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ovember's stormy start seemed appropriate enough in view of all the troubles in the world. But we have at least one bit of really good news, the arrival on board of our new History Editor, Dory Agazarian! It's a great pleasure to welcome her to our team, and we very much look forward to working together. Other news: keep an eye open for upcoming conferences, like The Dramatised Word: Theology, Philosophy and Literature in Conversation at La Sapienza University, Rome (deadline extended to 1 December), which cross disciplines and widen horizons. One of the themes suggested for this one is "the tragic word" — but another is "the comic word." Like the list of conferences, our collection of tributes to our founder George Landow continues to grow. Do check it out.
New online this month is an introduction to Harriet Martineau's novel, Deerbrook, which JB has been snatching time to read for several weeks now (and has enjoyed very much). She also added an account of the much-admired Canon of St Paul's, Henry Parry Liddon, voted top of all the living preachers of his day in a contemporary poll, together with extracts from two of his sermons, which still seem relevant now: one on overcoming worldliness and one on philanthropy. Another long overdue inclusion is Joseph Whitehead, of the large Whitehead firm of monumental masons in Westminster, whose work was shown at the Royal Academy as well as commissioned for such memorials as that for John Rae. (Rae was the Scottish physician who worked for the Hudson Bay Company, and outraged society by reporting on possible cannibalism among the last survivors of the Franklin Expedition.)
Reading about the controversy surrounding Whitehead's Brown Dog drinking fountain led JB to incorporate an extract from Mona Caird's pamphlet decrying vivisection. This was an issue which engaged the whole spectrum of Victorian society, including Queen Victoria herself. And one more addition in the sculpture section: a nineteenth-century illustration showing Baron Marochetti's effigy of Prince Albert, in Frogmore Mausoleum, lying all alone on the royal tomb-chest, waiting to be reunited with the effigy of Queen Victoria (made at the same time as his) in 1901. Towards the end of the month JB also added an account of the celebrated Rochdale Town Hall, with a few of its brilliantly restored Heaton, Butler & Bayne stained glass windows (like this one of Elizabeth I), courtesy of David Dixon, whose excellent photos can be seen at various places on the site.
Something about our own appearance now: as a long-established site, we often need to update the way we present our material. Diane Josefowicz, our Managing Editor, has been compiling extensive guidelines for our section editors, to help us standardise our web pages. Diane is also noting art collections, auction houses etc. that have agreements with us, making picture research a little less time-consuming. Diane found time to update this What's New page, too: it previously went back many years and was becoming tricky to upload, but is now neatly and conveniently arranged in separate years, up to the present one — linked at the foot of the left-hand column. Notice that it runs from 2000, before a good many of today's readers were even born! Such behind-the-scenes work is extremely helpful.
Back at the coal-face, our Senior Editor, Simon Cooke, is working on the Doyle family of illustrators, and has already written about the father of the family, John Doyle. This is going to be a wonderful study of influence, and the development of individual gifts, among talented siblings.
Philip Allingham, our Contributing Editor from Canada, has now moved on to a new novel by Charles Lever, another one illustrated by the incredibly prolific Phiz: Tom Burke of "Ours". From this early illustration, Tom receives a Strange Visitor, it's clear that we can expect all sorts of curious encounters as the hero navigates Lever's typically elaborate plot. He has also dealt separately with Phiz and Lever's particular interest in Napoleon, an interest shared by many at the time and reflected most memorably by J.M.W. Turner's famous painting of Napoleon in exile.
Colin Price, one of our regular contributing photographers, sent in several photos of the interior of the former King's Weigh House Chapel, off Oxford Street in London, to add to the external shots that we already had. Since the church is now the Ukrainian Cathedral in London, it looks a bit different to how it looked in Victorian times, but it is great to be able to show the impressive interior at last.
The biggest piece of work so far, newly checked and approved after arriving at the end of October, is Dennis T. Lanigan's thorough account of the work of under-appreciated artist, illustrator and designer, Henry Stacy Marks. This is like a monograph in itself: do explore! Marks's very appealing oeuvre includes paintings, illustrations, and work in the applied arts. Here's one of the watercolours we already had, Waiting and Watching, but now, with Dennis's commentary, we can appreciate it much more fully. By special request (of Shirley Nicholson), we also added Marks's A Select Committee, which isn't as boring as its title suggests!
Also in the painting section, Laurent Bury has reviewed two books: one is Henry Scott Tuke, edited by Cicely Robinson, which accompanied a recent exhibition of Tuke's work at the Watts Gallery in Compton. If you missed it, now's the chance to see some of the gender issues it raised, and how Tuke's work related to that of other artists of the time. Laurent's other review, also relating to an exhibition, is of Andrea Wolk Rager's The Radical Vision of Edward Burne-Jones, a compelling, much-needed corrective to the traditional view of this artist as a dreamy visionary, dedicated to work at the more decorative end of the spectrum.
In other sections, the architect Kenneth Lynn considers the marked similarity of two grand buildings designed by different architects at the end of the period, the War Office in Whitehall and the Belfast Technical College, and wonders why one has been criticised and the other praised — such an original and thoughtful discussion. Michael Statham, for his part, looks at the architect Basil Champneys' first commission, St Luke's in Kentish Town, and also more closely at the pulpit sculpture of St Nicholas's church, Nicholaston, in the Gower, S. Wales. Yes, one of these figures is that of Canon Liddon, prompting Mike to ask why he was not represented on our website.... well, he is now. Splendid photos by our Contributing Photographer John Salmon enabled us to add two of the stained glass windows at Champney's St Luke's, made by the firm of Heaton, Butler & Bayne, such as this one of St Peter.
Edward J. Hughes contributed a second review of Cynthia Gamble and Matthieu Pinette's recent book, Ruskin, Proust et la Normandie: aux sources de la Recherche. This complements the earlier review by Alan Halliday by covering some different ground; Professor Hughes feels sure that the book will bring Ruskin greater recognition in France.
Realizing that we had nothing in our "Places" section on Southampton, Jack Wilson sent in a welcome piece on Queen Victoria's visits to the port, generally when she was on her way to the Isle of Wight. What stands out most is the royal couple's involvement in the military hospital in the district of Netley, a grand building now long gone. The artist William Simpson left us a colourful record of the laying of its foundation stone.
A later but very welcome arrival is Heather Aidan's most enjoyable account of Uniform Coverlets, which looks at what are sometimes misnamed as Crimean Quilts, made by tailors and soldiers themselves, not actually for a particular war as that name would suggest. So now, complementing the section on embroidery, we have a new one on quilting — these were forms of art in which both men and women were involved.
As of 25 November, we have 130, 067 documents and images as against 128, 300 in June, and are maintaining our presence on "X" (now with 13,455 followers), despite uncertainties on that platform in recent months. The same applies to Mastodon, with a much smaller number of followers (247). Our "instance" on the latter has had teething problems and has only just turned its first year in service. Still, it is an interesting experiment.
Correspondence: It was a great pleasure to hear from stained glass authority Martin Harrison, even though he wrote to disagree with an attribution! He also sent in a wonderful detail from a stained glass window designed by Henry Stacy Marks in St Mary the Virgin, Saffron Waldon. We need such critics and such friends.
ctober again, and the academic year is now in full swing. Don't forget to check out the conferences and calls for papers, to see where the rest of the year might take you.
At the turn of last month, Jackie Banerjee reviewed a handsome new book about the seascape artist, James Clarke Hook, in which Juliet McMaster reveals new sides to the artist's talent. A descendant herself, McMaster had privileged access to research materials, and the result is very engaging. JB also wrote up some material from the Illustrated London News about the Oxford and Cambridge Boat-Race. This was one of the highlights of the Victorian sporting calendar (except when washed out by the rain!). Having added several images of Hook's paintings (not the much-admired "Hookscapes," but, for example, a rural scene like The Thorn), JB expanded the small section on the bird and animal illustrator Josef Wolf. His Pennant-winged Nighjar shows how brilliantly Wolf could capture a bird in flight. Another small contribution was a topical cartoon in Punch: "How to Treat the Female Chartists." One should be indignant about the recommended tactic, but it just might work! Among other small projects later was an account of William Burges's Great Bookcase, the architect/designer's amazing collaboration with many of the well-known artists of his time, including Edward Burne-Jones.
