Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Charles & Madeleine Nightingale

The lovely girl to the right is "Echo" the mountain nymph and would be suitor of the vain Narcissus. As we know she was spurned by Narcissis in favour of his own reflection. This left Echo heartbroken to spend the rest of her life in lonely glens pining away for the love she never knew, crying until all that was left was her voice. Destined to repeat the last words she heard fading away to nothing.

The picture, which I bought and sold a few years ago, is a woodcut print signed, titled and dated 1922 by the artist Charles Thrupp Nightingale who exhibited between 1922 and 1927.

He exhibited works at;
Royal Society of Artists, Birmingham
Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool
Royal Academy
Royal Scottish Academy

With a little more research we find that  he was an artist and illustrator who specialized in wood engraving. He is recorded as living at the Old Cottage Biggin Hill, Kent. He illustrated a number of books written by Madeleine Nightingale, who I presume was his wife. 
Titles include include; The Babe's Book of Verse (1918), Verse Wise and Otherwise (1918),  Boggarty Ballads (1923), Ring A Ring O' Fairies (1924) Farmyard Ditties, The Magic Stuff Box and Adeste Fideles.

As you can guess from the titles most of the collaborations are fairy and magic stories for children and form a series titled "The Nightingale Books". From the ones I have seen, they are pretty little books beautifully printed and illustrated. The various other photographs are of the 1924 edition of The Babe's Book of Verse.

Some time ago I was contacted by the son in law of the lady above, who was still alive. If I recall correctly it was the artists daughter. She still has some of the original blocks for his prints as well as numerous originals. Sadly the emailed information was lost when I changed computers !! I hope this posting might prompt the family to add more information.

I am struggling to find any specific biographical details about these two. There is a reference to Madeleine being born in 1879 but that is all and for Charles a year of birth of 1878. From the London Gazette dated 29th July 1915 a Charles Thrupp Nightingale of the 28th (County of London) Battalion, The London Regiment (Artists Rifles) was promoted from Private to Second Lieutenant. I would imagine that this is our man but there the trail ends.

Similar to Echo is this picture titled Reverie dated 1923. There is a copy of this in the Victoria and Albert Museum collection and they catalogue it as a wood engraving. Other works are in the collections of the British Museum (13 items including a version of "Echo")

August 2011,
I have recently recieved more information from the family, who confirm that Charles Thrupp Nightingale was born in 1878 and died in 1939. Also that Madeleine was his wife, they married in 1908 and she was born Madeleine E Thrift in 1880 in the Coventry area, the daughter of John E Thrift and his wife Fanny.

Here is another book plate by Charles.

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