SIR JOHN GILBERT: Art and Imagination in the Victorian Age


SIR JOHN GILBERT: Art and Imagination in the Victorian Age

SPIKE BUCKLOW & SALLY WOODCOCK    Book Number: 86786    Product format: Hardback

Cardinal Wolsey (measuring 3ft x 5ft) was among Sir John Gilbert's unusually large works in gouache on paper. Vermilion and deep crimson lake shadows are the deliberately imposing colours of the self-important Cardinal and his Attendants contrasting dramatically with the pallor of the pink, brown and grey hues given to the poor petitioners and beggars. The Standard Bearer has all the highly contrasting textures, tones, coolness and warmth, opacity and translucency expected of an oil painting. In reality, all these effects were accomplished with an aqueous medium. Perhaps the most prolific artist of the 19th century, Sir John Gilbert (1817-97) was President of the Royal Watercolour Society, a regular exhibitor at the Royal Academy and illustrator for numerous papers, novels and children's books. A whole section on Fairyland sees his Enchanted Forest, The Witch A Study and the exquisitely beautiful Fair St George (1881) with his horse, armour, lance and a beautiful maiden. There are also wonderful pencil sketches made around Blackheath like Sports and in the Smoking Room of the Garrick Club where women were allowed in 1870. He handwrites on this drawing "MEN to sternly put this sort of thing down." It was sketched 'with feelings of terror, alarm and indignation'. The weariness of the splendidly dressed cavalrymen in his 'The Morning of the Battle Agincourt' (1884), his Marston Moor of 1887 and A Bishop 1889 display his incredible talents. Despite his impressive list of achievements his name has become lost among figures such as Leighton, Watts, Millais and Burne-Jones who dominated the Victorian art world of which he was a part. This welcome reassessment reveals an artist who created powerful images, strong on narrative, romantic, illustrative and escapist. Gilbert in an interesting figure both for what his story can tell us about Victorian taste and the vagaries of the art market, and his unusual practice of working contemporaneously in oils, watercolour and as an illustrator, blurring the bounds between these media. First-class original research with a biographical sketch, the distinctive character he gave to the illustration of news, his relationship with the Old Masters and his extraordinary use of techniques, finally his frames and their context in the Guildhall Art Gallery. A beautifully produced quality artbook with hundreds of colour illus, 264pp, 9" x 11" approx.
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Published price: £45
Bibliophile price: £18.50


Additional product information

ISBN 9781848220799
Browse this category: Art & Architecture

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