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Old 04-22-2012, 02:24 AM
Mark Diederichsen Mark Diederichsen is offline
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mm2176

mm2176

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Old 04-22-2012, 02:54 AM
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Coldcreation2 Coldcreation2 is offline
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Re: mm2176

The subject is reminiscent of a painting by Jean-Baptiste Regnault, 1780-1790, Education of Achilles by Chiron, representing the young Achilles being taught how to hunt by the centaur Chiron. Though in the MM, both the centaur and Achilles have been replaced by seemingly ordinary humans.
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Old 04-22-2012, 03:22 AM
Edradour Edradour is offline
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Re: mm2176

Interesting - may be a red-herring, but the right boot of the rear figure has dropped to me suggests a cloven hoof ... maybe a faun?
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Old 04-22-2012, 03:50 AM
LGHumphrey LGHumphrey is offline
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Re: mm2176

World's longest running radio soap.

President of the RA.
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Old 04-22-2012, 09:15 AM
Mark Diederichsen Mark Diederichsen is offline
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Re: mm2176

Longest running radio soap. LOL! Yeah, this one was pretty easy. Thanks for solving it. Go ahead and start the next one. Oh wait, you have to provide a link to a copy of the image first.

The painting was commissioned by the sitters as a double portrait, but they quarreled and each declined to pay for it and taking it home. The debt to the artist was eventually settled ten years later.

Last edited by Mark Diederichsen : 04-22-2012 at 09:56 AM.
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Old 04-22-2012, 10:34 AM
LGHumphrey LGHumphrey is offline
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Re: mm2176

No, I was only giving a couple of hints. I still haven't got a file to load up a picture from so someone else can get this one.
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Old 04-22-2012, 03:52 PM
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Re: mm2176

Joshua Reynolds; Colonel Acland and Lord Sydney, 'The Archers', 1769

Read more about the painting...

Thanks for the clue LGH.

EDIT> Interesting, this painting was realized prior to Jean-Baptiste Regnault's 1780-1790 Education of Achilles by Chiron. I would have erroneously presumed it was painted at a later date.

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Old 04-22-2012, 06:23 PM
Mark Diederichsen Mark Diederichsen is offline
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Re: mm2176

Quote:
Originally Posted by Coldcreation2

Here's a more thorough description by Dr David Mannings:

Quote:
Provenance
Painted in 1769; the sitters quarrelled, 'and each declined paying for it and taking it home'; the debt was settled, however, in 1779 (see below) and the picture subsequently passed to Acland's son-in-law,
Henry Herbert, 2nd Earl of Carnarvon, and by descent to
George, 5th Earl of Carnarvon removed from Highclere Castle, Newbury; Christie's, London, 22 May 1925, lot 110 (sold 6,000 gns., purchased on behalf of a member of the family)
and by descent.

Literature
C.R. Leslie and T. Taylor, The life and times of Sir Joshua Reynolds with notices of some of his Contemporaries, London, 1865, I, p. 348.
A. Graves and W.V. Cronin, History of the Works of Sir Joshua Reynolds, London, 1899-1901, I, pp. 7-8.
E.K. Waterhouse, Reynolds, London, 1941, pp. 16, 60.
M. Cormack, 'The Ledgers of Sir Joshua Reynolds', Walpole Society, XLII, 1968-70, p. 144.
E.K. Waterhouse, Reynolds, London, 1973, p. 26.

Exhibited
London, Royal Academy, 1770, no. 145, as 'Portraits of two gentlemen: whole lengths'.
London, British Institution, 1813, no. 59.
London, Suffolk Street, Society of British Artists, 1834, no. 43.
London, British Institution, 1851, no. 116.
London, Royal Academy, 1881, no. 181.
Taunton, Somerset Society of Artists, Old Masters, May 1946.
London, Royal Academy, 1951, no. 71.
Birmingham, City Museum & Art Gallery, Reynolds, 1961, no. 47.
London, Royal Academy, Reynolds, 1986, no. 74.
Cardiff, National Museum of Wales, on loan 1995-2000.

