THE SUN RISING IN A MIST
Artist: J. M. W. Turner ____________ Engraver: J. C. Armytage
Note: the title in the table above is printed below the engraving
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PRINT DATE: This lithograph was printed in 1862; it is not a modern reproduction in any way.
PRINT SIZE: Overall print size is 8 1/2 inches by 11 1/2 inches including white borders, actual scene is 7 1/2 inches by 9 1/2 inches.
PRINT CONDITION: Condition is excellent. Bright and clean. Blank on reverse. Paper is quality woven rag stock paper.
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FROM THE ORIGINAL DESCRIPTION: This is one of the two pictures bequeathed by Turner to the country under the express condition that they should hang in the National Gallery side by side with two of the famed paintings by Claude in that collection; the other is the 'Carthage' and we can readily understand why the artist should desire to have this placed in juxtaposition with the work to rival which, it is said, he had painted it, because there is an undoubted similarity of character in the compositions: but 'The Sun rising in a Mist' has, so far as the subject is concerned, not a single point of harmony with any Claude we ever saw. There is not an Italian feature throughout the whole work- it is entirely English, and unless it was intended to institute a comparison between things of opposite character, which no one would think of doing who desires to arrive at a just estimate of each, the wish of Turner can only be regarded as one of those strange idiosyncrasies of mind peculiar to the great painter.
Could he have seen the pictures as they now hang, we cannot for one moment doubt he would at once have been convinced of his mistake, for, though the authorities of the National Gallery have put an intervening space between them, it is not sufficient to keep the eye, when looking at either from a short distance, to take in a portion of the other; as a consequence, the rich and glowing tones of the 'Carthage,' though it is not by any means painted in high colors, overpower the comparatively somber low tints of its companion. On both sides the picture suffers-to the right is the 'Carthage,' on the same plane, to the left Claude's 'Marriage of Isaac and Rebecca;' the latter placed somewhat at an angle, it is true, but still the bright blue coloring of the sky and its green sward "kill"-to use a technicality- Turner's low-toned 'Sun rising in a Mist.' To the right of the 'Carthage,' at the opposite angle, is Claude's 'Embarkation of the Queen of Sheba,' over which our artist's grand composition of the rival city of Rome has the complete mastery; so that if Turner loses by comparison with himself and with his prototype on one hand, he gains immeasurably on the other. Whatever advantages or disadvantages, however, result from the hanging, the trustees of the gallery were bound to obey Turner's injunctions, or the pictures would have been lost to the nation: these injunctions were that they should always be placed between the 'Marriage of Isaac and Rebecca' and the 'Embarkation of the Queen of Sheba.'
'The Sun rising in a Mist,' or, as Turner named it, 'The Sun rising through Vapour: Fishermen cleaning and selling Fish,' was painted in 1807, when the artist was in the prime of his life, and his powers had received no especial bias towards the works of any other painter, or from his own peculiar fancies and theories; it has never appeared to us as possessing any very great qualities; the subject is common-place enough, such as a hundred other artists might easily have composed, and there is nothing of especial excellence in the treatment to carry it beyond the range of a carefully and solidly painted picture, true and natural; the execution throughout is certainly perfect, but Turner's close study of objects is eminently seen in the group of flat fish in the foreground-they literally sparkle in the faint rays of the misty sun. The arrangement of the subject-matter is judicious: the end of the old pier and the boats below are balanced by the fishing-smacks which have come in after the night's labors; to connect these two points, a two-decked vessel of war, of the last century build, lies broadside to the shore.
The artist gave this picture to Sir John Leicester, afterwards Lord De Tabley, in exchange for 'The Shipwreck,' an engraving of which appeared in the Art-Journal of last year. When his lordship's gallery was dispersed, in 1827, Turner purchased the painting for the sum of £519 15s.; the price he had put upon it when negotiating the exchange with Sir John Leicester was £500.
BIOGRAPHY OF ARTIST: Joseph Mallord William Turner, (1775-1851) English landscape painter, b. London. Turner was the foremost English romantic painter and the most original of English landscape artists. He received almost no general education but at 14 was already a student at the Royal Academy of Arts and three years later was making topographical drawings for magazines. In 1791 for the first time he exhibited two watercolors at the Royal Academy. In the following 10 years he exhibited regularly, was elected a member (1802), and was made professor of perspective (1807). By 1799 the sale of his work had freed him from drudgery and he devoted himself to the visionary interpretations of landscape for which he became famous. In 1802 he made a trip to the Continent, where he painted his famous Calais Pier(National Gall., London). From then on he traveled constantly in England or abroad, making innumerable direct sketches from which he drew material for his studio paintings in oil and watercolor. Turner showed a remarkable ability to distill the best from the tradition of landscape painting. Influence of the Dutch masters is apparent in his Sun Rising through Vapor(National Gall., London). In the vein of the French classical landscape painter, Claude Lorrain, he produced the Liber Studiorum(1807-19), 70 drawings that were later reproduced by engraving under Turner's supervision. Among the paintings evocative of Claude's style are his Dido Building Carthage(National Gall., London) and Crossing the Brook(Tate Gall., London). Despite his early and continued success Turner lived the life of a recluse. As his fame grew he maintained a large gallery in London for exhibition of his work, but continued to live an obscure existence with his old father. His painting became increasingly abstract as he strove to portray light, space, and the elemental forces of nature. Characteristic of his later period are his paintings The Fighting Téméraireand Rain, Steam, and Speed(both: National Gall., London). His late Venetian works, which describe atmospheric effects with brighter colors, include The Grand Canal(Metropolitan Mus.) and Approach to Venice(National Gall., Washington, D.C.). Turner encountered violent criticism as his style became increasingly free, but he was passionately defended by Sir Thomas Lawrence and the youthful Ruskin. His will, which was under litigation for many years, left more than 19,000 watercolors, drawings, and oils to the nation. Most of these works are in the National Gallery and the Tate Gallery, London. Many of Turner's oils have deteriorated badly. In watercolor he is unsurpassed.
Please note: the terms used in our auctions for engraving, etching, lithograph, plate, photogravure etc. are ALL prints on paper, and NOT blocks of steel or wood or any other material. "ENGRAVINGS", the term commonly used for these paper prints, were the most common method in the 1700s and 1800s for illustrating old books, and these paper prints or "engravings" were created by the intaglio process of etching the negative of the image into a block of steel, copper, wood etc, and then when inked and pressed onto paper, a print image was created. These prints or engravings were usually inserted into books, although many were also printed and issued as loose stand alone lithographs. They often had a tissue guard or onion skin frontis to protect them from transferring their ink to the opposite page and were usually on much thicker quality woven rag stock paper than the regular prints. So this auction is for an antique paper print(s), probably from an old book, of very high quality and usually on very thick rag stock paper.
A RARE FIND! AND GREAT DECORATION FOR YOUR OFFICE OR HOME WALL.