Arthur Hacker, ‘The Annunciation’ 1892
Arthur Hacker, The Annunciation 1892 . Tate

Room 8 in Walk Through British Art

1890

13 rooms in Walk Through British Art

The Black Brook

John Singer Sargent, The Black Brook  c.1908

The subject of this work is the artist’s niece, Rose-Marie Ormond, who was 15 when he painted her. She is shown by a stream in Aosta, northern Italy. Sargent captures the movement of light and shadow on the stream, yellow flowers and the fabric of Ormond’s dress with thick, loosely handled paint. Ormond was Sargent’s travel companion and one of his favourite subjects. She features in a number of his Alpine pictures, which he painted in an impressionistic style, either in oil or watercolour.

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artworks in 1890

The Girl at the Gate

Sir George Clausen, The Girl at the Gate  1889

Clausen painted this picture at the village of Cookham Dean in Berkshire, where he lived. Mary Baldwin modelled for the woman at the gate. She was from the village and worked as the Clausen family’s nanny. Clausen was one of the ‘rural naturalists’, a young generation of predominantly French-trained painters who painted realistic scenes of everyday country life, in the late 19th century. Like others in this group Clausen was greatly influenced by the French painter Jules Bastien-Lepage, who painted in a similar style.

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August Blue

Henry Scott Tuke, August Blue  1893–4

This is one of many pictures Tuke painted of boys bathing around Falmouth Harbour, a common scene at the time. Tuke worked from life and photographs but he idealised the scene. Its poetic title (from Algernon Swinburne’s poem ‘The Sundew’ 1866) reflects the colour that suffuses the composition. Tuke grew up in Cornwall and helped found the Newlyn School, a group of artists based in Newlyn. He was well-known for his portraits of boats as well as people.

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artworks in 1890

Cover Design for ‘The Yellow Book’ Vol.I

Aubrey Beardsley, Cover Design for ‘The Yellow Book’ Vol.I  1894

In 1894 Beardsley was appointed art editor of what he described as a 'new literary and artistic quarterly' aimed at artists and writers who 'cannot get their best stuff accepted in the conventional magazines'. All the cover designs were printed in black on yellow cloth boards, in imitation of French novels. This design for the first number shows a pair of masked carnival-goers who, in keeping with the subversive character of the journal, appear both lewd and sinister. From the start the new magazine provoked an outcry. The Times remarked on the 'repulsiveness and insolence' of the first cover.

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Minnie Cunningham at the Old Bedford

Walter Richard Sickert, Minnie Cunningham at the Old Bedford  1892

Minnie Cunningham was a popular performer at the Old Bedford Music Hall in Camden Town. Sickert went there regularly and made dozens of sketches capturing the effects of light and movement on the stage and in the auditorium. Here, Sickert paints from the point of view of an audience member. He first exhibited it with the subtitle ‘I’m an old hand at love, though I’m young in years’, a quote from one of Cunningham’s songs. Sickert painted the ordinary life he saw around him.

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Parting at Morning

Sir William Rothenstein, Parting at Morning  1891

A partially dressed woman looks out at the viewer in this life-size chalk drawing. The verse inscribed at the bottom right is a quotation from a poem by Robert Browning with the same title as the picture. This suggests the morning after a brief sexual encounter.
And straight was a path of gold for him, And the need of a world of men for me.

Where the poem takes the woman’s point of view, the painting provides the perspective of the man. Rothenstein was a 19-year-old student in Paris when he painted it.

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artworks in 1890

Ethel

Ralph Peacock, Ethel  1897

This portrait was painted the year the Tate Gallery was founded, and was one of the most popular pictures when it went on display in the 1900s. Peacock’s model, Ethel Brignall, was 14 when he painted her. He married her sister Edith a few years later. Peacock enjoyed considerable success as a portrait painter at the onset of his career but was largely forgotten by the art establishment by the middle of the 20th century.

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artworks in 1890

My Lady’s Garden

John Young-Hunter, My Lady’s Garden  1899

The model for this work was the artist’s first wife, and fellow painter, Mary Young-Hunter. The couple met as students at the Royal Academy and married the year this was painted. The setting is the grounds of Holland House, in Kensington, London. Art critic and painter A.L. Baldry described John and Mary Young-Hunter as ‘new Pre-Raphaelites’, who explored imaginative and symbolic subjects

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© The estate of John Young-Hunter

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artworks in 1890

Mount’s Bay and Tolcarne from Trewidden Farm Footpath with Alethea and her Mother

Norman Garstin, Mount’s Bay and Tolcarne from Trewidden Farm Footpath with Alethea and her Mother  c.1898

Garstin painted this picture outdoors, or en plein air, like many of his works. It includes his wife Louisa Jones, and his daughter Alethea, who became a painter herself. His small, freely painted landscapes catch impressionistic light effects. Originally from Ireland, Garstin trained in Antwerp and Paris and moved to Cornwall by 1886. He was a teacher and writer as well as an artist. He was a member of the New English Art Club and the Newlyn School.

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Interior of St Mark’s, Venice

Walter Richard Sickert, Interior of St Mark’s, Venice  1895–6

This interior shows the high altar of the cathedral of San Marco in Venice. Sickert first visited the city in 1895 and lived there for a year. He wrote that Venice was ‘mostly sunny and warmish and on cold days I do interiors of St. Mark’s’. Like the French Impressionists, Sickert was interested in the effects of both natural and artificial light conveyed in touches of paint. He described his working method at this time as ‘open and loose, freely, with a full brush and full colour’.

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artworks in 1890

Fantaisie en Folie

Robert Brough, Fantaisie en Folie  1897

A woman with a haughty poise and striking profile looks down on a laughing Buddha, touching the statuette with her pendant. The title is best translated as ‘Unbridled Fantasy’. The picture’s misty brushwork and harmonious, neutral palette and the woman’s mysterious gesture suggests mood rather than narrative. The work was praised internationally, and it was widely exhibited. Brough was a successful portrait painter, but died young, aged 34, after a train accident. He seems to have regarded Fantaisie en Folie as his artistic testament, as he left it to the Tate Gallery in his will.

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artworks in 1890

Art in this room

The Black Brook
John Singer Sargent The Black Brook c.1908
The Girl at the Gate
Sir George Clausen The Girl at the Gate 1889
August Blue
Henry Scott Tuke August Blue 1893–4
Cover Design for ‘The Yellow Book’ Vol.I
Aubrey Beardsley Cover Design for ‘The Yellow Book’ Vol.I 1894
Minnie Cunningham at the Old Bedford
Walter Richard Sickert Minnie Cunningham at the Old Bedford 1892
Parting at Morning
Sir William Rothenstein Parting at Morning 1891

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