Tag Archives: Louise Jopling

James Tissot’s Models à la Mode

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

James_Tissot_-_The_Last_Evening, wiki

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

Boarding_the_Yacht, wiki

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

The_Captain_and_the_Mate, wiki

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

The_Captain's_Daughter, wiki

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

912px-James_Tissot_-_A_Passing_Storm, cropped

A Passing Storm (detail)

Incidentally, Tissot scholar Michael Wentworth (1938 – 2002), in his comprehensive 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.


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).


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


©  2017 by Lucy Paquette.  All rights reserved.

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.

Artistic intimates: Tissot’s patrons among his friends & colleagues

The wealth of contemporary collectors of James Tissot’s oil paintings gives an idea of the monetary value of his paintings, but Tissot’s work also was esteemed by his friends.

In 1869, Tissot began contributing political cartoons to the newest Society journal in London, Vanity Fair, founded by Thomas Gibson Bowles (1841 – 1922).  Tommy Bowles was the illegitimate son of Thomas Milner Gibson (1806 – 1884), a Liberal MP for Manchester and President of the Board of Trade from 1859 to 1866, and a servant, Susannah Bowles.  Tommy’s father (and even his father’s wife and children) acknowledged him.  Tissot, at 33, was famous in Paris.  Tommy, a handsome and mischievous blue-eyed blonde, was five or six years younger and making a name for himself, even in France, with his controversial articles in London’s Morning Post.

By September 1869, Tommy Bowles was paying Tissot to provide caricatures of prominent men for Vanity Fair.  Tommy, who gave himself a salary of five guineas a week, initially paid Tissot ten guineas for four drawings.  Within a few weeks he increased Tissot’s compensation to eight pounds for each drawing:  circulation had skyrocketed.

One of Tommy Bowles’ closest friends was the dashing Gus Burnaby (Frederick Gustavus Burnaby, 1842 – 1885), a captain in the privileged Royal Horse Guards, the cavalry regiment that protected the monarch.  Gus, a member of the Prince of Wales’ set, had suggested the name, Vanity Fair, lent Bowles half of the necessary £200 in start-up funding, and then volunteered to
go to Spain to chronicle his adventures for the satirical magazine.

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

In 1870, Tommy Bowles, now 29, commissioned James Tissot to paint a small portrait of Burnaby.  Tissot presented Gus in his “undress” uniform as a captain in the 3rd Household Cavalry – and as an elegant gentleman in a relaxed male conversation.  The painting was purchased by London’s National Portrait Gallery from Bowles’ son (and Burnaby’s godson), George, in 1933.

Sydney Milner-Gibson (1872), by James Tissot. (Photo: wikimedia.org)

From the time he was a little boy, Tommy Bowles’ stepmother, Arethusa Susannah, a Society hostess who was the daughter of Sir Thomas Gery Cullum of Hardwick House, Suffolk, insisted that he be raised with his natural father’s family of four sons and two daughters.  Tommy’s favorite half-sister was Sydney Milner-Gibson, eight years younger, and in 1872, when Sydney was in her early twenties, he commissioned James Tissot to paint her portrait.

In 1880, the unmarried Sydney died of enteric fever* – typhoid – at Hawstead, in Suffolk outside Bury St. Edmunds, two days before her thirty-first birthday.  Her younger brother, George Gery Milner Gibson, died unmarried in 1921 and bequeathed most of the family portraits to the Borough of St. Edmundsbury.  Tissot’s portrait of Miss Sydney Milner-Gibson, valued at £1.8 million, is on display at Moyse’s Hall Museum as part of a display in the Edwardson Room first floor gallery in an exhibit on Victorian costume.

Note:*  Previously, scholars reported that Sydney Milner-Gibson died of tuberculosis.  However, a copy of Sydney’s death certificate was sent to me by reader Adam Mead of Bristol, U.K.  Adam blogs on the Milner-Gibson family at https://milnergibson.wordpress.com/2013/08/03/the-milner-gibsons/.  Thank you, Adam!