Our Managing Editor, Diane Josefowicz, has taken a break from her behind-the-scenes work to add a splendid new item to our cache of material on the sculptor Carlo Marochetti: have a look with her at his elaborate and typically dramatic Monument to Carlo Alberto, in the Piazza Carlo Alberto, Turin.
For a completely different take on heroics, how about Richard Doyle's tongue-in-cheek illustrations of the Eglinton Tournament? This was a reenactment of jousting, organized by Lord Eglinton and held at his castle in Ayr, Scotland, in the summer of 1839. Unfortunately, it poured with rain, and our Senior Editor, Simon Cooke, has shown how in other ways too it brought out the young illustrator's satirical talents. In a pleasing bit of collaboration, Shirley Nicholson sent in an interesting letter by another illustrator, G. A. Sala, from the Linley Sambourne archives, which Simon also wrote about for us. The little sketches accompanying it are a great find: surprises in the archives are always a special source of information and pleasure.
Philip Allingham has completed his comprehensive study of Harold Copping's illustrations of Dickens, updating some other, much older, related material as he went along. As an example of Copping's style, here is his last illustration for Oliver Twist, which, as Philip shows, could hardly be more different from the last scenes that George Cruikshank chose to depict. Philip's discussions always provide valuable context from both the literary and artistic point of view. Philip has also updated and extended a number of galleries of illustrations of Dickens's Christmas books, such as this one of The Cricket on the Hearth.
Our contributing editor from Poland, Andrzej Diniejko, has added a thoughtful analysis of Byron's Cain, or the World After the Fall, to our small pre-Victorian section — a preliminary step towards a longer piece, in which he plans to bring together material on the influence of Byron on the Victorians. This is brilliantly timed for the 200th anniversary of Byron's death next spring.
Also new online is another outstanding contribution from Dennis T. Lanigan, this time on G. A. Storey, one of the less studied members of the St John's Wood Clique of painters. A favourite here is The Love Letter, because it keeps the viewer guessing. But probably the most accomplished painting in this selection is The Duet, which has all the "sensitive subtlety" that the Art Journal admired in Storey's work.
For a complete change of subject (the Victorian Web is very wide-ranging!), see Jane Rupert's exceptionally interesting piece on Darwin's Use of Probability and Analogy. Did you know that Darwin correctly worked out how coral reefs developed before ever having seen one with his own eyes? Diane, in her role as Science Editor, has found the ideal illustrations for this new piece.
Artist and novelist Alan Halliday kindly wrote a review for us, of Cynthia Gamble and Matthieu Pinette's recent book, Ruskin, Proust et la Normandie: aux sources de la Recherche. It is very cheering to see how Ruskin's inspiration has lived on in all sorts of ways. Cynthia herself went to see the new exhibition at the Ashmolean, Colour Revolution: Victorian Art, Fashion and Design (running in Oxford until 18 February 2024), and wrote a tempting review of it for us. However, she was less pleased with the catalogue, at least with its usefulness as a catalogue.
We were also grateful to Peyton Skipwith for providing a brief but very characteristic memory for our "Remembering George Landow" section — and then allowing us to reprint his biography of Josef (or Joseph) Wolf. This seemed like another kind of tribute, because it brought together work that George had started but been unable to complete.
A new contributor, Derek Winterbottom, also allowed us to reproduce an excerpt from one of his published books, this time on the public schools' cult of sport in Victorian times, a cult often ascribed simply (and mistakenly) to Thomas Arnold at Rugby. Readers today might like to question Victorian assumptions about sport and manliness! Derek then wrote an account of "The Isle of Man in Victorian Times," making a fine introduction to our small section on this self-governing British dependency.
Ray Brown from an Australian stained-glass site kindly contributed several discussions of windows there xwhich were designed and shipped out by Michael O'Connor and Sons, all very fine, including, for example, the East Window of St John the Baptist, Goulburn Street, Hobart, Tasmania.
Many thanks as usual to Shirley Nicholson and Ray Dyer for their much-needed proof-reading. Shirley has not been well, and Ray has been moving not only home but country, so their continuing efforts are all the more appreciated.
Correspondence: Many thanks too to Charles Brett, greatgrandson of the Pre-Raphaelite artist John Brett, for notifying us of two misattributions, and some confusion about Brett's year of birth. It was an honour to hear from a descendant of artist, and to know that he had been going through our material on him. We're also grateful to Keith Jones in New Zealand, for telling us about another version of William Powell Frith's The Rejected Poet, pointing out some differences between the two, and contributing his own portrait of the disappointed poet (Alexander Pope).
eptember is the start of meterological autumn — and the new academic year. But our editors and contributors have been busy already. Please check the conference list, to which Nigel Finch has added some intriguing new notices and calls for papers (there are opportunities for specialists on Maria Corelli and Thomas Hardy near the top). Note too that, thanks to Simon Cooke, our Senior Editor, and Diane Josefowicz, our Managing Editor (who put this online quickly because the first talk is coming up so soon) the Pre-Raphaelite Society's new programme is now available too. The first talk sounds completely unmissable: Fishy Tail: Gendering the Pre-Raphaelite Mermaids and Sirens Lecture, to be given on Zoom by Cecilia Neil-Smith. Another news item: we heard that one of the sculptures on display at the Ashmolean's new big exhibition, "Colour Revolution: Victorian Art, Fashion & Dessign," was requested from its owner after the curator read about it on our website. Good to know!
Now for the month's contributions. A sometimes overlooked, or at least sidelined, woman painter caught Jackie Banerjee's attention, so a new section on Marianne North has arrived. North's output went far beyond the botanical paintings for which she is best known, like this one of a medley of flowers in South Africa, and included animal life, especially birds like these hornbills, and evocative landscapes, modestly entitled "views," like this one in Java. Another new section introduces the watercolour and pen-and-ink artist and illustrator, Robert Taylor Pritchett, patronised by Queen Victoria. Most unusually, Pritchett first made his name as a gunmaker, and it is fascinating to see how his knowledge of antique armaments, and involvement with the Working Men's College, where he lectured on rifles, helped to bring him into artistic circles. His pen-and-ink sketch of an old shepherd shows him at his best, and perhaps at his furthest from his original profession.
Later, JB added a range of other items, including: a monument to William Whiteley of the (once) famous Whiteley department store, in the model village he founded for retired employees; an introduction to the élite cabinet-makers and interior decorators, Jackson & Graham; and Burne-Jones's watercolour, The Backgammon Players. These aren't as random as they sound. For example, Burne-Jones painted the Backgammon scene on a handsome little cabinet!
Did you know about "magnetic fever" in the early part of the Victorian period? This wasn't another kind of epidemic, but a new and widely shared fascination with charting geophysical and meteorological events. Wearing her other hat as Science Editor, Diane has written a fascinating account of this, and the role of Sir Edward Sabine, President of the Royal Society, in promoting it: The British Magnetic Scheme (1839-1851): People and Institutions. Diane has also dealt with a whole slew of broken links in many different sections of the website, generally outbound ones to sources that have become defunct, or moved. This is not at all a cosmetic operation: some of these links were now bringing up warning messages for unsafe sites.
Thanks to Simon Cooke, who is also our Editor for Book Illustration and Design, we now have a thorough exploration of the illustrative work of the American artist, Winslow Homer. Some of his characteristics may seem uniquely American but Simon shows how he synthesizes "pre-existing styles and idioms to create his own, highly personal art." One example of this is his unflinching New England Factory Life. Simon has also contributed some more of his amazing collection of Victorian bookbindings, such as this one by W.R. Rogers for The Vicar of Wakefield. Equally welcome is his informative and well-illustrated account of the Glasgow Necropolis, planned in such a way that it really does seem like a "city of the dead."
