Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Alphege-Brewer stays at home

At last we are back home in England and finishing our Grand Tour with a whistle stop excursion to the sites of Great Britain. James seems to have love ecclesiastical architecture - all those great European churchs and cathedrals !! His choice in Great Britain is similar with a few other tourist destinations - familiar to all - Westminster, the Olde Curiosity Shop etc

Today, he starts in London ...........

"Westminster, Exterior"
with this etching he has been assisted by his brother Henry C Brewer.
Two signatures and a title - Source link
A coloured version above and monotone below - I know which I prefer.

Followed, after a brisk walk to St Paul's Cathedral.

.............. and an example that has found it's way to Australia !
"The Old Curiosity Shop"

then and now !!
which can be found in Portsmouth Street in the City of London and is famed as the inspiration for the Charles Dickens' novel of the same name.

Heading north east to Cambridgeshire to the University - a good market for momentos. Many of the minor more commercially minded artist created etching and prints of the colleges at both the Oxford and Cambridge Universities.

Trinity College, Cambridge.

 Still heading north to York.
The Viking capital Jorvik and historic county town of Yorkshire. Many a tourist would have stopped off here to see such sites as the Minster and it's famed Rose Window.

and further north to Durham and it's - yes another cathedral

By now he must have been fed up of going north as we find him in the West Country - perhaps on holiday ! He certainly visited the usual attractions, including the Cockington Forge and Thomas Hardy's cottage. More finely detailed images created for the tourist market rather than for art collectors. 

 Link to source -

I guess today when we view his portfolio, the better works, such as the woodcuts and watercolours are lost in the mass other nice but ordinary prints. I quite like some of the coloured etchings, particularly the nocturne views such as Durham or the Venetian view shown my earlier posting.

and finally to the south with "A Kentish Homestead"
previously featured by Clive at the blog, Art and the Aesthete, where he quoted "his woodblocks are rare and extremely collectable and this one, I have to say, is quite spectacular"

Monday, 26 March 2012

Eric Hesketh Hubbard - St Anne's Gateway from the East

Words have already been aired on the blogsphere about the merits and values of the various versions of Eric Hesketh Hubbard's print, "St Anne's Gateway from the East" from the folio titled "The Gates of Salisbury Cathedral Close" published by Eric's own Forest Press in 1925.

I thought it would be fair to readers to view both version of this image together with the other prints from the folio, together with photos of each of the buildings.

I hope that I can avoid too much opinion and allow the collectors and enthusiasts amongst you to simply enjoy these works of art. I don't even mind if you keep a copy for your "virtual collection"

1. S. Anne's Gateway From The East

2. S. Anne's Gateway From The West

3.The Close Gateway From The South 

4. Harnham Gateway From The East 

5. Exeter Gateway From The East 

Not my best posting - but it should give you a "then and now" view.

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Alphege-Brewer goes to Spain

I am getting to the end of the tour with James Alphege Brewer - today we visit Spain; my last stop with him before returning to Britain.

"A Street in Sevile"

"A Street in Cordaba"

Friday, 23 March 2012

Alphege-Brewer goes to France

We are still travelling with James Alphege-Brewer and he has now travelled to France - on his way to Venice or on the way back ? The first print is a woodcut of Mt Blanc, a very similar style to those of Lake Como and Lugano, so perhaps created after the same trip.

Very similar trees to those found to the left of the "On the Dochart (Perthshire)" - remenisant of the woodcuts by Oscar Droege of the mountain pine and birch trees.

When compared to his etchings you wonder whether these were created later - perhaps in to the 1930's, whilst the etching seem to date to the WW1 era.

James did the full tour of the French "sites" including cathedrals at Verdun, Rouen, Amien and Rheims

This is the Cathedrale Notre Dame du Verdun from his coloured etching titled "Verdun from the Meuse" published c1916. I wonder whether these were created as grand tour souvenirs or bought by soldiers or their families during WW1.

 The Catheral at Rheims.
exterior and interior.

and finally a watercolour painting of Chartes Cathedral featuring the stained glass window as an example of what he is best known for - his coloured etchings of church interiors.

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Alphege- Brewer goes to Venice

James Alphege Brewer, seems to have being doing his own modern Grand Tour - from Lake Como and Lake Lugano he has now found his way to Venice. Whilst he was there he travelled a bit on the Grand  Canal viewing the Rialto Bridge in the evening light - or did he really enjoy himself and this was his view in the morning !

These are both coloured etching on copper, probably with aquatint and some hand colouring. The top one has an atmospheric sky with points of light drawing you under the bridge. The Doges Palace, below also has the rich evening light whilst the second view is a more traditional architectural study with some colouring. Sadly, I feel this day light version is somewhat flat, soleless !! 

Plain dark line etching has dropped out of fashion, I don't know why, probably they just don't feel "moderne" enough for contemporary tastes. However, these coloured etching should be ideal for moderne decorators seeking colour. James did create some standard black line etching, examples below. They are detailed but currently of little interest to collectors.

If anyone has a woodcut of Venice - please email me a picture.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Alphege-Brewer goes to Scotland

James Alphege-Brewer is off again ! today another short break, this time Scotland - not as warm as Italy but again with dramatic and extensive mountain landscapes. Here he has found his way to the Falls of Dochart, which unlike his title is now Stirling near Killin, a popular tourist stop on the Rob Roy Way.

"On the Dochart (Perthshire)"

On the left is another artistic vision of this river. "The River Dochart, Killin, Perthshire" by J Barrie Robinson
and finally as it really looked, with a tourist postcard view.

Monday, 12 March 2012

Alphege-Brewer goes to Lake Como.

The sun is bright and there is spring in the air - what better time for a short break in Italy.

Today I am off to Lake Como with James Alphege Brewer ( born c1882) - he was a painter and printmaker and the son of the artist Henry William Brewer. He exhibited widely between 1909 and 1938, including at; Royal Academy 1, Royal Cambrian Academy 33 and Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colour 17. The majority of picture that I have seen by him have been the once very fashionable but now so unfashionable, black line etchings. He did create some colourful colour woodcuts, usually expansive landscapes, like this example.

This is titled "The Garden of the Villa Carlotta"

The 16th century Villa Carlotta is Lake Como most famous villa and it's gardens have an international reputation, with it's three distinct styles of planting, the Eighteenth Century Italian garden overlooking the lakeside; the mid-Nineteenth Century English garden and the Nineteenth century botanical garden. It was a frequent stopping point on the Grand Tour and it is easy to see why it attracted artists; extensive views to mountains, together with colour and textures of the trees and flowers - inspiring !!

I wonder where else this artist travelled ?

and now to -- Lake Lugano - above as James captured it and as it is today, below.

He also created some coloured etchings in Italy.
Lake Lugano and Sorrento
see -

Full biographical details for this artist are difficult to track down. Fortunantly some work has been posted about census returns for his family - see Link . As I knew his father was Henry W Brewer, artist painter and draughtsman. As typical in Victorian England his family was large, at the time of the 1881 census he had 10 children ! and James wasn't born yet. James does appear on the 1901 census aged 19 and listed as an art student. His brothers, Henry C and Edward were also painters.

I'm sure there is more to find in later census - if you are keen !!