A couple of nice paintings

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One of my favourite paintings is in the news today.

Teacher Barbara Mills’ research enabled her to discover and reveal for the first time the precise location where Sir John Everett Millais painted it – the Hogsmill in Six Acre Meadow, Old Malden, Surrey. There is even the fallen willow.

Of all the paintings in the Tate it would be my “take home” choice. It’s worth £30 million so that’s never likely to happen but this particular masterpieces does seem, to me, like value for money.

It was part of a special exhibition in the V&A when I first saw it. An organised party was clustered around, nodding sagely as they heard an expert analyse it. While the analysis and history was fascinating – yes the model, Rossetti’s lover Lizzie Siddal DID catch a chill after lying for hours on end in a bath of cold water in Millais’ studio – I found the painting hypnotic.

It’s one of those paintings you can’t stop looking at. So immensely detailed and life-like and you feel slightly guilty for gawping at the pallid beauty of the mad girl, so spectacularly beautiful in death.

Shakespeare has her singing as her skirts became gradually sodden and pulled her down to a muddy death but Millais sensibly ignored the mud reference and painted her and her clothes in glorious, luminous colour.

Perhaps some of the appeal is because the scene is prettier with its water crowfoot and dog roses but redolent of a secret little river in Glos that swells and falls in a matter of minutes. I I had an evening walk there last night. It’s sunk to a deceptive little stream with clouds of dark blue damselflies dancing over the water and a solitary coot making herself scarce.

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Another painter – well known but new to me – in the news today is the American, John Singer Sargent. An exhibition of his seascapes and coastal scenes is about to open at the Royal Academy.

I particularly like the Oyster Gatherers of Cancale.

That would look good on the end wall of the living room. It’s an oil painting but it looks quite watercoloury with the delicious reflective wetness of the sand. There’s the lively sky of a bright, fresh new day with clouds scudding and early morning sunlight. I like the way the child has called the woman’s attention to something in the sand.  Lovely.

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.   Klimt’s The Kiss, somehow slipped in there.   Quite blingy but I like a bit of colour and sparkle and the angles of their faces are very good indeed.

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Turner.  Campo Vaccino.  Masterpiece.   I’m thinking this would look good over the fireplace in my fantasy fine art living room.  £29.7 million.   After many years owned by a family in Scotland,  it’s going where the money is – the  J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles.

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About janh1

Part-time hedonist.
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21 Responses to A couple of nice paintings

  1. IsobelandCat says:

    OK it’s a deal. I’ll have Kandinsky’s Cossacks from the Tate. The others I want are in the NG Dublin, so may need to work out a rate with Brendano.

  2. The first painting I loved as a teenager was Van Gogh’s Cafe Terrace at Night. Then I moved onto Constable’s Stonehenge. If I had a few million, I’d probably go for one of Monet’s Water Lily paintings. I’d need a bigger house though as they are huge and I don’t have enough wall space.

    The paintings I love and fill my walls with are abstract landscapes. I can see many things in them but I’m sure many people would think a 5 year old had been let loose with a paintset.

    I like Sargent’s style but he is more famous for his society portraits which were occasionally scandalous for the time. I think Lady Agnew of Lochnaw looks like Gina McKee. I once sat behind her on a flight from Edinburgh to Heathrow and the two are now linked inexorably in my mind.

  3. On another note, I went to the Uffizi last year. Given my preferences in art, it was a bit of a disappointment.

    • IsobelandCat says:

      I enjoyed the Uffizi. I went years ago. Jonathan Miller was there at the same time. He was a directing an opera in Florence.
      The stuff I do is mainly abstract, but not the stuff I buy. Not sure what that means…

  4. IsobelandCat says:

    I’ve got a Maurice C Wilks print too, but I don’t know where the original is.

  5. I loved the architecture of the building, the busts made of different coloured marbles and Venus at the Uffizi but its full of medieval portraits and didn’t float my boat.

    Seeing David had far more effect and the story of Michelangelo taking the Church’s money and only delivering 3 of the 40 planned statues for a grand church/cathedral made me smile.

  6. janh1 says:

    Sophie, I first saw the David at the British Museum. I was on a school trip. I was pole-axed by the beauty and the reality of it. Everything, especially the hands. Later I had a boyfriend whose hands were extraordinarily similar. Strong, thickly jointed male hands with beautiful veins. He had excellent sense of humour and he played the guitar ok but the whole thing was ruined when he tried to sing, I’m afraid. It didn’t last. 🙂

    But going back to the David, its the single thing I’ve always wanted to see in Florence with some sense of trepidation that somehow, among all the other splendours of Florence, it wouldn’t live up to expectations. Love the story of Michelangelo’s business acumen, Sophie. 🙂

    • I think I’m the only person who hasn’t come back raving about Florence. I put this down to the fact that I’d spent the previous few days in Rome and was blown away by the splendours there, plus the fact that my motives for going to Florence were slightly suspect and it rained a lot whilst I was there.

      I think you would like my fridge magnet

  7. janh1 says:

    Ridiculous replying to my own blog but I have to say that Klimt was, is and always will be, totally stunning.

  8. Unfortunately, I cannot get my photo of my fridge magnet to work as a comment so I’ve created it as a post: http://sophiescott196.wordpress.com/2010/07/03/fridge-magnets/

  9. IsobelandCat says:

    I loved Florence.
    I’ve only spent a few hours in Rome. I was in my twenties, an obvious foreigner, completely un-Italian colouring and got followed a lot. It out me off rather.

  10. Pseu says:

    I love the Oyster catchers one.

    (Are you watching the Tour, Janh1? We are having a lot of tray tea times, as it is being recorded for later viewing)

  11. janh1 says:

    Hi Pseu. You bet I am! 😀 Had the luxury of watching live today (justified by catching up with mountainous ironing pile). Today’s ztage positively tame compared to the previous stages’ dramas though. A peculiar and unexpected lack of form from Cav (who unsportingly stopped trying and coasted when he realised he was well beaten in the sprint) and another excellent ride from Sky’s Geraint Thomas, who’s 2nd overall. Wonderful to see a Union Jack up there in second place!

    Yesterday’s stage was unbelievable – all the carnage and then Cancellara neutralising the finish so no sprints!!

    No doubt you and the chaps have been enjoying it too… 😉

  12. margaret o connor says:

    I have a couple of Maurice Wilks prints would like to know if they are of any value

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