Tag Archives: Kathleen Newton

Portrait of the Pilgrim: James Tissot’s Reinvention (1885-1895)

In 1885, when James Tissot could have retired a wealthy man, he reinvented himself. He had earned a total of 1,200,000 francs during his years painting in London (1871 to 1882), largely for the newly-wealthy industrialists of the capital and cities in the north. His stylish images of fashionable women and the leisured life in Victorian England sold for high prices as “modern” art for those who wished to establish themselves as men of taste.

The Most Beautiful Woman in Paris

La Plus Jolie Femme de Paris (The Most Beautiful Woman in Paris, or The Fashionable Beauty, from La Femme à Paris, 1883-85), by James Tissot.  Oil on canvas. Musée d’art et d’histoire, Geneva, Switzerland.

But Tissot had returned to Paris immediately after the death of Kathleen Newton, his beautiful young mistress and muse, from tuberculosis in November, 1882. His brilliant early career in the French capital was in the past, and he had tried, and failed, to reclaim his place in the French art world as a painter of modern life with his La Femme à Paris (The Parisian Woman) series, exhibited at the Galerie Sedelmeyer, Paris, from April 19 to June 15, 1885, as “Quinze Tableaux sur la Femme à Paris.”

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William Eglinton (c. 1886) (Wiki)

Tissot tried to contact Kathleen Newton through a series of séances, fashionable at the time.

On May 20, 1885, at a séance in London conducted by English medium William Eglington (1857–1933) [who had been exposed as a fraud as early as 1876 but nevertheless enjoyed a successful career], Tissot recognized the female of two spirits who appeared as Kathleen, and he asked her to kiss him.

The spirit is said to have done so, several times, with “lips of fire.” Then she shook hands with Tissot and disappeared.

He made this image of the vision, L’apparition médiunimique, to commemorate their reunion.

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L’Apparition médiunimique (The Apparition, 1885), by James Tissot. Mezzotint, Private Collection.  (Photo: Wikipaintings.org)

That year, James Tissot had another vision, “a strange and thrilling picture” of Christ. In 1885, while in the Saint-Sulpice church in Paris looking for inspiration for his final painting of the La Femme à Paris series, Musique sacrée (Sacred Music), which depicted a fashionable woman singing a duet with a nun in the organ loft of a church, Tissot experienced a religious revelation. He portrayed it in The Ruins (Inner Voices) and decided he would dedicate the rest of his life to illustrating of the Bible.

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The Ruins (Inner Voices), 1885, by James Tissot.  Hermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg, Russia.  (Wikiart)

Tissot traveled to the Middle East to research his illustrated Life of Our Lord Jesus Christ between October 1886 and March 1887, visiting sites in Egypt, Palestine, Lebanon, and Syria. To make his work as authentic and realistic as possible, he made drawings, notes and photographs of the architecture, topography, and historical costumes, and he sought local models for the main figures.

While Tissot (and his surrogates) created the myth that he devoted the remainder of his life solely to this ambitious religious project, he was able to publicize it, and his spiritual goals, while quietly leading a life among the upper echelon of Parisian Society. He executed about forty portraits of aristocratic French women and other beautiful, wealthy women in sumptuous Belle Époque settings from the mid-1880s to the early 1890s, most often using pastels, as in Portrait of Clotilde Briatte, Comtesse Pillet-Will (c. 1883 – 1885); the wife of an immensely wealthy banker, she would go on to write several books on the occult under the pseudonym Charles d’Orino.

Clotilde Briatte, Comtesse Pillet-Will, James-Jacques-Joseph Tis

Portrait of Clotilde Briatte, Comtesse Pillet-Will (c. 1883 – 1885), by James Tissot. Pastel on linen. Private collection. (Photo: Wikimedia.org)

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A view of the Château de Buillon (Wikimedia)

And Tissot saw to it that his career was progressing in other areas. In 1886, he exhibited his Women of Paris series at Arthur Tooth and Sons, London as Pictures of Parisian Life by J.J. Tissot, and he exhibited with the Société d’aquarellistes français in Paris; in 1887, he exhibited at least one painting, Waiting for the Ferry at the Falcon Tavern (1874), at Nottingham Castle and at Newcastle-on-Tyne; and in 1888, he exhibited three works at the International Exhibition, Glasgow.

His father died in 1888, leaving him the Château de Buillon, near Besançon in eastern France, that he had purchased in 1845. During Tissot’s remaining years, he lived partly in his eclectically-furnished villa in Paris and partly at the imposing Château, enlarging it and embellishing the extensive grounds.

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Portrait of the Pilgrim (1894), by James Tissot.  (Wiki)

In 1889, Tissot made a second trip to the Middle East to conduct further research for his Life of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

He continued to show his work widely; in 1889, he exhibited his Prodigal Son series, for which he won a gold medal, and an oil portrait at the Exhibition Universelle, Paris. In 1893, he exhibited his Prodigal Son series again, along with a pastel portrait, in the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago.

Then, at the Paris Salon of 1894, Tissot exhibited 270 of the ultimate total of 365 drawings for La Vie de Notre Seigneur Jésus-Christ (The Life of Christ). The pictures were given a gallery and a special catalogue. The public reaction was astonishing: one headline read, “THE CHAMP DE MARS SALON; JAMES TISSOT’S LIFE OF CHRIST A MARVELOUS SERIES. Women Weep as They Pass from Picture to Picture.”

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The Birth of Our Lord Jesus Christ (La nativité de Notre-Seigneur Jésus-Christ, 1886-1894), by James Tissot. Watercolor. Brooklyn Museum. (Wikimedia.org)

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Jesus Teaches the People by the Sea (Jésus enseigne le peuple près de la mer, 1886-1894), by James Tissot. Watercolor. Brooklyn Museum. (Wikimedia.org)

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The Nail for the Feet (Le clou des pieds, 1886-1894), by James Tissot. Watercolor. Brooklyn Museum. (Wikimedia.org)

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Jesus Ministered to by Angels (Jésus assisté par les anges), 1886-1894), by James Tissot. Watercolor. Brooklyn Museum. (Wikimedia.org)

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Edmond de Goncourt (1882), by Felix Bracquemond (Wiki)

Tissot’s achievement was the talk of Paris; at a dinner party on May 6, 1894 given by Tissot’s longtime friends Alphonse and Julia Daudet, celebrated writer Émile Zola said he was “captivated” by Tissot’s Bible illustrations, but Daudet had to vociferously defend them to realist painter Jean-François Raffaëlli, who thought them “revolting.”

French writer and art and literary critic Edmond de Goncourt recorded it all, simultaneously impressed by Tissot’s success and critical of what he saw as a “medicore” effort to depict the supernatural.

[Goncourt seemed always ambivalent about Tissot, disparaging his successful career in England in an 1874 journal entry terming Tissot an “ingenious exploiter of English idiocy,” but nevertheless had Tissot illustrate the novel he wrote with his brother, Renée Mauperin, published in 1884, with the main character modeled by Kathleen Newton.]

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Portrait of Marie Joseph Robert Anatole, Comte de Montesquiou-Fezensac. Arrangement in Black and Gold (1891/92), by James McNeill Whistler. (Wiki)

And my new research finds that on May 30, 1894 Tissot was among the guests at the extravagant garden party given by poet, bibliophile and Society taste-maker Robert, Comte de Montesquiou. The highbrow “fête littéraire” was in celebration of his 458 million franc restoration of an eighteenth-century pavilion in Versailles, half a mile from the palace. The event featured an entire orchestra playing from a garden grove, and Sarah Bernhardt was one of the three stars of the Parisian stage who performed for the aristocrats and luminaries under the canvas roof of a rococo theater built in the center of the garden, surrounded by blue hydrangeas. During a brief intermission, guests could amble into Montesquiou’s Japanese greenhouse, filled with chrysanthemums, potted bonsai, and rare plants and birds.

Princes and princesses, counts and countesses – almost all of the gratin, or upper crust, turned out, including a few of the club members who commissioned Tissot to portray them in his 1868 group portrait, The Circle of the Rue Royale, Comte Étienne de Ganay (1833-1903) and Marquis Alfred du Lau d’Allemans (1833-1919). Tissot was socializing among the most exclusive Belle Époque Society.

Other illustrious guests included the glamorous 33-year-old, Worth-gowned Élisabeth, the Comtesse Greffulhe, who helped establish the art of American-born painter James Whistler and actively promoted artists including French Symbolist painter Gustave Moreau, sculptor Auguste Rodin, and Parisian Society portraitist Antonio de la Gándara.

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La comtesse Greffulhe, 1895, by Paul Nadar. (Wiki)

The Comtesse Greffulhe and the host, her uncle, were among the eccentrics who served as inspiration for characters in Marcel Proust’s seven-volume novel, In Search of Lost Time (1913–1927). Proust, then an unknown university student invited only to write about the party, described it all in detail in Le Gaulois the next day, using the pseudonym “Tout-Paris.” He likened it to a dream, “where, for a few hours, we believed we were living in the days of Louis XIV!”

Tissot knew and was on friendly terms with many of the famous guests, including Gándara, Paris-based Italian painter Giovanni Boldini, and painter Paul Helleu, who was introduced to Tissot in London by Jacques-Emile Blanche in 1885.

Tissot’s good friend, writer Julia Daudet, was there. At some time during 1885, she had arranged a match between Tissot and Louise Riesener, (1860 – 1944), the granddaughter of portrait painter Henri Riesener (1767 – 1828), and a daughter of the painter Léon Riesener (1808-1878). The 25-year-old Louise, whom Tissot depicted as The Sphinx (Woman in an Interior) in his La Femme à Paris series, broke the engagement to the 49-year-old Tissot after seeing him at an unflattering angle in a foyer.

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James Tissot, 1898

Also present at the party was author and journalist Aurélien Scholl (1833 – 1902), who in the months either before or after this engagement was pursuing, along with Tissot, a curvaceous circus performer depicted in a form-fitting costume and pink tights in another painting from La Femme à Paris, L’Acrobate (The Tightrope Dancer, 1883-85).

But these romances were long over. In 1895, Tissot exhibited the complete series of 365 Life of Christ illustrations in Paris, making arrangements for their publication. At about the same time, he was busy working as a Society portraitist. Tissot’s pastel portrait, Portrait of a Young Woman in a Conservatory, was completed in 1895, and two other pastels, Comtesse d’Yanville and Her Four Children and The Princesse de Broglie, date from about that year.

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The Princesse de Broglie (c. 1895), by James Tissot. Pastel on linen. Private collection. (Photo: Wikipaintings.org)

The Princess de Broglie, née Louise Marie Madeleine Leboeuf de Montgermont (1869-1929), was the daughter of a diplomat and the granddaughter of the owner of the Creil-Montereau faience factory and regent of the Banque de France. In 1886, she bought the Hôtel de Castries, a Paris mansion built in the late seventeenth century, and in 1890, she married Prince Louis Antoine de Broglie-Revel (1862-1958) at the neo-Gothic Basilica of Saint Clotilde in Saint-Germain-des-Prés. In Tissot’s portrait, she was still in her twenties, mother to two of the five children she would bear. The Princesse de Broglie, and perhaps Tissot’s other sitters, attended the Comte de Montesquiou’s garden party in 1894, certainly an excellent business opportunity for Tissot.

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Robert de Montesquiou (1896), by Giovanni Boldini (Wiki)

Montesquiou was a snob with a venomous tongue, but he and Tissot were friends and fellow collectors, sharing an interest in japonisme and the fashion for spiritualism and séances.

On December 15, 1895, a glowing, even fawning, nine-page review on Tissot’s Life of Christ illustrations appeared in the glossy magazine Revue Illustré – written by the Comte de Montesquiou, a contributor to numerous periodicals from June 1894 to February 1900.

Montesquiou noted, “We owe it to the kindness of MM. Mame, the publishers of the marvelous work, La Vie de Notre Seigneur Jésus-Christ, the good fortune of reproducing here some of the most beautiful of Tissot’s compositions.” In fact, the good fortune was Tissot’s – after ten years of labor, albeit amid the splendid distractions of the Belle Époque, he had arranged with the firm Mame et fils, of Tours, to publish the pictures in 1896-97, and the reproduction rights of their two editions would make him far wealthier than he had ever been.

Related posts:

Belle Époque Portraits in Pastel by James Tissot

Tissot’s Romances

The Company He Kept: James Tissot’s Friends

James Tissot’s garden idyll & Kathleen Newton’s death

Tissot’s La Femme à Paris series

© 2019 Lucy Paquette.  All rights reserved.

The articles published on this blog are copyrighted by Lucy Paquette.  An article or any portion of it may not be reproduced in any medium or transmitted in any form, electronic or mechanical, without the author’s permission.  You are welcome to cite or quote from an article provided you give full acknowledgement to the author. 

CH377762

The Hammock:  A novel based on the true story of French painter James Tissot, brings Tissot’s world from 1870 to 1879 alive in a story of war, art, Society glamour, love, scandal, and tragedy.

Illustrated with 17 stunning, high-resolution fine art images in full color

Courtesy of The Bridgeman Art Library  

(295 pages; ISBN (ePub):  978-0-615-68267-9).

See http://www.amazon.com/dp/B009P5RYVE.

NOTE:  If you do not have a Kindle e-reader, you may download free Kindle reading apps for PCs, Smartphones, tablets, and the Kindle Cloud Reader to read The Hammock:  A novel based on the true story of French painter James Tissot.  Read reviews.

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James Tissot’s Brushwork

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James Tissot was an individualist whose style and brushwork was neither entirely Academic, according to his training, nor always fashionable, though some of his oil paintings feature looser, more Impressionistic brush strokes.  Though he did not establish trends, he absorbed them into his repertoire and transmuted them into a virtuoso formula all his own.

Tissot, who left his parents’ home in Nantes and moved to Paris in 1856, enrolled at the Académie des Beaux-Arts in March, 1857.  He was 20 years old, and his classes would have included mathematics, anatomy and drawing, but not painting.  He studied painting independently under Jean-Hippolyte Flandrin (1809 – 1864) and Louis Lamothe (1822 – 1869), both of whom had been students of the great Neoclassical painter Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres (1780 – 1867) and taught his principles.  [See On his own: Tissot as a Paris art student, 1855 — 1858.]

He made his début at the Paris Salon in 1859, and hit his stride as an artist by the Salon of 1864, with The Two Sisters and Portrait of Mademoiselle L.L.  In his self-portrait the following year – nine years before his friends joined together to exhibit paintings in a style that would be called “Impressionism” – which was not displayed in public, Tissot delineated his features and clothing in ultra-modern, swift, painterly brush strokes against a minimalist, sketchy background.

But when he received private commissions for portraits of French aristocrats during the Second Empire, he combined his mastery of high finish with his consummate confidence in making his most adroit brush strokes visible.

Marquise de Miramon, Getty Open Content (2)

One of the foremost examples of Tissot’s remarkable brushwork is the ruffled edging of the pink peignoir in Portrait of the Marquise de Miramon, née, Thérèse Feuillant (1866).

The ruffles, which appear so precise, are graceful, curling strokes of a loaded, round brush.  The folds of the silk velvet dressing gown are thick broad swathes of color, underscored by a right-to-left flutter of white that creates the petticoat peeking underneath.  Zoom in on all the luscious detail here.

Marquise de Miramon, Getty Open Content

Portrait of the Marquise de Miramon, née, Thérèse Feuillant (1866), by James Tissot. Oil on canvas, unframed: 50 1/2 by 30 3/8 in. (128.3 by 77.2 cm). The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles. Digital image courtesy of the Getty’s Open Content Program.

de fontenay, by Tissot (2)In Portrait of Eugène Coppens de Fontenay (1867), a series of a half-dozen thick white curves defines the convex glass cover of the clock’s face.  Rather brilliantly, they are flanked by white in the background and in the foreground – on the left, the lightly-suggested white, back-lit curtains dressing the window reflected in the mirror over the mantel, and on the right, the bold white of shapes of Fontenay’s collar and waistcoat.  Using his brush to apply white paint in different ways, Tissot has defined three-dimensional space on his canvas.

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Portrait of Eugène Coppens de Fontenay (1867), by James Tissot. Oil on canvas, 27 by 15 in. (68.58 by 38.10 cm). Philadelphia Museum of Art. (Photo:  Wiki)

James_Tissot_-_Captain_Frederick_Gustavus_Burnaby (2)The perfectly placed dry brush strokes that Tissot used to define the volume of Gus Burnaby’s black leather boots and give them their astonishing gleam in Captain Frederick Gustavus Burnaby (1870) are riveting when viewed at close range.

This painstakingly-detailed portrait was another private commission, this time from a friend in London, his home from mid-1871 to late 1882.

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Captain Frederick Gustavus Burnaby (1870), by James Tissot. 19.5 by 23.5 in. (49.5 by 59.7 cm). National Portrait Gallery, London. (Photo: Wikipedia)

Autumn on the Thames, the-ath (2)

The seated woman’s flowing hair in Autumn on the Thames (1875) is one of the most enchanting details in Tissot’s work.  With the lightest of touches from his brush, he has made us feel the river breeze as it ripples through her ethereal locks.

Though the figures are highly finished and the palette is that of an Academician, note the looser style in which Tissot painted the water, grass and background landscape.

This picture was not exhibited in public.

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Autumn on the Thames, Nuneham Courtney, by James Tissot. 29 by 19 in. (73.66 by 48.26 cm).   Private Collection.  (Photo: Wikipaintings.org)

More in the style of his friends in Paris were two other paintings that Tissot did not exhibit, On the Thames, A Heron (c. 1871-72) [figure a] and The Fan (c. 1875) [figure b].  While the figures and their costumes are completed to a high finish and both are painted in a studio rather than en plein air, the landscape backgrounds are rendered in brisk, suggestive strokes, and there is a new sense of movement.  Click here to zoom in on Tissot’s brushwork in On the Thames, A Heron, and pay particular attention to the rippling water and the heron; also see A Closer Look at Tissot’s “The Fan”.

James_Tissot_-_On_the_Thames,_A_Heron_-_Google_Art_Project  b The Fan

Tissot remained, at heart, a painter in the Academic tradition; he was not an Impressionist, concerned with the shifting effect of natural light, vivid colors, and capturing the fleeting experiences of contemporary life as they did.  The Japanese influence in these two paintings is what makes them contemporary.  But as a Frenchman who had emigrated to England after the bloody Paris Commune [see Paris, June 1871], he hardly could have entered canvases painted in “the modern French style” to the annual exhibitions of the Royal Academy.

The Bunch of Lilacs (c. 1875), one of two paintings he exhibited at the Royal Academy that year, was more conservative.  Tissot conjures the reflection of a dense array of vegetation and Oriental accessories on a foreshortened grid of decorative tile.  His sure brush creates the ultimate polished floor as a stage for this carefree bird of paradise.