Portrait de M…B (Portrait of Mrs. B, Mrs. Thomas Gibson Bowles, 1876). (Photo: wikipaintings.org)

In late 1875, Tommy Bowles married Jessica Evans Gordon (1852 – 1887).  Her father, Major-General Charles Evans Gordon, was Governor of the Royal Victoria Military Hospital Netley, the largest military hospital in its day with 138 wards housing about one  thousand beds.  In the year following their marriage, Tissot made an informal portrait of her wearing her morning cap.  After Jessica’s death at 35, Tommy wrote, “So bright and joyous, so gentle and gracious a spirit as hers…She was as near perfect wife and mother as may be.”

Chichester Parkinson-Fortescue, 1st Baron Carlingford (1823-1898), by James Tissot (1871). Oil on canvas, 74 ½ x 47 ½ in. (189.2 x 120.7 cm.). University of Oxford. (Photo credit: Wikimedia.org)

Frances, Countess Waldegrave (1821 – 1879) was an influential Liberal Society hostess whose fourth and final husband was Chichester Fortescue (1823 –1898), an Irish MP, who became Lord Carlingford. Tissot may have met her through John Everett Millais, who frequented her salons.  She shared Tissot’s interest in spiritualism and painting, and at some point, Tissot painted her portrait in her boudoir.  The portrait, whereabouts unknown, was not considered a good likeness.

In 1871 – shortly after Tissot had fled Paris – the charming and “irresistible” Countess Waldegrave pulled strings to get Tissot a lucrative commission to paint a full-length portrait of Fortescue, which was funded by a group of eighty-one Irishmen including forty-nine MPs, five Roman Catholic bishops and twenty-seven peers to commemorate his term as Chief Secretary for Ireland under Gladstone – as a present to his wife.  The portrait was given to the University of Oxford by sitter’s nephew, Francis Fortescue Urquhart (1868-1934), Fellow of Balliol College, about 1904.  It was re-hung in the North School in 1957.

Tea (1872), by James Tissot. Oil on wood, 26 x 18 7/8 in. (66 x 47.9 cm.). Metropolitan Museum of Art (Photo: wikipaintings.org)

Tissot’s great friend, Edgar Degas owned a pencil study for his 1872 painting, TeaOne of Tissot’s eighteenth-century costume paintings, it was calculated to appeal to British collectors once he had moved to London in mid-1871, following the Franco-Prussian War and its bloody aftermath, the Paris Commune.

Louise Jopling (Photo: Wikimedia.org)

British painter Louise Jopling (1843 – 1933) had lived in Paris from 1865 to 1869, when her ne’er-do-well husband, Frank Romer, was sent packing by his employer, Baron de Rothschild.  Louise had been painting with the encouragement of the Baroness, a watercolor artist, and once living
in London, Louise continued painting despite numerous hardships.  Her work was exhibited at the Royal Academy exhibitions after 1870, and she met “that extraordinarily clever French artist, James Tissot,” when his
picture, Too Early, made a great sensation” at the 1873 exhibition.  Tissot gave her a sketch of Gravesend he made that year.  In her 1925 autobiography, Louise wrote of him, “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.  At one time he was very hospitable, and delightful were the dinners he gave.  But these ceased when he became absorbed in a grande passion with a married woman who, to his great grief, died after he had known her but a brief time.”