Meanwhile, Philip Allingham, our Contributing Editor for Canada, has completed his additions to our section on Mary Ellen Edward's illustrations, with more of her work for Charles Lever's The Bramleighs of Bishop’s Folly in the Cornhill Magazine. A typical example of her focus on the female characters, their expressions and attire, can be seen in the delightful A Winter's Day Walk.
By the end of last month, Rita Wood's new work on the Yorkshire Philosophical Society went online over a number of different pages. The subjects range from the formation of the Society itself to the neoclassical museum designed for it by William Wilkins (perhaps the earliest such museum in the country) with its grand interior, to J.P. Pritchett's small but once very active York Observatory, where meticulous records were kept, just as Sabine recommended. There were a variety of associated buildings as well, and of course Rita writes about the Museum Gardens and St Mary's Abbey ruins.
Nearly all the well-known Victorian artists are represented on our website. Still, Dennis Lanigan's latest contributions make good a significant gap: William F. Yeames, one of the St John's Wood Clique, painted several of the best known works of the age, including When Did You Last See Your Father?, as well as the intriguing "problem painting," Defendant and Counsel. We now have a good spread of Yeames's work, not all of which might be classed as history or genre paintings.
Turning to Victorian design now, we had a peep inside the Drawing Room of Sambourne House, with Shirley Nicholson's introduction to the kinds of furniture there, in some cases with her expert attribution to a particular (and, of course, very high-class) manufacturer. Many thanks not only to Shirley but also to the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, which provided professional photographs for this piece.
Marilyn Madigan sent in another very attractive example of John Jennings's domestic stained glass — this one with a rondel showing a robin feeding its young chicks in the nest.
Correspondence: Amit Suri from Mumbai who found our section on Sherlock Holmes's illustrator, Sydney Paget, useful, wrote in with some corrections, in a few cases suggesting more relevant "passages illustrated," and, where such passages had been omitted altogether, supplying them. Everyone gains from this kind of interaction. Andreas Waibel also wrote in, this time to correct a remark about the climate in Tobolsk, mentioned in one of the commentaries on a Victorian edition Robinson Crusoe. Another piece of useful information: Jane Chantler pointed out that there are two villages called Brough, and the one that features in the artist Lucien Pissarro's work is in Westmorland, Cumbria, not the one in the E. Riding of Yorkshire. Many thanks for this clarification!
Via Twitter, Dr Helen Wilson gave more precise information on this stretch of Cornish wall — actually, and intriguingly, more correctly called a hedge. Also via Twitter (or, rather, X) a quick-witted follower at Birmingham Art Gallery related one of Burne-Jones's paintings to his painted decoration of the cabinet mentioned above (so we really needed to include that!).
ugust started with a few contributions from the end of last month, now checked and indexed, and several new pieces. Our list of conference announcements also continues to grow, with one of the latest coming from the University of Birmingham, about a centenary conference commemorating the life and work of Marie Corelli, who died 1924. Pending further discussion, we have also opened a small section in memory of our founding Editor-in-Chief, George Landow. This is for informal tributes, and anyone is most welcome to add to them. At present the section has a truly international flavour, with memories of George in England, France and Singapore.
Next, our Managing Editor Diane Josefowicz has an important announcement to make: we're looking for a new history editor (part-time, remote) to join our team. To find out more, including instructions for how to apply, please click here. We're waiting to welcome you!
Meanwhile, new online from Jackie Banerjee is a review of Talia Schaffer's Communities of Care: The Social Ethics of Victorian Fiction, which deals with a whole range of Victorian novelists as well as (unusually) with academic practice itself. She also opened a new section on Dover, and pulled together our material on Roma, travellers and other unsettled people in Victorian times, on the strength of several interesting Victorian photographs from Simon Cooke's collection — just a tiny example of the fruitful collaboration in the digital humanities that Schaffer applauds. Another set of photographs arrived too, from Helen Hughes, the great-granddaugher of Navvy Smith, who became a preacher to his fellow-workmen on some of the biggest railway projects of the day. We already had a little about him, and one photograph. Now we have two pages of photographs, one featuring the navvies to whom he preached, and the other, the Navvy Mission's various activities. Jackie also discussed a small sample of his notes for his sermons.
Philip Allingham has sought to entertain us all with a brand new section on the Vanity Fair caricaturist Leslie Ward, otherwise known as Spy. Some of Ward's less well-known pencil portraits are included here. Philip has expanded the section on Vanity Fair itself as well, and has now energetically pursued Phiz through all the shenanigans of Charles Lever's The Knight of Gwynne; A Tale of the Time of the Union (as usual, many of the illustrations, like this one, feature very lively horses).
The latest artist to come under Dennis T. Lanigan's searching gaze is George Dunlop Leslie, with discussions that illuminate some of his most memorable works. Among them are Alice in Wonderland (with its slightly creepy detail of a discarded doll) and The Convent Garden, on a theme that many artists were drawn to at this time.
The inscription on another memorial from the chapel of King's College, London, sent in by Tim Willasey-Wilsey, gave us some more insight into the character of Major-General Sir Herbert Edwardes, who played his part in surpressing the 1857 rebellions in India, but, unlike some of his more notorious peers, seems to have been genuinely respected and loved by his underlings. Colin Brooking also contributed to the sculpture section, with a fine drinking fountain in Shadwell, in the East End of London. It was designed by Sir Betram MacKennal, though sadly it has lots its bronze medallion of Edward VII.
Continuing to shine a light on Wales, Michael Statham has contributed more work by the architect George Eley Halliday — a beautifully designed pulpit for Llantrithyd church, Vale of Glamorgan, and a lavish reredos in the Lady Chapel of St Isan, Llanishen, Cardiff. Michael followed these up with a wonderful Arts and Crafts house, named after William Morris' Red House, in Penarth. From another regular contributor, Shirley Nicholson, some new insights in Evelyn De Morgan's drawings, and another collaborative piece on one of the innovative "gold drawings" currently on display (free, until 1 October) at Leighton House museum: Boreas and Oreithyia.
New in from Jane Rupert, two extracts from one of her books on John Henry Newman, one of them in particular, "Newman on the Humanities: A Training of the Mind," amazingly apposite now, in a society where degrees are being rated on their status in the job market. The other extract also speaks eloquently of a warning unheeded: Newman on Empirical Science and Empirical Philosophy: Twin Threats to the Fullness of Reason.
We have three new book reviews this month. Laurent Bury looks slightly askance, now and then, at Simon Heffer's The Age of Decadence, A History of Britain: 1880-1914; Paul Goldman describes the new ground covered by Jo Devereux's Nineteenth-Century Women Illustrators and Cartoonists (which Richard Scully recently applauded as "a game-changer"); and, with editorial assistant Nigel Finch's help, we shared Mary Ellis Gibson's review of Tanya Agathocleous' Disaffected: Emotion, Sedition, and Colonial Law in the Anglosphere with Review 19. This last, a thought-provoking exploration of "how law and loyalty were intertwined in the British raj," has an interest far beyond any individual country.
Maria Grigoriou translated our Credits page into Greek. You may not be aware that, as well as those sections of the website that have been translated into French and Spanish, a number of individual pages have been translated into a whole range of different languages.
Correspondence: Many thanks to Brian Morris, who sent in a family photograph thought to be of the pier-engineer Eugenius Birch, and his wife Margaret. This has been added to our biography of Birch. Val Rutter also wrote in about her family archive, but, in the first instance, we felt it should be offered to the London Metropolitan Archives. Bob Davenport told us the history of one of Albert Toft's sculptures, identifying the bust as that of the grandly named Sir Jabez Edward Johnson-Ferguson, 1st Baronet. Thank you also to Bob Davenport for not only spotting a bad link in the history section, but sending us the right one! As for proof-reading, special thanks this month to Shirley Nicholson, for finding various typos and making useful suggestions for links.
y far the best tribute we can pay to George Landow is to take care of this website, a project long dear to his heart. How delighted he would have been with all the excellent new contributions that have come in this month!
