Archive for narrative painting

Pre Raphaelite Delights that last longer than 15 minutes with Lashings of Ginger Beer,

Posted in ART, ART HISTORY, BOOKS! DEAR READER I READ IT, DESIGN, exhibitions, HISTORY, LIVING IN THE PAST: NOSTALGIA with tags , , , , , , , , , on August 12, 2011 by echostains

It’s been ages since I last posted (the longest yet) but I hope to make amends today by writing a longer post – a kind of round-up of posts I should have written.

Enid Blyton

The 11th August was popular children’s writer Enid Blyton’s birthday (11 August 1897 – 28 November 1968).  Here’s a  a link to another post I wrote about this author over on my Bookstains.  Eileen A Soper illustrated every one of 21   Famous Five books. 


Eileen A Soper (b. 1905 – 1990 Hertfordshire UK)was an illustrator , print maker and a watercolourist.  She had her first exhibition at the Royal Academy in 1921 at the age of 15, making her the youngest artist ever to exhibit.  Two of her etchings were bought by Queen Mary. 




Her work has great nostalgic appeal and is as attractive today to adults as it was a source of delight to them when they were  children.  A gallery of this artist’s work can be found here






Eileen Sitting in a chair watercolour 1923

Other artists birthdays include Andy Warhol whose birthday I celebrated a while back with this post which featured one a page of my altered book  (this book is still ongoing… complete with artist research)

Andy Warhol-Self-Portrait-1986














Work by Ford Madox Brown

News of an exciting exhibition is coming to Manchester City Gallery (Saturday 24 September 2011 – Sunday 29 January 2012)  A major exhibition of Pre Raphaelite artist Ford Maddox Brown will go on show.  Over 140 paintings by the artist, including his Manchester Town Hall murals (which I have seen) will be exhibited.  The work will be divided into different themes and periods of  the artist’s life including his radical change of direction artistically.  Ford Madox Brown is particularly well-known for his narrative paintings which relate to life in the Victorian age and I think that viewing the paintings collectively will  give the viewer a clearer idea of how radical the Pre Raphaelites really were.  The 12 paintings, known as The Manchester murals depict life in the city in the Victorian age – a must for any Mancunian interested in their city.  The exhibition which will also include a rediscovered painting by the artist.  The painting The Seraph’s Watch  could prove to be a crowd puller.  Here’s a tantalising detail from it below.

Eileen A Soper Gallery (images from there)

Heather’s Blyton pages (all the book images can be found here too)

Manchester City Art Gallery 

The Enid Blyton Society

Andy Warhol image and art history here

More about Ford Madox Brown (and Work image) here

Seraph’s Watch image and an interesting article about this exhibition and Victorian art in general here

There is nothing like a – Dame Paula Rego!

Posted in ART, ART HISTORY, ART VIDEOS with tags , , , on June 13, 2010 by echostains

paula rego dance

Portuguese born narrative painter, printer and illustrator (1935) Paula Rego became a Dame  the other day on the Queens birthday for her contribution to Art!  Anyone who has read this blog from the beginning will know that I rate Rego highly as an artist. I wrote a post about this artist and William Hogarth here

paula rego snow white and her stepmother

Her visually storytelling is sometimes disturbing and her work is always enigmatic and open to interpretation.  I filled two whole journals with a Transcription of Rego’s ‘Snow White and her Stepmother’ (starting here). Rego finds a lot of her characters in Fairy Tales and nursery rhymes – giving them a social realistic twist.  She likes to rework stories weaving her own magic and artistry.

the fitting

An example is shown in the painting ‘The Fitting’ which is reminiscent of Valasquez ‘s ‘Las Meninas’ is has lots of symbolic realism and makes the viewer want to unravel the mystery.

This short video features the artist explaining about her work and her use of props.

The complete Honours list here

More of Rego’s work here

Happy Birthday Dear William Hogarth!

Posted in ART, ART HISTORY, ARTISTS BIRTHDAYS, FAVORITE ART: Art I LOVE with tags , , , on November 10, 2009 by echostains


William Hogarth

William Hogarth self portrait

It’s one of my favorite artist’s birthday today.  Artist, printmaker, satirist and Social commentator William Hogarth (b.1697 –  1764 London) was a very prolific artist and highly fashionable in his time.  His series of paintings (also made into prints) called ‘Marriage A La Mode’ read like one of our modern-day soap opera’s and are amongst my favorite paintings. 

Marriage a la Mode painting one

They tell the story of Earl Squander arranging his son’s marriage to the daughter of a wealthy city merchant, but who is also incredibly mean with money.  There are so many little clues that help the narration of Hogarth’s paintings.  The first painting in the ‘Marriage a la Mode’ series shows the personality of the Earl’s son who is more preoccupied with admiring his own reflection in the mirror than paying attention to his marriage which is being arranged for him.    Meanwhile,  daughter listens to the lawyer Silvertongue, whilst through the window an unfinished house can be seen.  Crutches enable the old gouty Earl to get about: a Medusa’s head nods towards  the horror which will unfold as this arranged marriage proceeds, eventually leading to the suicide of the merchant’s daughter and the murder of her husband,the young Viscount.  The paintings and prints preach a moral lesson about marrying for money.  Old money, or rather no money, only a title and bloodline courts new money but no title.  After all, these estates had to be maintained somehow.

paula rego's modern day transcription of marriage a la mode

In 2000  we went to an exhibition called ‘Encounters – New Art from Old’ at the National Gallery, where 24 modern artists transcribed a painting of their choice and gave it a modern twist.  Paula Rego transcribed Hogarth’s ‘Marriage a la Mode’ showing another side to the narrative.  Some artists concentrated on the artist’s method of working, some translated through sculpture or photography.  There were many interesting conclusions and it was exciting to see the art of the past still being able to communicate all these years later.

Hogarth's Gin Lane

Hogarth’s ‘Gin Lane’, a very famous work points out theonly too real peril of the then new alcoholic drink Gin.  This was being brewed in homes and all sorts of unsavoury places.   Hogarth was instrumental in the Gin Act of 1750 which did away with small Gin shops which seemed to have mushroomed everywhere.  ‘Beer Street’ shows the opposite side of the coin.  This depicts happy City people drinking sensible beer…and still having a good time.

Hogarth's Beer Street


There has been much written about the fascinating life and work of William Hogarth and there are some very good websites;

Biography and works HERE

Works HERE