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The Bunch of Lilacs (c. 1875), by James Tissot. 21 by 15 in. (53.34 by 38.10 cm).  Private Collection.  Image courtesy of The Bridgeman Art Library for use in “The Hammock: A novel based on the true story of French painter James Tissot,” by Lucy Paquette © 2012

Hush! (The Concert, 1875), the second picture Tissot exhibited at the Royal Academy that year, also was highly finished.  Note how he painted the chandelier’s multitude of glittering, highly-defined crystal pendants quite differently when reflected in the mirror.

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Hush - The Concert

Hush! (The Concert, 1875), by James Tissot. Oil on canvas; 29.02 by 44.17 in. (73.7 by 112.2 cm). Manchester Art Gallery, U.K. (Photo: Wikiart.org)

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Holyday (c. 1876) was one of several paintings Tissot exhibited in 1877 at the exclusive, innovative new Grosvenor Gallery, for which he eschewed his regular showings at the Royal Academy.

Tissot turned the dark shape of the pond into shining water by deft white strokes (as well as floating lily pads) defining the surface, and reflections of the man, woman, tree and cast-iron columns in the background implying its depth.  This treatment of the water, as well as the background of the picture space, is far more finished than that in Autumn on the Thames.  At the same time, Tissot now was, or was giving the impression of, painting en plein air.

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Holyday (c. 1876), by James Tissot. Oil on canvas, 30 by 39 1/8 in. (76.5 by 99.5 cm). Tate Britain.  (Photo: Wikimedia.org)

Gallery of HMS Calcutta, the-ath (3)Gallery of HMS Calcutta, the-ath (2)Tissot was masterful in his ability to paint the sheer fabrics of women’s attire.  The Gallery of HMS Calcutta (1877) was one of Tissot’s exhibits at the new Grosvenor Gallery.  In his review of this picture, the critic for The Spectator commented, “We would direct our readers’ attention to the painting of the flesh seen through the thin white muslin dresses, in this picture; manual dexterity could hardly achieve a greater triumph.”  Regardless of Tissot’s skill with the brush, that compliment followed the acerbic observation, “That the ladies are ‘Parisienne,’ dressed in the height of the prevailing fashion, goes without saying, for M. Tissot, though he paints in England, has a thorough Parisian’s contempt for English dress and beauty, and the only time he attempted to paint English girls (in his picture of the ball-room at the Academy [i.e. Too Early, 1873]), he made them all hideous alike.”  [See A Closer Look at Tissot’s “Too Early”.]

Gallery of HMS Calcutta, the-ath

The Gallery of the HMS Calcutta (Portsmouth), c. 1876, by James Tissot. Oil on canvas, 27 by 36 1/8 in. (68.5 by 92 cm). Tate, London. (Photo: the-athenaeum.org)

James_Tissot_-_The_Ball (2)In Evening (Le Bal, 1878), the cascade of layered ruffles is a tour de force of Tissot’s ability to define precise, minute folds of fabric, shaded and highlighted and juxtaposed with contrasting trim in related hues.  His lively brushwork lets us feel the volume, weight, and movement of that train.

When Tissot exhibited this painting at the Grosvenor Gallery in 1878, the reviewer for The Illustrated London News was only begrudgingly moved:  “’Evening,’ which may be termed at once an ‘arrangement in yellow’ and a glorified excerpt from a Book of the Fashions, [is] brimful of verve, elegance and manual dexterity…Society, we conceive, ought to be very much obliged to so deft an expositor.”

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Le Bal/Evening (1878), by James Tissot. 35 7/16 by 19 11/16 in. (90 by 50 cm). Musée d’Orsay.  (Photo: Wikimedia.org)

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The highly accomplished French painter succeeding wildly in London despite the British critics carried on, experimenting with brush techniques while staying true to his Academic background.

In A Winter’s Walk (1878), Tissot painted the fur and the foliage in quick, overlapping strokes of varied hues, dragging out the color of the fur with a stiff, dry brush to indicate its soft texture while blurring the edges of the greenery to indicate its rough texture and its distance in the background.  He rendered the rich, heavy dress fabric by laying on tints and shades of color with a broad brush, and he enlivened the sober palette with a flash of gold in the captivating detail of Kathleen Newton’s pair of gold bracelets.  Tissot’s painterly glint on the smooth bangle and expertly-applied highlights on the rope cuff make this jewelry an exquisite focal point of her costume, all the more solid with the juxtaposition of the sketchily outlined, diaphanous trim peeking from her sleeve.

This picture was not exhibited in public.

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A Winter’s Walk (Promenade dans la neige) (c. 1878), by James Tissot.  Oil on canvas, 31.10 by 14.57 in. (79.00 by 37 cm).  Private Collection.  (Photo: Wikimedia.org)

A Type of Beauty (2)

In A Type of Beauty (1880), Kathleen Newton’s black lace mitts are delicately painted over her flesh with a small brush.  The curves of the rope cuff bracelets, flecked with gold highlights, and the further curves of two layers of wispy white ruffles, keep the volume of her forearm from being flattened out by Tissot’s exacting depiction of the lace’s fine pattern.

But Mrs. Newton’s shining curls – just as fine – are loosely described using a soft brush that repeats the highlights of the gold bracelet.

The texture of the trim at her sleeve was created with a stiff, square brush whose bristles barely traced the white paint.

 

A Type of Beauty

A Type of Beauty (Portrait of Kathleen Newton, 1880), by James Tissot. Oil on canvas, 23 by 18 in. (58.42 by 45.72 cm). Private Collection. (Photo: Wikiart.org)

james_tissot_-_photo_010-at-easel-in-40sJames Tissot excelled at accurate depictions and descriptive brushwork; he was not an innovator like his friends Edgar Degas, Edouard Manet and James Whistler.  Though his style has been unfavorably compared to theirs over the decades, Degas once considered him far more skilled.  In 1868, Tissot left copious technical notes for Degas on how to improve one of his paintings-in-progress, Interior (The Rape), at Degas’ apparent request; clearly, this was the relationship they had.  Tissot knew what he was doing, and some found his artistic confidence irritating:  one critic at this time observed that Tissot was dapper and personable, but thought him a little pretentious and a less-than-great artist “because he did what he wanted to do and as he wished to do it.”

And he was successful at it:  Tissot’s brushwork, in addition to his subject matter and composition, continues to delight and draw us into his paintings.  Who could ask for more?

Related posts:

James Tissot, the painter art critics love to hate

Tissot’s Brush with Impressionism

Tissot and Manet attempt to help their friend Degas, 1868

Was James Tissot a Plagiarist?

More “Plagiarists”: Tissot’s friends Manet, Degas, Whistler & Others

©  2018 by Lucy Paquette.  All rights reserved.

The articles published on this blog are copyrighted by Lucy Paquette.  An article or any portion of it may not be reproduced in any medium or transmitted in any form, electronic or mechanical, without the author’s permission.  You are welcome to cite or quote from an article provided you give full acknowledgement to the author. 

CH377762

If you do not have a Kindle e-reader, you may download free Kindle reading apps for PCs, Smartphones, tablets, and the Kindle Cloud Reader to read The Hammock:  A novel based on the true story of French painter James Tissot.  Read reviews.

The Hammock:  A novel based on the true story of French painter James Tissot, brings Tissot’s world from 1870 to 1879 alive in a story of war, art, Society glamour, love, scandal, and tragedy.

Illustrated with 17 stunning, high-resolution fine art images in full color

Courtesy of The Bridgeman Art Library

(295 pages; ISBN (ePub):  978-0-615-68267-9).    See http://www.amazon.com/dp/B009P5RYV

James Tissot’s Modern Paintings in Victorian England

French painter James Tissot emigrated from Paris to London in mid-1871, in the chaos after the Franco-Prussian War and bloody Commune, and became successful in Victorian England within a few years.   In 1873, he sold Too Early through London art dealer William Agnew (1825 – 1910) – who specialized in “high-class modern paintings” – for 1,050 guineas.  Agnew purchased The Ball on Shipboard from Tissot the following year, and in 1875, purchased Hush! directly from the wall of the Royal Academy by for 1,200 guineas.

What made Tissot’s paintings “modern”?  How were his pictures of everyday life different from those painted by his English contemporaries?

James Tissot (1836 – 1902), an astute businessman keenly aware of buyers’ preferences, painted many subjects that his English contemporaries did.  But while Victorian painters like George Dunlop Leslie (1835 – 1921) depicted genteel women behaving well – docile and proper – Tissot was a bit daring.  Like others, he also painted a woman (his mistress and muse, Kathleen Newton) reading – but his model is a bit of a rebel, wearing eye makeup and a gown with a revealing neckline, improper as a day dress.  In Her Favorite Pastime, Leslie presents us with a straightforward rendering of a pretty and sedate woman focused on her book.  In Tissot’s Quiet, Kathleen is sitting – quite indecorously – with her legs crossed, somewhat slumped forward, against a racy leopard skin.  Yet, the image is of a loving mother, the exhausted girl leaning lovingly against her, and the resting dog underscores the domesticity of the scene while the expansive green lawn behind them indicates the wealth of the household.

        File:James Tissot - Quiet.jpg

Left:  Her Favorite Pastime (1864), by George Dunlop Leslie

Right:  Quiet (c. 1881), by James Tissot

While his English contemporaries depicted the ideal of contented domestic life, with family members often in stiffly posed compositions, Tissot’s showed a casual reality.  George Goodwin Kilburne’s The Piano Lesson relies on the single child obediently taking instruction and a symmetrical composition to show us the orderliness of this family’s conduct.  In Kathleen Newton at the Piano, Tissot gives us a peek behind the curtain dividing the formal front parlor from the informal room behind, where Kathleen, her two children, and an older niece huddle affectionately near her as she plays for them.

