A Note on Sunday Evening (June Underwood, again)

I forgot. There will be no new “real” post this 5th Sunday of the month, a non-event for which I take entire credit. But in the interests of holding our place, I googled “Art” and here’s the first “art” image that appeared.


Painters of France, a sculpture on the Albert Memorial by Henry Hugh Armstead.

“Here commences the French School, with a fine seated figure of Poussin in a suggestively antique chair, and turning away from his countrymen towards Raffaelle. Claude has a hand on Poussin’s arm, and looks also to Italy. Neither of these can be said to group with the French School, which virtually begins with the bold self-possessed figure of David, whose deformity of mouth has not been shirked: he seems to be discussing with Gericault, who looks nothing lacking in self-assertion. Gerard, more calm, shows between them. Delacroix is the angle-figure of this wing. He is much wrapt up, suggestive of his consumptive habit. On the salient face of this wing stands Vernet, with folded arms, and looking very military. Delaroche sits in the centre perusing a design, while Decamps leans on the bacle of his chair and looks over him. The fine head of Ingres fills the space above.”

from John Lucas Tupper, a minor Pre-Raphaelite sculptor, poet, theorist of art education, and Rugby drawing master, who wrote this contemporary appreciation of Armstead’s career, which contains a detailed discussion of the Albert Memorial sculptures. The essay first appeared in The Portfolio and was scanned from the reprinted book version: English Artists of the Present Day. Essays by J. Beavington Atkinson, Sidney Colvin, F. G. Stephens, Tom Taylor, and John L. Tupper. London: Seeley, Jackson, and Halliday, 1872, 61-66. from The Victorian Web, Literature, History, and Culture in the Age of Victoria

The Tupper article begins with a bit of art criticism, which is worth reading, if only to educate you on how benign we are here on Ragged Cloth. To be fair, it was contemporary with the Albert Memorial which was designed and executed in the 10 years following Albert’s death in 1861.

I do wonder who is responsible for the fine masks that some of the painters wear — pigeons or contemporary commentators? I find the blackened bits entirely fetching. And I also find that I can’t sort out who is who in the description given — maybe I’ve copied info on the wrong set of sculptures. But this will do for the nonce — those of you expert on the Albert Memorial can perhaps fill us in…..

5 Responses to “A Note on Sunday Evening (June Underwood, again)”

  1. 1 June May 5, 2007 at 9:48 pm

    Actually Kathy, I suspect you’ve never seen it because a) it was maybe one of the last sculptures that incorporated all time and all history as well as all the British colonies, in a (sort of) realistic manner; and b) you aren’t an anglophile, versed in Victorian novels, and so wouldn’t have spent your precious visiting time in London wandering around this memorial. I made my then 14 year old daughter try to work out the symbolism for me; she just kept asking for ice cream.

    As for the poop, I fear that that was a crude way to make sure the photograph is not reproducible on coffee mugs. Or at least it won’t draw great plaudits if such is done to it. Although now that I think of it……

  2. 2 Kathy N May 5, 2007 at 6:09 pm

    If your head had been pooped on, you would not be happy either…

    I’ve never seen this before (and having been subjected to an art history education in a university means I’m missing brain cells, or they didn’t want us to study poop-stained statues).

  3. 3 eileen doughty April 30, 2007 at 1:58 pm

    Those guys were really ahead of their time. Maybe they are all mad at the guy with the cell phone for taking the call during the meeting.

  4. 4 June April 30, 2007 at 9:24 am


    I thought the figure to the left was talking on his cell phone.

    They do look a bit unhappy, don’t they? I’m sure it’s a committee meeting about the new logo. The one on the cell phone is calling yet another vendor for a new logo design; the one on the right definitely has his own logo that he’s about to whip around and confront the group with. The two behind the seated figure who are talking to one another are making arrangements to meet up for drinks later where they will make the decision about the logo that the rest of the idiots are blathering on about. The guy who is seated, however, is the CEO, who has already decided. He isn’t bothering to look at any of the rest, just waiting for them to realize that no discussion is necessary.

  5. 5 eileen doughty April 30, 2007 at 5:54 am

    The discoloration of the stone reminded me of this Mannerist sculpture, “Abduction of the Sabine Women” by Giovanni Da Bologna.
    Maybe the colors of the marble don’t show up till the sculptor is too invested in the piece? Or is it a valued surprise, like dyeing cloth or raku pottery?

    I couldn’t match the description to the figures either. So it invites us to make up our own story. The one on the right could well be Italian. His clothes are different, certainly, and he has to wear a hat to keep off the bright southern sun. Is Raffaelle a variation of Raphael? The seated figure must be the one with the plan and the rest of them are having an argument about it. He’s the one with the most acclaim so he gets to sit. One just to the right is about to bring out his own plan to counter the main figure’s. The one on the left is feeling shunned because he doesn’t make art in the approved style. What a radical – no styled wig or ponytail. If they are painters, where are their brushes? Did they have a paint fight and that’s why they are discolored?

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