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Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones BT ARA (British, 1833-1899)
Le Chant d'Amour
engraved by Robert Walker Macbeth after Edward Coley Burne Jones
published by The Fine Art Society, London, 1896
etching printed on paper
Signed by the artist and the engraver in pencil, stamped with the Printseller's Association stamp
one of 350 artist's proofs, only state
Dimensions: 44.3 x 57.1 cm. (platemark); 62 x 76 cm. (sheet)
Framed in original Victorian black and gilt frame, retaining original glass with the original label to the reverse of Robert Dunthorne.
Condition: laid down to canvas, new conservation mount.
References: Hartnoll, Julian, The Reproductive Engravings after Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones, 1988, no: 9.
A fine example of Macbeth's etching of Burne-Jones's celebrated picture `Le Chant d'Amour', one of 350 artist's proofs signed by the engraver and the artist, which is preserved in the original Victorian frame which retains Dunthorne's gallery label, and is in entirely unrestored condition.Burne-Jones's painting `Le Chant d'Amour' (finished 1877, now held by The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York) was commissioned by William Graham, the artist's principal patron and close friend, in 1868 (although not finished until 1877). The title was taken from the refrain of an old Breton song:
Helas! Je sais un chant d'amour,
Triste ou gai, tour à tour.
Such songs were collected and sung by Georgiana Burne-Jones, and the original design was conceived for the decoration of a piano which the artist and his wife were given as a wedding present in 1860 (now in The Victoria and Albert Museum, London). Described by John Christian as `one of Burne-Jones's most haunting works' (Hartnoll, p.22), `Le Chant d'Amour' was considered by the writer Henry James to be `a brilliant success' (op. cit., p.23) when it was first exhibited at the Grosvenor in 1878; indeed when Graham's collection was sold in 1885, the picture was bid up to 3,105 guineas--the highest price of the sale.In 1882 Burne-Jones decided to publish prints after his paintings, although, unusually among his contemporaries, he enforced the most rigorous control over these; as Christopher Newall states, `Burne-Jones was unique in his exacting and most fastidious interest in the technical and aesthetic aspects of reproductive printmaking, and in the care that he took in selecting the engravers who were entrusted to reproduce his paintings' (Hartnoll, p. 8). As a consequence of this stance, only twelve prints signed by the artist were ever issued, in editions of up to 400 artist's proofs, conforming to the rigid definitions of fine art prints laid down in the Printsellers' Association's Articles of Association (as authorised to by conformity with these articles, this print bears the printer's blindstamp in the lower left-hand margin). After the prints were pulled, the printing plates were destroyed, to prevent further impressions being taken (the one exception was the printing plate for Jasinski's etching of `The Annunciation', which Burne-Jones presented to the South Kensington Museum, on the condition that it would never be printed from). The present etching is the work of the artist and engraver Robert Walker Macbeth; Macbeth was a member of both the Royal Academy and the Royal Watercolour Society, a highly-regarded artist in his own right, and also an accomplished printmaker, whose interpretations of works by other Victorian artists enjoyed a high status critically. This example of Macbeth's print is remarkable for its fresh and original condition, and is preserved within its original frame, which bears the label of Robert Dunthorne's The Rembrandt Head Gallery. Dunthorne had published earlier prints by Burne-Jones--`The Birth of Galatea' (1885) and `Pan and Psyche' (1887)--as well as prints by Whistler and Helleu, and it can be assumed that this is the frame in which the engraving was originally sold. A copy of the etching was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1896.
Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones, Bt, ARA. (British, 1833-1899), Frederick Hollyer (British, 1837-1933)
and Ignacy Jan Paderewski (1860-1941)Platinotype portrait after Edward Burne-Jones' famous drawing of the renowned Polish pianist Ignacy Jan Paderewski, (1860-1941) by Frederick Hollyer on wove paper , inscribed by the legendary pianist, "To Mr H. M. Henderson with every good wish and sincere thanks J J Paderewski, 24.6. 1925" in ink across the lower half of the sheet. c.1925.
26 x 31.5 cm. (Image)
£1,500 (in contemporary Oak frame with contemporary newspaper cuttings pasted to the reverse relating to Paderewski and Henderson, very light time staining.)
This fine associational piece is a platinotype after an original drawing by Burne-Jones. It is inscribed by the legendary pianist, Paderewski to Archibald Henderson who was the organist at Glasgow University from 1905 until he retired in 1954. Paderewski recalled the execution of this portrait in his memoirs:
'I was driving gaily along in a hansom cab one day on my way to St John's Wood, when suddenly I saw a gentleman approaching. He was walking slowly along and even at that distance he radiated an unusual kind of power and nobility. He had the expression of an apostle, I thought. Instinctively I raised my hat from the depths of my hansom cab and saluted his dignity. I did not know then that it was Burne-Jones, the great portrait painter. A few days later I was taken by a friend to his studio when he made four or five [silver-point] sketches of me, one of which acquired a very wide popularity. It was done in two hours - it was marvellous. I remember that he drew very rapidly, even violently. It became one of his most famous drawings and was known everywhere. The original is here in my house - he was gracious enough to give it to me. A princely gift.' Ignace Jan Paderewski & Mary Lawton, The Paderewski Memoirs, London 1939. Paderewski was the personification of the pre-Raphaelite image of beauty. The celebrated painter, Sir Edward Burne-Jones was apparently struck by an "apparition" when he first encountered him, calling him 'An Archangel with a splendid halo of golden hair.' Indeed, his magnetic presence and beauty were never so well captured as in Burne-Jones' spiritual portrait of the pianist.
Frederick Hollyer was a print-maker and engraver who collaborated with members of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood in trying to develop large-scale photographic prints as a better artistic alternative to engravings. Hollyer was so successful in developing the technique and able to achieve such fine control of the whole process that some of his platinotypes are almost indistinguishable from drawings. A platinotype is a type of photograph made by a process derived from that invented by William Willis in 1873, but perfected to the degree of facsimile by Frederick Hollyer when photographing drawings. The paper was impregnated (not coated as is the usual case) with light sensitive compounds of iron. After exposure through a negative, a fine layer of platinum was deposited on the exposed areas by means of a chemical reaction. The temperature when the reaction took place determined the colour of the image.
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