Friday, June 10, 2011

Do you know these names?
John Heaviside Clark and George Richmond

I didn't know those names. But I happened upon them both in the past month, and they are both artists. Both lived on into the Victorian era but John Clark was prolific during the Regency and George Richmond's artistic sensibility was certainly informed by his youth during the Regency's heady days.

John Heaviside Clark was born about 1771 in Scotland. He was primarily a painter of seascapes, but landscapes also figured large in his portfolio. I encountered him while writing my blog about the aftermath of the Peace Celebrations in London--he painted the picture of the Chinese Pagoda in Green Park which I reproduced in that blog post. I find his other landscapes equally charming; here is his vision of Fountains Abbey:
I can find little information on Mr. Clark, but he did exhibit at the Royal Academy from 1801 to 1832. He must have travelled widely (or he had a very lively imagination) for his works depict whale hunting, the aboriginals of Australia, Egyptian subjects, and North American scenes.
Clark was an experienced aquatint artist and engraver, and he published at least two books on art which are available at Google Books. He was possibly best known, however, for his work on the Napoleonic Wars. In fact, he was nicknamed 'Waterloo' Clark because he sketched on the battlefield following the action. He also painted such wartime views as "The Allies before Dantzic in Winter" and "French Troops Retreating Through and Plundering a Village".

I cannot reproduce as much of his work as I would like, as it seems to be under license to innumerable art reproduction companies, but it may be viewed here and here. A search of his name in Google Books brings up some downloadable books for which he produced at least some of the illustrations.

George Richmond is another matter entirely. How could I not know his name? I recognized some of his pictures immediately. His self-portraits alone are fascinating; this one left from 1830 is utterly charming.

Technically, I suppose Richmond was more Victorian than Regency, but he was born in 1809. He remembered seeing the Lifeguards return from the Battle of Waterloo, and he became a student at the Royal Academy in 1824. He lived a very long life, dying in 1896, so he spanned most of the century, and lived a full, if challenging, life. How could I not know his name?

In his early years he was a friend of, and was influenced in his art, by William Blake. One look at his "Samson slaying the Philistines..." right shows Blake's influence.

But he was equally at home with landscapes. I do think this one--"Wooded Landscape with a Cottage"--is particularly nice.
In 1830 he married and then determined on portraiture as the best means of earning a living. And he painted every notable in Great Britain, it seems. Here are a few:

Charlotte Bronte

William Wilberforce

Elizabeth Gaskell

And the particularly delightful,
"Swinburne and His Sisters"
These portraits are why I should have known George Richmond. I recognized them, and yet I had never before heard his name. How could I have missed him? I have (informally) studied Victoriana. He was a pre-eminent Victorian, member of every society and club of importance, honoured by his peers, recognized by his country. He had ten children and forty grandchildren. He was a pillar of virtue, and apparently a charming and kindly man. Thank goodness I found out about him! Better late than never...

'Til next time,


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