Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Thomas Jones Barker: War Artist

Thomas Jones Barker (self portrait) located at National Portrait Gallery (London)
An older but nevertheless contemporary of Lady Butler, Thomas Jones Barker was 39 years of age at the time of the battle of Balaclava and its Charge of the Light Brigade. Born in Bath, England in 1815, Thomas was born into art as it were, his father being a landscape artist. Young Thomas studied art under France’s Horace Vernet in Paris where he was first exhibited. Whilst renown for his portraiture, he was to specialize in war paintings within the battle painting genre, returning to England in 1845 and covering the Napoleonic, Crimean and Franco-Prussian wars. Whilst witness to the latter, it is speculated whether Thomas Barker attended the Crimea. Barker died in London on 27 March 1882 aged 67.
Charge of the Light Brigade by Thomas Jones Barker (1877)
Of specific note is that of the paintings Barker created of the Crimean War, several are concerned with Balaclava and Sebastopol. His creation 'The Charge of the Light Brigade' (alternatively referred to as 'Taking the Russian Guns at Balaclava') was finished and exhibited in Borgen's Danish Gallery in 1877. Found many years later in a garage, the painting was restored and presented to the Army Staff College, Camberley by the students of 1957 ASC where it now resides. Incidentally, it is this image which forms the backdrop of my blog.

There are regrettably no images currently available on-line of Barker’s 'The Rally' which forms part of the collection of the In & Out, Naval and Military Club, London. If anyone living or visiting London would like to take up the challenge to remedy this and flick me a digital image (photo) I’d be grateful.
'The Return through the Valley of Death' (1876) is regrettably another work for which there is nothing available to view on-line. I am not even sure if these works exist anymore or if so, where they are located but a trip to the library for its art history resources should clear this matter up. I have similarly been unable to locate an image for his 'Balaclava – One of the Six Hundred' (1874).
Death of Captain Nolan or The Charger of Captain Nolan ... by Thomas Jones Barker (1855)
The Charger of Captain Nolan bearing back his dead master to the British Lines alternatively titled Then Death of Captain Nolan is a sanitised, even romantic depiction of the demise of this key figure in history. This painting is to be found in the National Gallery of Ireland (Dublin).
'Sir Edward Cockburn and George Cockburn at Balaclava  Harbour' (1858) which hangs in the Victorian Art Gallery (Bath), whilst another image without an Internet footprint is art least accessible for viewing.
Sir Colin Campbell by Thomas Jones Barker 1860
Whilst a portrait of a man some six years after the battle, the above is Thomas Jones Barker’s rendition of 'Sir Colin Campbell', the leader and celebrated commander of the Thin Red Line (Streak) at Balaclava. Happily, this portrait can be viewed in the National Gallery of Scotland (Edinburgh).
'The Allied generals and their staffs before Sebastopol' by Thomas Jones Barker
Barker's 'Allied Generals Before Sebastapol' was commissioned by Manchester print seller Thomas Agnew and sons. Whilst this work remains in a private collection, the owner has made available prints for purchase through

The Generals before Sebastapol (detail)
The Generals before Sebastapol (detail)

Note: Confirmation of art works locations has been taken from ‘British and Irish paintings in public collections: an index of British and Irish oil paintings by artists born before 1870 in Public and Institutional Collections In the United Kingdom and Ireland’ by Christopher Wright, Catherine May Gordon, Mary Peskett Smith which is available on-line courtesy of Google Books.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

BALACLAVA in the Arts

When I first embarked on this latest blogging adventure, as stated in my rationale at the start I intended this site to evolve into as valuable a resource as I could make it to assist both myself and fellow enthusiasts in wargaming the battle of Balaclava.

As an important part of my research, I have begun collecting and notating important artists including the great military painters, sketch artists caricaturists and correspondents of the era and beyond who have covered this subject. Being a visual hobby, the visual arts are also an invaluable technical resource as well as serving as a colourful inspiration as the hobbyist similarly tries to recreate past military actions.

Whilst being aware of how popular the subject of Balaclava and the Light Brigade actions were, I had nevertheless failed to realise just how well represented the Crimean War was and still is in the visual arts. Having already listed ten posting on the great artists of the age, I have but scratched at the surface of a mountain of material. I have therefore resolved to limit the scope of my examination for the time being to those artists either alive during the battle or born in the Victorian nineteenth century and thus most influenced and proximate to the event itself.

