contarini between 1043-1071.

venice - basilica of st mark baptisteryThe Baptistery has stood since 1350 from the time of Doge Andrea Dandolo. In the middle is the great baptismal pool by Tiziano Minio, Desiderio da Firenze and Francesco Segala (1545); the latter made the statue of St. John the Baptist which was cast in 1575. On the right is the Venetian Gothic Art tomb of Andrea Dandolo.

The mosaic work on the walls, vaults and domes was by Venetian workmen in the 14th C and portrays episodes from the life of St. John the Baptist and the infant Jesus. On the end wall is the great Crucifixion with the portrait of Andrea Dandolo in the dome; and above the baptismal font is Jesus Christ who invites the Apostles to preach the glad tidings; and below; all around is the Apostles in the act of baptising people from various countries.

Due to its opulent design, gold ground mosaics, and status as a symbol of Venetian wealth and power,  the Basilica has been known by the nickname Chiesa d’Oro (Church of gold).

Posted in #StreetArt | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Oh! brave white horses! you gather and gallop

adam lindsay gordonThe Australian poet, Adam Lindsay Gordon (born 19 October, 1833 – died 24 June, 1870) lived at 10 Lewis Street, in the Melbourne suburb of Brighton, in 1868 during the last years of his life, after having migrated to Australia in 1853, after having been born in born at Fayal in the Azores.

An expert rider, he would often gallop his horse to the local Marine Hotel to drink, sing and gamble. The old hitching-post to which he tethered his horse is still there at the pub and the hotel has created an “Adam Lindsay Gordon Lounge” in his commemoration, complete with historical relics from the poet.

On 24 June, 1870, the day before his book Bush Ballads and Galloping Rhymes was published, Adam Lindsay Gordon walked through the early morning frost to the scrub on the foreshore at the end of Park Street, Brighton and shot himself.

  • In his pocket was a “lucky charm” Lion shilling.
  • His body was found by William Allen, a local Brighton storekeeper.

“The Swimmer” is one of the poems from Bush Ballads and Galloping Hymns.  It was later set to music by Sir Edward Elgar as the fifth and last song in his song-cycle “Sea Pictures”.  The following is the last verse from “The Swimmer“:

Oh! brave white horses! you gather and gallop,
The storm sprite loosens the gusty reins;
Now the stoutest ship were the frailest shallop
In your hollow backs, on your high arched manes.
I would ride as never [a] man has ridden
In your sleepy, swirling surges hidden,
I would ride as never man has ridden
To gulfs foreshadowed through straits forbidden,
Where no light wearies and no love wanes,
No love, where no love, no love wanes.

Posted in #StreetFurniture | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment