Archive for July, 2010

The Last of the Clan 1865 by Thomas Faed (1826-1900)

Wednesday, July 21st, 2010

Last of the Clan by Thomas Faed Image courtesy of Glasgow Museums

This painting has come to symbolise the Highland Clearances which was a time when many Scots were forced to emigrate, driven from their land by poverty, or evicted by greedy estate owners.  Although by then the worst of the Clearances were over, the story told by the picture still aroused strong feelings and inspired him to create the most enduring image of this tragic period of Scottish history.

 Grief is written on the faces of the young and old and even the horse, as an unseen ship sails away.  As a viewer of this painting, we appear to be on the departing ship. There is beauty however, in the skilfully painted young women, surely out of place with their London fashions, and the random objects scattered on the quayside.

Thomas Faed was one of the most successful painters of his time.  His work was popular with the Victorian public who queued to see his latest paintings of sentimental Scottish themes. When this painting was exhibited, the Royal Academy had to have barriers erected to control the crowd!

He was born in Gatehouse-of-Fleet in South West Scotland and trained in Edinburgh at the School of Desig, becoming an Associate of the Royal Scottish Academy at the young age of 23.

He moved to London in 1852 where he became one of the most successful painters of his time. Although he lived in England, his paintings often dealt with Scottish subjects.  His work was popular with the Victorian public who queued to see his latest paintings of sentimental Scottish themes. He was a technical expert in oils and excelled at still-life details, figures and landscapes.  By 1893 he had become almost blind and retired from painting.  He died in London in St John’s Wood in 1900.

You can see this painting in the Scottish Identity in Art Gallery in the Expression Wing on the first floor of Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum.

For personal daytime and gift voucher tours and private evening viewings of Kelvingrove contact us on 0141 636 6929 or email us at info@intermezzo-arts.co.uk

Le Mariage de Convenance 1883 William Quiller Orchardson

Wednesday, July 14th, 2010

Le Mariage de Convenance - Image courtesy of Glasgow Museums

Sir William Quiller Orchardson was born in Edinburgh in 1835.  He moved to London in 1862 and among his fellow students was Thomas Faed, who painted The Last of the Clan (see previous blog).  Together with other younger artists he formed an artistic school and social circle of Scottish artists in London.  He painted portraits, everyday scenes and historical paintings and his painting Her Mother’s Voice is thought to have been the inspiration for the HMV advertising icon of the little dog listening to the gramophone known as His Master’s Voice.  This painting was produced in the 1880s during the height of his powers.  He was knighted in 1907 and has a self-portrait in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence.  He died in London in 1901.

The painting portrays a discontented young wife dining with her much older husband and the colours are subtle and muted.  The lamp over the table highlights the story and is the divide between the wife, and the husband and the butler – the husband seems to have more in common with the butler.  The huge table emphasises the age gap and it appears that the marriage, as well as the meal, is over.  The French title of the piece was to detract from the risqué subject matter as the owner would not have wanted it to appear as a statement on their own marriage.  This is further underlined by the light source, which comes from the front, rather than the lamp above, as if to suggest that this is a scene from a play.  It has a companion piece in Aberdeen Art Gallery called Marriage of Convenience  – After which depicts the husband now alone with his butler.

 You can find this painting in Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum on the first floor in the Every Picture Tells a Story Gallery.

For daytime and private evening viewings of Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum contact Intermezzo on 0141 636 6929 or email us at info@intermezzo-arts.co.uk