Tag Archives: Victoriana

Sunday Morning — Victoriana of the Week

Found this gorgeous Tribute to Eleanor Fortescue-Brickdale on YouTube.  To fully appreciate it, watch it in full screen.

The music is from Fairydust, a CD by Trobar de Morte.  Trobar de Morte is a medieval folk/fantasy music band from Barcelona.

I’ve posted about Eleanor Fortescue-Brickdale in the past, here and here.  She was born in 1871, which makes her a true Victorian, but she lived until 1945.  Her longevity, combined with the style and subject matter of her paintings, are the reason she’s known as “The Last Pre-Raphaelite”.

I used a detail from her painting “The Deceitfulness of Riches” as the header on this blog for most of 2014.  I’ve temporarily restored it in her honour.

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Sunday Morning — Victoriana of the Week

"Friday", by Walter Dendy Sadler

“Friday”, by Walter Dendy Sadler

Walter Dendy Sadler was popular with the British 19th Century public in much the same way that Norman Rockwell would become with the American public in the 20th Century.  Here’s what Wikipedia has to say about Sadler:

“He painted contemporary people in domestic and daily life pursuits, showing them with comical expressions illustrating their greed, stupidity etc.  His subjects were usually set in the late eighteenth or early nineteenth centuries with sentimental, romantic and humorous themes.  Before painting a scene he would create elaborate settings in which local villagers would often pose as models.  Indeed, as he often used the same props and models, these can sometimes be seen repeated in successive paintings in different guises.  The home, the inn, the lawyers office, the garden and the golf course all provide subjects for his wit and clever social observation.”

Change a few nouns and adjectives, and that paragraph could be a good description of  Rockwell.

Sadler was known for his humorous scenes of religious life.   The picture above, called “Friday”, shows Dominican monks sharing a rather lavish meal with two visiting brown-robed Franciscans.  If the picture’s title wasn’t enough, a look at the fish and seafood dishes lets us know what day it is, because at the time, Catholics were forbidden to eat meat on Friday.

"The Monk's Repast", by Walter Dendy Sadler

“The Monk’s Repast”, by Walter Dendy Sadler

Red wine with seafood?  Really?

"Thursday", by Walter Dendy Sadler

“Thursday”, by Walter Dendy Sadler

“Thursday” is a sort of prequel to the first picture.  In fact, it’s also known as “Tomorrow Will Be Friday”.  It  shows a group of Franciscans fishing for the next day’s meal.

Sunday Morning — Victoriana of the Week

Queen Guinevere's Maying by John Collier

“Queen Guinevere’s Maying,” by John Collier

John Collier is probably best remembered as a portraitist.  During his long and productive life (1850 – 1934) he painted Lord Kitchener and Charles Darwin, Rudyard Kipling and Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema, the Duke of York (later George V) and the Prince of Wales (later Edward VIII),

Like so many Pre-Raphaelite paintings, “Queen Guinevere’s Maying” was inspired by a Tennyson  poem, in this case, “Guinevere,” from Idylls of the King.  In the picture, Guinevere is riding in a May Day procession.  “A-Maying” was a May ritual in which young people gathered May-sprigs—the white hawthorn in Guinevere’s hands—to celebrate the arrival of Spring.

Sunday Morning — Victoriana of the Week

"Acrasia", by John Melhuish Strudwick

“Acrasia”, by John Melhuish Strudwick

This weeks painting is “Acrasia”, by John Melhuish Strudwick.  As you might guess from the style of the painting, Strudwick was influenced by Sir Edward Burne-Jones, with whom he spent time as a studio assistant.

Like so many Pre-Raphaelite paintings, “Acrasia” is based on a poem.  In this case, the source is Edmund Spenser’s “The Faerie Queene”.  In Book II of the poem, Acrasia is a witch who seduces and kills knights.

“Book II is centered on the virtue of Temperance as embodied in Sir Guyon, who…discovers a woman killing herself out of grief for having her lover tempted and bewitched by the witch Acrasia and killed.  Guyon swears a vow to avenge them and protect their child.  Guyon on his quest starts and stops fighting several evil, rash, or tricked knights and meets Arthur.  Finally, they come to Acrasia’s Island and the Bower of Bliss, where Guyon resists temptations to violence, idleness, and lust.  Guyon captures Acrasia in a net, destroys the Bower, and rescues those imprisoned there.”
—from Wikipedia

The “Bower of Bliss.”  I like that!  I think I’ve just found a name for my apartment.