First, as usual, we have some new conference announcements. Note especially this proposal for "flightless" conference-going: "a hybrid approach: monthly Zoom panels starting January 2024 followed by a series of face-to-face hub events across the world in September 2024." Some of the buzz of a large conference may be lost, but there are great advantages to this plan, not least, cutting the carbon footprint, and making these programmes more accessible to independent scholars. We shall watch with much interest.
A small beginning for the month from JB: a review of Timothy Gao's book on Virtual Play and the Victorian Novel: The Ethics and Aesthetics of Fictional Experience (in this connection, note that one of the other upcoming calls for papers is for the Victorian Review's special issue on "Videogames and Victorian Studies"). Next, she very much enjoyed adding a new section on the wildlife photographers, Richard and Cherry Kearton, and some new illustrations by Edmund Hort New, such as this one of white owls. This did not count as work!
Another project, jointly with our Managing Editor, Diane Josefowicz, has been putting online several excerpts from Jane Rupert's e-book edition of Letters of a Distinguished Physician from the Royal Tour of the British North American Colonies 1860 written by Henry Wentworth Acland. Dr Acland was a lifelong friend of John Ruskin, and was fascinated not only by art (as an amateur artist himself) but also by the new territories he was visiting. See, for example, his views on the timber industry — and the accompanying watercolour, which shows the enthusiasm with which the royal party was greeted. Acland's biography, his visit to the Toronto Observatory, and his asylum visits are all online now, and Diane's own contribution, on the Victorians and the earth's magnetic field, has been finalised too. This range of new material on Acland, the scientific developments he encountered, and their connection with the progress of research into geomagnetism, is all fascinating.
Meanwhile, in the books section, our senior editor Simon Cooke added the delightful unsigned binding for The Beauty of Common Things.
Philip Allingham completed his updating of Luke Fildes's illustrations for Charles Lever's Lord Kilgobbin, as well as adding new ones that appeared in the Cornhill Magazine. Having recently acquired a first edition of Dickens's Pictures from Italy (1846), Philip has also made several fine new scans of Samuel Palmer's illustrations for it. Among his other revisions and additions were some of Spy's caricatures for Vanity Fair, including this new one of Luke Fildes himself.
The latest contributions from Dennis Lanigan, still are about the St John's Wood Clique, a band of artists whose congeniality undermines the image of a painter struggling alone in his garret. Fred Walker's caricature of Rossetti "roasting" The Clique does speak of rivalaries, though! So far, Philip Hermogonese Calderon has been the best represented, with some wonderful new paintings like this mood piece, "Her eyes are with her heart and that is far away".
For several reasons, it was a great pleasure to receive a set of photographs from Caroline Jarrett, daughter of John Sankey, who for so long contributed to our sculpture section. The photos are of a statuette of Colin Minton Campbell, director of the famous Minton ceramics company, during much of the Victorian period. The original bronze was by Thomas Brock, on whose work John Sankey was the authority, and you can see why he admired Brock when you look at the poise and detail of this little version. Also new to the sculpture section is a statue of the "discoverer of the circulation," the scientist William Harvey, in Folkestone, sent in by Tim Willasey-Wilsey. This was unveiled by Sir Richard Owen with great fanfare in August 1881 (the London Illustrated News carried a fine account of the occasion).
Our large section on Victorian churches has also got a bit longer recently, with Michael Statham's photograph of G.F. Bodley's striking St German's, Cardiff, sadly no longer in use, but take a look at those flying buttresses! Michael then sent in a short biography of another architect, John Coates Carter, and some of his works, such as the beautiful Arts and Crafts Garn-Hill House in the Vale of Glamorgan, with more to follow.
We were delighted to hear from Laurent Bury, one of the reviewers for Cercles, the international review website run by our good friend, Antoine Capet. Professor Bury has already sent us two new reviews. One is of Simon Martin's Drawn to Nature: Gilbert White and the Artists — this was commissioned by Antoine before he died last year, and it is sad not to be able to share it with him, as we would normally have done. The other review is of the recent exhibition at the Musée Girodet, Montargis: "Triqueti, la force du trait," of special interest because the museum had been flooded, and this was its re-opening show. It was a relief to see that so much was saved.
Ray Dyer kindly continues to proofread for us. Thank you, Ray!
Correspondence: Anne Willis wrote in with a small correction and some interesting extra information about the O'Connor East window in Holy Trinity, Bradford-on-Avon, swiftly following this up with another small lancet attributed to O'Connor in the same church. David Bourland very kindly listed several "errata" in our annotations to Carlyle's "Signs of the Times." This set of annotations is an example of student work on our website (clearly identified as such) carried out long ago under George Landow's supervision. David writes that most of the annotations were very helpful. They are well worth retaining, but we were very glad to have them checked in this way. Jeffrey Clayton also wrote in, in this case to report a broken link in the sculpture section.
We start this month with very sad news: our founder, long-time editor-in-chief and webmaster, George Landow, passed away peacefully on 31 May, with his family around him. As many of you may know, he had been ill for a long time, far outliving his initial prognosis. What you may not have realised is that, even in these past two and a half years, he lived as fully and cheerfully as ever — celebrating family occasions, taking a trip with his wife to the Norwegian fiords, pursuing his hobbies, and, of course, continuing with his scholarly interests. During this period, too, he took care to ensure the future of our pioneering and wide-ranging website, turning it into a charitable educational foundation, with its own fully independent editorial board. In this way, as well as through his work on Ruskin, the Pre-Raphaelites, Biblical typology and other subjects, not to mention his landmark books on hypertext, he made a unique and lasting contribution to the academic world. Two very recent events show what a remarkable all-rounder he was: in April he received a copy of the Arabic translation of his first book on hypertext (it had already been translated into many other languages); and less than two weeks ago he became a Master Model Railroader, a coveted award earned over many years' involvement with that hobby. You can see something of his commitment to it here on our website, as part of his personal biography. But note that the model shown below was created recently, to his delight, by his good friend and fellow-enthusiast, Jim Kirkham. Click on it to see what it says on the signboard.
Talking of tributes, the Landow family has requested donations instead of flowers, so we have a new "donate" link near the top of the left-hand panel on our home page, for anyone who would like to honour his memory in this way. You can also be redirected from here. There will be space there to leave a message. In fact, we have already received many heart-warming messages on social media. A typical one reads, "George and his work with the VW was seminal when I made the decision to pursue Victorian Studies. I’m grateful he always responded whenever I connected with a question. He was a great and kind scholar!" If you would like to say something about his influence, do write in, and we will gather these tributes together on a separate memorial page. We already have a sample of responses to our announcemnt on Twitter (other than the e-mojis conveying sadness and/or prayers with which many responded).
On a personal level, we ourselves greatly miss George's advice and encouragement, and above all his friendship. But our task now is to carry on his legacy in the more scholarly of his virtual realities. Reassuringly, the site continues to grow — as does the list of conferences and Calls for Papers complied by our editorial assisnt, Nigel Finch. Check it out, so you don't miss anything. For example, time is running out to prepare your entry for the "Brontë Studies Early Career Research Essay Prize"! The deadline for submission is 15 August. If you can't manage that, see what else is coming up.
As for new work online, JB finished an essay on Elizabeth Gaskell's Ruth, about "Illness and Its Uses" in the novel — the direct result of talking it over with George once. And George's inspiration goes on spreading. Finding some connections between Ruth and Gaskell's intriguing story, "Lois the Witch," JB asked Professor Bernard Rosenthal, a well-known authority on the Salem Witch Trials, about Gaskell's use of material from the episode: this co-authored essay was the result.
Then, urged by another contributor (Shirley Nicholson), JB started a new section on the artist Marianne Stokes, with about a dozen new works of hers, including this gleaming reminder of Cornwall's copperwork arts, Polishing Pans. She also transcribed two contemporary essays on her, one of them by Alice Meynell. Then she added an interview with the photographer Frederick Hollyer, in an 1893 copy of The Studio, to the photogrpahy section. Here, Hollyer makes a good case for photography as an art, but shows himself greatly in favour of "untouched" work. What would he have thought of today's routine photo-editing?
