Tag Archives: Kathleen Newton

Tissot’s Illustrations for Renée Mauperin (1884)

To cite this article: Paquette, Lucy. “Tissot’s Illustrations for Renée Mauperin (1884).” The Hammock. https://thehammocknovel.wordpress.com/2020/05/15/tissots-illustrations-for-renee-mauperin-1884/. <Date viewed>.

 

Renée Mauperin, a novel by brothers Jules and Edmond de Goncourt, initially was published in 1864, then in several other editions, before surviving brother Edmond discussed illustrations for a new edition with James Tissot in late May 1882, in Paris. At the time, Tissot was living in London with young Kathleen Newton, who had moved into his St. John’s Wood home around 1876.

Kathleen, declining from tuberculosis, would model for the novel’s tragic heroine, who in the last third of the story suffered from debilitating heart disease. Some of Tissot’s illustrations were based on photographs of Kathleen, and he posed for some of the male figures. Her son Cecil Newton appears in one of the etchings, along with girls who may have been his sister, Violet, and Kathleen’s sister’s daughters, Belle and Lilian.

Edmond_de_Goncourt_by_Nadar_c1877, wiki

Edmond de Goncourt (c. 1877), by Nadar. (Wiki)

Kathleen Newton died of tuberculosis on November 9, 1882, at age 28, 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 returned to Paris. On the morning of November 15, he called on Edmond de Goncourt, who noted in his journal that the artist was “very affected by the death of the English Mauperin.”

Renée Mauperin, illustrated with ten etchings by James Tissot, was published in 1884 in Paris by Charpentier.

In 1888, the English edition, published by Vizetelly, contained a prefatory note by Émile Zola:

“For many people…this is Messieurs de Goncourt’s masterpiece. The authors’ object has been to depict a phase of contemporary middle-class life. Their heroine, Renée, the most prominent personage of the story, is a strange girl, half a boy, who has been brought up in the chaste ignorance of virgins..Spoilt by her father, she has grown upon the dunghill of advanced civilization with an artistic soul and a nervous, refined temperament. She is the most adorable little thing imaginable, she talks slang, she paints and acts, her mind is awake to every form of curiosity, and she is possessed of masculine pride, straightforwardness, and honesty.”

However, due to an action she takes, her brother, Henri, is killed in a duel, and “Renée, horrified by what she has done, slowly dies of heart disease, her distressing agony lasting through nearly one-third of the volume.”

Below, excerpts from the novel accompany each etching, providing the story in brief. I have used The Project Gutenberg eBook, Renée Mauperin, by Edmond de Goncourt and Jules de Goncourt, et al., Translated by Alys Hallard (1902).

 

RENÉE MAUPERIN, RENÉE AND REVERCHON SWIMMING IN THE SEINE (FRONTISPIECE), Clark

RENÉE MAUPERIN: RENÉE AND REVERCHON SWIMMING IN THE SEINE (FRONTISPIECE), by James Tissot. Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Massachusetts. Open Access.

I

“You would soon find out what a bore it is to be always proper. We are allowed to dance, but do you imagine that we can talk to our partner? We may say ‘Yes,’ ‘No,’ ‘No,’ ‘Yes,’ and that’s all! We must always keep to monosyllables, as that is considered proper. You see how delightful our existence is. And for everything it is just the same. If we want to be very proper we have to act like simpletons; and for my part I cannot do it. Then we are supposed to stop and prattle to persons of our own sex. And if we go off and leave them and are seen talking to men instead – oh, well, I’ve had lectures enough from mamma about that!”

This was said in an arm of the Seine just between Briche and the Île Saint Denis. The girl and the young man who were conversing were in the water. They had been swimming until they were tired, and now, carried along by the current, they had caught hold of a rope which was fastened to one of the large boats stationed along the banks of the island.

“Ah, now this, for instance,” she continued, “cannot be at all proper – to be swimming here with you.”

 

Renee Mauperin, Renee Hugging her Father as She Comes in to Breakfast, PRINCETON, non-commercial

Renee Mauperin: Renee Hugging her Father as She Comes in to Breakfast (Beraldi 54)
James Tissot, French, 1836–1902
Etching. Plate: 14.1 x 10 cm (5 9/16 x 3 15/16 in.) sheet: 19.1 x 16 cm. (7 1/2 x 6 5/16 in.)
Gift of Frank Jewett Mather Jr. x1944-250 a. Princeton University Art Museum, public domain for personal and educational use.

IX

“Well!” exclaimed Renée, entering the dining-room at eleven o’clock, breathless like a child who had been running, “I thought every one would be down. Where is mamma?”

“Gone to Paris – shopping,” answered M. Mauperin.

“Good-morning, papa!” And instead of taking her seat Renée went across to her father and putting her arms round his neck began to kiss him.

“There, there, that’s enough – you silly child!” said M. Mauperin, smiling as he endeavoured to free himself.

And Renée, standing up after kissing him once more, moved back from her father, still holding his head between her hands. They gazed at each other lovingly and earnestly, looking into one another’s eyes. The French window was open and the light, the scents and the various noises from the garden penetrated into the room.

 

RENÉE MAUPERIN, DENOISEL READING IN THE GARDEN, RENÉE APPROACHING, Clark

RENÉE MAUPERIN: DENOISEL READING IN THE GARDEN, RENÉE APPROACHING, by James Tissot. Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Massachusetts. Open Access.

IX

Denoisel, left to himself, lighted a cigar, picked up a book and went out to one of the garden seats to read. He had been there about two hours when he saw Renée coming towards him. She had her hat on and her animated face shone with joy and a sort of serene excitement.

“Well, have you been out? Where have you come from?”

