Saturday, 30 June 2012

Fernand Khnopff - symbolist artist from a world elsewhere

The Sphinx or The Caresses

Who shall deliver me?

Fernand Edmond Jean-Marie Khnopff was a Belgian painter, designer and engraver of the symbolist movement, born 12 September 1858, did 12 November 1921.

His work is characterised by two types of women - sphinxes and angels. Mystery lingers in the paintings, a mystery of inaccessible women in a state of idle contemplation, or surrounded by objects filled with symbolism. A symbolism, in the words of Edmond-Louis de Taeye in 1898 'not religious, nor Christian, nor mythological, but emblematic'. 

The Cigarette

Thursday, 7 June 2012

The March of the Guards to Finchley in 1745 by William Hogarth

Detail of The March of the Guards by Hogarth

William Hogarth's work of 1750 depicts the footguards setting off to fight the Young Pretender, Charles Edward, who in 1745 had landed on the west coast of Scotland with just seven followers. The Highlanders rose in support of their hero, occupied Edinburgh, and moved south into England as far as Derby. But the Pretender's English sympathisers did not join him, and with no help from France, he was forced to retreat, and his troupes were finally routed on Culloden Moor near Inverness.

Hogarth presented his depiction to George II, but the king was not amused, ordering the bearer "Take this trumpery out of my sight".

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

The History of England from 4000 BC to 1625

A late Stone Age burial chamber in
Trethevy Quoit, Cornwall
4000 BC immigrants arrive from continental Europe and become farmers. Their descendants construct great stone tombs. By 2500 BC Stonehenge is underway. 500 years on immigrants from Holland and Rhineland arrive. 800 BC Celtic peoples skilled in bronze and later iron also arrive. They impose Bythonic language on England and introduce Druids. 55 BC Julius Caesar invades Britain and is repulsed. The Romans return a century later and colonise the country. Roman merchants follow and Cymbeline is British king. Cymbeline dies and his kingdom collapses. AD 43 Emperor Claudius adds Britain to his empire and there are 300 years of peace.