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Page 1: Catalogue of an exhibition of etchings of London, Amiens ...

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Digitized by the Internet Archive

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The Metropolitan Museum of Art 11

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DECEMBER 47x 7o 8187, 1907 _

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4 East 39TH STREET


DECEMBER 4TH To 31st, 1907

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N | EVER was the old adage, “ Beauty resides in the eye of the beholder,” more strikingly exemplified than in

these London etchings by Mr. Pennell. From the time of Hollar—whose records of Old London, before the great fire of 1666, are invaluable as historic documents— draftsmen of varying ability have portrayed isolated buildings or scenes which have ap- pealed to them; but not one of them has

recorded for us with such completeness, and in a manner at once so satisfying and so beautiful, as has Mr. Pennell, the range of artistic material which London presents,

from St. Paul’s, magnificent in its sooty grandeur, to that crowning monstrosity of misdirected energy, the Crystal Palace.

London is changing. Commerce and con- venience, beyond doubt, are served by such a badly needed thoroughfare as the newly constructed Kingsway; but in the “march

of progress” many a familiar and long-to- be-remembered building has vanished, and

forever. Of some of these, Mr. Pennell, fortunately, has preserved for us a record — a record not merely of the outward and visi-

ble appearance of a building, such as any photographer can give, but of the peculiar spirit which resides in it and in its environ- ment —for, to those who can apprehend it, houses, public buildings, churches, whole


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streets, indeed, possess, not less than per-

sons, an individuality peculiar to them- selves, which differentiates them one from

another in a manner unmistakable to the seeing eye.

That it is he who has revealed to us Lon- don, and the beauty of the City in the full- tide of its busy, every-day life, is as little to be questioned as that to Mr. Whistler is due

the honor — who would now be rash enough to withhold it ?—of having first felt and in-

terpreted the beauty of night — night which

could not be painted, so the critics asserted — in his beautiful ‘“ Nocturnes.” Americans both, yet to each of them has London — dear old smoky London, queen among

cities —shown her heart, to each of them

revealed the beauty and the poetry with

which she is saturated. In the “Tower Bridge,” with a few

scrawled lines anda little printer’s ink, what a wealth of sunset glory he has captured! How beautiful the mellow quiet that broods

over “The Dock Head”! Such etchings as these, done in what might be called Pennell’s bolder, more synthetic manner, seem to

mark the beginning of yet another phase of his ever-changing, ever-progressing, art — and who ean prophesy, in the case of an

artist of such resource and variety, com-

bined with such industry as is possible only to an American, where it may lead him?

On the river, Pennell’s themes, and his treatment of them, are open to comparison with the work of the supreme masters, Whistler and Haden. Leave the water- front, and the territory is well-nigh all his own. ‘True, Whistler, in a number of his later plates and in his lithographs, has left

us a priceless and imperishable record of

such things as interested him — little shops at Chelsea, the Old Clothes Exchange at


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Houndsditech, or what not—but he has searcely touched the rich mine from which

Mr. Pennell has taken many of his latest

and most satisfying artistic treasures. The

palaces, the Abbey, St. Paul’s, are Pennell’s

owh. Lincoln’s Inn Fields has furnished

him with themes for some of his most beau-

tiful plates, almost lacelike in their delicacy ;

“Classic London— St. Martin’s in the Fields” and ‘The Chureh of St. Mary le

Strand” are beautiful in the simplicity of their treatment, altogether satisfying; and

who has better rendered the complex and

never-ceasing flow of traffic than has he in such plates as “ St. Dunstan’s, Fleet Street,”

“Ludgate Hull,” or “ Leadenhall Market,” and by means so simple and so seemingly


Study any of the figures in these plates,

the horses, the cabs or ’busses. They are, in the main, ghosts, suggestions only; but

how well they take their places in the com-

position, how necessary they are, with how

few and simple strokes are they indicated!

The ‘‘ bobby,” the swell, the City man, the

newsboy, the flower-vender — the essential characteristics of each are there, yet the en- semble is never sacrificed to the individual. We may talk of Callot; he, master that he

was, drew his figures — hundreds, thousands

of them; but has he better conveyed, or as well, the sense of movement, of mass, as has Pennell in these London plates?

It is outside the scope of this note to consider them all, or even a small portion of them. Space forbids, and the etchings included in this latest London series num- ber nearly one hundred; but certain char- acteristics they haveincommon. From the

very beginning Mr. Pennell has had a re- markable sense of arrangement, of pattern, and in these etchings of London we see it in


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greater perfection than ever. In “ Classic London” and ‘* St. Mary le Strand,” already mentioned; in ‘‘ Bridge Street, Westmin- ster,” “‘ Victoria Tower, Westminster,” and

many another, how much of their charm depends upon the way in which they are placed upon the plate, the adjustment of the scene to the space it is to occupy, a wise reticence in line, and a use of blank spaces

where such were needed to bring out the beauty of an individual building, or to add dignity to the composition as a whole! All of these London etchings should be seen and studied. In each will be found some- thing, many things, to attract and charm, presented in a manner so direct, so seem- ingly simple and free from artifice, that one

entirely forgets the means whereby they got

themselves done, and enjoys only the result.


From ‘‘ Pennell’s London Etchings.”’

Reprinted, by permission, from J7Zz22-

sey’s Magazine, October, 1907.

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The plates of the entire London series and of the Amiens


and Beauvais series are now destroyed.

Leadenhall Market.