                Kathleen Newton at the Piano, c.1881 - James Tissot

Left:  The Piano Lesson (1871), by George Goodwin Kilburne

Right:  Kathleen Newton at the Piano (c. 1881), by James Tissot

In A Mother’s Darling, Kilburne depicts the girl as a little woman; in The Garden Bench, Kathleen Newton’s son, daughter and niece are children behaving spontaneously.

      File:Tissot Garden Bench.jpg

Left:  A Mother’s Darling (1869), by George Goodwin Kilburne

Right:  The Garden Bench (c. 1882), by James Tissot

The four pictures of afternoon tea below, two by Leslie and two by Tissot, illustrate Leslie’s literal manner and Tissot’s rather racy take on this British ritual.  While Leslie’s lone ladies are being served by a housemaid and dreaming wistfully into the distance, Tissot’s social beings are using the occasion to flirt and sum up available suitors.

         

Left:  Afternoon Tea (1865), by George Dunlop Leslie

Right:  In the Conservatory (Rivals, c. 1875), by James Tissot

       

Left:  Five o’Clock Tea (c. 1874), by George Dunlop Leslie

Right:  The Rivals (I rivali, 1878–79), by James Tissot

Below, in Alice in Wonderland, Leslie depicts an iconic family moment as a mother stimulates the imagination of her daughter by reading aloud to her on a stiff sofa, attired in a proper day dress with a bustle.  The girl, in her tidy dress, apron and black stockings, has set aside her doll to listen, her dreamy face against her mother’s bosom showing the effect of the story on her imagination.  In Reading a Story, Tissot depicts a similar scene in a natural setting, with a mother (Kathleen Newton) informally flipping pages on a comfortably-padded garden bench with a little girl who, though engaged, looks a bit fidgety as well as windblown from outdoor play.

        

Left:  Alice in Wonderland (1879), by George Dunlop Leslie

Right:  Reading a Story (c. 1878-79), by James Tissot

Tissot did not portray Victorian poverty, or even attempt to document the reality of the era’s social ills.  In the images below, Philip Hermogenes Calderon (1833 – 1898) and George Adolphus Storey (1834 – 1919) depict destitute orphans in an attempt at realism colored with sentimentality.  Tissot’s upper-class orphan, accompanied by the expensively-dressed woman modeled by Kathleen Newton, is somber, but sentimental in an essentially decorative way.

File:Philip Hermogenes Calderon - The Orphans.jpg         File:James Tissot - Orphan.jpg

Above left:  Orphans (1870), by Philip Hermogenes Calderon

Above right:  L’Orpheline (1879), by James Tissot

Right:  Orphans (1879), by George Adolphus Storey

 

 

The pictures below perfectly capture the difference between Tissot’s “modern” paintings and those of his Victorian peers.

         The Letter, c.1876 - c.1878 - James Tissot

Above left:  Considering a Reply (c. 1860), by George Dunlop Leslie

Above right:  The Letter (c. 1878), by James Tissot

Right:  Reading the Letter (1885), by Thomas Benjamin Kennington

While Thomas Benjamin Kennington (1856 – 1916) depicts a woman reading a letter, and George Dunlop Leslie shows us a woman who has read a letter and now must consider how to reply, Tissot gives us a woman who, having read her letter, rips it to shreds that billow away in the wind.  Kennington’s and Dunlop’s compositions are simple, but Tissot provides an air of tantalizing mystery around his subject:  the woman stalks toward us through an elegant, landscaped garden while the remnants of her luncheon, or tea, are being cleared by a footman.  Who is she?  We are drawn into her drama, and are all the more curious about the contents of her letter.
File:James Tissot - Hide and Seek.jpg

James Tissot, unlike his Victorian peers, did not portray women gathering flowers or gazing at themselves in a mirror, or brides, or women sewing or dancing.

But for a cozy scene of a Victorian lady  minding her children, he gave us Hide and Seek (left, c. 1877), in which Kathleen Newton lounges in an upholstered armchair, absorbed in a newspaper in a corner of his opulent studio while her children and those of her sister scamper about.

While Tissot used the brighter palette of the Impressionists in France, his perspective can be ascribed to his nationality only partially:  his subject matter and his innate humor were unique.

©  2018 by Lucy Paquette.  All rights reserved.

The articles published on this blog are copyrighted by Lucy Paquette.  An article or any portion of it may not be reproduced in any medium or transmitted in any form, electronic or mechanical, without the author’s permission.  You are welcome to cite or quote from an article provided you give full acknowledgement to the author. 

Related posts:

The Stars of Victorian Painting: Auction Prices

Victorians on the Move, by James Tissot

The James Tissot Tour of Victorian England

French Painter James Tissot’s British Clients: Rising Industrialists, by Lucy Paquette for The Victorian Web

James Tissot and the Pre-Raphaelites

James Tissot’s Model and Muse, Kathleen Newton

CH377762

If you do not have a Kindle e-reader, you may download free Kindle reading apps for PCs, Smartphones, tablets, and the Kindle Cloud Reader to read The Hammock:  A novel based on the true story of French painter James Tissot.  Read reviews.

The Hammock:  A novel based on the true story of French painter James Tissot, brings Tissot’s world from 1870 to 1879 alive in a story of war, art, Society glamour, love, scandal, and tragedy.

Illustrated with 17 stunning, high-resolution fine art images in full color

Courtesy of The Bridgeman Art Library

(295 pages; ISBN (ePub):  978-0-615-68267-9).    See http://www.amazon.com/dp/B009P5RYV

James Tissot’s Model and Muse, Kathleen Newton

Kathleen Irene Ashburnham Kelly Newton (1854 – 1882) first appeared in James Tissot’s paintings in 1876. Who was she?  All we have to know her by are a few biographical facts researched by Tissot scholar Willard E. Misfeldt (b. 1930) and others, and dozens of paintings of Kathleen Newton by James Tissot.

According to Dr. Misfeldt, Kathleen Irene Kelly was born in May or June of 1854 in Agra, India.  Her mother, Flora W. Boyd, passed away, and she and her brother, Frederick, and elder sister, Mary Pauline (“Polly,” 1851/52 – 1896), were the responsibility of their father, Charles Frederick Kelly (1810 – 1885).  Mr. Kelly had been employed at the accountant’s office of the British East India Company in Agra from age 21 or 22 until his retirement to Conisbrough, South Yorkshire, in 1866.  At some point around mid-1860, the family began to use Ashburnham as a middle name.  Kathleen and Mary Pauline were sent back to England to be educated at Gumley House Convent School, Isleworth.  When Kathleen was sixteen, a marriage was arranged for her, and she returned to India to marry Dr. Isaac Newton, a surgeon in the Indian civil service.

Dr. Misfeldt skirts the issue of what happened next, but after the wedding on January 3, 1871, the young bride is said to have followed the advice of the local priest and confessed to her new husband that while travelling on the ship to India, she had been involved with a Captain Palliser.  She was sent back to England, gave birth to a daughter, Muriel Violet Mary Newton, in Conisbrough on December 20, and was officially divorced (decree nisi) by December 30.  At some point, she moved in with her sister Polly, by then married and living with her two young daughters, Belle and Lilian, at 6 Hill Road, St. John’s Wood, London.  There Kathleen gave birth to a son, Cecil George Newton, on March 21, 1876.  (It is said that Polly’s husband, Mr. Hervey, was in the Indian civil service.)

James Tissot had left Paris following the bloody Commune in 1871, and by early 1873, he had bought the lease on a medium-sized, two-storey Queen Anne-style villa, built of red brick with white Portland stone dressing, at 17 (now 44), Grove End Road, St. John’s Wood.

The residents of the comfortable suburban homes around the Regent’s Park and the district of St. John’s Wood, west of the park, were merchants, bankers and lawyers.  Tissot’s house was set in a large and private garden separating him from the horse traffic, omnibuses and pedestrians on their way to the park or the still-new Underground Railway station nearby.  Kathleen lived just around the corner, and legend has it that she met Tissot while mailing a letter at a postbox.

WAK41966

On the Thames (1876), by James Tissot. Oil on canvas, 28.5 by 46.5 in. (72.5 by 118 cm). Hepworth Wakefield Art Gallery, Wakefield, UK. Courtesy of The Bridgeman Art Library for use in “The Hammock: A novel based on the true story of French painter James Tissot” by Lucy Paquette, © 2012.

In my previous blog post, James Tissot’s Models à la Mode, I indicated that the shadowy face in the center of The Thames (1876), was likely Tissot’s first painting featuring Kathleen Newton, and that she seems to be the model for one of the figures in Portsmouth Dockyard (c. 1877) as well.

Kathleen modeled for dozens of Tissot’s paintings; soon, he was painting her almost exclusively.  These pictures form a charming chronicle of their years together.  They also portray her rapid evolution from a young beauty travelling with her artist-lover, to a busy, beloved mother, then to a woman struggling with tuberculosis.

Room Overlooking the Harbour, the-athenaeum

In Room Overlooking the Harbor (c. 1876-78) Kathleen is on holiday with Tissot.  He captured her going about her business while an older man (who could be a servant accompanying the couple) gamely models as well.

CH32763

Mavourneen (Portrait of Kathleen Newton, 1877). Oil on canvas, 36 in. /91.44 cm. by 20 in./50.80 cm. Photo courtesy of The Bridgeman Art Library for use in “The Hammock: A novel based on the true story of French painter James Tissot,” © 2012 by Lucy Paquette

In 1877, Tissot captured Kathleen’s youthful, glowingly healthy beauty in Mavourneen.