As an aid to myself as well as any follower of this blog, I therefore tender the following list of artists which fall into this category. This will be a ‘living document’ and will no doubt require amendment and re-posting in the future as the blog and my research expands. It will include painters, illustraters, caricaturists and photographers. Artists ascribed an asterisk (*) I have deemed to fall beyond the remit of this project.

 *Oswald Brierly (1817-1894) – Naval subjects
William Simpson 1823-1899 – watercolours & lithograghs
*Jerry Barrett, 1824-1906 (Crimean War after Balaclava)
Harry Payne
John Charlton
Robert Hillingford
Harry Duprey
Christopher Clark
Richard Caton Woodville
Lady Butler
John Tenniel (Caricaturist and illustrator)
John Leech (Caricaturist and illustrator)
Thomas Jones Barker

William Simpson: War Artist

William Simpson between 1855 and 1865 by Fenton, Roger
Throughout this posting are lithographs of Crimean War scenes from ‘The Campaign in the Crimea: An historical sketch’ being illustrations from forty plates from drawings taken at the scene by William Simpson. Produced by George Brackenbury, Published by Paul & Dominic Colnaghi & Longman, Brown, etc., 1855-56.  Lithographs by Day & Son, Lithographers to the Queen.
Balaclava Harbour by William Simpson
The Scottish artist and correspondent William ‘Crimean’ Simpson was born in Glasgow on 28 October 1823. He sketched events of his times including numerous military campaigns for the Illustrated London News. Apprenticed in Glasgow lithographic firm of Macfarlanehe, Simpson attended the Andersonian University and the Mechanics Institute before taking a position to create an image of the Alma to be lithographed by London publisher, Lloyd's.
'Balaclava Looking Toward the Sea' by William Simpson
Simpson would create sketches and watercolours for setting into stone for the firm of Colnaghi to be created into lithographs. Whilst finishing his fall of Sebastapol before leaving England, he arrived in the Crimea on 15 November in time for the fall of the city. William Simpson was thirty years of age. He sent his watercolours London for Day & Son who would create lithographs which were exhibited in the Graphic Society in February 1855.
Distant view of Lord Raglan's head quarters before Sebastopol by William Simpson
Rather than creating epic oil canvass works such as his contemporary war artists were to do, Simpson created a vast array of works on the entire campaign, capturing the landscapes, logistic activities and encampments as well as the battle pieces so beloved of the heroic painter.

'The Railway at Balaclava Looking East' by William Simpson 1855
Simpson's vast volume of work stretched across the entire Balaclava Campaign and the rest of the war as far as he experienced it - little wonder he earned the moniker ''Crimea'. I have included only those works which I have associated with the action we recognise as the Battle of Balaclava.

'View from the heights above Balaklava' by William Simpson
Two extensive portfolios were assembled containing over eighty lithographs entitled ‘The Seat of the War in the East’, two thousand copies of which were produced. Simpson dedicated the series to Queen Victoria whose patronage he enjoyed for the rest of his life.
'5th Dragoon Guards at Balaclava' by William Simpson also referred to as his 'Charge of the Heavy Brigade'
Simpson was married with one daughter (Penelope) who emigrated to Australia. William Simpson died at home in Willesden, North London, on 17 August 1899 and was buried in Highgate Cemetery.
'The Charge of the Light Brigade at Balaklava' by Williasm Simpson
There are numerous examples of Simpson's works on-line and much of his work covering the whole of the Balaclava campaign and siege of Sebastapol can be found.
'Embarkation of the Sick at Balaclava' by William Simpson

Harry Payne: Military Artist

'Telling Off a Prisoner' by Harry Payne chromolithograph 1891
Note: Im suspect the above oil by Harry Payne to be concerned with the events surrounding the presentation of a Russian deserter whose information was dismissed prior to the Russian move on Balaclava.
'The Heavy Cavalry Charge at Balaclava, 25th October 1854' by Harry Payne
Born four years after Balaclava, Henry Joseph Payne came into the world in Newington, London. An illustrator, Payne worked within the medium of oilette postcards, principally for Raphael Tuck & Sons and Gale and Polden producing illustrations for their postcard series. Whilst not limiting himself to military subjects, Payne was a prolific illustrator of events and particularly of British regiments at war and on home duties throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
'Sounding the Alarm, Crimea 1854' by Harry Payne 1891
Married to Susanna Terese Cossins at Camberwell on 16 June 1887 but not blessed with children, Payne served in the West Kent Yeomanry, reaching the rank of sergeant in the 1890s. He died in 1927.
‘Charge of the Light Brigade led by Lord Cardigan, Balaklava, October 25th, 1854’
Whilst many of his regimental subjects may fall within the uniform period of the Crimean War, there exact relevance to our subject can be uncertain. Of known interest to this blog is his ‘Charge of the Light Brigade led by Lord Cardigan, Balaklava, October 25th, 1854’ (above) painted in 1884. It is a colour lithograph of Cardigan on galloping horse in foreground leading cavalry charge with then 17th Lancers prominant.
Among the Guns - Charge of the Light Brigade at Balaclava Crimea October 1854 by Harry Payne
'Those Who had Fought so Well- The Survivors of the Light Brigade Returning from the Valley of Death' by Harry Payne
Note that several images are from the on-line catalogue of Cranston Fine Arts military prints which are for sale form their web-site. Numerous regimental subjects and uniform plates can be seen which relate to the British army serving in Crimea at the time or shortly afterwards.