Portrait of Algernon Moses Marsden (1877), by James Tissot. 19 in./48.26 cm. by by 29 in. /73.66 cm. (Photo: wikipaintings.org)

Algernon Moses Marsden (1847 – 1920) was a more colorful character than James Tissot’s urbane portrait of him suggests.  [To learn more about him, see Who was Algernon Moses Marsden?]  He may have been Tissot’s picture dealer for a short time, though there is no information on any of Tissot’s paintings that Marsden may have sold.  But Tissot’s In the Conservatory (Rivals), c. 1875, a masterpiece that was deaccessioned by the Metropolitan Museum of Art at Christie’s, New York in October, 2013 [see For sale: In the Conservatory (Rivals), c. 1875, by James Tissot], is listed in the auction catalogue as having originally been “(probably) with Algernon Moses Marsden, London.”  The catalogue suggests that Marsden modeled for one of the figures in this painting:  “The dark-haired young man with moustache in the teatime scene looks very similar to Marsden, whose portrait Tissot painted in 1877.”  Marsden poses in the elegant new studio of Tissot’s home in St. John’s Wood [the setting often is erroneously identified as Marsden’s study].  This portrait, just a bit larger than Tissot’s 1870 portrait of Gus Burnaby, remained in the Marsden family for nearly a century.  Algernon Marsden at age 30 appears sophisticated and well-to-do, but he was a high-living scoundrel.  Tissot’s portrait, which captures the man in his moment of youth and apparent success, was sold by Sotheby’s, London in 1971 for $4,838/£2,000.  In 1983, it was sold by Christie’s, London for $65,677/£45,000.  [Hammer prices.]

Algernon Moses Marsden’s aunt – Julia White, was married to Edward Fox White, of 13 Belsize Park Gardens, Hampstead, who was a “dealer in works of art.”  Tissot’s portrait of him [measuring 29 by 21 in. (73.66 by 53.34 cm.); click here and scroll down to see it, http://tonyseymour.com/pages/gomes-silva] was passed down through the family until 1988, when it was sold at Sotheby’s for £50,000/$ 92,205 (Hammer price).

Tissot gave A Civic Procession Descending Ludgate Hill, London (c. 1879, oil on canvas, 84.5 x 43 in./214.6 x 109.2 cm.), previously called The Lord Mayor’s Show, to Léonce Bénédite, the Curator of the Musée du Luxembourg, Paris.  The painting was purchased by the Corporaton of London through S.C. L’Expertise, Paris, from the curator’s granddaughter, Mme. Léonce Bénédite, in 1972 and is now in the collection of the Guildhall Art Gallery.  It is not currently on view, but see James Tissot’s “A Civic Procession” (c. 1879).

Study for “Le Sphinx” (Woman in an Interior, c. 1885), by James Tissot. Oil on panel, 43 3/4 by 27 in. (111.1 by 68.6 cm). Private Collection. Image courtesy http://www.jamestissot.org

Around 1885, Tissot gave Study for ‘Le Sphinx’ (Woman in an Interior) to Léonce Bénédite.

This image from TIssot’s La Femme à Paris series, which remained with the Bénédite family until it was sold around 1972, actually was a portrait of Louise Riesener (1860 – 1944).  The same year, Tissot planned to marry Mlle. Riesener, the granddaughter of portrait painter Henri Riesener (1767 – 1828), a daughter of the painter Léon Riesener (1808-1878), and a cousin of painter Eugène Delacroix (1798 – 1863).  Along with her sister Rosalie, she belonged to the same artistic social set as Berthe Morisot, for whom they modeled.

Unfortunately, one day when the forty-nine-year-old Tissot removed his overcoat in the front hall, his appearance struck his twenty-five-year-old fiancée as old-fashioned.  Louise suddenly decided that she had lost her desire to marry.

In 2005, Study for ‘Le Sphinx’ sold at Sotheby’s, New York for $ 650,000 USD/£ 364,023 GBP (Hammer price).

July (Speciman of a Portrait, c. 1878), by James Tissot. Cleveland Museum of Art, Ohio. Image courtesy of www.jamestissot.org

July (Speciman of a Portrait, 1878), by James Tissot. Cleveland Museum of Art, Ohio. Image courtesy of http://www.jamestissot.org

Tissot exhibited July (Speciman of a Portrait), 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.  The painting is one in a series representing months of the year, and the figure is modeled by Tissot’s mistress and muse, Kathleen Newton (1854 – 1882).  The setting for July was the Royal Albion Hotel near the shore of Viking Bay in Ramsgate, a seaside resort on the Kent coast, seventy-eight miles southeast of London.  At some point, another artist painted a frizzy red hairstyle (probably considered more up-to-date) on Kathleen Newton; In 1980, this original version was donated to the Cleveland Museum of Art, Ohio at the bequest of Noah L. Butkin.