John Dyke Acland (1746-1778) came from an ancient West-Country landowning family with a long tradition of sporting interests before taking up politics, somewhat reluctantly, in this period. He was the eldest son of Sir Thomas Acland, 7th Bt., and his wife, Elizabeth Dyke. He was a Colonel in the Devon Militia and he married, on 3 June 1770, Lady Harriot Fox Strangways, daughter of Stephen, 1st Earl of Ilchester, and a cousin of Charles James Fox. His companion, Thomas Townshend (1733-1800), was the eldest son of Thomas Townshend, M.P. for the University of Cambridge, and his wife Albinia Selwyn. He married, on 19 May 1769, Elizabeth, daughter and co-heiress of Richard Powys of Hintlesham, Suffolk. He was created, 6 March 1783, Baron Sydney of Chislehurst, Kent, and 19 June 1789, Viscount Sydney of St Leonards, Gloucester.

Full-length portraits with the subject or subjects enjoying the open air, against a wide landscape or under trees, are among the glories of British painting. Early examples were often militaristic, but from about the mid-18th Century such portraits increasingly celebrate leisure, or, more precisely, the pursuit of what were considered 'polite' outdoor activities. These included riding, sketching, reading, or just strolling, as in Gainsborough's celebrated 'Morning Walk' in the National Gallery, London, painted in 1785. Occasionally young men pose with bows and arrows and it is surely significant that the classic literary text on archery, after being out of print for almost two centuries, was now back in print. This was Roger Ascham's essay of 1545, Toxophilus, the schole of shootinge conteyned in two bookes. It was republished, 'with notes and observations, and the author's life by James Bennet,' in 1761, and there was another edition about 1767. Perhaps Acland and Townshend also knew The Compleat Gentleman (1622), in which Henry Peacham recommended archery as a healthy and commendable recreation for persons of quality. Of course in the 16th and early 17th Centuries shooting was still encouraged as a useful preparation for conflict, but by the late 17th Century the bow had ceased to be regarded as a viable weapon of war and probably from about this time archery began to be considered as a sport.

Fanny Burney described a visit, on the last day of the year 1782, to the home of one of Reynolds's neighbours in Leicester Fields. Her host was very eccentric. He looked sixty, she wrote in her diary, 'yet he had dressed not only two young men, but himself, in a green jacket, a round hat, with green feathers, a bundle of arrows under one arm, and a bow in the other, and thus, accoutred as a forester, he pranced about; while the younger fools, who were in the same garb, kept running to and fro in the garden, carefully contriving to shoot at some mark, just as any of the company appeared at any of the windows.' The neighbour was Sir John Ashton Lever; apparently he had taken up this newly fashionable sport partly for health reasons, as it eased 'an oppression upon his chest.' Reynolds's subjects, Colonel Acland and Thomas Townshend, have progressed from mere target practice and are represented out hunting, and with an impressive pile of trophies at their feet. Aileen Ribeiro describes the costumes, with 'wrap-over tunic held in place by a wide sash, theatrical tights and calf-length buskins' as Reynolds's own invention.

