Archive for July, 2011

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The best pictures of Richard Coeur de Lion

Posted in Best pictures, History, Royalty on Sunday, 31 July 2011

The best pictures of Richard Coeur de Lion or the Lionheart depict the mediaeval king as an implacable foe of the infidel and idealised Christian knight. The first picture of Richard the Lionheart depicts the fearless king heroically cutting down the infidel during the First Crusade.

The Lionheart, picture, image, illustration

King Richard the Lionheart by Peter Jackson

The second picture of Richard Coeur de Lion shows the King of England engaging in battle with Saladin and his forces.

Richard the Lionheart, picture, image, illustration

Richard the Lionheart

The third picture of Richard I known as the Lionheart depicts an iconic Christian Prince on horseback, the emblem of the red cross enblazoned across his armour.

Richard Coeur de Lion, picture, image, illustration

Richard de Coeur de Lion by F Stocks May

Many more pictures relating to Richard Coeur de Lion can be found at the Look and Learn picture library.

Jesus yielding up the ghost

Posted in Bible, Religion on Sunday, 31 July 2011

The protracted agony of Jesus on the cross is marked by various incidents related in the Gospels.

Crucifixion, picture, image, illustration

Jesus yields up the Ghost, by William Hole

His conversation with the other crucifixion victims gives us a last glimpse of the Teacher and the Man, and contains the final words of His Ministry on earth before the Resurrection. But thereafter the hours of His slow death are only distinguished by the casual cruelty of a Roman soldier, the abject helplessness of the onlookers and the Seven Last Words on the Cross uttered with intense anguish by the abandoned figure broken by His fate and forsaken by His Father. Not long after this He yields up the ghost, and the world grows dark as the earth trembles and the temple curtain is rent. Only then does a nearby Roman soldier acknowledge the truth of Christ’s lineage, that He was the Son of God.

Many more pictures relating to the Bible can be found at the Look and Learn picture library.

The Kit-Cat Club

Posted in English Literature, Historical articles, Politics on Sunday, 31 July 2011

The Kit-Cat Club was probably established at the end of the seventeenth century, but its fame belongs to the age of great wits and statesmen in the first half of the eighteenth century. It certainly owed its founding and essential principles to the ideals enshrined in the Glorious Revolution of 1688.

Kit-Kat Club. picture. image. illustration

The Kit-Kat club toast Lady Mary Wortley Montagu

Some decades later it promoted Whig policies with all the intrigue and power-wielding confidence of an exclusive circle of like-minded individuals with a strong sense of entitlement and their country’s greatness. Indeed, it was Horace Walpole who characterised the Kit-Cat Club as “the patriots that saved Britain” rather than a curious collection of like-minded middle-aged wits. An earlier name for the club may well have been ‘The Order of the Toast’, and the Kit-Kat was famous for its toasting glasses, engraved with verses relating to the subject of those famous toasts. They were always given to the greatest beauties of the day, most famously the three daughters of the 1st Duke of Marlborough. the Duchess of Beaufort, the Duchess of St Albans and one girl distinguished not only by her beauty but by her slender age of just eight years. This was Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, whose father was the 5th Earl of Kingston-upon-Hull. She was to become one of the most influential letter writers of the century and an important figure in the early history of women’s intellectual history.

Many more pictures relating to English literature can be found at the Look and Learn picture library.

Robert Talbot Kelly: Artist

Posted in Art, Artist on Sunday, 31 July 2011

Robert Talbot Kelly was an English orientalist painter and illustrator.

picture, Robert Talbot Kelly, painter, artist, Egypt, Bab-Zaweyla

The Bab-Zaweyla in Egypt, painted by Robert Talbot Kelly

He was born Robert George Kelly in Birkenhead, Cheshire, in 1861, the son of Irish painter Robert George Kelly (c.1822-1910) and his wife Mary. He left school in 1876 to work for a firm of cotton traders but, taught by his father, he also took up painting and began exhibiting under the name R. G. Kelly Jnr.

Inspired to take up painting full time following an vacation on an ocean cruise ship, Kelly – who adopted the name Talbot Kelly for his work – gave up work in 1882 and travelled by boat to Africa and settled in Egypt in 1883. He acquired a studio in Cairo, becoming fluent in Arabic and writing and painting the people and scenes he encountered on his travels throughout the country. His  travels inspired the books Egypt Painted and Described (1902) and an exhibition at the Fine Art Society that same year. Trips to Burma inspired the books Burma Painted and Described (1905) and Burma (1908) and there was a second book on Egypt (1908), all published by A. & C. Black.