Tissot had painted a copy, showing Kathleen Newton wearing a tight blonde bun.  Tissot gave this version of the painting 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 the five-day sale of his collection at the Hôtel Drouot in Paris in 1905.  In 2002, this version of Seaside (also known as July, La Réverie, or Ramsgate Harbour), signed and inscribed: “J.J. Tissot a l’am(i) E. Simon en bon Souvenir” (on the horizontal bar of the window frame), was sold by Christie’s, London for $ 2,161,740 USD/£ 1,400,000 GBP (Hammer price).

Portrait of Mlle. L.L. (Young Lady in a Red Jacket) (February 1864), by James Tissot. Oil on canvas, 48 13/16 x 39 3/8 in. (124 x 99.5 cm.) Museé d’Orsay, Paris. (Photo: wikipaintings)

Other art experts whose collections included a Tissot oil painting include the wife of Paris Temps art critic M. Thiébault-Sisson.  Mme. Thiébault-Sisson sold Tissot’s lovely Portrait of Mademoiselle L. L. (1864) at a Paris auction in 1907.  The picture is now on display at the Musée d’Orsay, Paris.

L’Ambitieuse (The Political Woman, 1883-1885), by James Tissot. Oil on canvas, 73 1/2 x 56 x 5 in. (186.69 x 142.24 x 12.7 cm.). Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York. Photo: Wikimedia.org

Tissot’s L’Ambitieuse (1883-1885), or The Political Woman, was owned by the American Impressionist painter William Merritt Chase (1849 –1916).  In 1909, Chase donated the painting to the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, New York.  It is not on view.

©  2014 by Lucy Paquette.  All rights reserved.

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.

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.


Welcome to the Royal Academy Exhibition: London, 1870 (Part I)

CH377762NOTE:  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.

Charles Dickens delivered the speech at the dinner in honor of the 102nd Royal Academy Exhibition in 1870, held for the first time in its new galleries in Burlington House, Piccadilly.  Painter George Dunlop Leslie said it was by far the most eloquent and impressive speech he had ever heard at an Academy banquet:  “It was the last public speech that he delivered, and possibly the finest.”  It was followed by toasts to “The Sovereign,” “The Army and Navy,” and the health of Her Majesty’s Ministers, the officials’ required responses despite their knowledge of art or the patience of their audience, and finally the band of the Royal Artillery in the lecture-room.

Among the paintings crammed from floor to ceiling throughout the galleries were five pictures by the venerable Sir Edwin Landseer, R.A. (1802 – 1873), who had sculpted the lions in Trafalgar Square even as he was slipping into insanityOne of his paintings, Queen and Prince Albert in the Highlands, already had been shown – unfinished – in 1854 by Royal Command, and Landseer had been repainting it over the past sixteen years, with disastrous results.

George Frederic Watts, R.A. (1817 – 1904) exhibited Daphne, standing naked in the laurels, along with Fata Morgana and a portrait of painter Edward BurneJones (1833 –1898).

English: George Frederick Watts - Fata Morgana

Fata Morgana, by George Frederick Watts (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Edward Burne-Jones, by George Frederic Watts. Courtesy http://www.georgefredericwatts.org

John Callcott Horsley, R.A. (1817 –1903) – who had designed the first Christmas card in 1843 – showed The Banker’s Private Room – Negotiating a Loan.  The Saturday Review wrote, “This quiet unobtrusive study of texture, light, shade and color can scarcely be praised too highly.”

