Books and Art: The Ocean Nymphs. Augustus Jules Bouvier (British,...
Tracing the Ship’s Course (1898). William Maw Egley (English, 1826-1916). Oil on canvas. The man reads from a letter and works at tracking the course of the ship on his globe. Perhaps it is his daughter standing behind him and a loved one may be on the ship. The process has not been easy as Egley depicts a profusion of paper maps, charts, and books which may have been used for reference.
At the sick man’s door, an illustration to Thackeray’s Adventures of Philip. Frederic Walker (British, 1840-1875). Pen and ink, watercolour and bodycolour. “He found poor Mrs. Baynes with hot, tearless eyes and livid face, a wretched sentinel outside the sick-chamber. “ You will find General Baynes very ill, sir,” she said to Philip with a ghastly calmness, and a gaze he could scarcely face… And she squeezed a dry handkerchief which she held,...and tried again to read the Bible in her lap."
A Modern Hero. Louis Bromfield. New York: Frederick A. Stokes, 1932. First edition. Original dust jacket; art by F. S. Johst. Pierre is a young and handsome circus rider whose mother has long tolerated his amorous adventures but becomes genuinely concerned when he actually falls in love. She reveals to him that he’s the son of a wealthy man, whom she could not marry because of the circus life. But Pierre uses this knowledge as a springboard to wealth and fame himself.
The Etude, April 1906. Cover art by Ada Brooke Drake (1874-1951). Woman playing religious music on the harp. “Bring up one set of musically gifted boys…on plantation melodies for a Cantus Firmus, and we will soon have a symphony which shall not be called American by its author, but which the public will spontaneously and enthusiastically acclaim as an ‘American Symphony.’ “ – Mr. Constantin von Sternberg
The Evil Men Do. Cortland Fitzsimmons. New York: Frederick A. Stokes, 1941. First edition. Original dust jacket; art by Martinot. “A smart antique shop is but a cover for notorious but elegant gambling rooms in the rear. Martinique, cold-blooded and ruthless, is the owner; his manager and his fish-eyed secretary are as unsavory as he. But Martinique makes a mistake when he draws into a diabolical plot a lovely young girl and her fiancé.”
The Violet Flame: Story of Armageddon and After. Fred T. Jane. Chicago, Laird & Lee, 1899. “This is a strange and weird tale of a general upheaval about to take place, and culminating in the destruction of the whole human race, except the hero and heroine, who are left behind to start anew the story of Adam and Eve. In spite of the dramatic ending, the book is full of modern lite and humor, and the interest centers in the city of London, in the first years of the coming century…”
Madame Raymond de Verninac (1798-1799). Jacques-Louis David (French, 1748-1825). Oil on canvas. Musée du Louvre. Née Henriette Delacroix (1780-1827), this young woman was the elder sister of the painter Eugene Delacroix. She married in 1798 Raymond de Verninac de Saint-Maur, ambassador, then préfet du Rhône from 1800 to 1801. An example of the strongly Classical-influenced continental European high fashion of the late 1790’s and first years of the 1800’s.
Parable of the Rich Man (1627). Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn (Dutch, 1606-1669). Oil on oak. Staatliche Museen, Berlin. The painting, known as The Money-Changer, is also interpreted as the allegory of miserliness. The highly conscious use of dark and light in constructing compositions is considered part of Caravaggio’s legacy. This method was known to Rembrandt through the mediation of Utrecht painters like Gerrit van Honthorst, who brought stylistic Caravaggism from Italy to Holland.
Sibyl (1718-22). Donato Creti (Italian, 1671-1749). Oil on canvas. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Christians interpreted Virgil’s text in reference to the birth of Jesus, to which Creti alludes in the Latin inscription on the paper at upper left. The comparatively small scale of this image lends itself well to Creti’s meticulous manner of painting. Noteworthy is the still life of pink roses and marsh marigolds at lower right, flowers that traditionally bore strong associations with the Virgin.