“Where have I come from?” repeated Renée, unfastening her hat. “Well, I’ll tell you, as you are my friend,” and she took her hat off and threw her head back with that pretty gesture women have for shaking their hair into place. “I’ve come from church, and if you want to know what I’ve been doing there, why, I’ve been asking God to let me die before papa.”

 

Renee Mauperin, Renee Sitting at the Piano, Crying, PRINCETON, non-commercial only

Renee Mauperin: Renee Sitting at the Piano, Crying
James Tissot, French, 1836–1902
Etching. Plate: 14.3 x 9.8 cm. (5 5/8 x 3 7/8 in.) sheet: 28.7 x 22.3 cm. (11 5/16 x 8 3/4 in.)
Gift of Frank Jewett Mather Jr. x1944-252 a
Princeton University Art Museum, public domain for personal and educational use.

XXVII

Denoisel had left Renée at her piano, and had gone out into the garden. As he came back towards the house he was surprised to hear her playing something that was not the piece she was learning; then all at once the music broke off and all was silent. He went to the drawing-room, pushed the door open, and discovered Renée seated on the music-stool, her face buried in her hands, weeping bitterly.

“Renée, good heavens! What in the world is the matter?”

Two or three sobs prevented Renée’s answering at first, and then, wiping her eyes with the backs of her hands, as children do, she said in a voice choked with tears:

“It’s – it’s – too stupid. It’s this thing of Chopin’s, for his funeral, you know – his funeral mass, that he composed. Papa always tells me not to play it. As there was no one in the house to-day – I thought you were at the bottom of the garden – oh, I knew very well what would happen, but I wanted to make myself cry with it, and you see it has answered to my heart’s content. Isn’t it silly of me – and for me, too, when I’m naturally so fond of fun!”

 

Renee Mauperin, Denoisel and Henri Mauperin in the Latter's Rooms, PRINCETON, non-commercial

Renee Mauperin: Denoisel and Henri Mauperin in the Latter’s Rooms (Beraldi 57)
James Tissot, French, 1836–1902
Etching; early state. Plate: 10.1 x 14 cm (4 x 5 1/2 in.) sheet: 21.5 x 28.8 cm (8 7/16 x 11 5/16 in.)
Gift of Frank Jewett Mather Jr. x1944-253 a
Princeton University Art Museum, public domain for personal and educational use.

XXXIV

Denoisel was at Henri Mauperin’s. They were sitting by the fire talking and smoking. Suddenly they heard a noise and a discussion in the hall, and, almost at the same time, the room door was opened violently and a man entered abruptly, pushing aside the domestic who was trying to keep him back.

“M. Mauperin de Villacourt?” he demanded.

“That is my name, monsieur,” said Henri, rising.

“Well, my name is Boisjorand de Villacourt,” and with the back of his hand he gave Henri a blow which made his face bleed. Henri turned as white as the silk scarf he was wearing as a necktie and, with the blood trickling down his face, he bent forward to return the blow, and then, just as suddenly, drew himself up and stretched his hand out towards Denoisel, who stepped forward, folded his arms, and spoke in his calmest tone:

“I think I understand what you mean, sir,” he said; “you consider that there is a Villacourt too many. I think so too.”

The visitor was visibly embarrassed before the calmness of this man of the world. He took off his hat, which he had kept on his head hitherto, and began to stammer out a few words.

“Will you kindly leave your address with my servant?” said Henri, interrupting him; “I will send round to you to-morrow.”

 

RENÉE MAUPERIN, HENRI MAUPERIN WOUNDED AFTER THE DUEL WITH BOISJORAND DE VILLACOURT, Clark

RENÉE MAUPERIN: HENRI MAUPERIN WOUNDED AFTER THE DUEL WITH BOISJORAND DE VILLACOURT, by James Tissot. Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Massachusetts. Open Access.

XXXVIII

M. de Villacourt took off his frock-coat, tore off his necktie, and threw them both some distance from him. His shirt was open at the neck, showing his strong, broad, hairy chest. The opponents were armed, and the seconds moved back and stood together on one side.

“Ready!” cried a voice.

At this word M. de Villacourt moved forward almost in a straight line. Henri kept quite still and allowed him to walk five paces. At the sixth he fired.

M. de Villacourt fell to the ground, and the witnesses watched him lay down his pistol and press his thumbs with all his strength on the double hole which the bullet had made on entering his body.

“Ah! I’m not done for – Ready, monsieur!” he called out in a loud voice to Henri, who, thinking all was over, was moving away.

M. de Villacourt picked up his pistol and proceeded to do his four remaining paces as far as the walking-stick, dragging himself along on his hands and knees and leaving a track of blood on the snow behind him. On arriving at the stick he rested his elbow on the ground and took aim slowly and steadily.

“Fire! Fire!” called out Dardouillet.

Henri, standing still and covering his face with his pistol, was waiting. He was pale, and there was a proud, haughty look about him. The shot was fired; he staggered a second, then fell flat, with his face on the ground and with outstretched arms, his twitching fingers grasping for a moment at the snow.

 

Renee Mauperin, Renee Fainting after Hearing of her Brother's Death in the Duel, PRINCETON, non-commercial

Renee Mauperin: Renee Fainting after Hearing of her Brother’s Death in the Duel
James Tissot, French, 1836–1902
Etching. Plate: 11 x 14.2 cm. (4 5/16 x 5 9/16 in.) sheet: 22.5 x 22.8 cm. (8 7/8 x 9 in.)
Gift of Frank Jewett Mather Jr. x1944-255 a
Princeton University Art Museum, public domain for personal and educational use.

XL

Denoisel opened the drawing-room door and saw Renée, seated on an ottoman, sobbing, with her handkerchief up to her mouth.

“Renée,” he said, going to her and taking her hands in his, “some one killed him –”

Renée looked at him and then lowered her eyes.