As Managing Editor, Diane Josefowicz has just finished repairing the dozens of broken links on our site to Mitsuharu Matsuoka's Hyper-Concordance, which allows word searches of many literary works. The concordance used to be part of our mirror-site in Japan, but has now been rehoused on the Victorian Literary Studies Archive. Over the years, several other major websites to which we regularly link have also been moved, and need the same painstaking labour to repair. Since our site operates on a principle of interconnecting links, rather than on discrete searches, keeping the links active is an ongoing and vital task.
Diane and JB also attended the virtual launch of the second phase of the University of Victoria's funded project, "Great Expectations: Pregnancy and Childbirth in the Age of Victoria," for which we provide the Open Access platform. There were some fascinating presentations, and Diane spoke encouragingly about our role in this (and hopefully other) projects of great interest to the wider scholarly community.
Simon Cooke, our Senior Editor, has also been hard at work, contributing a most enjoyable essay on a whole range of attractive but unsigned Victorian book bindings, all from his own extensive library. Organising them took him through some of the major design trends of the day, from Gothic to Orientalist, and made brilliant sense of what at first appears to be a confusing variety of styles. As an example, here is a stunning Orientalist one for Dalziels’ Illustrated Arabian Nights' Entertainment of 1870. Simon followed this up with a unique behind-the-scenes look at a publishing arrangement, the contract between John Leighton and his publishers, Grant and Griffith. After this came a more substantial and wide-ranging essay on the late-Victorian Yellow Book's bindings, enriching our understanding of this whole, very distinctive era.
Meanwhile, our section on Phiz (Hablot K. Browne) grows apace, as Philip Allingham traces the convolutions of another of the Charles Lever novels he illustrated, Jack Hinton, the Guardsman. Phiz's rendition of a picnic in Phoenix Park makes a good example of his sheer creative energy, which Philip himself clearly relishes. This whole set is finished now, but if you look at the illustration entitled "Monsieur de Roni in his glory," you will see just how many questions remain unanswered until the very end (Philip has kindly listed them!). Another small contribution by Philip led to a lot of work for JB on updating the several Dickens "galleries": this one, about Dickens in caricature, dated from 2002!
In terms of web pages, by far the largest contributions completed so far this month are Dennis T. Lanigan's. One set is on the artist Robert Walker Macbeth. Every time Dennis sends in his work, it seems a new favourite painter has taken up residence on the site: Macbeth, another of the Idyllic School of artists, is no exception. His oil paintings, watercolours and etchings make a wonderful addition. Here is a particular favourite: In Clover. The Art Journal critic dismissed it at the time with the brief description, "some peasants at their repast" — see what you think. Dennis has now sent in his work on the last of the Idyllic School, Cecil Gordon Lawson. It is all online now, but a kind friend is still proof-reading it for us.
Another very welcome contribution came from Professor Gilbert Bonifas: "Richard Oastler, Tory Radicalism, and the Resistance to the New Victorian Order." Based on a conference talk, this gives a full, very thoughtful and well-documented picture of how hard Oastler tried dissuade the government from implementing the Poor Law, and how much he wished to promote "a nation of sturdy artisans and peasants" — a dream that William Morris would share, decades later.
After a little gap, we were pleased to hear more about Michael Statham's explorations in the archives of W. Clarke, Llandaff, where he discovered that Rossetti's famous triptych in the Cathedral had been photographed, and the photographs inserted into church fittings elsehwere — also into what is possibly a overmantel. What an imaginative and practical use of photography!
Shirley Nicholson is mentioned above: by coincidence, Professor John Hilary sent in a review of her book, A Victorian Household: Based on the Diaries of Marion Sambourne. Shirley's access to the Sambourne archives has yielded absolutely priceless results for those of us fascinated by the family life and domestic arrangements of the times — the book is a must if you plan on visiting Sambourne House, or even if you just want to find out about it.
We now have over 128,380 items on the website, and over 13,400 followers on Twitter (only 212 on Mastodon though. It's hard to keep up both!).
Correspondence. Many thanks to Karen Fletcher, who noted some confusion about the architect of Albert Court near the Royal Albert Hall, now properly identified and in our section on London buildings — one of the many, many pieces that George contributed. Another correspondent, Sarah Torres, sent in a very interesting query about navigating the website, which made us add some extra information to the brief guide we already have online. Is it clear now? Please take a look. We can't always help when people write in, but we do try! Recently we were able to send a correspondent (enquiring about an Arts and Crafts house which she hopes to buy) to just the right source — yes, one of our contributors, who quickly provided the name of the architect and even his original plans.
ay arrived with cheerful preparations for the coronation of Queen Victoria's great-great-great grandson, King Charles III. But it also brought us some unwelcome news: we were so sad to learn that Hugh H. Witemeyer, Professor of English at the University of New Mexico, had passed away. He was the very first scholar to share a published book with the Victorian Web: George Eliot and the Visual Arts. A fine tribute to him would be to read his introduction, about how Eliot transformed "literary pictorialism" — as he says, "No novelist in English before her used pictorial devices so extensively, so diversely, or so subtly."
The month saw Nigel Finch's first substantial addition to our conferences/calls for papers record: the topics are as enticing as ever, and range from one on Elizabeth Gaskell, to one on Transnational Animal Welfare Activism and the Victorians. Check them out if you're interested, as the deadline for the latter is fast approaching.
JB's contribution so far is a transcription of a short essay on the woman sculptor, Mary Thornycroft, together with discussions of some of her work, such as this early figure of a Sleeping Child. Then, with some useful editorial input from our Science and Managing Editor, Diane Josefowicz, she added an account of the pioneering Victorian economic entomologist, Eleanor Ormerod.
Typical of DJ's backroom work is her tidying up of one of the Victorian Web's books, Barbara Gates's Victorian Suicides: Mad Crimes and Sad Histories. One important section of this, on "Nell, Quilp, and Accidental Suicides in Dickens's The Old Curiosity Shop," had gone missing and the original needed to be acquired and reformatted. Do read!
Another good read would be a review by our Gender Matters editor, Jo Devereux, of two recent books in her area: LGBT Victorians: Sexuality and Gender in the Nineteenth-Century Archives and Meg Dobbins's Queer Economic Dissonance and Victorian Literature. Taken together, Jo concludes, "both books are enlightening and thoroughly researched, and both demonstrate the Victorian — and Victorianist — spirit of resistance, vitality, and community."
But the month really started with two new essays from the University of Victoria Great Expectations Pregnancy Project. Although these are in the science section they are of great general interest: Alanna McKnight has written about maternity wear, challenging our assumptions that Victorian women were hidden away during pregnancy; and Mary Elizabeth Leighton and Lisa Surridge, who supervised the project, have written a fascinating round-up of the vocabulary of pregnancy, with euphemisms often revealing more about Victorian attitudes than they conceal.
Another important project is Dennis T. Lanigan's, on the painters of the Idyllic school. Some fine new commentaries on their work demonstrate Dennis's extensive knowledge of their reception, and in several cases he has provided better images of their work as well. The first two he looked at were George Heming Mason (see, for example, Mason's wonderful Harvest Moon) and Frederick Walker (see, for example, The Old Farm Garden). Next came the George John Pinwell, well known as an illustrator but also arguably the most memorable watercolourist of this school. Less dramatic than Mason's Harvest Moon, but equally evocative, is Pinwell's The Last Load. Another member of this group was John William North, again better known as an illustrator but an almost visionary artist when it came ot landscapes, especially those in Somerset where he eventually settled. If you're puzzled by the description of his work as "almost visionary," just take a look at The Hayloft.
On a completely different note, we were delighted to receive an essay on "Roots and Strands of Anarchism in Late Victorian Britain" by our contributing editor for Poland, Dr Andrzej Diniejko. This brings together his own earlier work on the subject, and other contributions in this area too, in a clear a very readable style, and introduces two important women anarchists, the essayist and poet Louisa Sarah Bevington, and Louise Michel — the latter was French, but lived in exile in England in the early 1890s.
