Sunday, 30 June 2013

The Rejection of Classicism: Émile Jean-Horace Vernet

Émile Jean-Horace Vernet (Paris, France, 30th June 1789 – Paris, France, 17th January 1863) 

Self Portrait with Pipe by Emile Jean-Horace Vernet
Self Portrait with Pipe - 1835

There can be little more illustrious start in life for an artist than being born in the Louvre itself but for Vernet, that's just what happened. A third generation painter, Vernet rejected Classicism and went in search of truth, particularly in his sometimes warts and all depictions of the French military. 

A particular favourite of the duc d'Orleans, the future King Louis-Philippe, Vernet became celebrated for his depictions of battle and eventually added Napoléon III to his patrons, travelling with the French Army to the Crimea in search of subjects. 

According to the author, Dr John Watson, a certain  consulting detective of Baker Street claimed Vernet as a relative, and who am I to argue?

Polish Prometheus by Émile Jean-Horace Vernet
Polish Prometheus - 1831

Hunting in the Pontine Marshes by Émile Jean-Horace Vernet
Hunting in the Pontine Marshes - 1833

Saturday, 29 June 2013

The Journey to Glegarry

The Most Reverend Alexander MacDonell by Martiin Archer Shee, 1823
The Most Reverend Alexander MacDonell by Martin Archer Shee, 1823
On 29th June 1786, Bishop Alexander Macdonell boarded a ship with more than 500 Scottish Roman Catholics, bound for Canada. After serving as Chaplain of his very own regiment, The Glengarry Fencibles, the Bishop and his displaced clansmen were in search of a place to call their own and they finally found it in Ontario, where they established a Catholic foothold and Macdonell went on to high office within the church. 

Friday, 28 June 2013

"Everywhere he is in chains...": Jean Jacques Rousseau

Jean Jacques Rousseau (Geneva, Switzerland, 28th June 1712 -  Ermenonville, France, 2nd July 1778)

Jean Jacques Rousseau by Jean Jacques Rousseau, Maurice Quentin de La Tour, 1753
Jean Jacques Rousseau by Jean Jacques Rousseau, Maurice Quentin de La Tour, 1753

Writer, philosopher, composer and all round thinking man, Rousseau's political philosophy had an enormous impact not only in his time but far beyond. The father of the modern biography, a philosophical architect of the French Revolution and Jacobin Club mainstay, Rousseau's views were not universally popular.  His remains were eventually interred in the Pantheon and even now his theories are hotly debated by modern philosophers. 

Before I go to Vauxhall...

Welcome to A Covent Garden Gilflurt's Guide to Life.

If you're interested in the scandalous and utterly fabulous social, political and artistic whirlwind that was life in the Georgian era, then you've stopped by the right gin shop. I'll be looking at some of the greatest rakes and harlots, telling tales of royal intrigue and examining the literature and art of the 18th and 19th century as well as gadding about all over the Georgian era in search of interesting tales and folk.

I'd love to hear from you if you share my passion but for now, the salon is waiting!