By the Thames at Richmond

In By the Thames at Richmond (c. 1878), a scene based on a photograph that surely was staged, a man (modeled by Tissot or perhaps Kathleen’s brother, Frederick Kelly) is writing “I love you” on the ground while Kathleen reacts with a smile.  The girl is likely Kathleen’s daughter, Muriel Violet, who would have been about seven years old at this time.

mrs-newton-with-a-child-by-a-pool

Study for “Mrs. Newton with a Child by a Pool” (c. 1877-78). Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, Virginia, USA.

In Mrs. Newton with a Child by a Pool (c. 1877-78), Kathleen plays with her son, Cecil, by the ornamental pool in the garden of Tissot’s house in St. John’s Wood.

A Winter's Walk

Kathleen is a lovely 24-year-old in A Winter’s Walk (Promenade dans la neige, c. 1878).

Mrs. Newton with an Umbrella

She is still fresh-faced at 25 in Mrs. Newton with an Umbrella (c. 1879, Musée Baron Martin, Gray, France).

at-the-louvre-1

At the Louvre (c. 1879-80), by James Tissot.  Private Collection.  (Photo:  Wikiart.org)

In 1879, the couple traveled to Paris, where Tissot used the Louvre as a setting for several paintings featuring Kathleen in her caped greatcoat.

Waiting for the Ferry, c 1878 (with Kathleen)

Waiting for the Ferry (c. 1878), by James Tissot.

Tissot_and_Newton photo, ferry

Kathleen Newton with James Tissot in his garden at Grove End Road.  The children are Muriel Violet Newton and Cecil Newton.  Photo c. 1878.  (Wikimedia.org)

Between about 1878 and 1881, Tissot produced a number of paintings featuring Kathleen as a traveler.  [See The Art of Waiting, by James Tissot, Tissot and Degas visit the Louvre, 1879 and Victorians on the Move, by James Tissot.]  Tissot had painted Kathleen Newton so often in the half-dozen years they spent together that her face became stylized.

the-dreamer-summer-evening

The Dreamer (or, Summer Evening, c. 1882), by James Tissot. Oil on canvas. Musée d’Orsay, Paris. (Photo: Wikiart.org)

In the final two years of Kathleen’s life, Tissot captured her looking tired and pale, with dark shadows under her eyes, or bedridden.  [See James Tissot’s garden idyll & Kathleen Newton’s death.]  The Victorian Web features a study of Mrs. Newton asleep in a conservatory chair, courtesy of Peter Nahum Ltd, London, dated 1881-82, and the Musée Baron Martin in Gray, France has a painting from the same time period, Mrs. Newton Resting on a Chaise-longue, in which she is propped up on two pillows and looks very ill.

Kathleen Newton died of tuberculosis on November 9, 1882, at age 28, at Tissot’s house with her sister, Polly Hervey, at her side (according to the death register).  Tissot draped the coffin in purple velvet and prayed beside it for hours.

In the six years that Kathleen Newton lived with James Tissot and modeled for him, he painted few other female models besides the girl in Croquet (c. 1878).  He produced only about two major portraits during the years Kathleen lived with him, Algernon Moses Marsden (1877), and Portrait of Mrs Catherine Smith Gill and Two of her Children (1877, Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool.)

Immediately after the funeral on November 14, at the Church of Our Lady in Lisson Grove, St. John’s Wood, Tissot returned to Paris.  There, he exerted himself to re-establish his reputation in Paris with a series of fifteen large-scale pictures called La Femme à Paris (The Parisian Woman).  Painted between 1883 and 1885, they portrayed the fashionable parisienne in various incarnations.  Exhibited at the Galerie Sedelmeyer, from April 19 to June 15, 1885, as “Quinze Tableaux sur la Femme à Paris,” the pictures were poorly received.  A critic for La Vie Parisienne complained that the women in the series were “always the same Englishwoman” – some say the faces all resemble Kathleen Newton.  [See Tissot’s La Femme à Paris series.]

Tissot’s relationship with Kathleen Newton was evidently the only successful romance of his life.  [See Tissot’s Romances.]

the-apparition-mezzotine-second-state

The Apparition (1885), by James Tissot.  (Wikipaintings.org)

He tried to contact her through a series of séances.  On May 20, 1885, at a séance in London, Tissot recognized the female of two spirits who appeared as Kathleen, and he asked her to kiss him.  The spirit is said to have done so, several times, with “lips of fire.”  Then she shook hands with Tissot and disappeared.  He made this image of the vision to commemorate their reunion.

After his death in 1902, James Tissot and his work, and Kathleen Newton, were largely forgotten.

By 1930, few, if any, of Tissot’s contemporaries remained to share recollections of the artist.  The only biographical material on Tissot publicly available was a twenty-five page journal article published in France in 1906.

Kathleen’s daughter, Muriel Violet, died in 1933, and Mrs. Newton’s identity was forgotten – except by her son, Cecil.  In 1933, the first exhibition of Tissot’s work was held at the Leicester Galleries in London in 1933: ” ‘In the Seventies’ – An Exhibition of Paintings by James Tissot.”  A visitor to this exhibition, a man in his late fifties, stood before one of the paintings of a beautiful woman and declared, “That was my mother,” then walked out.  The woman, who appeared in a number of Tissot’s paintings between 1876 and 1882, and whose identity remained unknown into the next decade, was referred to as “la Mystérieuse” – the Mystery Woman.

The first biography was published in London in 1936:  Vulgar Society: The Romantic Career of James Tissot, 1836-1902, by novelist and fashion historian James Laver (1899 –1975).  Laver may have taken some poetic license when he wrote that Tissot kept his mistress hidden away in his home in St. John’s Wood and that “she led almost the life of a prisoner,” “as if she had been a beauty of the harem.”

In 1946, a London journalist, Marita Ross, published a plea for information regarding “La Mystérieuse,” Tissot’s unidentified mistress.  But Lilian Hervey, then 71, replied that this was her aunt, Kathleen Irene Ashburnham Kelly Newton (1854 – 1882), and she had original photographs of Mrs. Newton with James Tissot.  [See James Tissot in the 1940s: La Mystérieuse is identified.]

By the late 1960s, Willard Misfeldt was researching James Tissot and Kathleen Newton.

IMG_5038, shot to use on blog

In 2014, I visited James Tissot’s one-time home in St. John’s Wood and Kathleen Newton’s grave.  [See  A visit to James Tissot’s house & Kathleen Newton’s grave.]

I was able to make arrangements for a private tour of Tissot’s home thanks to the kindness of Irish author Patricia O’Reilly.  Patricia imagined Kathleen Newton’s life in A Type of Beauty: The Story of Kathleen Newton (1854-1882), © 2010 (cover photo, below left, courtesy of the author).  Click here to read it – and click here to read how I’ve imagined Kathleen’s life in The Hammock:  A novel based on the true story of French painter James Tissot ), © 2012!

A Type of Beauty, Patricia O'Reilly                        CH377762

Related posts:

James Tissot’s house at St. John’s Wood, London

James Tissot Domesticated

Was Cecil Newton James Tissot’s son?

James Tissot’s garden idyll & Kathleen Newton’s death

Kathleen Newton by James Tissot: eight auctioned oil paintings

©  2017 by Lucy Paquette.  All rights reserved.

The articles published on this blog are copyrighted by Lucy Paquette.  An article or any portion of it may not be reproduced in any medium or transmitted in any form, electronic or mechanical, without the author’s permission.  You are welcome to cite or quote from an article provided you give full acknowledgement to the author. 

CH377762If you do not have a Kindle e-reader, you may download free Kindle reading apps for PCs, Smartphones, tablets, and the Kindle Cloud Reader to read The Hammock:  A novel based on the true story of French painter James Tissot.  Read reviews.

The Hammock:  A novel based on the true story of French painter James Tissot, brings Tissot’s world from 1870 to 1879 alive in a story of war, art, Society glamour, love, scandal, and tragedy.

Illustrated with 17 stunning, high-resolution fine art images in full color

Courtesy of The Bridgeman Art Library  

(295 pages; ISBN (ePub):  978-0-615-68267-9).    See http://www.amazon.com/dp/B009P5RYVE.

James Tissot’s Models à la Mode

James Tissot often reused models, both male and female, in his paintings. While he varied their poses to capture different angles of their faces, several of his models are recognizable from picture to picture within a few years’ time.  In some cases, subsequent paintings seem based on sketches for earlier works.

The brunette with the languid eyelids in The Two Sisters (1863, figure a) also appears in Portrait of Mademoiselle L.L., (1864, figure b) and Spring (1865, figure c).  Tissot painted these pictures in Paris, in the waning years of the Second Empire.

a Image -- James_Tissot_-_Two_Sisters, cropped face    b portrait-of-mlle-l-l-young-lady-in-a-red-jacket-1864, cropped face     c  Spring, the-athenaeum, cropped faceA

After Tissot moved to London, following the Franco-Prussian War and the Paris Commune, he painted another model, a pale woman with strawberry-blonde hair, in Les Adieux (The Farewells, 1871, figure a), the woman on the left in Bad News (The Parting, 1872, figure b), and a variant of that painting, Tea (1872, figure c).

a bag-4346-les-adieux-bridgeman-art-8-7-12, cropped face      b 925px-James_Tissot_-_Bad_News, cropped face      c tea-time, wiki art, cropped face

By 1873, Tissot befriended a ship’s captain, John Freebody, and his young wife, Margaret Freebody (née Kennedy), as well as her brother, Captain Lumley Kennedy.  All three modeled for him that year in The Last Evening, The Captain and the Mate, and Boarding the Yacht (see James Tissot, ed. Krystyna Matyjaszkiewicz, 1985).

