Sunday, September 22, 2013

Arthur Hughes' ARTHURIAN ART

Sir Galahad, 1865-70
Oil on canvas, 113 x 167.5 cm
Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool

Inscribed on the back:
The clouds are broken in the sky,
And thro' the mountain-walls,
A rolling organ-harmony
Swells up, and shakes and falls,
Then move the trees, the copses nod,
Wings flutter, voices hover clear:
Oh just and faithful knight of God!
Ride on: the prize is near.
So pass I hostel, hall, and grange;
By bridge and ford, by park and pale,
All-arm'd I ride, whate'er betide,
Until I find the holy Grail'.
A gentle sound, an awful sight!
Three angels bear the holy grail:
With folded feet, in stoles of white,
On sleeping wings they sail.

 Knight of the Sun, c.1861
Watercolor, 22.5 x 32 cm
Ashmolean Museum, Oxford

La Belle Dame sans Merci, 1861-3
Oil on canvas, 152 x 122 cm
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne

Sir Galahad 
Painted circa 1894; Oil on canvas
Private Collection

Arthur Hughes (1830-1915)
   Arthur Hughes was born in London on 27 January, 1830. He studied under Alfred Stevens at the Somerset House School of Design, and in 1847, at the Royal Academy. In 1850, he read a copy of The Germ, the short-lived journal of the Pre-Raphaelites, and was converted to their philosophy. He collaborated on the painting at the Oxford Union with Dante Gabriel Rossetti.
   Hughes produced his best art in the decade of the 1850s.  Some of his best works are a series of pictures of lovers in nature scenes featuring clinging ivy on old trees.
   He was an extremely sensitive and private man. He withdrew from the pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood's sessions in 1858 and moved with his family to the outskirts of London. But he continued to be one of their strongest adherents.
   As well as being a painter, Hughes was one of the more successful Pre-Raphaelite illustrators, drawing many pictures for the illustrated magazines and books of the 1860s and onwards. In 1872, he worked with Rossetti's sister, Christina Rossetti, illustrating her book of children's verse, Sing Song.
   Hughes continued to exhibit at the Royal Academy until 1903. He was awarded a Civil List pension in 1912 and died in Kew Green on 12 December 1915.
   His Sir Galahad hangs in Manchester.

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