“That man would never have known; he never read anything and he did not see any one; he lived like a regular wolf; he didn’t subscribe to the Moniteur, of course. Do you understand?”

“No,” stammered Renée, trembling all over.

“Well, it must have been an enemy who sent the paper to that man. Ah, you can’t understand such cowardly things; but that’s how it all came about, though. One of his seconds showed me the paper with the paragraph marked –”

Renée was standing up, her eyes wide open with terror; her lips moved and she opened her mouth to speak – to cry out: “I sent it!”

Then all at once she put her hand to her heart, as if she had just been wounded there, and fell down unconscious and rigid on the carpet.

 

Renee Mauperin, M. Mauperin Sitting in a Public Garden in Paris, PRINCETON, non-commercial

Renee Mauperin: M. Mauperin Sitting in a Public Garden in Paris
James Tissot, French, 1836–1902
Etching. Plate: 14 x 9.7 cm. (5 1/2 x 3 13/16 in.) sheet: 19 x 15.7 cm. (7 1/2 x 6 3/16 in.)
Gift of Frank Jewett Mather Jr. x1944-256 a
Princeton University Art Museum, public domain for personal and educational use.

XLIV

Sometimes, as though he were answering inquiries about his daughter, he would say aloud, “Oh, yes, she is very ill!” and it was as though the words he had uttered had been said by some one else at his side. Often a work-girl without any hat, a pretty young girl with a round waist, gay and healthy with the rude health of her class, would pass by him. He would cross the street that he might not see her again. He was furious just for a minute with all these people who passed him, with all these useless lives. They were not beloved as his daughter was, and there was no need for them to go on living. He went into one of the public gardens and sat down. A child put some of its little sand-pies on to the tails of his coat; other children getting bolder approached him with all the daring of sparrows. Presently, feeling slightly embarrassed, they left their little spades, stopped playing and stood round, looking shyly and sympathetically, like so many men and women in miniature, at this tall gentleman who was so sad. M. Mauperin rose and left the garden.

 

Renee Mauperin, Renee and Her Father Sitting in the Porch of the Church at Morimond, PRINCETON, non-commercial

Renee Mauperin: Renee and Her Father Sitting in the Porch of the Church at Morimond
James Tissot, French, 1836–1902
Etching. Plate: 15.1 x 9.6 cm. (5 15/16 x 3 3/4 in.) sheet: 33.4 x 20.5 cm. (13 1/8 x 8 1/16 in.)
Gift of Frank Jewett Mather Jr. x1944-257 b
Princeton University Art Museum, public domain for personal and educational use.

LI

There was a stone seat under the porch with a ray of sunshine falling on it.

“It’s warm here,” she said, laying her hand on the stone. “Put my shawl there so that I can sit down a little. I shall have the sun on my back—there.”

“Ah!” said Renée after a few moments, “we ought to have been made of something else. Why did God make us of flesh and blood? It’s frightful!”

Her eyes had fallen on some soil turned up in a corner of the cemetery, half hidden by two barrel-hoops crossed over each other and up which wild convolvulus was growing.

 

Renee Mauperin, M. and Mme. Mauperin in Egypt, PRINCETON, non-commercial only

Renee Mauperin: M. and Mme. Mauperin in Egypt, 1882
James Tissot, French, 1836–1902
Etching. Plate: 10.7 x 14 cm. (4 3/16 x 5 1/2 in.) sheet: 21 x 33.2 cm. (8 1/4 x 13 1/16 in.)
Gift of Frank Jewett Mather Jr. x1944-258 b
Princeton University Art Museum, public domain for personal and educational use.

LXV

People who travel in far countries may have come across, in various cities or among old ruins – one year in Russia, another perhaps in Egypt – an elderly couple who seem to be always moving about, neither seeing nor even looking at anything. They are the Mauperins, the poor heart-broken father and mother, who are now quite alone in the world, Renée’s sister having died after the birth of her first child.

They sold all they possessed and set out to wander round the world. They no longer care for anything, and go about from one country to another, from one hotel to the next, with no interest whatever in life. They are like things which have been uprooted and flung to the four winds of heaven. They wander about like exiles on earth, rushing away from their tombs, but carrying their dead about with them everywhere, endeavouring to weary out their grief with the fatigue of railway journeys, dragging all that is left them of life to the very ends of the earth, in the hope of wearing it out and so finishing with it.

Related posts:

James Tissot’s Prints

James Tissot’s Model and Muse, Kathleen Newton

Was Cecil Newton James Tissot’s son?

James Tissot Domesticated

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

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On Holiday with James Tissot and Kathleen Newton in 1878, by Lucy Paquette for The Victorian Web

To cite this article: Paquette, Lucy. “On Holiday with James Tissot and Kathleen Newton, by Lucy Paquette for The Victorian Web.” The Hammock. https://thehammocknovel.wordpress.com/2019/07/15/on-holiday-with-james-tissot-and-kathleen-newton-in-1878-by-lucy-paquette-for-the-victorian-web/. <Date viewed.>

 

James Tissot and Kathleen Newton lived in relative seclusion during their years together in London, from about 1876 until her death from tuberculosis in late 1882, but they enjoyed numerous trips outside the city in 1878.

Partly, as an unmarried couple living together, they were not welcome in respectable company. Kathleen’s two children lived nearby with her sister, Polly, who brought them to visit at tea time. But Tissot spent a great deal of time painting at his home, and Kathleen was his primary model during these years. Still, they managed what essentially were working holidays, when he painted her while they enjoyed excursions to resort towns easily accessible from his villa in suburban St. John’s Wood, London.

Each of their destinations had its own attractions, described in contemporary travel guides.

Greenwich

In Greenwich, Tissot painted The Terrace of the Trafalgar Tavern, Greenwich, London.

