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An art collector has donated a lost work by the German artist Albrecht Dürer to a Stuttgart museum after discovering it in a French flea market being sold for…

Source: 500-year-old Albrecht Dürer engraving found in French flea market | Art and design | The Guardian

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James Gillray was a famously prolific artist who produced well over a thousand engraved satires in his lifetime. In later years, when his mental and physical health were visibly deteriorating, George Cruikshank would regard the speed and ferocity with which Gillray worked with something approaching a sense of horror: “Sometimes he would at once etch a subject on the prepared copper plate… unable even to submit to the process of drawing it upon paper… he worked furiously, without stopping to remove the burr thrown up by the [engraving tool]; consequently his fingers often bled from being cut by it”. When not actively engaged in the business of making caricatures, Gillray would draw and paint constantly, his body becoming so accustomed to the habit even when he was at rest, his hand would “pulsate electrically… moving as if in the act of painting”. To observers like the young Cruikshank, it must have seemed as…

Source: James Gillray’s missing leg | The Printshop Window


Satan in Eden (p. 37)

Gustav Dore (1832 – 1883) was one of the pre-eminent illustrators of the Victorian age. Born in Paris, and working mainly through wooden engraved prints he produced illustrations for everyone from Byron to Edgar Allen Poe. The beautiful prints below depict scene’s in Milton’s Paradise Lost. They may have been from the 50 plates he produced for an 1866 edition of Paradise Lost, or later re-publishings. I picked these up for a song Spitafield’s Market. There were more on sale, and I kick myself to this day for not buying more of them…

Source: Gustav Dore’s Illustrations for John Milton’s Paradise Lost (1866, Cassell & Co)


FROM THE ARCHIVE

Originally posted on First Night Design.

Although this engraving by Thomas Rowlandson and Augustus Charles Pugin is available online in the public domain, mine is actually a scan from an original print published as Plate 69 of Microcosm of London (1810) which my parents had bought from a local antique dealer in the 1960s.

I have not been able to discover what’s being performed but it looks something of a spectacular production what with the horse and carriage, the Boadicea-like figure and gigantic pillars! If anyone has any ideas, let me know.

While the following quote is not from the early 19th century, it describes what Sadler’s Wells had become by the 1840s:

‘Without, the theatre, by night, was like the worst part of the worst kind of Fair in the worst kind of town. Within, it was a bear-garden, resounding with foul language, oaths, catcalls, shrieks, yells, blasphemy, obscenity – a truly diabolical clamour. Fights took place anywhere, at any period of the performance… Sickly children in arms were squeezed…

via First Night Design | Sadler’s Wells Theatre by Rowlandson & Pugin | First Night Design.


Although this engraving by Thomas Rowlandson and Augustus Charles Pugin is available online in the public domain, mine is actually a scan from an original print published as Plate 69 of Microcosm of London (1810) which my parents had bought from a local antique dealer in the 1960s.

I have not been able to discover what’s being performed but it looks something of a spectacular production what with the horse and carriage, the Boadicea-like figure and gigantic pillars! If anyone has any ideas, let me know.

While the following quote is not from the early 19th century, it describes what Sadler’s Wells had become by the 1840s:

‘Without, the theatre, by night, was like the worst part of the worst kind of Fair in the worst kind of town. Within, it was a bear-garden, resounding with foul language, oaths, catcalls, shrieks, yells, blasphemy, obscenity – a truly diabolical clamour. Fights took place anywhere, at any period of the performance… Sickly children in arms were squeezed out of shape, in all parts of the house. Fish was fried at the entrance doors. Barricades of oyster shells encumbered the pavement. Expectant half-price visitors to the gallery, howled defiant impatience up the stairs, and danced a sort of Carmagnole all round the building.’

A description in Household Words, October 1851, of the Sadler’s Wells Theatre in the 1840s, cited by Claire Tomalin in her book,  The Invisible Woman. Tomalin writes of the theatre as being in a state of ‘Hogarthian brutishness’.

Incidentally, if you haven’t read The Invisible Woman: The Story of Nelly Ternan and Charles Dickens, it is a riveting read about the actress who became the mistress of Charles Dickens.

There is also a new film version starring Ralph Fiennes and Felicity Jones: The Invisible Woman [DVD] [2014].

Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah

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