Kelly returned to the UK in 1915 for health reasons but continued painting. He was a member of the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours, the Royal Society of British Artists, Royal British Colonial Society of Artists and the Royal Geographical Society.

Robert Talbot Kelly died at the Cancer Hospital, Chelsea, on 30 December 1934. His son, Richard Talbot Kelly (1896-1971) was also an artist, specialising in bird paintings and historical subjects.

Many more paintings by Robert Talbot Kelly can be found at the Look and Learn picture library.

James Doyle: Artist

Posted in Art, Artist on Sunday, 31 July 2011

James E. Doyle was a British antiquary and illustrator.

picture, James Doyle, painter, artist, illustrator, De Montfort, Battle of Evesham

The death of Simon de Montfort at the Battle of Evesham, illustrated by James Doyle

James William Edmund Doyle was born on 22 October 1822, the son of John Doyle (1797-1868), an Irish political cartoonist and caricaturist best known for his work in Punch, which he signed ‘H.B.’. He was the brother of Richard Doyle, who was also an illustrator and Punch cartoonist, and Henry Edward Doyle, artist and director of the National Gallery of Ireland; he was the uncle of Sherlock Holmes’s creator, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

Doyle grew up in an artistic family and studied drawing and painting. Amongst his early works was a painting of Dr. Johnson reading the manuscript of The Vicar of Wakefield, the copyright of which he sold for £100. However, he abandoned painting in preference for historical studies, compiling a Chronicle of England from 55BC to 1485AD, which he adorned with numerous illustrations in colour.

The book was widely praised following its publication in 1864 and he followed it with Official Baronage of England, which included every rank of nobility except barons. The epithet ‘official’ was not intended to imply any authority but that it was exhaustive; it was indeed a painstaking work, giving particulars, as complete as possible, of the succession, titles, offices, heraldic bearings and personal appearances of each peer.

The book appeared in a limited edition of 200 copies in 1885 and then a three-volume edition in 1886. Despite his efforts, Doyle was criticised for relying too heavily on secondary authorities and the book was not a financial success, inflicting a heavy loss on its publishers.

Doyle also provided a commentary for his brother Richard’s cartoon book Scenes from English History (1886).

Doyle died at his home, 38 Dorset Square, in London on 3 December 1892. He was married to Jane Henrietta Hawkins in 1874.

Many more illustrations by James Doyle can be found at the Look and Learn picture library.

The best pictures of the Battle of Omdurman

Posted in Best pictures, Famous battles, History, War on Saturday, 30 July 2011

The best pictures of the Battle of Omdurman in the Sudan all show the initial action in which the 21st Lancers lead the action against the Arab stronghold, the victorious campaign being commanded  by General Kitchener. The first picture of Omdurman shows Kitchener leading the light cavalry regiment the 21st Lancers against the enemy, just 400 men facing 2500 dervishes and among them a young Winston Churchill.

Omdurman, picture, image, illustration

The 21st Lances lead the battle against the Arab stronghold of Omdurman, by Ferdinando Tacconi

The second picture of Omdurman is a similar depiction of the brave 21st Lancers and General Kitchener in the thick of battle.

Omdurman, picture, image, illustration

The 21st Lancers at Omdurman lead by General Kitchener. Picture by Harry Payne

The third picture of Omdurman is a more expansive picture of the charge of the 21st Lancers, as they clear the way for the British advance.

Omdurman, picture, image, illustration

The Charge of the 21st Lancers at the Battle of Omdurman by E Matthew Hale

Many more pictures of Lord Kitchener and Omdurman can be found at the Look and Learn picture library.

Jesus is nailed to the cross

Posted in Bible, Religion on Saturday, 30 July 2011

After the immense struggle of His journey to Calvary and the Hill of Golgotha, Jesus is all but broken by the hideous burden of carrying His own cross.

Crucifixion, picture, image, illustration

The soldiers crucifying Christ, by William Hole

Without the help of Simon of Cyrene, whom the soldiers arbitrarily choose from the crowd of onlookers, He might have already fallen unconscious. But now, in the final hours of His life, Jesus is at last confronted by the implacable sentence of crucifixion. The Roman soldiers have already dealt with the two thieves with whom He is to be crucified and now turn to the “King of the Jews”, whom they nail to the cross, fixing a parchment bearing that legend above His bleeding head.

Many more pictures relating to the Bible can be found at the Look and Learn picture library.

Oliver Goldsmith

Posted in English Literature, Historical articles, Literature on Saturday, 30 July 2011

Oliver Goldsmith (1730 – 1774) was an Irish poet, playwright, doctor and jobbing writer or hack. He was clever but idle, confident yet envious, and after developing an addiction to gambling, in common with many of his kind, he lived in a perpetual state of uncertainty and died young.