The Banker's Private Room, by  John Callcott Horsley, R.A. (1817 –1903)

The Banker’s Private Room, by John Callcott Horsley, R.A. (1817 –1903) Courtesy wikigallery.org

Frederick Leighton, R.A. (1830 – 1896) had only a small picture, A Nile Woman, because an illness had prevented him from completing his large painting called Hercules Struggling with Death for the Resuscitation of Alcestes.   

A Nile Woman, Frederick Leighton

The self-effacing Arthur Hughes (1832 – 1915), a well-liked man whose paintings – if not rejected – were never advantageously hung at the Royal Academy, had Sir Galahad and Endymion.

English: Sir Galahad

Sir Galahad by Arthur Hughes (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Age of Gallantry, by George Henry Boughton (1833 – 1905), was described as “a bit of last-century life treated with elegant humor and set in a pleasing effect of silvery haze.”  Edward Poynter, A.R.A. (1836 – 1919) showed Andromeda and St. George and the Dragon, his drawing for the design of the glass mosaic in the Central Hall at Westminster.

Christie's, 24 June 1983, Lot 101

Andromeda, by Edward Poynter [Christie’s, 24 June 1983, Lot 101] (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

John Evan Hodgson (1831 – 1895) painted Algerian subjects, The Basha’s Black Guards and Arab Prisoners.

Arab Prisoners, by John Evan Hodgson (1831 – 1895)

Arab Prisoners, by John Evan Hodgson (1831 – 1895)  Courtesy wikigallery.org

Philip Hermogenes Calderon, R.A. (1833 – 1898) exhibited Virgin’s BowerOrphans, and Spring Driving Away Winter (the figure of Spring, according to one matter-of-fact reviewer, is an “exuberant, flushed damsel” – a “blooming virgin” – who “pelts” an old woman, representing Winter, with fresh lilacs).

The Virgin’s Bower, Philip Hermogenes Calderon

Orphans, by Philip Hermogenes Calderon.  Wikipedia

George Adolphus Storey (1834 – 1919) exhibited Only a Rabbit (a picture of hunters returning home with little to show) and A DuetWilliam Yeames, A.R.A. (1835 – 1918), a gentleman painter who enjoyed playing tennis and spent holidays south-east of London at Hever Castle, had Maunday ThursdayVisit to the Haunted Chamber and Love’s Young DreamGeorge Dunlop Leslie, A.R.A. (1835 – 1921), a favorite of John Ruskin, exhibited Fortunes, in which a group of damsels try to divine their nuptial fortunes by throwing flowers in the water and watching as the flowers sink, stay or float away (meaning the marital fate is as yet unknown).  According to one newspaper critic, this painting features “a gold brunette, with amorous eyes” gazing over the shoulder of another girl, who has a puppy on her lap and who evidently does not desire to know her connubial future.  “It is Mr. Leslie’s best picture,” proclaimed this writer.

Among the younger artists represented at the Royal Academy in 1870 were Val Prinsep (1838 – 1904), who had The Death of CleopatraThe Dish of Tea and Reading ‘Sir Charles Grandison.’

The Death of Cleopatra, by Val Prinsep

The Dish of Tea, by Val Prinsep

Simeon Solomon (1840 – 1905) exhibited A Youth Relating Tales to Ladies, which the reviewer for the Art Journal found “alarmingly lackadaisical,” sniping that “these ‘tales’ could not have sparkled with wit.”  

A Youth Relating Tales to Ladies, by Simeon Solomon. (Photo: Wikimedia.org)

Frederick Trevelyan Goodall (1848 – 1871), the son of Frederick Goodall (1822-1904), showed The Return of Ulysses, and Albert Moore (1841 – 1893) exhibited A Garden.