In these delightful paintings, the cast of characters includes an old man with eccentric white whiskers, and a young girl who also appears in A Visit to the Yacht (c. 1873).  [See For sale: A Visit to the Yacht, c. 1873, by James Tissot.]

James_Tissot_-_The_Last_Evening, wiki

The Last Evening (1873), by James Tissot.  Margaret (Kennedy) Freebody and her brother, Captain Lumley Kennedy, posed for the figures in the chairs on the right.  Margaret’s husband, Captain Freebody, is the man with the red beard.

Boarding_the_Yacht, wiki

Boarding the Yacht (1873), by James Tissot.  Margaret (Kennedy) Freebody modeled for the woman on the right, and her sister for the woman on the left.

The_Captain_and_the_Mate, wiki

The Captain and the Mate (1873), by James Tissot.  Margaret (Kennedy) Freebody sits on the left with her husband, Captain John Freebody, and her brother, Captain Lumley Kennedy is in the center.

The_Captain's_Daughter, wiki

The Captain’s Daughter (1873), by James Tissot.  The woman is portrayed by Margaret (Kennedy) Freebody.

Tissot relied on a new model for Waiting for the Ferry at the Falcon Tavern (1874, figure a) and London Visitors (c. 1874, figure b).

a Waiting for the Ferry, Speed Museum version, the-athenaeum, cropped woman face             b london-visitors, wikiart, cropped woman face

Tissot featured another lovely model, with an exquisite pointed nose, in Reading the News (1874, figure a), Chrysanthemums (c. 1874-76, figure b) and Still on Top (c. 1874, figure c).

a  612px-James_Tissot_-_Reading_the_News, cropped woman      b James_Tissot_-_Chrysanthemums, cropped      c James_Tissot_-_Still_on_Top_-_Google_Art_Project, cropped

A model with a soft fringe appears in Tissot’s A Passing Storm (c. 1876, figure a) and A Convalescent (c. 1876, figure b).

a  912px-James_Tissot_-_A_Passing_Storm, cropped        b  sag-65029-a-convalescent-bridgeman-art-8-7-12, cropped girl face

The blonde woman in Autumn on the Thames, Nuneham Courtney (c. 1871-72, figure a) reappears years later, in Quarreling (c. 1874-76, figure b).  Tissot also featured her in The Bunch of Lilacs (c. 1875, figure c).

I believe the model for these pictures was Alice, British painter Louise Jopling’s lovely blonde sister, who had attracted Tissot’s interest.  Louise (1843–1933) wrote of Tissot in her 1925 autobiography, “He admired my sister Alice very much, and he asked her to sit to him, in the pretty house in St. John’s Wood.”  In this photograph of Louise and her sisters, look at the blonde on the left, in the back, and compare for yourself!

a  autumn-on-the-thames, cropped face         b quarrelling, cropped face         c The Bunch of Lilacs, the-athenaeum, cropped face

That does make me wonder if Louise Jopling [at that time, the recently widowed Mrs. Frank Romer] modeled for Tissot.  She wrote in her autobiography, “James Tissot was a charming man, very handsome, extraordinarily like the Duke [then, Prince] of Teck. He was always well groomed, and had nothing of artistic carelessness either in his dress or demeanor.”  She thought Tissot was “extraordinarily clever,” and wrote that one day, before she was married (in 1874, to J.E. Millais’ friend, Joe Jopling), Tissot had begged his friend Ferdinand Heilbuth (1826 – 1889) to go to Louise’s studio “and try to induce us both – my sister Alice and I – to come and spend the day at Greenwich, where he was painting his charming pictures of scenes by the river Thames.  I was to bring my sketching materials.  It happened that I had promised Joe to give him a sitting for my portrait, but it was much too delightful a project not to be accepted with fervor.  I wired to Joe:  ‘Called out of town on business.’  I might have, with more truth, wired:  ‘Called out of town on pleasure,’ but sketching with two such good artists was indeed good business for me, so I salved my conscience.  But I was found out:  Joe heard of our day’s outing, probably at that mart of gossip, a man’s Club.”  [Louise Jopling is a character in my book, The Hammock:  A novel based on the true story of French painter James Tissot – see my short (2:42 min.) video, “Louise Jopling and James Tissot”.]

Here is the model in Tissot’s Return from the Boating Party (1873, figure a), and Louise Jopling as Millais painted her in 1879 at age 36 (figure b).  It does seem, however, that Louise would have mentioned in her autobiography that Tissot had painted her.

a the-return-from-the-boating-trip, wikiart, cropped woman face               b 1200px-Louise_Jane_Jopling_(née_Goode,_later_Rowe)_by_Sir_John_Everett_Millais,_1st_Bt, wikimedia, cropped face

Tissot used an older, white-haired woman as a model in Hush! (The Concert, 1875, figure a), A Convalescent (c. 1876, figure b), and also at the far left in Holyday (c 1876, figure c).

a  Hush, The Concert, the-athenaeum, cropped matron        b sag-65029-a-convalescent-bridgeman-art-8-7-12, cropped matron face         c Holyday, the-athenaeum, cropped matron

Tissot painted a striking model with dark hair and strong eyebrows in A Portrait (1876, figure a), and again in a blue gown in The Gallery of the H.M.S. Calcutta (Portsmouth, c. 1876, figure b).  She reappears in Portsmouth Dockyard (c. 1877, figure c).

a portrait-of-miss-lloyd, cropped face        b The Gallery of HMS Calcutta (Portsmouth) c.1876 by James Tissot 1836-1902         c Portsmouth Dockyard circa 1877 by James Tissot 1836-1902

One of Tissot’s most often-reused models is the old gentleman with the white whiskers.  He appears in Reading the News (1874, figure a), in the center of The Ball on Shipboard (c. 1874, figure b), and at the left in Hush! (The Concert, 1875, figure c), as well as in The Warrior’s Daughter (A Convalescent, c. 1878, figure d).

a 612px-James_Tissot_-_Reading_the_News, cropped man    b Ball on Shipboard, the-athenaeum, cropped old man face    c Hush, The Concert, the-athenaeum, cropped old man face  d the-warrior-s-daughter-or-the-convalescent, cropped

Another distinctive male model who reappears in Tissot’s paintings is the man with a long ginger beard in London Visitors (c. 1874, figure a) and at the far left in Holyday (c. 1876, figure b).  He also is featured in The Widower (1876, figure c).

a London Visitors, the-athenaeum, cropped man face         b Holyday, the-athenaeum, cropped man face          c James_Tissot_-_The_Widower_-_Google_Art_Project, cropped

Of course, after she moved into his home in St. John’s Wood about 1876, Tissot’s main model until her premature death was young mother and divorcée, Kathleen Irene Ashburnham Kelly Newton (1854 – 1882).

Kathleen, at 22, had a four-year-old daughter and a son born on March 21, 1876.  [See Was Cecil Newton James Tissot’s son?]  Being Roman Catholic, Kathleen could not remarry, but she lived with Tissot in his house in St. John’s Wood, until her death from tuberculosis in 1882.

Kathleen appeared in dozens of Tissot’s major works, including Portsmouth Dockyard (c. 1877, figure a), The Warrior’s Daughter (A Convalescent, c. 1878, figure b), and Orphans (c. 1879, figure c).

a  Portsmouth Dockyard circa 1877 by James Tissot 1836-1902         b the-warrior-s-daughter-or-the-convalescent, cropped Kathleen Newton        c  orphan, cropped Kathleen face

912px-James_Tissot_-_A_Passing_Storm, cropped

A Passing Storm (detail)

Incidentally, Tissot scholar Michael Wentworth (1938 – 2002), in his biography James Tissot (1984), identified the model in A Passing Storm (c. 1876) as Kathleen Newton, but if you compare the features of this model to Kathleen’s, it is obvious that the two women are different.

Based on my research and this study of the faces of Tissot’s various models, I believe Kathleen Newton’s first appearance in his work was in Portsmouth Dockyard (c. 1877).

Portsmouth Dockyard circa 1877 by James Tissot 1836-1902

Which means that the shadowy face in the center of The Thames (1876), would have been Kathleen’s as well.

WAK41966

The Thames (1876), by James Tissot. Oil on canvas; 28.5 by 46.5 in. (72.5 by 118 cm). Hepworth Wakefield Art Gallery, Wakefield, UK. Courtesy of The Bridgeman Art Library for use in “The Hammock: A novel based on the true story of French painter James Tissot” by Lucy Paquette, © 2012.

Here she is in The Warrior’s Daughter (A Convalescent, c. 1878).

the-warrior-s-daughter-or-the-convalescent

And here is Kathleen in Orphans (c. 1879).  Her face and slender figure would grace his work for only a few more years.

orphan

©  2017 by Lucy Paquette.  All rights reserved.

The articles published on this blog are copyrighted by Lucy Paquette.  An article or any portion of it may not be reproduced in any medium or transmitted in any form, electronic or mechanical, without the author’s permission.  You are welcome to cite or quote from an article provided you give full acknowledgement to the author. 

CH377762If you do not have a Kindle e-reader, you may download free Kindle reading apps for PCs, Smartphones, tablets, and the Kindle Cloud Reader to read The Hammock:  A novel based on the true story of French painter James Tissot.  Read reviews.