Friday, February 24, 2012

John Charlton: War Artist

Born 28 June 1849 in Bamburgh, Northumberland, John Charlton was an illustrator of contemporary military subjects for The Graphic and more notably a military painter first exhibited in 1870. Only five years old at the time of the Charge, it was not until the age of 40 did he complete his first work on the subject of Balaclava - his 1889 ‘An Incident in the charge of the Light Brigade’ exhibited at the National Academy (not sighted by the author).
'Balaclava' by John Charlton
Charlton’s work simply titled ‘Balaclava’ depicts the 4th and13th Light Dragoons during the Charge of the Light Brigade.

In 1897 he unveiled ‘Comrades’: two troopers of the 17th Lancers lying dead on the field with one of their mounts writhing from a shot (not sighted by the author).
'Charge of the Light Brigade' by John Charlton 1905
Finally, in 1905 John Charlton painted ‘Balaclava: The Charge of the Light Brigade’ with the 17th Lancers once more in the lead as they close on the Russian guns. I suspect this work is often referred to as 'Into the Valley of Death'.

John Charlton lost two sons on the Western Front which was said to attributed to his failure to recover from illness and he died on 10 November 1917 aged 68.

Robert Hillingford: Military Artist

Charge of the Light Brigade by Robert Hillingford (1899)
Aged 26 at the time of Balaclava, Robert Alexander Hillingford was born 28 January 1828 in London. He studied like many did in Duseldorf, afterwards living and painting in Munich, Rome, Florence and Naples before marrying. Having been exhibited in St. Petersburg in the 1850’s he returned to London and continued with his previous success, being exhibited in the Royal Academy.
‘Sebastapol: the Attack on the Redan” by Robert Hillingford (1899)
Painting classical subjects in a classical manner, he turned his brush to the Battle of Balaclava in his ‘Charge of the Light Brigade’ in 1899. He also produced ‘Sebastapol: the Attack on the Redan” the same year. Whilst more commonly covering the campaigns of the Spanish Succession and the Napoleonic Wars, Hillingford can perhaps be better described as an Historical artist with an impressionistic rather than technical approach to his subject. His painting provides a feel for the event far more than a reference for a technical hobbyist such as the miniature wargamer.

Christopher Clark: War Artist

Christopher Clark is the artist responsible for this antique print ‘The Charge of the Light Brigade’ exhibited in 1915. An English military artist, Clark was born 1875 and produced many artistic works on military themes both contemporary and historical before he died in 1942. This is one of his later paintings of the Crimean Wars of which few were ever produced. A painter and illustrator, Clark worked in oils on canvass, colour lithographs and produced fine watercolours, several of which are found in the British Railway Museum.

He produced line drawings as a commercial artist for 'The Regiment' (weekly newspaper) and he was exhibited in the Royal Academy and Royal Institute in London, being made a member in 1905. In the First World War Clark served in the RNVR as a lieutenant. He died in 1942 aged 67.