Albert Moore - A Garden - Google Art Project

A Garden, by Albert Moore [Google Art Project] (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Some foreigners and numerous women [who were not allowed to attend the annual Royal Academy dinner] provided a bit of diversity in the exhibition.  Mrs. E. M. Ward (Henrietta Mary Ada Ward, 1832 – 1924), “at her best” according to one critic, exhibited The First Interview with the Divorced Empress Josephine with the King of Rome [while her husband, Edward Matthew Ward, R.A. (1816 – 1879) showed The Trial of Baxter, of ‘The Saint’s Everlasting Rest’ by Judge Jeffreys]Miss Maria Spartali (1844 – 1927), a student of Ford Madox Brown (1821 – 1893), exhibited, along with his daughters:  Miss Catherine Madox Brown (1850 – 1927) with Thinking and Miss Lucy Madox Brown (1843-1894; she would marry English writer and critic William Michael Rossetti in 1874) with A DuetMiss Louise Romer (1843 – 1933), a determined 27-year-old painter just back from four years in Paris with her ne’er-do-well husband, Frank, submitted a three-quarters portrait of herself carrying a pot of azaleas that she called Bud and Bloom, which was rejected by the Hanging Committee.  Her painting Consolation also was rejected, but she persevered; Frank had served as secretary to Baron Nathaniel de Rothschild, and he had been sacked for gambling.  It was the Baroness de Rothschild who had encouraged Louise to pursue a career in art.

A Duet (1870), by Lucy Madox Brown. (Photo: Wikimedia.org)

Although many established British artists were of foreign ancestry or birth, “foreigners” in this Royal Academy exhibition included a number of French painters, such as Jean-Léon Gérôme (1824 – 1904), who displayed Jerusalem – and his lurid scene of Parisian violence in a controversial execution by firing squad after Napolean’s defeat, The Death of Marshal Ley (also known as December 7, 1815, 9 O’Clock in the Morning).  This picture must have seemed a jarring contrast on a wall filled with English damsels, British legends, genteel humor and sentimental slices of life, serene landscapes, allegories, and noble Classical history and mythology.

Alphonse Legros (1837 – 1911), a Frenchman who moved to England in 1863 and married Miss Frances Rosetta Hodgson (whom Dante Gabriel Rossetti described as a “nice little woman”), had three paintings; Scène de Barricade, Prêtres au Lutrin/ Two Priests at the Organ (now at the Tate Britain as Rehearsing the Serviceand another of an old priest praying, Viellard au Prière.  Though a foreigner, Legros was assimilating into the British Establishment as a respected teacher of etching at the South Kensington School of Art.

Nevertheless, the British maintained a skeptical view of the French.  The March 5, 1870 issue of the British weekly journal, The Architect, carried an article, “Forthcoming Pictures at the Royal Academy,” which offered this:  “Mr. Legros has this year chosen for the incident of his principal picture A Barricade, a subject which is dissimilar to those usually selected for illustration by this artist, but with which his nationality has doubtless made him familiar.”

Stay tuned for The Royal Academy Exhibition:  London, 1870 (Part II) – featuring James Whistler, Lawrence Alma-Tadema.  Part III will feature J.E. Millais

© 2013 Lucy Paquette.  All rights reserved.


Exhibition note:

Pre-Raphaelites: Victorian Art and Design, 1848-1900
February 17–May 19, 2013 at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

The first major survey of the art of the Pre-Raphaelites to be shown in the United States features some 130 paintings, sculptures, works on paper, and decorative art objects.

For more information, visit http://www.nga.gov/exhibitions/preraphaelites.shtm

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.

Watch my new videos:

The Strange Career of James Tissot” (2:33 minutes)


Louise Jopling and James Tissot” (2:42 minutes)


The Hammock is now available for Kindle e-readers!

James Jacques Joseph Tissot was born today, October 15, in 1836.  He lived an improbable life in a time of political, social and artistic upheaval, and his story has not been told — until now.

CH377762The Hammock:  A novel based on the true story of French painter James Tissot, is now available for Kindle e-readers* ($5.99, Electronic ISBN:  978-0-615-68267-9).  I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it!  Read reviews.