Philip Allingham completed his series of Phiz illustrations for Charles Lever's Lorrequer, and explains that his recent projects on The Sketches of Young Gentleman and Sketches of Young Couples, and the 1836 Second Series of Sketches by Boz (first one online here) are all courtesy of rare book-collector and Dickens aficionado Dr. C. Ralph Hayes of Sidney B. C.
Philip has also added some marvellous details to his piece on Francis Mawson Rattenbury's Legislative Buildings in Victoria, especially the Library Building, as well as more buildings by the same architect, including the impressive neoclassical Canadian Pacific Steam-Ship Terminal and the Crystal Garden, both in Victoria as well. This work has enabled us to build up our section on Canada, which has seemed sadly lacking recently, in view of our work with several Canadian scholars, and the University of Victoria's Pregnancy Project.
New from Rita Wood is an account of the Blue Coat School in York, stressing the contribution to it of the important architectural firm of J. B. and W. Atkinson. Very welcome too are Amitav Banerjee's comments on Gerard Manley Hopkins's "Thou art indeed just, Lord."
Many thanks as usual to our much-needed proof-readers, Shirley Nicholson and Ray Dyer. There is always plenty of work for them to do.
Correspondence. Pauline Shieldhouse wrote in to correct the name of a building firm, raising the exciting prospect of a new entry for our section on the great Victorian builders. We could do with many more! From social media responses we learned that our use of alt text for the images shown there is much appreciated: "Big shout out to @VictorianWeb who consistently use great Alt Text when posting images! Art organisations and institutions take note! Blind & visually impaired people ALSO want to know what's in the picture!" Thanks also to readers who write in asking to subscribe to this "What's New" page. We are considering expanding it and sending it out as a monthly newsletter. Meanwhile, it is here for anyone to read. Readers' responses are always welcome, by the way.
pril opens with an enticing new programme from the Pre-Raphaelite Society, offering, amongst others, a visit to The Rossettis, the exhibition at the Tate, 6 April-24 September 2023. This month too Nigel Finch has taken over from Taylor Tomko as editorial assistant. We will really miss Taylor, but have every hope that she will one day become a valued contributor. Nigel has already begun adding to our list of forthcoming conferences, under the guidance of our competent Managing Editor, Diane Josefowicz. So, welcome Nigel!
We were also delighted to receive the latest article in the Pregnancy and Childbirth Project from Professors Lisa Surridge and Mary Elizabeth Leighton at the University of Victoria in Canada. This is "Embryology from Aristotle to Darwin," in which Diana Edelman traces the fascinating process by which Darwin's theories replaced older ideas, and set the stage for modern scientific knowledge.
New on our website too is a review of Grace Lavery's Quaint, Exquisite: Victorian Aesthetics and the Idea of Japan, which has a chapter exploring "transnational flows." Among intriguing connections here is one between Ruskin and his No. I fan in Japan, Ryuko Mikimoto, of the Mikimoto pearl family. JB then opened a new section on the artist Augustus Wall Callcott, transcribing F. G. Stephens's biography and adding a number of his paintings, with commentaries, including his View of Greenwich Hospital and the River Thames, about which she would really like a bit more information! Another project was the transcription and illustration of an early twentieth century account of George Meredith and His Illustrators. This involved adding new work by a galaxy of different well-known illustrators from 1859 onwards, taking much longer than expected. But some of the added illustrations are very striking. For example, here is one by Charles Keene and another by Laurence Housman. But all were outshone by Frederick Sandys's take on Bhanavar the Beautiful.
Our Senior Editor, Simon Cooke, sent in some excellent photographs to add to our section on Charles Rennie Mackintosh, several of them now helping to illustrate the late Professor Antoine Capet's review of the Mackintosh House reconstructed at the Hunterian Art Gallery, Glasgow. Through Simon also we received Paul Goldman's very informative and handsomely illustrated review of Gregory Jones’s William Harry Rogers – Victorian Book Designer and Star of the Great Exhibition. Simon's own review of the new and rather controversial exhibition at the Tate, "The Rossettis: Radical Romantics" (6 April–24 September 2023), is also online now. Well judged and comprehensive, it is not uncritical, but still very enticing: you will want to go and see the exhibition for yourself!
Breaking off temporarily from his series of Phiz's illustrations for Charles Lever's novels, Philip Allingham has provided better scans for the same illustrator's work for Dickens's A Tale of Two Cities, updating the information about them. For a dark plate like The Mail, in particular, a better scan can make a huge difference. Philip also put together images of the pages of Chapman and Hall's Advertiser: A Catalogue of Books for 1859: wonderful to see the novels on the market alongside A Tale of Two Cities. They include major works by so many famous Victorians, from Carlyle and Gaskell to Thackeray, Trollope and Meredith (here is the page showing The Ordeal of Richard Feverel), and many more besides. Two short essays about Lever's Charles O'Malley, the Irish Dragoon have also come to fruition, one on the triumphant finale, and the other on its comic characters.
We have also been sprucing up our very brief section on Canada, in anticipation of a new Canadian contributor. Philip has been writing about Francis Mawson Rattenbury, who hailed from Leeds, went out to British Columbia at the age of 25, and landed the extremely prestigious commission for the grand Legislative Buildings in Victoria, which was followed by other such landmarks, for example the magnificent Empress Hotel there.
Pamela Gerrish Nunn's latest woman artists are Fanny and Louisa Corbaux, but we have only just embarked on this project; similarly, one with Shirley Nicholson on the artist John William Bottomley, best known for his paintings of animals. We have three of the latter's works now, including his spectacular contribution to a painting of a famous shipwreck, kindly contributed by Vienna's Dorotheum auction house. Some formalities were involved in the process, but the result was a very large image allowing us to see close-ups of Bottomley's terrified horses.
Correspondence. Many thanks to Valentine Catherine Frenett, for pointing out a typo in the photography section. Shirley Nicholson and Ray Dyer are still kindly helping us, but we need all the proofreading we can get! As a spin-off from proof-reading, Ray added an interesting short note to a newly added work by Arthur Hughes, The Lady with the Lilacs. As a result of direct messages on Twitter, we also received a photo of The Old Synagogue in Canterbury, most unusually in Egyptian style: many thanks to Mark Hayes for this.
arch seemed to blow in very suddenly (February was such a short month!) but we start with two pieces of good news. Diane Greco Josefowicz, already our editor for Science and Technology, has agreed to take up the responsibilities of Managing Editor of the website, and Philip Allingham, who stepped down as Contributing Editor for Canada a couple of years ago, finds that he now has time to resume his role. The commitment of these people means a huge amount to us all.
We also have a couple of new exciting-looking conference announcements to report, thanks to Taylor Tomko. One, the second of its kind, on "Women Staging and (Re-)Staging the Nineteenth Century," is at the University of València, in October.
Among a variety of new contributions this month is JB's review of Rebecca Richardson's Material Ambitions: Self-Help and Victorian Literature, which uncovers the negative side of ambition and self-advancement. One chapter deals with that famous self-help novel, Dinah Craik's John Halifax, Gentleman, and the role of John's invalid friend, Phineas Fletcher. JB then wrote an introduction to the decorating firm of W.B. Simpson & Sons, which was founded just before the Victorian period. This was prompted by a request from the company for some of our images, for a celebration of their Victorian past. Rita Wood, thankfully now in better health, went out to take some more photographs for them — and for us. Here is their tiled panel of Michelangelo showing off one of his works, from the façade of the York Art Gallery. Other pictorial tile panels in a sheltered position have kept their colour better: JB hunted down some of her own photographs of nursery-story panels by Doulton (example) in St Thomas's Hospital in London.