James Tissot, the-terrace-of-the-trafalgar-tavern-greenwich-london

The Terrace of the Trafalgar Tavern, Greenwich, London (c. 1878), by James Tissot. Oil on panel, 11 by 14 in. (27.94 by 35.56 cm). New Orleans Museum of Art.  (Photo: Wikiart.org)

On the south bank of the Thames, Greenwich was four miles from London by road and railway, and five or six miles by river from London Bridge; steamers ran every half hour. The parish of Greenwich had a population of 40,412 in 1871, and the town was an important manufacturing center, with engineering establishments, steel and iron works, iron steamboat yards, artificial stone and cement works, rope yards, a flax mill, and a brewery. The meandering streets,  less than picturesque at that time, held a market, a theatre, a literary institute, a lecture hall, public baths, banks, and twenty almshouses.

The glory of the town was Greenwich Hospital, a home for retired Royal Navy sailors until 1869, which commanded the view from the Thames. Designed by Sir Christopher Wren, its Painted Hall contained a picture gallery that was free to the public on Monday and Friday, and four pence on other days.

Greenwich, Old_Royal_Naval_College_2017-08-06

Joseph_Mallord_William_Turner_-_London_from_Greenwich_Park_-_Google_Art_Project

London from Greenwich Park, by J.M.W. Turner (1809), Tate. (Wikipedia)

James Tissot, Trafalgar Tavern etching

Trafalgar Tavern (1878), by James Tissot. Etching  & drypoint. Metropolitan Museum of Art; public domain.

Behind the Hospital, visitors could enjoy the beautiful 190 acres of Greenwich Park, and the view of the Royal Observatory above it. The park, designed on plans by King Louis XIV’s landscape architect, André Le Nôtre by commission of Charles II, had been magnificently terraced and planted with avenues of elms in 1664. It was now in a state of neglect but still had charming, distant views of London and the Thames for the crowds who came to enjoy the open air and the deer fearless enough to feed from visitors’ hands. On its summit was the Royal Observatory, founded by George III, and while this was not open to the public, there was an electric time-ball that fell every day at precisely 1 p.m., an electric clock, a standard barometer, and highly accurate standard measures of length for public use by the entrance gates.

The Trafalgar Tavern was one of four riverside inns operating at that time; all were known for their whitebait dinners – for diners with the means to enjoy the delicacy, seasoned with cayenne pepper and lemon juice. The Terrace of Trafalgar Tavern is inscribed “No. 1 Trafalgar Tavern/(Greenwich)/oil painting/James Tissot/17 Grove End Road/St John’s Wood/London/N.W.” on an old label on the reverse. The terrace provided extensive views of the ships on the Thames, all the way to London.

Gravesend

In 1878, the couple traveled a bit farther, to Gravesend, the setting for two versions of Waiting for the Ferry (1878).

Gravesend was accessible by numerous river steamers which conveyed crowds of passengers during the day, as well as by trains on the Tilbury Railway and the North Kent Railway; a steam-ferry transported visitors from Tilbury over to Gravesend. The trip was about 27 miles by river, or 24 miles by rail. By 1878, Gravesend had a population of 22,000, and the influx of summer visitors brought unexpected prosperity.

At that time, Gravesend fishermen hauled in shrimp in prodigious quantities, mainly for the London market, but the streets of Gravesend teemed with “tea and shrimp houses.” The formerly crowded, labyrinthine medieval old town boasted new and wider streets, and a new town with broad streets was lined with shops, homes, and lodging-houses.

While the churches and public buildings of Gravesend were of little interest to tourists, with the exception of the impressive Town Hall and the massive, “Collegiate Gothic” College for Daughters of Congregational Ministers, Milton Mount (built in 1872-73), there was a theatre, and the Assembly Rooms in Harmer Street, built in 1842 as a Literary Institute, featured a concert-room for one thousand persons, as well as billiard-rooms.

Gravesend_Town_Hall-geograph.org-3552497

Gravesend Town Hall (Wikimedia)

The Town Hall, near the center of High Street, was built in 1836 on the site of previous town halls, and was fronted by colossal Doric columns over which a pediment featured the town arms and statues of Minerva, Justice, and Truth. Beneath the Great Hall on the main floor was the market: A corn market was held in the town on Wednesdays, a general market on Saturdays, and a cattle market monthly.

Along the river, there were barge and boat building yards, iron foundries, rope walks, breweries, steam flour mills, soap and other factories. Beyond those were market gardens, renowned for asparagus and rhubarb, and cherry and apple orchards.

GravesendThames3370, Town Pier

Gravesend Town Pier (Wikipedia)

For visitors, the place to be was the Town Pier, with its 40-foot cast-iron arches extending 127 feet into the river. It was the landing for the London steamers and the location of the railway ticket office. Built in 1832, the Pier was covered in 1854 and featured sliding shutters on the sides, making it possible in any weather to stroll along the river. On summer days, a band played, and there were occasional balls. The favorite hotels, such as the Clarendon and the Roebuck, were located near the Pier. Bathing machines were within walking distance, and since Gravesend was the headquarters of the Royal Thames Yacht Club, watermen kept busy conveying passengers to and from the vessels anchored off the Club House on the Main Parade.

All in all, Gravesend offered plenty of entertainment to fill James Tissot’s and Kathleen Newton’s leisure hours.

Tissot painted three versions of Waiting for the Ferry, one in 1874 (Speed Museum, Kentucky), and two around 1878, at the dock beside the Old Falcon Tavern, Gravesend; Kathleen Newton modeled for the figures in only the latter two versions. She wears the same triple-caped greatcoat that Tissot portrayed her wearing in numerous other paintings, including The Terrace of the Trafalgar Tavern, Greenwich, London.