The novel opens during the Battle of Malmaison, on October 21, 1870.  Join me each week as I catch you up on Tissot’s life, friends, and times, year by year, from his youth to his pre-war celebrity.  Thanks to each of you who has joined me to date; as of February 21, 2013, my blog has had visitors from 78 nations including the U.S., Canada, U.K. & Jersey, Ireland, Russian Federation, France, Belgium, Netherlands, Switzerland, Austria, Germany, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Romania, Albania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Latvia, Lithuania, Georgia, Hungary, Ukraine, Armenia, Croatia, Azerbaijan, Iraq, Czech Republic, Serbia, Estonia, Italy, Malta, Greece, Israel, Poland, Spain, Portugal, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Egypt, Namibia, South Africa, Thailand, Mongolia, Nepal, Australia, New Caledonia, Mexico, Chile, Columbia, Argentina, Peru, Costa Rica, Brazil, Venezuela, Uruguay, Bermuda, Malaysia, Indonesia, Bulgaria, Viet Nam, Hong Kong, Japan, Taiwan, Singapore, the Philippines, Republic of Korea, Cambodia, New Zealand, Iceland, Finland, Norway, Sweden and Denmark!

James Tissot’s friends included Jimmy Whistler, Louise Jopling, J.E. and Effie Millais, Lawrence Alma-Tadema, Edgar Degas, Édouard Manet, Berthe Morisot, and many other figures of the dynamic 1870s during the birth of modern art in London and Paris.  Follow my blog for the stories behind the story of this fascinating but little-known figure embroiled in the birth of Impressionism and modern art.

*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.

A Convalescent, c.1876 (oil on canvas) by James Jacques Joseph Tissot (1836-1902). Sheffield Galleries and Museums Trust, UK. Courtesy 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.

© Copyright Lucy Paquette 2012.  All rights reserved.

Coming Fall 2012: The Hammock: A novel based on the true story of French painter James Tissot, by Lucy Paquette

He turned his back on the Paris art world and left France a ruined man.

He painted better than Britain’s best but lived under suspicion.

Will he be ruined a second time?

French painter James Jacques Joseph Tissot (1836 – 1902) hit his artistic stride in Paris from 1864 to 1870, painting stylish modern women and aristocrats in his chic new studio in the leisured years before the Franco-Prussian War.  After fighting bravely with the National Guard to defend Paris, he arrived in London with only a hundred francs to his name and a damaged reputation from some level of involvement with the radical Paris Commune.  But he was a tireless and methodical worker as well as a virtuoso of the Academic painting style that he learned from Hippolyte Flandrin (1809 – 1864), Louis Lamothe (1822 – 1869) and the Neoclassical work of Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres (1780 – 1867), and he quickly rebuilt his life.  In Paris, his wayward friends Edgar Degas and Édouard Manet struggled to sell their work; in London, his American expatriate friend Jimmy Whistler was a laughingstock.  Through Tissot’s shrewd decisions in London, his career skyrocketed for a second time, from 1871 to 1879, and again he become a multi-millionaire.

But popular tastes change, and this decade saw the birth of modern art.  Tissot was not a man ahead of his time – he was a man keeping up with the times.  When the Impressionists redefined art on the Continent and Whistler ushered in the Aesthetic Movement in Britain, Tissot was out of step.  With his essentially conservative work focusing on the psychological tension of the central figures and implied narrative, he quickly fell behind the trend of “art for art’s sake,” becoming a footnote in Art History.

The Hammock:  A novel based on the true story of French painter James Tissot is a psychological portrait, exploring the forces that unwound the career of this complex man.  After he fled Paris in 1871, there was no going back to his pre-war prominence.  If he wanted to survive in the British Establishment’s art market, he had to decide whether to make it on their terms — or live the life he wanted, with the woman he loved.

The Hammock’s cast of characters includes Jimmy Whistler, Louise Jopling, J.E. and Effie Millais, Lawrence Alma-Tadema, Edgar Degas, Édouard Manet, Berthe Morisot, and many other figures of the dynamic 1870s during the birth of modern art in London and Paris.  Follow my blog for the stories behind the story!

© Copyright Lucy Paquette 2012.  All rights reserved.