New online too is Simon Cooke's account of the artist and illustrator Arthur Hughes as a book cover designer — yet another side to this Pre-Raphaelite artist's talent. Those who particularly like Hughes's painting, April Love, won't be surprised to find that three of the covers featured here have a gilt design on a rich blue background. Thanks to Simon's initiative, we've also been able to include another essay from the Journal of the Pre-Raphaelite Society, Professor Barrie Bullen's discussion of The Séance Diary of William Michael Rossetti — one of the spookier expressions of Victorian Spiritualism.
Later in the month Simon provided us with another authoritative essay by Edmund King, "Book Sales for the Middle-Classes: Victorian Publishers’ Bindings, 1840–1880," an edited version which includes many new examples which Simon himself discusses separately. We now have over 400 examples of Victorian book binding designs — there is nothing like this anywhere else on the web.
Returning to stained glass, one of our contributing photographers, Colin Price, has sent in some more of his brilliant photographs, including one of a lovely window at Llandaff Cathedral designed by W. F. Dixon, showing Ruth, Dorcas and Anna.
Philip Allingham is now halfway through the adventures of Charles Lever's Charles O'Malley, the Irish Dragoon, following his hero's exploits through some of Phiz's finest illustrations — plenty of scope here for his dramatic gift — see, for example, this typical "skirmish" — and for his humour, too! Philip has also revised his set of illustrations by Sol Eytinge for Dickens's Our Mutual Friend.
We were so pleased to receive another drawing-room ballad from Derek B. Scott, The Mistletoe Bough — a really grisly one, telling of a particular danger in the home, especially in the days when it was stuffed full of heavy wooden furniture. You may not be in danger of such a calamity yourself, but do warn your cat about it! Derek also sent in an extra image, one of Champagne Charlie, for his entertaining essay on music hall regulations.
Dennis T. Lanigan's latest is a superb introduction to the work of Thomas Armstrong, a painter who was friends with many of the well-known artists of the time. He helped inspire the coming generation as well, and his own paintings range from social realist (like Manchester and Salford Children) to primarily decorative, including some (like The Test) that clearly belong to the early Aesthetic Movement. His work, and Dennis's various commentaries on it, takes us enjoyably through some of the major trends of the age.
Many thanks to Patrick Leary, who notified us of updates to his immensely useful list of open access journals. The new version is now online. He then very kindly shared another useful list with us, this time of Victorian Studies Journals, Societies, and Series.
We were grateful to Lynn M. Alexander, Professor and Dean of Humanities and Fine Arts, University of Tennessee at Martin, for allowing us to keep her very useful biographical introduction to Elizabeth Gaskell, which had been on our site for many years, but, by some oversight, incompletely credited.
It was a pleasure and relief to hear from Shirley Nicholson, recovering at home after a spell in hospital, with an essay about another community of artists, this time in the Notting Hill Gate area. It's hard to believe now that in the early nineteenth century it was more countryside than suburbia, but this is where artists like William Mulready had their homes and painted, with their surroundings and their friends often featured in their work. One of the artists who lived there was Augustus Wall Callcott, and his wife Maria (née Dundas, and previously Graham) was one of those adventurous souls who travelled far and wide and wrote about the far-flung places she visited. Many thanks to Caroline Murray for sharing an account of her journeys and works with us.
Correspondence. We were grateful to Amalia Seiguer for photos of her unusual find: a vase or umbrella stand featuring three figures in deep relief, representing one of the sculptor Harry Bates's most acclaimed works ("Homer" — "a blind old man and poor, sweetest he sings"). Also very welcome is René Attard's photograph of a pair of houses in Malta, in the same style used by the architect Emmanuele Galizia. The architectural historian James Bettley wrote in at almost the same time, querying the usual attribution of another building, this time the Anglican Cathedral in Gibraltar. He is doing some first-hand research and will let us know what he finds out!
As usual, we have had various e-mails asking about the value of first editions, acquisitions from antique shops etc. We aren't usually able to answer these queries! However, one lucky person did get useful advice about a first edition from both Simon Cooke and Philip Allingham, and it was interesting to see how knowledgeable they both were, and how completely their responses coincided.
ebruary opened sadly for us, when we heard, very belatedly, that Antoine Capet, Emeritus Professor of British Studies at the University of Rouen, had passed away last year. Antoine used to contribute exhibition reviews, and share book reviews from the international online journal, Cercles, with us, when they were of Victorian interest (he was the reviews editor for the journal). We will miss him.
Another kind of bad news was the burning down of a fine Victorian church in London's fashionable St John's Wood area. St Mark's, Hamilton Terrace, by Thomas Cundy I and his successors, was full of treasures — Salviati mosaics and so on. There is some hope that it can be rebuilt, and our contributing photographer, John Salmon, immediately added to our current solitary image of it with some of his two hundred plus photographs of it. Jackie Banerjee is in the process of arranging these, and we hope they will help in the rebuilding project (the church did send out an appeal for photographs, and it is hard to imagine anyone having a better record of the church than John's).
As it happens, our other contributing photographer, Colin Price, also sent in a large number of photographs of stained glass, some additional ones for the windows of St John the Baptist, Cardiff, and a set for Lavers, Barraud and Westlake. A new artist whose work is seen at St John's is Joseph Bell of Bristol, who set up his studio early in the Gothic Revival. It lasted through three generations of his own family, and continued under a different ownership until 1996. This firm's Peter and Paul window in Durham Cathedral was hard to photograph, but Colin sent in some very attractive details of it, and some supplementary photographs of George Gilbert Scott's work on Durham Cathedral. On quite a different topic, JB transcribed the Strand Magazine's account of late Victorian Valentines, including, surprisingly and pleasingly, Valentines in Braille.
George Landow has been doing sterling work with Dennis T. Lanigan's latest account of another Pre-Raphaelite artist, Edward Clifford. The most recent paintings to go online are these examples of work from the early Aesthetic Movement, Some Have Entertained Angels Unaware, and Robert Bateman's A Sacred Harvest, along with much other material about both artists.
Thanks to our Senior Editor, Simon Cooke, our link with the Pre-Raphaelite Society is flourishing. Our editorial assistant Taylor Tomko has just formatted two of the three essays Simon selected from their journal. They are on the women illustrators of Christina Rossetti's Goblin Market, by Ester Díaz Morillo; and Rossetti's model and mistress, "Fanny Cornforth, the Rogue Elephant," by Kirsty Stonell Walker. Simon himself has now reviewed the latest book about the doomed Franklin Expedition, May We Be Spared to Meet on Earth: Letters of the Lost Franklin Arctic Expedition, a trove as fascinating and revelatory in its own way as the discovery of the expedition's submerged ships several years back.
Meanwhile our Science and Technology Editor, Diane Josefowicz, has written an introduction to the life and work of the Japanese bacteriologist Kitasato Shibasaburo, who, amongst other major contributions to his field, opened up the new science of serology. This was alongside Diane's continuing and much appreciated editorial work in her two major sections. Later in the month she spent a considerable amount of time on other editorial work in this section, adding biographical introductions to two more important figures, the English scientist Percy Frankland, whose book about bacteriology, Our Secret Friends and Foes, appeared in 1893; and the American microbiologist and bacteriologist, Frederick Novy.
Philip Allingham brought Phiz's illustrations for Charles Lever's Roland Cashel to a close, and anyone who has tried to follow the plot will be further challenged here, by a rash of extraordinary coincidences! Here is the last illustration, in which (at last) the dastardly Linton is arrested for the murder of which Roland was accused. All good stuff! Before setting off for a well-earned holiday in Mexico, Philip then added an introduction to the novel in the section on Lever's writing. For light relief, Philip also updated the illustrations for Dickens's short story, "A Holiday Romance."
The long-standing incumbent of St Marks, Hamilton Terrace, mentioned above, was none other than Lewis Carroll's old friend, the Rev. Robinson Duckworth, memorialised as the Duck in Alice in Wonderland. This prompted Ray Dyer to write about him, and about how Lewis Carroll helped him when he was tutoring Prince Leopold — through a hobby connected with the lost art of letter-writing. Ray's proofreading this month is much appreciated too, especially as Shirley Nicholson, our other kind proof-reader and contributor, has been, as she says, "hors de combat" recently after a fall. We very much look forward to her return to the fray (i.e., the battle against typos and broken links).