Richard Caton Woodville: War Artist

Richard Caton Woodville (Junior)
Born soon after the battle of Balaclava (7th January 1856) was Richard Caton Woodville (Junior) the prolific English born war artist and son of the American artist of the same name. Having studies in Duseldorf, Woodville was naturally influenced by the German Romantic Movement but more specifically by the Prussian war artists Wilhelm Camphausen and then Eduard von Gebhardt before studying in Russia and Paris.
A noted reporter and writer for the Illustrated London News, Cornhill Magazine, Strand Magazine, and The Tatler, Woodville attended the Russo-Turkish War (1877–1878) and the 1882 Anglo-Egyptian War where he sketched the campaigns first hand.
Richard Caton Woodville painting The Charge of the Light Brigade
First exhibited in 1879, Woodville was best regarded for his contemporary works (Afghan, Zulu and Boer Wars) he returned to numerous subjects associated with the Crimean War, the exploits of which were the stories he grew up with. Commissioned by the Illustrated London News, he completed The Charge of the Light Brigade in 1894 as part of a commemorative special series recreating famous British battles. This highly animated painting shows the head of the charge in full flight with Lord Cardigan alongside the 17th Lancers. Whilst his style was to vary, the attitude of his subjects was to remain stoic and heroic throughout. The Charge of the Light Brigade can be viewed today in the Palacio Real de Madrid, Spain.
'The Charge of the Light Brigade' by Richard Caton Woodville
Whilst Woodville painted The Storming of the Great Redoubt at the Battle of the Alma in 1896 (depicting the Coldstream Guards), he was not to return to the subject of Balaclava until the following year for his The Relief of the Light Brigade. This stunning work depicting the 11th Hussars and 17th Lancers amongst the Russian guns at Balaclava survives and resides in the National Army Museum, Chelsea, London.
'The Relief of the Light Brigade' by Richard Caton Woodville
It was not until 1902 when Woodville complete his third Balaclava subject, All That Was Left of Them. Very much in the style and tradition of consequential war paintings championed by Lady Butler and again featuring the 17th Lancers as the prominent unit of the action, this work can been found at Belvoir Castle, Leicestershire.
'All That Was Left of Them' by Richard Caton Woodville
 His last Balaclava painting was The Last Call (Trumpeter falling at Charge of Light Brigade) painted in 1915 can be seen at the Queen’s Royal Hussars HQ, London. I have been unable as at the date of posting to locate an image of this work on-line.
'The Storming of the Great Redoubt at the Battle of the Alma' by Richard Caton Woodville
A life-long regimental and British military enthusiast, Richard Caton Woodville Jnr had joined the Berkshire Yeomanry in 1879 until 1914 upon registering with the National Reserve as a Captain. He was found in his residential studio dead on 17 August 1927, having committed suicide with his revolver at the age of 71.

Other than his renown oil on canvass works, Richard Caton Woodville sketched and worked other mediums and media. The following are some images available on-line attributed to Woodville about which I have no further information.
'The Gallant Lancer' by Richard Caton Woodville date unknown
'Arrival of the New Subaltern' by Richard Caton Woodville 1890 for 'The Graphic'
'Sebastapol' by Richard Caton Woodville date unknown

Friday, February 10, 2012

Lady Butler: War Artist

Elizabeth Thompson before marrying in 1877
Though only nine years old at the time of Crimea, Elizabeth Southerden “Mimi” Thompson (known to art history as Lady Butler) painted a series of famous military depictions including events from the Crimean War. Born 3 November 1846 in Switzerland, Elizabeth Thompson grew up in Italy but it was upon her visit to Paris in 1866 that she turned her artistic endeavours to military painting upon viewing the work of Jean Louis Ernest Meissonier and Édouard Detaille. Marrying the soldier Sir William Francis Butler on 11 June 1877 Elizabeth Butler continued to paint, winning great acclaim whilst raising her six children. After taking up residence in Bansha Castle, county Tipperary Elizabeth was eventually widowed in 1910 but continued to paint until 83 after which she finally died at Gormanston Castle on 2 October 1933 at the age of 87.
The Roll Call by Lady Butler (1874)
Her second military oil painting and the one which won her the most acclaim was Elizabeth’s Calling the Roll After An Engagement, Crimea more commonly referred to as The Roll Call (1874) which she finished at the age of 27. This painting is meditative and is war painting as opposed to a more traditional battle painting depicting the consequences of action, in this case being a muster of the Grenadier Guards in the snow.  The group is of the common soldiery, in this case the Guardsmen and NCOs who are highly individualised. Queen Victoria purchased this prized work which remains housed at Buckingham Palace.
Balaclava by Lady Butler (1876)
Of more significance to this Blog is her oil painting Balaclava (1876) showing the mustered remnants of the Light Brigade after their fateful charge.  Again, highly individualised portraiture, full of expression and particularly detailed, a feature of her painting for which Lady Butler was renown. This great artistic work is housed in the City of Manchester Art Gallery.
The Return from Inkerman by Lady Butler (1877)
Her final Crimean War painting, The Return from Inkernman (1877) depicts the survivors from the Coldstream Guards and the 20th East Devonshire Regiment and can be found in the Ferens Art Gallery, Kingston upon Hull.