James Tissot, waiting-for-the-ferry-1

Waiting for the Ferry (c. 1878), by James Tissot. Oil on panel, 10 by 14 in. (26.7 by 35.6 cm). Private Collection. (Photo: Wikiart.org)

James_Tissot_-_Waiting_for_the_Ferry

Waiting for the Ferry (c. 1878), by James Tissot. Oil on panel, 9 by 13¾ in. (22.5 by 32.5 cm). Private Collection. (Photo: Wikimedia.org)

James Tissot_and_Newton, photo for Waiting for the Ferry

Photograph of James Tissot and Kathleen Newton (Wiki)

While this third version of Waiting for the Ferry [above] is said to have been painted around 1878, Kathleen Newton’s son, Cecil, was born in March, 1876, and he clearly is older than two or two and a half here. In fact, it must have been painted in 1882, when Tissot painted Cecil at about six in The Garden Bench, wearing the same knit cap and brown suit. That would make the young girl in this Waiting for the Ferry Lilian Hervey, Kathleen Newton’s niece, who was seven in 1882 [Kathleen’s daughter, Muriel Violet Newton, was born in December, 1871 and would have been about ten at this time, too old to be the girl shown in this version].

Tissot, Kathleen Newton, Cecil Newton, and Lilian Hervey posed for a photograph that gives some insight into how the artist composed this later version of Waiting for the Ferry, simply painting in the background from the previous version.

Ramsgate

The farthest the couple ventured on these excursions was Ramsgate, a seaside resort on the Kent coast, seventy-eight miles southeast of central London. There, Tissot painted Seaside (July: Specimen of a Portrait, 1878) and Room Overlooking the Harbour (c. 1878-79).

Ramsgate etching, Met

Ramsgate (1876), by James Tissot. Drypoint. Metropolitan Museum of Art; public domain.

Londoners could take the train from Victoria Station to Ramsgate on the London, Chatham, and Dover Railway. A travel guide of the time highly recommended this resort, population 12,000: “It is impossible to speak too favourably of this first-rate town, its glorious sands, its bathing, its hotels, libraries, churches, etc. etc. not forgetting its bracing climate.”

“The streets of Ramsgate are well paved or macadamized, and brilliantly lighted with gas.  There are banking establishments and a savings bank, with a literary institute, assembly-rooms, a small theatre, several good libraries, dispensary, town-hall, custom-house, music-hall, gas-works, water-works &c. An excellent promenade on the West Cliff has been laid out in an ornamental manner, and forms a delightful source of healthy recreation. The bathing-machines are under the East Cliff, where also, as well as in front of the harbor, there are well-appointed warm baths, &c. The markets are extremely well supplied with meat, excellent fish, &c.; and few places on the coast are so cheap, as well as healthy and agreeable for a summer’s residence.”

Vincent Van Gogh moved to Ramsgate in April, 1876, at age 23, to work as an assistant teacher in a boys’ school for a brief time. He wrote to his brother Theo, “There’s a harbour full of all kinds of ships, closed in by stone jetties running into the sea on which one can walk. And further out one sees the sea in its natural state, and that’s beautiful.”

Ramsgate_Sands

Ramsgate Sands in 1854, by William Powell Frith. (Wikipedia)

Ramsgate,_Kent,_England,_ca._1899, The Sands

Ramsgate Beach, Kent, England, c. 1890/1900 (Wikipedia)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe setting for Seaside was the Royal Albion Hotel near the shore of Viking Bay in Ramsgate, Built in 1791, Albion House sits atop the East cliff, with a sweeping view of the beach and the Royal Harbour. Princess Victoria stayed in one of its elegant rooms, ornamented with Georgian and Regency cornices, iron balconies, and shutter-panelled windows, before she was crowned Queen

Kathleen wears one of the prop gowns Tissot often used, a summery white gown trimmed with lemon-yellow satin ribbons that featured in a half-dozen of his oils in the mid-1870s, including A Portrait (1876, Tate Britain), A Convalescent (c. 1876, Museums Sheffield), A Passing Storm (c. 1876, Beaverbrook Art Gallery, New Brunswick), and Spring (c. 1878, private collection).

James Tissot, Seaside, or July, 1878 Cleveland OPEN ACCESS

Seaside (JulySpeciman of a Portrait, 1878), by James Tissot. Oil on fabric, 87.5 x 61 cm. Cleveland Museum of Art. Open Access.

Tissot exhibited Seaside, along with nine other paintings, at London’s Grosvenor Gallery – a sumptuous, invitation-only showcase for contemporary art in New Bond Street – in 1878, the year it was painted.

He made a copy (now in a private collection), showing Kathleen Newton wearing a tight blonde bun. He gave this version to Emile Simon, administrator of the Théâtre l’Ambigu-Comique at 2, Boulevard Saint Martin, Paris from 1882 to 1884. Simon sold it as La Réverie in 1905; this version of Seaside (also known as July, La Réverie, and Ramsgate Harbour) is signed and inscribed: “J.J. Tissot a l’am(i) E. Simon en bon Souvenir” (on the horizontal bar of the window frame). At some point, another artist painted a frizzy red hairstyle (probably considered more up-to-date) on Kathleen Newton.

James Tissot, Room Overlooking the Harbour

Room Overlooking the Harbour (c. 1878-79), by James Tissot. Oil on panel 25 by 33 cm, 10 by 13 in. Private collection. (Wikiart.org)

In Room Overlooking the Harbour (c. 1878-79), Tissot depicts Kathleen Newton going about her business while an older man (who could be a servant accompanying the couple) gamely models as well.

The picture has been held by the same family since 1933. In excellent condition, though needing to be cleaned and revarnished, it was sold at Sotheby’s, London on July 11 2019, for £ 400,000 (Hammer price).

