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 whereSir 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 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.
A well-known American painter – who had gone unnoticed by me until now – is in the news too; 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 originally titled ‘En Route pour la pêche (Setting Out to Fish)’
That would go nicely in the living room. It’s an oil painting but it looks quite watercoloury to me with the delicious reflective wetness of the sand. There’s the lively sky of a bright, fresh, day with clouds scudding. I like the way the child has drawn the woman’s attention to something in the sand… Just lovely!
Anyone got their own virtual gallery of favourite art?
9 thoughts on “A couple of nice paintings”
Did you notice that (I assume) a friend of yours left a comment on your ‘crucible’ post yesterday
Hi Soutie. No, actually. Thanks! I’ll take a look. Haven’t had much time at the computer lately but thought these were worth posting. 🙂
Blimey, Soutie – that’s the GUY!!! The chemist bod with the terrible jeans. How the hell did he find this here?? LOL At least he doesn’t sound offended. Reckon I’m in line to hold the mercury next time, then…. 😀
I wouldn’t say no to either of these, Jan but the Millais is just beautiful.
I’ll have a think about my favourites.
Ha ha Jan
I hadn’t read your post (I have now ;)) Didn’t realise that it was the ‘GUY’
Thanks Araminta. I’d be interested to see them.
😀 Soutie, I forgot about that bit. I was just remembering the “terrible jeans” jibe. That’s probably why he isn’t too offended, then.
I wouldn’t mind this one, Jan:
Neither would I, Araminta. Luscious.
My problem is that there are so many I’d like.
Anyone in London should go to the Renaissance Drawings exhibition (sponsored by BP!) at the British Museum – I could find room for just about all of them.