Past_and_Present_Number_One

2 August 2016

Past_and_Present_Number_One

In 1858 Augustus Egg, famously, painted a triptych depicting the discovery and disastrous consequences of a wife’s adultery on a middle-class Victorian family. It was very much influenced by Holman Hunt’s 1853 The Awakening Conscience (here) and was originally called by the names of the three paintings – Misfortune, Prayer and Despair – but after Egg’s death given the title Past and Present 1, 2 and 3. It’s a pity one of the great Victorian novelists did not write a novel based on the three paintings (2 and 3 will be on the Post tomorrow and Thursday) but perhaps they realised there would be no ‘plot’, since the outcome was already known, and certainly no happy ending. The short story that this painting brings to mind is the extraordinary and unforgettable ‘Wednesday’ by Dorothy Whipple (in The Closed Door and Other Stories).

 

2 December 2015

Hop Pickers at Dawn 1956

This is Hop Pickers at Dawn 1956. Jane Bown was then 31 and by then a superb and unique photographer. As Lord Snowdon said: she was ‘a kind of English Cartier-Bresson’ who produced ‘photography at its best. She doesn’t rely on tricks or gimmicks, just simple, honest recording, but with a shrewd and intellectual eye.’

(c) IWM (Imperial War Museums); Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

22 June 2015

(c) IWM (Imperial War Museums); Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

On the post this week: paintings and illustrations by the artist Grace Lydia Golden (1904-1993). She was born in East London and in the 1920s won scholarships to study at both Chelsea School of Art and the Royal College. Her sketching permit from the War Artists’ Advisory Committee allowed her to paint in public during WWII. An Emergency Food Office (1941) shows people queueing up to collect their ration books in what looks to be an old theatre.

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