Richmond

James_Tissot_-_By_the_Thames_at_Richmond, wiki

By the Thames at Richmond (1878-79), by James Tissot. Oil on panel, 29.2 x 19.7 cm. Private collection. (Wikimedia)

In 1878-79, the couple traveled west to Richmond, a village on the south bank of the Thames, where Tissot painted By the Thames at Richmond (oil on canvas) and Richmond Bridge (oil on panel, 35.6 x 22.9 cm).

Baker_Street_tube_station,_1862 INCLUDE COPYRIGHT LINE from Wiki

Exterior view of Baker Street Metropolitan Railway station, 27 December, 1862, The Illustrated London News. [Wikipedia; this work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published (or registered with the U.S. Copyright Office) before January 1, 1924.]

Richmond, about nine miles by land from central London, was easily accessible by omnibuses running frequently from the City and West End. The trip was 16 miles by river, but because the Thames was too shallow there for steamers, the trip was usually made by railway – from the Waterloo, Vauxhall, and other stations. The District Railway connected Richmond to the London Underground in 1877, making the trip from Tissot’s villa near the Swiss Cottage Underground station (opened in 1868) possible.

Richmond_Bridge_from_west

Richmond Bridge from the west (Wikipedia)

Richmond_Bridge_lampRichmond Bridge, built of Portland stone between 1774 and 1777, began as a toll bridge, but tolls ended in 1859. Its five segmental arches, rise gradually to the tall, 60-foot wide central span which allowed vessels to pass through the tallest arch.

In Richmond Bridge, Kathleen Newton wears the green tartan gown from Room Overlooking the Harbour and The Warrior’s Daughter (The Convalescent, c. 1878, Manchester Art Gallery, U.K.).

In By the Thames at Richmond, she wears the striking, simple brown floral dress also worn in three oil versions (and one watercolor version) of La sœur aînée (The Elder Sister, c. 1881) and in The Garden Bench (c. 1882, private collection). The little girl is in the exact same pose and outfit as in the photograph above, painted in the third version of Waiting for the Ferry. The man uses his cane to trace “I love you” in the ground beneath the woman’s gaze.

Kathleen Newton, who died of tuberculosis in 1882, was depicted in a chaise-longue looking ill by Tissot in The Dreamer (Summer Evening, Musée d’Orsay ), c. 1876. While the secluded couple’s trips outside the city in 1878-79 must have been liberating escapes made possible by new forms of transportation, they also may have been just what the doctor ordered.

The Victorian Web is a vast resource on literature, history and culture in the age of Victoria.

My thanks to The Victorian Web‘s Editor-in-Chief and Webmaster, George Landow, and to Associate Editor Jackie Banerjee.

Bibliography

Baedeker, Karl. London and its environs, including excursions to Brighton, the Isle of Wight, etc.: handbook for travelers. Leipzig: Karl Baedeker, 1878.

Collins’ Illustrated Guide to London and Neighbourhood. London: William Collins, Sons, and Company, 1875.

Matyjaszkiewicz, Krystyna, ed. James Tissot. New York: Abbeville Press, 1985; Barbican Art Gallery, c. 1984.

Measom, George S. Official illustrated guide to the South-Eastern railway, and its branches. London: Reed and Pardon, c. 1860.

Misfeldt, Willard. “James Jacques Joseph Tissot: A Bio-Critical Study.” Ph.D. diss., Washington University. Ann Arbor, Michigan: University Microfilms International, 1971.

Misfeldt, Willard E. J.J. Tissot: Prints from the Gotlieb Collection. Alexandria, Virginia: Art Services International, 1991.

Paquette, Lucy. “Artistic intimates:  Tissot’s patrons among his friends & colleagues.” The Hammock. https://thehammocknovel.wordpress.com/2014/03/23/artistic-intimates-tissots-patrons-among-his-friends-colleagues/. Web. 8 July 2019.

Paquette, Lucy. “The Artist’s Closet: James Tissot’s Prop Costumes.” The Hammock. https://thehammocknovel.wordpress.com/2017/03/16/the-artists-closet-james-tissots-prop-costumes/. Web. 8 July 2019.

Paquette, Lucy. “The Art of Waiting, by James Tissot.” The Hammock. https://thehammocknovel.wordpress.com/2015/06/16/the-art-of-waiting-by-james-tissot/. Web. 8 July 2019.

Sotheby’s. “Victorian, Pre-Raphaelite and British Impressionist Art, 11 July 2019.” Lot 36, Condition Report. https://www.sothebys.com/en/buy/auction/2019/victorian-pre-raphaelite-and-british-impressionist-art/james-jacques-joseph-tissot-room-overlooking-the. 11 July 2019.

Thorne James. Handbook to the Environs of London, Part I. London: John Murray, 1876.

Wentworth, Michael. James Tissot. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1984.

Wood, Christopher. Tissot: The Life and Work of Jacques Joseph Tissot, 1836-1902. London:Weidenfeld and Nicolson Ltd., 1986.

Related posts:

The Art of Waiting, by James Tissot

Victorians on the Move, by James Tissot

Tissot and Degas visit the Louvre, 1879

James Tissot Domesticated

© 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.

A Closer Look at Tissot’s “Embarkation at Calais”

To cite this article: Paquette, Lucy. “A Closer Look at Tissot’s “Embarkation at Calais”.” The Hammock. https://thehammocknovel.wordpress.com/2019/05/15/a-closer-look-at-tissots-embarkation-at-calais/. <Date viewed.>

 

James Tissot began a follow-up series to his 1883-85 series of large-scale paintings, La Femme à Paris (The Parisian Woman), to be called L’Etrangère (The Foreign Woman), but he only completed two canvases. The first, L’Esthétique (The Aesthetic Woman, or In the Louvre, 1883-1885), entered the renowned Pre-Raphaelite and Victorian art collection of the Museo de Arte de Ponce, Puerto Rico in 1962.