The Hammock:  A novel based on the true story of French painter James Tissot, brings Tissot’s world from 1870 to 1879 alive in a story of war, art, Society glamour, love, scandal, and tragedy.

Illustrated with 17 stunning, high-resolution fine art images in full color

Courtesy of The Bridgeman Art Library  

(295 pages; ISBN (ePub):  978-0-615-68267-9).    See http://www.amazon.com/dp/B009P5RYVE.

James Tissot in Mourning

An aspect of the fashionable clothing of his day that James Tissot did not fail to capture in paint was mourning. Several of his pictures show mourning attire of the 1860s to the 1880s in great detail.

princess_beatrice_mourning

The five daughters of Queen Victoria in mourning for Prince Albert. March 1862. (Photo: Wikipedia.org)

Wearing appropriate mourning attire was one of the many rituals surrounding death in Tissot’s era, particularly in Great Britain when Queen Victoria wore mourning for forty years following the death of her consort, Prince Albert.

Numerous etiquette manuals and popular journals laid out the strict and complicated etiquette of dress that demonstrated respect for the deceased, earned sympathy for the grieving, and often displayed wealth and social status.  Different rules applied depending on the bereaved person’s relationship to the deceased person, from grandparents to cousins to servants.

The most stringent, and the most codified, rules governed the attire of widows.  As sexually experienced women who were now single, it was crucial that they observe all proprieties. (1)

victorian_mourning_garb

Advertising for Victorian mourning garb

Large wardrobes were necessary to outfit women for bereavements of up to two and a half years, and this was a lucrative niche for those in the trade, such as Jay’s of Regent Street, opened in 1841 as an establishment for mourning. (2)  Peter Robertson founded a mourning warehouse in Regent Street in 1865, maintaining a wide inventory, executing special orders in a day, and even traveling to the countryside for fittings at no extra charge.  In 1876, the firm introduced a style catalog from which customers could order ready-to-wear garments to be sent by mail-order. (3)

A widow’s first, or deepest mourning, was worn for a year and a day.  Custom dictated every detail of clothing, and types of fabric to be worn, during this and the following period.  For example, the bonnet for first mourning must have a veil hanging at the back, and a shorter veil worn over the face, and cambric handkerchiefs must have black borders.  Second mourning was worn for twelve months, with complex instructions as to the gradual introduction of additional freedoms, such as wearing hats again.  At the end of the second year, mourning could be put off entirely, but it was considered in better taste to wear half mourning for at least six months longer. (4)

james_tissot_-_a_widow

A Widow (Une veuve, 1868), by James Tissot.  Oil on canvas, 27 by 19.5 in. (68.5 by 49.5 cm).  (Photo:  Wikimedia.org)

In 1869, James Tissot exhibited A Widow (Une veuve, 1868) at the Salon in Paris.  The low-cut, square neckline of this stylish young widow’s full-skirted black gown is filled in with a blouse of filmy black silk, trimmed at the round neckline, center front, shoulders and wrists with frothy ruffles in the same fabric.  The set-in sleeves and long and full.  The trained skirt’s high waist is tied with a wide sash and accented with a black rosette.  The pleated flounce at the hem reveals her white, lace-edged petticoat, a black silk stocking, and a squared-toed high heel with its silk bow.  Her brown hair is parted in the center, and braids behind each ear crown her head.  Wearing black lace mitts as she dreamily pursues her sewing – while showing that glimpse of ankle so tantalizing to Victorian men – it is likely she can be induced to leave off her last months of mourning.  The elderly chaperone is in mourning, while the little girl is not.

limperatrice_eugenie_et_son_fils_-_1878_-_james_tissot

The Empress Eugénie and the Prince Impérial in the Grounds at Camden Place, Chislehurst (c. 1874), by James Tissot. Oil on canvas, 50 by 60 in. (106.6 by 152.4 cm). Musee Nationale du Chateau de Compiegne, France. (Photo: Wikimedia.org)

empress_eugenie_1880

Empress Eugénie in mourning for her son, 1880.  (Photo:  Wikipedia.org)

Tissot’s double portrait The Empress Eugénie and the Prince Impérial in the Grounds at Camden Place, Chislehurst (c. 1874) depicts the exiled French Empress (1826 – 1920), living outside London after the collapse of the Second Empire, and her son, Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte, who would be killed in 1879, at age 23, in the Zulu War.  The only child of Napoléon III of France, he was accepted to the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich, in 1872 and is pictured in the uniform of a Woolwich cadet.  The Empress is in her first year of mourning following the death of her husband in January, 1873.

Her black gown consists of a high-necked, button-up bodice with long, tight-fitting, set-in sleeves over a white blouse, and a straight, trained skirt with a black draped tablier (apron) overskirt.  Her round black cap, so like her son’s, is trimmed in white, and a long black veil trails from its back.

 

james_tissot_-_the_widower_-_google_art_project

The Widower (Le veuf, 1876), by James Tissot.  Oil on canvas, 116.3 by 75.5 cm.  Art Gallery of New South Wales, Australia.  (Photo:  Wikimedia.org)

Tissot exhibited The Widower (1876) at the Grosvenor Gallery in 1877.  He portrays this widower with a lumpy, crushed hat of soft felt, wearing a sack coat.  The bereaved man appears so much sadder than if he were dressed in a dapper frock coat and top hat.

orphan

Orphans (L’Orpheline, 1879), by James Tissot.  Oil on canvas, 85 by 43 in. (216 by 109.2 cm).  Private Collection.  (Photo:  Wikimedia.org)

Orphans (L’Orpheline, 1879), features Tissot’s mistress and muse, Kathleen Newton (1854 – 1882) and was exhibited at the Grosvenor Gallery in 1879.  Mrs. Newton’s form-fitting mourning gown was the very latest style – the new cuirasse bodice and Princess line seaming created by couturier Charles Worth.  Fitted over a white blouse with lace showing at the wrists under the long, slim, set-in sleeves, it is a different style of gown altogether from previous Victorian dresses.  It has no waist seam:  the seams run continuously from the shoulder to the hem, and the shape is created by sewing long, fitted fabric pieces together.  Note the center front of her gown, a vertical section of pleated bands.  The Princess seam created a tall, slender look.  It depended on the curaisse bodice, a tightly-laced, boned corset that encased the torso, waist, hips and thighs.  The result was a dramatic narrowing of the silhouette of women’s fashion in the late 1870s.

Mrs. Newton wears black lace mitts, a peaked bonnet embellished with black feathers, and a heavy black scarf around her neck.  She wears a corsage of lavender and white chrysanthemums, but no jewelry except for the wedding band visible on the third finger of her left hand.  It is likely that she is being represented as a widow in her secondary mourning, as lavender was considered a color appropriate for that stage.

The little girl [modeled by Kathleen Newton’s niece, Lilian Hervey (1875 – 1952)] also wears mourning – though, oddly, she seems dressed for different weather entirely in her short-sleeved, button-down black dress over a white chemise.  She has bare arms and legs and wears white socks with black strapped shoes.

the-rivals-800x600

The Rivals (I rivali, 1878-79), by James Tissot.  Private Collection.

Tissot’s The Rivals (I rivali, 1878–79) is set in the conservatory of his home at 17 (now 44), Grove End Road in St. John’s Wood, London.  It casts his mistress, young divorcée Kathleen Newton, as a young widow, crocheting while taking tea with two suitors, one middle-aged and one old.  Mrs. Newton is wearing the same black gown she did in L’Orpheline (Orphans, 1879).  In this picture, Tissot paints her so close to the end of her mourning that she is entertaining men – and so nonchalant about it that she slouches in her fur-lined, wicker armchair while focusing on her needlework!

Tissot exhibited this painting at the Grosvenor Gallery in 1879.  Kathleen Newton died of tuberculosis on November 9, 1882, at age 28, at Tissot’s house with her sister, Polly Hervey, at her side (according to the death register).  Tissot draped the coffin in purple velvet and prayed beside it for hours.  Immediately after the funeral on November 14, at the Church of Our Lady in Lisson Grove, St. John’s Wood, Tissot abandoned his home and returned to Paris.

tissot_sans_dot

Sans dot (Without Dowry, 1883-85), by James Tissot.  Oil on canvas, 58 by 41 in. (147.32 by 104.14 cm).  Private Collection.  (Photo:  Wikimedia.org)

Tissot exerted himself to re-establish his reputation in Paris, which he had fled following the bloody aftermath of the Franco-Prussian War in 1871, with a series of fifteen large-scale pictures called La Femme à Paris (The Parisian Woman).  Painted between 1883 and 1885, they portrayed the fashionable parisienne in various incarnations using brighter, modern colors than he had in his previous work.

412px-womans_bonnet_mourning_lacma_41-11-8

Women’s mourning bonnet in hard crape, c. 1880.  Los Angeles County Museum of Art.  (Photo:  Wikipedia.org)

The elegant young widow in Sans dot (Without Dowry, 1883-85) takes the air in the gardens in Versailles wearing a buttoned-up, high-necked black bodice with three-quarter, eighteenth-century-style Sabot sleeves that fit tightly before flaring into a deep ruffle below the elbow.  Black gloves cover her hands and forearms.  She wears a black draped tablier (apron) overskirt over a straight, pleated underskirt in sable-colored silk.  Her high-crowned, black straw bonnet features a large black bow over her fringe, echoed by a soft bow tied neatly under her chin.  Because her bonnet is so elaborately beribboned and has no veil, we know she is past her first year of mourning (when the appropriate bonnet was simple, like the one shown at the right) and is now in secondary mourning.  The widow maintains a wistful expression and a demure posture before her work basket and a book while her elderly chaperone, who is wearing mourning and a bonnet with a veil, is absorbed in the newspaper.  She appears completely aware of her charms – and of the fact that her lack of a dowry seems unlikely to affect her ability to attract another husband.

