by Fred Walker, a wood-engraving, January 1866. Framed: height 11 cm by width 17.7 cm. [Click on the image to enlarge it.]
Scanned image and text by Philip V. Allingham. [You may use this image without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the person who scanned the image and (2) link your document to this URL in a web document or cite the Victorian Web in a print one.]
The 1866 invitation card for Arthur J. Lewis's musical entertainments on Saturdays at Moray Lodge, Campden Hill, Kensington, identifies the presiding classical deities as Athena, left (with her familiar, the owl, and her warrior's helmet at her feet) reading sheet music as she sits in front of a piano, and Apollo with his lyre (right), the lamp of knowledge to the right. In the centre, Walker gives the winter 1866 meeting dates (January 27, February 24, March 31, and April 25) on the central column, draped with flowers. Walker's humorous comments involve two features: the overflowing beer stein below the fountain, and the anachronism of Apollo's lighting his pipe, both images conveying subtle indications that these meetings of the minstrels will be primarily male affairs.
These music parties of the local arts community ("The Moray Minstrels") enabled London's male notables to gather informally over the winter months. Each of the (chiefly male) guests would present an invitation card at the entrance to Moray Lodge. Evidently Walker had a firm image in mind as to how the evening's music would proceed, as these nights focussed on the presentation of choral music by socially connected
painters, actors and writers (all male), who were mostly amateur musicians. They would meet for musical evenings at Moray Lodge, in Kensington, the home of Arthur James Lewis (1824–1901), a haberdasher and silk merchant (of the firm Lewis & Allenby), who married the actress Kate Terry in 1867. The Minstrels would discuss the arts, smoke and sing part-songs and other popular music at monthly gatherings of more than 150 lovers of the arts; their conductor was John Foster. Foster, as well as the dramatist F. C. Burnand and many other members were friendly with young Arthur Sullivan, who joined the group. On one occasion in early 1865, they heard a performance of Offenbach's short two-man operetta Les deux aveugles(The Two Blind Men). After seeing another operetta at Moray Lodge the following winter, Burnand asked Sullivan to collaborate on a new piece to be performed for the Minstrels. ["Box and Cox"]
Lewis (1824-1901) had already demonstrated that he was an artist of considerable ability in producing such original engravings as A Spring Morning, Spring in the Meadows, The Mountain Stream, and The Cornfield for an 1862 publication of the Junior Etching Club, Passages from Modern English Poets (London: Day and Son).
Arthur James Lewis 'Arthur Lewis': A nineteenth century landscape and portrait artist, Arthur James Lewis regularly exhibited his art at such London venues as the Royal Academy, the British Institution, the Grosvenor Gallery and the New Gallery, from 1848 to 1893. Although he established his reputation primarily with his paintings and watercolours, A. J. Lewis was very active as an etcher during the early 1860's. ["Art of the Print"]
- Invitation Card for Mr. Arthur Lewis (January 1867)
- Invitation Card for the Moray Minstrels (Winter 1871)
- Poster advertising the Moray Minstrels (Winter 1865)
"Box and Cox." Moray Minstrels, 1865. Online version available from Wikipedia. Web. 13 July 2018.
Marks, John George. Life and Letters of Frederick Walker, A. R. A.. London and New York: Macmillan, 1896.
Phillips, Claude. Invitation Card by Walker. Frederick Walker and His Works. London: Seeley & Co., 1905 [re-issue of the 1894 edition], facing page 38.
Walker, Frederick. "The Moray Minstrels." Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1865 . Online version available from Metropolitan Museum of Art. Web. 18 June 2018.
Last modified 21 July 2018