Rita Wood provided a lovely image of York Chapter House's painted ceiling, intricately designed by Thomas Willement. Rita then returned to the prominent York architect, George Townsend Andrews, with his building for York's first stone station, and the very first station hotel, as well as two houses close by, and some of the surviving railway outbuildings. This was followed by a piece on the Victorian arches cut through York's ancient walls, mostly but not all to serve the railways. All this despite Rita's short spell in hospital. This has been a difficult month for her too, but we trust she'll soon be out recording more of Victorian York for us.
We were delighted to receive Pamela Gerrish Nunn's latest — a well-informed and discriminating review article on two recent books about the Pre-Raphaelites, Beyond the Brotherhood: the Pre-Raphaelite Legacy, edited by Anne Anderson, and Pre-Raphaelite Sisters: art, poetry and female agency in Victorian Britain, edited by Glenda Youde and Robert Wilkes. We're really fortunate to have such contributors in our painting section.
Marilyn Madigan, who now lives in Australia, sent in some extra information about her great-grandfather, the stained glass designer John J. Jennings, along with two photographs of very attractive rondels by him that she still treasures.
Please look out, as usual, for Taylor's latest news on conferences and calls for papers on the Victorians, and keep an eye on the Pre-Raphaelite Society pages, especially for details of the upcoming (online) lecture by Carol Jacobi on 18 March.
Correspondence. Thank you to Aamir Ansari, for pointing out a typo in the commentary of one of G. F. Watts's paintings. Both Simon and Philip responded usefully (but probably disappointingly) to a query via Twitter about the value of a copy of Dickens's A Christmas Carol apparently, it is not as collectible as it seems.
fresh start! "May the New Year be a happy one to you, happy to many more whose happiness depends on you!" We can't put it better than Dickens, who says this in his own voice at the end of one of his less widely known Christmas stories, The Chimes.
Don't forget to check out the latest conference announcements, and follow the links for details. Taylor Tomko, our editorial assistant, has put in some of the abstracts for one announced earlier: "Hitting the Road," about Victorian travellers. These can be accessed from the conference's main page. Good news for fans of Victorian illustration: the students in the Department of English at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) have created a brilliant new site, Digital Cruikshank — for details and a link, click here. We're so pleased that they found us to be an "invaluable resource" for this project. In other news, Patrick Leary has let us share the comprehensive list, "Open Access Nineteenth-century Periodicals," from his exceptionally useful Victorian Research Web. We hope this is a first step in a very fruitful collaboration.
Not surprisingly, the first few days of the year were rather quiet. At the suggestion of Shirley Nicholson, JB put online some excerpts from a chapter of Jane Ellen Panton's Leaves from a Life. Panton, née Frith, was one of William Powell Frith's daughters, and in this chapter she describes her father's circle of friends. Several were members of the early Victorian painting group called The Clique. One was Henry Nelson O'Neil, so JB opened a new section on him, and discussed three of his best-known paintings: Eastward Ho!, Home Again and The Landing of HRH The Princess Alexandra at Gravesend, 7th March 1863. JB later added a sculpture, Cleopatra Dying, by one of her favourite sculptors, Henri de Triqueti, and some material to our small section on Walter Savage Landor.
The environment was a concern long before our own times. Despite suffering from the aftermath of his most recent chemotherapy session, George Landow has been doing some work on this, finding, for example, a very evocative illustration of "A Fog in the Streets of London." in 1867. He has also been putting online Dennis Lanigan's very welcome and thorough examination/evaluation of the work of Henry Holiday, whose talents included stained glass and mosaic design. An outstanding example of the latter is his Last Supper of 1898. We're glad and relieved to report that George is feeling better these days.
The latest from Simon Cooke, our Senior Editor, is an essay exploring the life and works of Alfred William Cooper, a fine illustrator as well as a painter, whose work has previously been neglected: "His life and art have never been the subject of scrutiny." Like Dennis Lanigan's, this is the kind of original work that we're particularly proud to present. Later in the month Simon added the Manchester Guardian's obituary for Rossetti, and a heartbreaking account of the illustrator John Leech's burial. He was only 46.
Tim Wilsey-Wallesey, our editor for Military and Colonial History, sent in more photographs from St Paul's, this time of the monument to the distinguished young naval commander, Granville Gower Loch, who died at the end of the Second Anglo-Burmese War. That the sculptor was Baron Carlo Marochetti tells much about the esteem in which Loch was held.
Some of Contributing Photographer Colin Price's many church stained glass windows have finally made it online — one Pre-Raphaelite collaboration at St John the Baptist, Cardiff, by the Morris firm; and three by W. F. Dixon in the same church, including this rather unusual one of Jesus with the sick, the lame and the blind, carrying what seems to be some healing balm.
One fruit of Philip Allingham's ongoing work on Phiz's illustrations is his addition of several more images to our (that is, Philip's) spectacular gallery of Phiz's horses. As mentioned last month, these figure plentifully in Lever's Roland Cashel, but it is astonishing to see so many horses in action or inaction on a webpage of their own!
Meanwhile, Rita Wood sent in a wonderful photo essay, "St Leonard’s Place, York: A New Road for a New Age." The York architects had to work around indispensable parts of their heritage, but still managed to create one of the most impressive city roads of the period. It may not be quite like Newcastle's Grey Street, but certainly approaches it. Rita also added more photos of the elegant De Grey Rooms in York, and sent in some more of her collection of ironwork street furniture, such as this splendid double lamp post outside York Minster. This was followed later in the month by a photo-essay on George Hudson the "Railway King," with particular reference to his life in York, and how he is remembered there.
Just around Christmas Michael Statham sent in several more designs for church sculpture by Henry Hugh Armstead, like these for a monument to a priest. His drawings for the stone carvers have a real immediacy, taking us right back to the busy workshops where architectural sculptors' ideas were finally brought to life. More of these are in the pipeline, but in the meantime he wrote about some of the interior features of Insole Court, for which the architect/designer Edwin Seward was responsible. Thanks to Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales, we were able to include some 1880s photos of the exterior of the house. This was embellished by some wonderful bas reliefs carved by the master-sculptors of W. Clarke, Llandaff: here are some examples. Michael's latest work has been on the Welsh architect G. E. Halliday, whose work was well in tune with the Arts and Crafts ethos. This includes the Grade II* listed "showcase of the crafts," St Nicholas church, Nicholaston, Gower.
One rather challenging offering this month was Shirley Nicholson's archival drawing for a cartoon by Linley Sambourne, The Russian Wolf and the Hebrew Lamb, along with a cutting from the Times that provided the background — about the British response to Russian treatment of the Jews in the late nineteenth century. The verse parody that accompanied the cartoon, when published in Punch, needed a fair bit of research.
Ray Dyer, like Shirley, continues to proofread for us, and was inspired by Dennis Lanigan's latest work to send in a short piece on Lewis Carroll's firm and lasting friendship with the artist Henry Holiday. Such items help to give a balanced view of Carroll.
A most welcome late entry for the month is Pamela Gerrish Nunn's thoughtful and informative review of Sophie Lynford's Painting Dissent: Art, Ethics, and the American Pre-Raphaelites. Thanks to connections with Ruskin, especially, the Pre-Raphaelites had their followers and counterparts on the other side of the pond, and we gain much by including something about them.
Correspondence. Thank you to Kevin McCarthy, who queried our identification of a portrait bust as being that of "Prince Albert": it is indeed Prince Albert, but not Queen Victoria's husband: it is their eldest son, "Bertie," or Prince Albert Edward, the future Edward VII. We duly clarified this. Richard McGrath wrote in late last year to correct a date in our introduction to the artist James Clark, but this only came to mind again when Annie Rhys, a descendant of Clark, sent us her book about him. This was also before Christmas. Many thanks to both, and apologies for the delay. The correction has been made, and we hope to show some extracts from the book soon.
Last modified 11 November 2023