Reynolds was famous, indeed notorious, for his borrowings from the Old Masters, yet The Archers seems to have no obvious pictorial prototype. By contrast, when, in 1758, Allan Ramsay planned his life-size full-length of John, Lord Mountstuart , schoolboy son of John, 3rd Earl of Bute, he took the idea, as Alastair Smart pointed out, from an engraving after Salvator Rosa. Lord Mountstuart poses with his longbow in the uniform of the Harrow Archers, with the silver arrow he had won. In fact Reynolds is sacrificing truth to visual effect here, as the longbow is designed for open fields and is an unsuitable weapon to use in woodland. But visually it is striking indeed, with the great curve of Townshend's bow repeated in the silhouette of the trees against the sky, and again as a smaller, 'quieter' motif in the shape of the recurved bow, traditionally a Turkish or Persian type, being drawn by his companion. As Acland leans back and begins to pull on the bowstring, his eyes intent on his prey, out of our sight, Townshend seems to leap forward, as if to anticipate the sudden movement of the arrow as it is fired. One wonders whether Ascham would have approved of this posture, which seems unorthodox to say the least. But Reynolds knows what he is doing; with the two figures thus framed by the dark woods and unified in action, the result is a marvellous pictorial invention, as tightly organised as a classical relief. And the dark woods, technically extraordinary as they seem to have been painted not with the brush but mostly with the palette knife, function as a romantic, shadowy, rustling mass against which the pale blue and pink of the vanes on the arrows pick up the delicate colours of the distant landscape.

The dramatic force of Reynolds's composition is easily brought out by a straightforward comparison with another double full-length picture quite possibly inspired by it. In 1782 Joseph Wright of Derby exhibited a portrait of two young boys, Francis and Charles Mundy, 'in the characters of archers'. The result is charming and colourful but entirely lacking in Reynolds's sense of dramatic movement. The tradition of painting young people with bows and arrows did not die out in the 18th Century. Among later examples we could cite William Powell Frith's picture, now in Exeter Art Gallery, in which his three daughters perform as 'English Archers' --a pleasant, but equally tame invention, painted almost a century later.

The single figure of the gentleman-archer continues in the work of Sir Henry Raeburn and John Hoppner. A most elegant example is the portrait of Sir Foster Cunliffe painted by Hoppner about 1787 (with Leger Galleries in 1989). Fashionably dressed, he has taken off his splendid black hat and placed it on the ground as he steps forward, drawing an arrow from the quiver at his side and looking round, with an expression of alert but calm anticipation for a suitable target. Sir Foster evidently took his archery seriously and founded, with the support of the Prince of Wales, the Society of Royal British Bowmen. His portrait may well commemorate his tenure as President of the Society. Raeburn's justly celebrated portrait of Dr Nathaniel Spens (Queen's Bodyguard for Scotland: Royal Company of Archers) was completed circa 1793. It is closer to Reynolds's Archers than to Hoppner's picture in the way that the subject is shown at a moment of psychological tension, taking aim, and is placed in a dark woodland setting rather than, like Sir Foster Cunliffe, stepping forward into a sunlit, open field.

The Archers is well documented. There are appointments with 'Lord Sidney' (incorrectly so-called) on 5 and 12 August 1769 (both at midday) and several more with 'Archers', perhaps models standing in for the young gentlemen, in 1769. it was shown at the Royal Academy in 1770 when Horace Walpole wrote 'Trees very fine' in his copy of the exhibition catalogue. During the week beginning 2 November 1772 Reynolds jotted a note to 'write to Lord Sidny' (sic), perhaps in connection with payment. References to Mr Acland are harder to interpret. He had numerous appointments in 1769 but it is impossible to know which were sittings for this picture and which for a single portrait of him painted about the same time and which used to hang at Killerton. A late payment of £300, 'Col Acland, for his and Lord Sidney's picture', is recorded in the artist's Ledger in June 1779. The picture's subsequent history is curious. The sitters quarrelled, as Tom Taylor recalled, 'and each declined paying for it and taking it home'. The debt was settled, however, in 1779, after Acland's early death, and the picture, as a result of the marriage in 1796 of his heiress Elizabeth, passed to the 2nd Earl of Carnarvon. Ellis Waterhouse, the leading 20th Century Reynolds expert, described it as 'a noble picture.' He illustrated it in his standard 1941 monograph; and finally, just before his death in 1985, selected it for the major Reynolds exhibition at the Royal Academy in 1986.

D.M.

Dr David Mannings, University of Aberdeen, is the author of Sir Joshua Reynolds: A Complete Catalogue of his Paintings, published by Yale University Press for the Paul Mellon Centre.

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