The other, La Voyageuse (The Embarkation at Calais, or The Traveller, 1883-1885), is in the collection of the Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten (The Royal Museum of Fine Arts), Antwerp, and I was able to view it a few weeks ago. It is a large picture, measuring 146.5 by 102 by 1.7 cm (57.7 by 40.2 by .7 in.), and it is known there as The Embarkation at Calais.

Embarkation at Calais, KMSKA, copyright Hugo Maertens

James Joseph Jacques Tissot, Embarkation at Calais, KMSKA, Photo: Hugo Maertens

In this lively scene, a beautiful, fashionable, and confident woman descends a ship’s gangplank unaccompanied, surrounded by fellow travelers, sailors, and laborers. You can hear the shouts and sounds of the dock workers, the thumping footfall of the porter bearing her trunk, and the din of the genteel stampede behind her.

goodbye-on-the-mersey

“Goodbye” – On the Mersey (c. 1881), by James Tissot. (Photo: Wikiart.org)

In mid-1871, following the Franco-Prussian War and the bloody days of the Commune, James Tissot moved to London.

Around 1876, he met Kathleen Newton, who moved in with him and became his principal model. Mrs. Newton, a divorcée with two children, died of tuberculosis on November 9, 1882, at age 28, at Tissot’s villa in suburban St. John’s Wood.

Immediately after her funeral on November 14, Tissot returned to Paris, beside himself with grief [see James Tissot’s garden idyll & Kathleen Newton’s death.]

The Embarkation at Calais seems to portray an English woman, connected with his images of Kathleen Newton travelling [see Victorians on the Move, by James Tissot].

In fact, if you look closely just behind the woman’s head, you’ll see a ghostly figure of a woman wearing Mrs. Newton’s distinctive triple-caped greatcoat and high black bonnet. The face is not Kathleen’s though; it’s as if Tissot has put her unforgettable garb on some anonymous stand-in.

Ghost of Kathleen Newton

Arthur_d'Echérac_(Bracquemond_1883)

Portrait of Arthur d’Echerac (1883, etching), by Félix Barcquemond.

The Embarkation at Calais was exhibited at Galerie Sedelmeyer, Paris, in 1885. In 1903, about twenty years after Tissot painted it, it was donated to The Royal Museum of Fine Arts, Antwerp by Belgian art collector, art dealer, and critic Paul Leroi (Léon Gauchez 1825-1907).

It is interesting that Leroi, who from 1875 to the year of his death co-published the illustrated weekly magazine, L’art, owned this picture; in 1885, L’art printed an unflattering review of Tissot’s La Femme à Paris series by G. Dargenty [pseudonym of the sculptor, public administrator and art critic Arthur Auguste d’Echérac (1832-1919)] that referred to the central figures as “graceful puppets put into movement on the stage where they are used to performing, who call for neither commentary nor notes, inspire neither admiration nor repugnance nor desires, and are content to be interesting and pleasant to see.”

The Royal Museum of Fine Arts, Antwerp has been closed for renovation since late 2011. Tissot’s painting, displayed in Antwerp, the Netherlands, and Honfleur, France over the past decade and a half, was last exhibited in public in “James Tissot: 1836-1902” (September 26, 2015 – February 21, 2016), held at the Palazzo Montoro in Rome, Italy. Now in storage in the museum’s facility in Kallo, about twenty minutes outside Antwerp in the harbor, it was made available for me to view by the accommodating staff.

IMG_1586, edited

My embarkation at Antwerp, in the splendid Central Station (c. 1905)

IMG_1563                             IMG_2567 (2)

At first glance, it is an odd picture for Tissot – cheerless, using the thick, dry pigment that characterized his La Femme à Paris series but in a dark palette of browns, greys and blues with touches of burnt sienna for contrast. It’s as if Tissot has lost his direction, attempting to soldier on in the vein of the unsuccessful La Femme à Paris but without the passion that animated that project.

He had left his shining, enameled Academic style behind when he emigrated to England in mid-1871, but in this painting, there is none of the palpable self-confidence, exuberant brushwork, or wit, that characterized his best work throughout the 1870s, and in his remaining years with Kathleen Newton. Yet in its myriad vignettes, Tissot still shows his fascination with individual faces and human emotion. Even dejected and directionless, he can’t create a composition that doesn’t brim with life. This is the quality that Vincent van Gogh described in a letter to his brother, Theo, on September 24, 1880:

“A discerning critic once rightly said of James Tissot, ‘He is a troubled soul.’  However this may be, there is something of the human soul in his work and that is why he is great, immense, infinite…”

The museum staff kindly shared a high-resolution image for this article, so let’s get a good look at some of Tissot’s details.

Calais porter, top left

In his expression, his shoulders and his hands, we can see how the porter strains under his heavy load.

Soldier in background

The crowd on the pier is so detailed, it seems copied from a photograph.

Background couple

A rather smug-looking couple glances curiously at the central figure – or at us?

Crowd in background, top right

A young mother protectively hurries her two little daughters through the throng.

Dock worker, far right

A dock worker squats, his strong hands anticipating the next task.

Dock workers, bottom right corner

The captain automatically offers his hand, though the lady is managing well on her own, while the laborers to his right go about their business.

Calling worker's hands

We can tell how loudly this worker must shout to be heard.

Rope puller, lower left corner

Another dock worker quietly concentrates on the job at hand.

Lady's feet

We see no heels on the lady’s narrow leather boots, and so she appears to float.

Lady's plaid skirt, blanket detail

Tissot again demonstrates his love of painting plaid.

The Lady's gloves

The lady’s movement is suggested by the wrinkles in her gloves and the drape of her skirt.

Lady's head

A beautiful face, a self-possessed demeanor.

