Friday, March 7, 2008
Lady Laura Alma-Tadema - Winter
signed and dated 'Laura/T.A.T./op XLIX'; oil on canvas
36 x 28%in. (91.4 x 71.7cm.)
Royal Academy. 1881. no.594
1852 - 1909.
The artist was born Laura Theresa Epps; her father. Dr Napoleon Epps, was a well-known homoepathic practitioner, her sister Ellen, who was also a painter married Edmund Gosse. Laura studied under Alma-Tadema when he came to England in 1870 on the outbreak of the Prussian War, and married him, as his second wife, the following year. The influence of seventeenth-century Dutch painting, latent in her husband's meticulously rendered subjects, was overt in her own rather homely genre scenes and she encouraged this element in the lavish but decorative ensembles which the couple created a themselves first at Townshend House, Regent's Park where they settled on their marriage, and then at 34 Grove Road, St Johns Wood to which they moved in 1884. Alice Meynell wrote of her: 'In the details of domestic life. habits, Dutch furniture, and Dutch dress of the gentler more courtly sort in the seventeenth century. Mrs Tadema has found unconventional, honest, and ... homely grace ... The artist has surrounded herself by relics and of the time and the country she loves ... and thus her pictures seem to be produced within a genuine little Holland, in a genuine seventeenth century, without the blunders of ordinary historical research (op. cit. p.345). The artist exhibited regularly at the Royal Academy from 1873. She also supported Grosvenor and New Galleries, the Paris Salon and the Academy, and was one of only two English women artists contribute to the International Exhibition in Paris in 1878.
The present picture was exhibited at the Royal Academy a 1881, and found favour with F.G. Stephens. the art critic of the Athenaeum. 'Mrs Tadema's Winter'. he wrote 'is a powerfully illuminated and coloured snow-piece, where a little boy drives a little girl in a Dutch sledge. It is marked by good and truthful colouring, and right adjustment of the tones of the sledge and the snow'. Alice Meyner described and reproduced the picture in her article on the artist published in the Art Journal two years later. 'In Winter ... we have the variety of outdoor life; but even here the Dutch child keeps her little matronly air of dignity; she is enfolded in the neatest wraps, and her doll shares demure delight of a ride in the carved sledge.
at 8:12 AM