Ludgate Hill, showing the Holborn Viaduct.

Classic London,— St. Martin’s-in-the-Fields.

St. Paul’ e

Trial proof, before much additional work in the

sky, in the foreground and on the building to the


The Same.

The finished plate.

Cheyne Walk, Chelsea.

The House Where Whistler Died, No. 74 Cheyne Walk.

Lindsay Row.

Showing the house where Whistler painted the portrait of his mother.

Great College Street.

Rossetti’s House.

On Clapham Common.

‘The Pond, Clapham Common.

Westminster Abbey, West Front.

The Admiralty,

Seen from the archway which forms the en-

trance to Scotland Yard.

St. Clement Dane’s.



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The Haymarket Theatre.

St. Dunstan’s, Fleet Street.

‘The Gothic Cross.

In front of Charing Cross Station.

The Great Gate, Lincoln’s Inn,

Lincoln’s Inn Fields.

‘The Old Court, Lincoln’s Inn.

The Hall, Lincoln’s Inn.

Entrance to the Hall, Lincoln’s Inn.

Greenwich Park, Number One.

Trial proof, retouched in india ink, by the artist,

as an indication for further work.


The Same.

The finished plate.

Greenwich Park, Number Two.

Waterloo Bridge and Somerset House.

King’s College, The Embankment Gate.

Trafalgar Square.

Albert Hall.

St. Bartholomew’s Gate.

Entrance to Henry VII’s Chapel, Westminster Abbey.

Trial proof, before the additional work in the


The Same.

The finished plate.

The Dock Head.

The Clock Tower, from the Surrey Side.

London Bridge Stairs.

Waterloo Towers.

Whitehall Court.

The Tower Bridge.

St. Paul’s, The West Door.

Second state.

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Bridge Street, Westminster.

The Great Cranes, South Kensington.

Cumberland Terrace, Regent’s Park.

No. 230 Strand.

The Thames, from Richmond Hill.

Hampton Court Palace.

The Crystal Palace.

Trial proof, before much additional work in the

sky, and on the terrace in the middle distance.

The Same.

The finished plate.

At Richmond,

St. James’s Palace.

Cumberland Gate, Regent’s Park.

The Marble Arch.

The Coliseum.

Trial proof, before the birds and the clouds in

the sky, and before much additional work on

the columns of the buildings to the right and left

of the composition, the roof of the houses, ete.

The Same.

St. Mary-le-Strand.

The Last of Old London.

St. Bartholomew’s, The Founder’s Tomb.

St. John’s Gate, Clerkenwell.

Spitalfield’s Church.

St. Augustin’s and St. Faith’s.

The Gate of the Temple.

The Guild Hall.

There were only three or four satisfactory im-

pressions of this plate.

Cannon Street Station.


Hempstead Ponds,

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66 Royal Windsor.



Bushey Park.

Showing the famous Horse-chestnut Avenue,

which is the finest approach to Hampton Court


The Vale of Health.

The memory of Keats, Leigh Hunt, Cowden

Clark and their friends will always hang around

this place.



69 The West Front, Amiens,

The Cathedral of Amiens, begun in 1220, is in

purity and majesty of design perhaps the finest

existing medieval structure. It is 469 feet long,

213 across the transepts, and about 150in height

of nave-vaulting. The incomparable fagade has

three huge porches covered with the richest

sculpture, two galleries, the lower arecaded, the

upper filled with statues of kings, and a great

rose and gable between two low, square towers.

The interior is simple and most impressive.

70 Amiens.


71 The Transept, Beauvais.

The Cathedral of Beauvais is a fragment con-

sisting merely of choir and transepts, begun in

1225 with the intention of surpassing all other

existing churches. The plan failed, owing to

stinted expenditure on the foundations, which

proved too weak for the stupendous superstrue-

ture. The choir, presenting the most beautiful

13th century vaulting and tracery, is 104 feet

long and 157 from vaulting to pavement. It

possesses superb medieval glass. The great

transepts are Flamboyant.

Towers of the Bishop’s Palace, Beauvais.

La Place, Beauvais.

South Door, Beauvais.

North Side, Beauvais. 10

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76 The West Front, Rouen Cathedral.

The Cathedral is one of the most impressive

existing. The wide front ranges in date from

the Romanesque to the Flamboyant. The

Florid south tower (Tour de Beurre) is notable.

The transepts possess fine rose-windows and

admirable seulpture in profusion about their

rich gabled portals. The length of the cathe-

dral is 447 feet; the height of the nave 92.

17 The Cloisters and the Transept Tower, Rouen Cathedral.

78 The Flower Market and the Butter Tower, Rouen.

79 West Tower, from the Cloisters, Rouen.

80 West Tower, from Rue de la Grosse Horloge, Rouen.

81 Grosse Horloge.

82 Market Place, Rouen.

83 Old Rowen, St. Maclou.

84 Rouen, from Bon Secours.

85 Porch of St. Maclou, Rouen.

86 West Front of St. Maclou, Rouen.

87 ‘Tower of St. Ouen.

The abbey chureh of St. Ouen, a celebrated

monument of great size and harmony of design,

was built in the 14th and 15th centuries, except

the fagade, which was finished only recently in

a somewhat earlier style than the remainder.

The central lantern is as famous for grace and

lightness as that of Burgos. Other beauties are

the porch of the south transept and the admir-

able grouping of the apse and radiating chapels.

The length is 453 feet; the height of the nave,



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