Ver Sacrum, 1901

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Continuing the series of posts about Ver Sacrum, the art journal of the Viennese Secession. After a somewhat lacklustre collection for 1900 the journal finds its vitality again, the painters of happy Teutonic peasants having been dropped in favour of more remarkable prints and graphics from Vienna’s finest. The contents for this year parallel some of the works being featured in Deutsche Kunst und Dekoration for the same period. Gustav Klimt is given a great deal of attention, beginning with the calendar piece below. There’s also work from the Symbolist sculptor George Minne and a feature on the Glasgow School artists Charles Rennie Mackintosh and Margaret MacDonald. Throughout the year each issue tends to concentrate on a single artist or exhibition. There’s so much good stuff in this year it’s not possible to present more than a small sample. Those interested are encouraged to browse all 432 pages or download the entire volume here.

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Deutsche Kunst und Dekoration #15

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Continuing the delve into back numbers of Deutsche Kunst und Dekoration, the German periodical of art and decoration. This week there’s another jump in the running order, from volume 12 to 15, and it’s impossible to avoid feeling frustrated by this when some of the previous editions have been so good. Volume 15 covers the period from October 1904 to March 1905, and includes work by the Wiener Werkstätte whose rectilinear designs mark the transition from Art Nouveau to what would eventually be called Art Deco. There’s also another feature on the Glasgow Arts and Crafts movement based around Charles Rennie Mackintosh with a look at the designs for Hill House in Helensburgh, Scotland. As usual, anyone wishing to see these samples in greater detail is advised to download the entire volume at the Internet Archive. There’ll be more DK&D next week.

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The peculiar Symbolist paintings of gay artist Sascha Schneider are featured once again, and typically for this artist there’s a profusion of male flesh on display.

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Jessie M King’s Grey City of the North

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“This dark and steep alley took its name from Sir James Stewart of Goodtrees, Lord Advocate of Scotland, 1692–1713, whose mansion stood at the foot of the close. It was a fashionable quarter in the early 18th century, and here resided Andrew Crosby, the famous lawyer, the original of Scott’s ‘Andrew Pleydell,’ Lord Westhall, John Scougall, the painter of George Heriot, and many well-known people of the time.”

Another book scan from the Internet Archive, this time a title which plays to my fetish for Old Edinburgh. The illustration work of Jessie M King (1875–1949) was featured here in September with a delicate piece from A House of Pomegranates by Oscar Wilde. The Grey City of the North (1910) is quite a departure from her usual style, being a collection of monochrome views of buildings, streets and closes of the Old Town. Very nice lettering on all the plates which perhaps shows some influence from her colleague Charles Rennie Mackintosh.

Advocates’ Close has particular significance for me since I copied a view of the alley for my adaptation of HP Lovecraft’s The Haunter of the Dark in 1986. Providence looks nothing at all like Edinburgh, of course, but I couldn’t find adequate reference at the time so used photographs of Scotland by Edwin Smith instead. You can see Smith’s photograph and my rendering of it below. Among the Internet Archive’s other Jessie King books there’s a follow-up to the Edinburgh volume, The City of the West; 24 drawings in photogravure of Old Glasgow.

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Another view of the close from Edinburgh and The Lothians by Francis Watt; illustration by Walter Dexter (1912).

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Advocates’ Close by Edwin Smith from Scotland (1955).

This book of photographs was an early Thames & Hudson title using their typically excellent photogravure reproduction. My copy was rescued from a waste bin near Manchester University and I’ve used it so much for reference over the years I’ve often wondered what I would have done without that chance encounter. You can see from my copy below (drawn with a 0.2mm Rapidograph pen) how much detail I skimped and how much I embellished. I skimped rather more than I remember, as it happens. I think if I’d have drawn this a couple of years later I might have been more faithful to the original.

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Previously on { feuilleton }
Ephemeral architecture
The Essex Street Water Gate

The art of Jessie M King, 1875–1949

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The Fisherman and His Soul : Her Feet were Naked
from A House of Pomegranates by Oscar Wilde, 1915.

A delicate piece of Orientalism illustrating Wilde’s book of fairy tales. Jessie Marion King’s work is a fascinating amalgam of the decorative post-Beardsley style exemplified by Harry Clarke and the Glasgow Style of Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s Arts and Crafts movement. It’s unfortunate that her associations with Mackintosh sometimes overshadow her career as an illustrator despite her being as talented and productive as many of her male contemporaries.

The rest of the Wilde illustrations can be seen at Art Passions along with a number of other works.

Jessie M King biography page

Elsewhere on { feuilleton }
The illustrators archive