The lady, full length

There is something ethereal about this veiled woman, so weightless on those tiny feet, and strangely detached from the humanity surrounding her. Is she alone, or is the mysterious, headless man behind her actually with her? Overall, this is an unexpectedly haunting and somewhat sad painting of what it feels like to be lonely in a crowd of strangers: everyone is busy with their own tasks and emotional life, and not one of these people is engaged with any of the others. There is a strong sense in The Embarkation at Calais that, rather than portraying the life around him, James Tissot was inadvertently portraying his own psychological state at this time, between Kathleen Newton’s death and his imminent, abrupt reincarnation as a Bible illustrator. The Embarkation at Calais is significant in that this was Tissot’s last painting of “modern life.”

With special thanks to the following staff

at Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten Antwerpen:

Fleur Van Paassen, Registrar

Johan Willems, Depot Manager

Madeleine ter Kuile, Imaging Manager

© 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. 

Related posts:

James Tissot’s “A Civic Procession” (c. 1879)

Tissot in the U.S.: The Speed Museum, Kentucky

A Closer Look at Tissot’s “The Ball on Shipboard”

A Closer Look: The Circus Lover (The Amateur Circus), by James Tissot

A Closer Look at Tissot’s “Hush! (The Concert)”

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.

 

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

To cite this article: Paquette, Lucy. “Portrait of the Pilgrim: James Tissot’s Reinvention (1885-1895).” The Hammock. https://thehammocknovel.wordpress.com/2019/02/14/portrait-of-the-pilgrim-james-tissots-reinvention-1885-1895/. <Date viewed.>

 

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.”

William_Eglinton

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.

the-apparition-mezzotine-second-state

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.

the-ruins-inner-voices-1885.jpg!Large

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)

Château_de_Buillon,_vu_de_la_route_d'accès

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.

Portrait_of_the_Pilgrim_(Portrait_du_pèlerin)_-_James_Tissot

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.”

717px-Brooklyn_Museum_-_The_Birth_of_Our_Lord_Jesus_Christ_(La_nativité_de_Notre-Seigneur_Jésus-Christ)_-_James_Tissot_-_overall

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

Brooklyn_Museum_-_Jesus_Teaches_the_People_by_the_Sea_(Jésus_enseigne_le_peuple_près_de_la_mer)_-_James_Tissot_-_overall

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)

Brooklyn_Museum_-_The_Nail_for_the_Feet_(Le_clou_des_pieds)_-_James_Tissot

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

Brooklyn_Museum_-_Jesus_Ministered_to_by_Angels_(Jésus_assisté_par_les_anges)_-_James_Tissot_-_overall

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

Edmond_de_Goncourt_by_Felix_Bracquemond

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.]

220px-Arrangement_in_black_and_gold

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.

Élisabeth_de_Caraman-Chimay_(1860-1952)_A

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.

james_tissot_-_photo_005-old-man-in-chair

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.

the-princesse-de-broglie

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.

Montesquiou,_Robert_de_-_Boldini

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.

James Tissot’s Brushwork

To cite this article: Paquette, Lucy. “James Tissot’s Brushwork.” The Hammock. https://thehammocknovel.wordpress.com/2018/11/15/james-tissots-brushwork/. <Date viewed.>

 

2-james_tissot_self_portrait_1865-the-legion-of-honor-fine-arts-museums-of-san-francisco-ca-public-domain-imageJames 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.

de fontenay, by Tissot

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.

James_Tissot_-_Captain_Frederick_Gustavus_Burnaby

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.

Autumn on the Thames, the-ath

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.

Hush - The Concert (2)

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)

James_Tissot_-_Holyday (2)

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.

James_Tissot_-_Holyday (1)

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.”

James_Tissot_-_The_Ball

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)

A_Winter_s_Walk_(Promenade_dans_la_neige)_by_James-Jacques-Joseph_Tissot (2)

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.

A_Winter_s_Walk_(Promenade_dans_la_neige)_by_James-Jacques-Joseph_Tissot

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

To cite this article: Paquette, Lucy. “James Tissot’s Modern Paintings in Victorian England.” The Hammock. https://thehammocknovel.wordpress.com/2018/07/15/james-tissots-modern-paintings-in-victorian-england/. <Date viewed.>

 

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

To cite this article: Paquette, Lucy. “James Tissot’s Model and Muse, Kathleen Newton.” The Hammock. https://thehammocknovel.wordpress.com/2017/07/13/james-tissots-model-and-muse-kathleen-newton/. <Date viewed.>

 

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.

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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

To cite this article: Paquette, Lucy. “James Tissot’s Models à la Mode.” The Hammock. https://thehammocknovel.wordpress.com/2017/06/15/james-tissots-models-a-la-mode/. <Date viewed.>

 

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

To cite this article: Paquette, Lucy. “James Tissot in Mourning.” The Hammock. https://thehammocknovel.wordpress.com/2017/01/20/james-tissot-in-mourning/. <Date viewed.>

 

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

To cite this article: Paquette, Lucy. Happy Hour with James Tissot. The Hammock. https://thehammocknovel.wordpress.com/2016/04/01/happy-hour-with-james-tissot/. <Date viewed.>

 

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!

 

James Tissot, La_Partie_carrée (1)

La partie carrée (The Foursome, 1870), by James Tissot. Oil on canvas, 120 by 145.8 by 2 cm. National Gallery of Canada Ottawa.

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

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

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.

James_Tissot,_Octobre, wiki

October (1877), by James Tissot. 85 by 42.8 in. (216 by 108.7 cm). Musée des Beaux-Arts de Montréal.

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.

James Tissot, 1878 c, In_an_English_Garden

In an English Garden, by James Tissot. Private Collection. (Photo: Wiki)

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.

a-little-nimrod

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: Wikipaintings.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?

James Tissot, 1874 c., Sur la Tamise, Return from Henley

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.

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. 

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/B009P5RYVE.