The traveller, picture, image, illustration

Goldsmith resting on his tour of Italy, a scene from The Traveller by Miles Birket Foster

After entering Trinity College, Dublin he failed to fulfil his promise, and after graduating with no distinction worthy of a career in the church or the law, he studied medicine at the universities of Edinburgh and Leiden. It was at this time he embarked on an extensive walking tour of Europe, which revealed to him the beauties and antiquities of the ancient world and the picturesque landscapes of Italy and Switzerland. An accomplished musician, he was often to be heard playing his flute as payment for his lodgings. On his return he took up his pen and as well as the prolific hack he was also, despite his failings, an accomplished novelist, poet and playwright. The Vicar of Wakefield (1766) was a popular success, as was his pastoral poem, The Deserted Village (1770), which was written in memory of his brother. Remarkably, She Stoops to Conquer (1771) was once one of the most frequently staged plays in the century and a half following its first performance. These finer productions brought him the friendship of Dr Johnson and his circle, and as a member of The Club he enjoyed a few years of acclaim among his peers, all of them quite aware of his failings; it was Horace Walpole who memorably described Goldsmith as “an inspired idiot”. The unfortunate charmer died prematurely, and is sadly little read in modern times.

Many more pictures relating to English literature can be found at the Look and Learn picture library.

The best pictures of the Battle of Quebec, 1759

Posted in Best pictures, Famous battles, History on Saturday, 30 July 2011

The best pictures of the Battle of Quebec show the famous ascent of the cliffs around the fortress by General Wolfe and the British forces. Also called the Battle of the Plains of Abraham, this British victory began the end of French colonial power in North America. The first picture of  the Battle of Quebec depicts the perilous ascent of the Heights of Abraham.

Quebec, picture, image, illustration

The ascent of the Heights of Abraham at the Battle of Quebec, by Peter Jackson

The second picture also shows the silent arduous ascent of the Heights of Abraham.

Quebec, picture, image, illustration

The ascent of the Heights of Abraham, by R Caton Woodville

The third picture depicts the audacious British scaling the Heights of Abraham.

Quebec, picture, image, illustration

Wolfe’s men scaling the Heights of Abraham to attack Quebec, by Severino Baraldi

Many more pictures relating to General Wolfe and the Battle of Quebec can be found at the Look and Learn picture library.

Mortimer Menpes: Artist

Posted in Art, Artist on Saturday, 30 July 2011

Mortimer Menpes was an Australian-born artist, author and illustrator.

picture, Mortimer Menpes, painter, illustrator, artist, fruit seller, Paris

A fruit seller in Paris, painted by Mortimer Menpes

Mortimer Luddington Menpes was born in Port Adelaide, South Australia, on 22 February 1855, the son of property developer James Menpes and his wife Ann, who had settled in Australia in 1839.

Educated at Adelaide Educational Institution, Menpes attended classes at the Adelaide School of Design, although his formal training on began in 1878 when he began attending the School of Art in London, his family having returned to England in 1875. He first exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1880 and would have 35 paintings and etchings shown there over the next two decades.

Menpes set off on a tour of Brittany in 1880 and met James McNeill Whistler, becoming his pupil and even sharing a flat with him at Cheyne Walk on the Embankment in London. Here he learned the art of etching. Menpes was to become one of the leading figures in the etching revival, producing more than 700 etchings and drypoints, which he usually printed himself.

A trip to Japan in 1887 also heavily influenced his style and he decorated his new house in Sloane Square in Japanese style; the house, designed by A. H. Mackmurdo in 1888, led to a falling out with Whistler who insisted that Menpes was copying his (Whistler’s) ideas.  Menpes sold the house in 1900 and moved his family to Kent.

In 1900, during the Boer War, Menpes worked as a war artist for Black and White during the Boer War, after which he travelled widely in Europe, Africa, Mexico and the Far East. Many of his illustrations were used in travel books by A. & C. Black, many of them penned by his daughter, Dorothy. His book The Durbar (1903) was a record of the commemoration of the coronation of King Edward VII. His other books included War Impressions (1901), Japan: A record in colour (1901), Whistler as I knew him (1904) and The People of India (1910).

Menpes retired to Pangbourne where he managed a business growing carnations and fruit, the company Menpes Fruit Farms existing until 1952. Menpes himself died in Pangbourne on 1 April 1938, eighteen months after the death of his wife, Rosa Mary Grosse, whom he married in 1875. They had three children, a son and two daughters.

Many more pictures by Mortimer Menpes can be found at the Look and Learn picture library.