Related posts:

James Tissot’s Fashion Plates (1864-1878): A Guest Post for Mimi Matthews by Lucy Paquette

James Tissot’s garden idyll & Kathleen Newton’s death

A visit to James Tissot’s house & Kathleen Newton’s grave

Tissot’s La Femme à Paris series

REFERENCE WORKS:

(1)  Sidell, Misty White, “A time when the wrong outfit could lead to disgrace and scandal: New Costume Institute exhibit to explore the strict world of Victorian mourning fashions,” Daily Mail, (July 1, 2014); http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2677118/A-time-wrong-outfit-lead-disgrace-scandal-New-Costume-Institute-exhibit-explore-strict-world-Victorian-mourning-fashions.html (Accessed: 1/19/2017)

(2)  “Victorian Mourning Etiquette,” http://www.tchevalier.com/fallingangels/bckgrnd/mourning/ (Accessed: 1/19/2017)

(3)  Hansen, Viveka, “Jet & Dressed in Black – the Victorian Period (B 20),” TEXTILIS (October 12, 2016); https://textilis.net/ (Accessed: 1/19/2017)

(4)  Robinson, Nugent. Collier’s Cyclopedia of Social and Commercial Information.  New York:  F. Collier, 1882.  (Accessed: 1/19/2017)

© Copyright Lucy Paquette 2017.  All rights reserved.

The articles published on this blog are copyrighted by Lucy Paquette.  An article or any portion of it may not be reproduced in any medium or transmitted in any form, electronic or mechanical, without the author’s permission.  You are welcome to cite or quote from an article provided you give full acknowledgement to the author. 

CH377762The Hammock:  A novel based on the true story of French painter James Tissot, brings Tissot’s world from 1870 to 1879 alive in a story of war, art, Society glamour, love, scandal, and tragedy.

Illustrated with 17 stunning, high-resolution fine art images in full color

Courtesy of The Bridgeman Art Library  

(295 pages; ISBN (ePub):  978-0-615-68267-9).  See http://www.amazon.com/dp/B009P5RYVE.

NOTE:  If you do not have a Kindle e-reader, you may download free Kindle reading apps for PCs, Smartphones, tablets, and the Kindle Cloud Reader to read The Hammock:  A novel based on the true story of French painter James Tissot.  Read reviews.

Happy Hour with James Tissot

photo 3Since today is April Fool’s Day – and my birthday – pour a glass of something cheerful, and let’s celebrate together by admiring James Tissot’s most joyful images.

Tissot’s paintings are notable for their psychological ambiguity or tension – moodiness, quarrels, shady situations, vulgarity, frustration, even anger.

But a handful portray sheer happiness, and we all need a dose of that, especially in the uneven weather of spring!

 

La partie carrée (The Foursome, 1870), by James Tissot. Oil on canvas, 47 by 57 in. (119.5 by 144.5 cm). Private Collection. (Photo: http://www.the-athenaeum.org)

In Partie Carée – exhibited at the 1870 Salon, the cautious, business-minded Tissot was at his most devil-may-care.  These convivial friends are certainly delighted to spend time together at their leisurely, riverside Happy Hour!

A Bunch of Lilacs (c. 1875), James TIssot. Courtesy of The Bridgeman Art Library for use in "The Hammock: A novel based on the true story of French painter James Tissot," by Lucy Paquette, © 2012

The Bunch of Lilacs (c. 1875), James TIssot. Image: 21 by 15 in. (53.34 by 38.10 cm). Courtesy of The Bridgeman Art Library for use in “The Hammock: A novel based on the true story of French painter James Tissot,” by Lucy Paquette, © 2012

One of the most lovely images Tissot ever created, The Bunch of Lilacs (c. 1875) is set in the new conservatory in Tissot’s St. John’s Wood house at 17 (now 44) Grove End Road.  The peace, profusion and prosperity in this painting just make me smile: this woman doesn’t seem to have a care in the world as she waltzes over the gleaming floor.  Can’t you just hear her humming some pretty tune?

A Fête Day at Brighton (c. 1875-1878), by James Tissot. Oil on canvas, 34 by 21 in. (86.36 by 53.34 cm). (Photo: Wikimedia.org)

You can’t help but feel part of A Fête Day at Brighton:  it’s a street party at a seaside resort, and you can feel the uneven pavement under your feet, the sun on your face, and the exhilarating breeze in your hair.

Holyday (c. 1876), by James Tissot. Oil on canvas, 30 by 39 1/8 in. (76.5 by 99.5 cm). Tate Britain. (Photo: http://www.the-athenaeum.org)

Tissot painted members of the famous I Zingari cricket club (which still exists, and is one of the oldest amateur cricket clubs) in their distinctive black, red and gold caps in his garden at 17 Grove End Road, St. John’s Wood, which was only a few hundred yards from Lord’s cricket ground.  Holyday was exhibited at the Grosvenor Gallery in London from May to June, 1877.  Oscar Wilde, then a 23-year-old student at Magdalen College, Oxford, reviewed the Grosvenor’s exhibition in Dublin University Magazine that summer, skewering the subject matter of Holyday as “Mr. Tissot’s over-dressed, common-looking people, and ugly, painfully accurate representation of modern soda water bottles.”   No doubt Oscar would find me quite common, since I find this image entirely merry!  I want to join this lively group for a cup of tea and a slice of cake.  Holyday is on display at Tate Britain in room 1840; click here for an interactive look at it.

October (1877), by James Tissot. 85 by 42.8 in. (216 by 108.7 cm). Musée des Beaux-Arts de Montréal. (Photo: http://www.the-athenaeum.org)

October (1877) depicts Tissot’s mistress and muse, Kathleen Newton (1854–1882) in the full bloom of beauty at age 23, glowing amid the fall foliage.  I saw this when I was in Montreal, and you can almost hear Mrs. Newton’s petticoats rustling over her kitten heels.  Tissot presents her youthful charm in such a surprisingly intimate close-up composition for a monumental painting – over 7 feet tall and 3 ½ feet wide – that it overwhelms the viewer with a sense of vitality.

In an English Garden, by James Tissot. Private Collection. (Photo: http://www.the-athenaeum.org)

Tissot’s garden, the setting for In an English Garden, was designed with a blend of English-style flower beds as well as plantings familiar to him from French parks.  Gravel paths led to kitchen gardens and greenhouses for flowers, fruit and vegetables.  This painting shows Tissot’s ornamental pond from a different viewpoint than Holyday.  It portrays a gorgeous day in a gorgeous garden, the figures enjoying blissful privacy and serenity.

Le Petit Nemrod (A Little Nimrod), c. 1882, by James Tissot. Oil on canvas, 34 ½ by 55 3/5 in. (110.5 by 141.3 cm). Musée des Beaux-Arts et d’archéologie, Besançon, France. (Photo: http://www.the-athenaeum.org)

Le Petit Nemrod (A Little Nimrod, c. 1882) depicts cousins, the children of Mrs. Newton and her sister Polly Hervey, playing together in a London park.  (Nimrod, according to the Book of Genesis, was a great-grandson of Noah, and he is depicted in the Hebrew Bible as a mighty hunter.)  Can’t you hear these kids giggling and shrieking?

Sur la Tamise/On the Thames (The Return from Henley, c. 1884-85). Oil on canvas, 57.48 by 40.04 in. (146 by 101.7 cm). Private Collection. (Photo: http://www.the-athenaeum.org)

Sur la Tamise/On the Thames (The Return from Henley, c. 1884-85) is a flight of fancy radiating girlish euphoria.  That this tightly-swaddled creature managed to seat herself in this skiff, and to stand upright again, is explicable only by one word:  magic.

Le banc de jardin/The Garden Bench (1882), by James Tissot. Oil on canvas, 99.1 by 142.2 cm. Private collection. (Photo: Wikiart.org)

Le banc de jardin/The Garden Bench (c. 1882) was a favorite image of Tissot’s; he kept it all his life.  Pictured are Kathleen Newton, her daughter Violet, her son Cecil George, and a second girl who could be her niece Lilian Hervey or her niece Belle (behind the bench).  Sheer maternal joy.

IMG_5303 (2)So – a toast to lovers of James Tissot around the world:  Cheers, my dears!

Previous April Fool’s Day posts:

The Missing Tissot Nudes

Was James Tissot a Plagiarist?

Tissot and his Friends Clown Around

© 2016 Lucy Paquette.  All rights reserved.

The articles published on this blog are copyrighted by Lucy Paquette.  An article or any portion of it may not be reproduced in any medium or transmitted in any form, electronic or mechanical, without the author’s permission.  You are welcome to cite or quote from an article provided you give full acknowledgement to the author. 

CH377762If you do not have a Kindle e-reader, you may download free Kindle reading apps for PCs, Smartphones, tablets, and the Kindle Cloud Reader to read The Hammock:  A novel based on the true story of French painter James Tissot.  Read reviews.

The Hammock:  A novel based on the true story of French painter James Tissot, brings Tissot’s world from 1870 to 1879 alive in a story of war, art, Society glamour, love, scandal, and tragedy.

Illustrated with 17 stunning, high-resolution fine art images in full color, courtesy of The Bridgeman Art Library  

(295 pages; ISBN (ePub):  978-0-615-68267-9).  See http://www.amazon.com/dp/B009P5RYVE.