Saturday, May 15, 2010
James Clarke Hook - The Brook
full title : THE BROOK - "AND OUT AGAIN I CURVE AND FLOW, TO JOIN THE BRIMMING RIVER; FOR MEN MAY COME, AND MEN MAY GO, BUT I GO ON FOREVER." - TENNYSON
signed with initials and dated l.r.: 18JCH59
oil on canvas
26 1/2 by 41 1/2 in.
Hammer Price with Buyer's Premium: 18,750 GBP
F. G. Stephens, J.C. Hook, R.A., His Life and Work, The Art Annual, 1888, p.22
The Brook was much praised when it was first exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1859. John Ruskin wrote, in Academy Notes, concluding a notice of Hook's three 1859 exhibits with the words 'Infinite thanks, Mr Hook, for [Luff, Boy!, a painting of a young fisher-boy which seemed to Ruskin to give reassurance of British naval valour and prowess at a time when there were fears of war with France]; for our "Brook of Human Life" [the present painting], and our "Hours of Listless Sway on Gentle Wave". All of them beautiful. The distant landscape in that brook scene is one of the sweetest ever found by painter - for found it evidently is, not composed.' The critic for the Art Journal similarly commended the truthfulness and accuracy of observation in the work, when he wrote: 'The subject is, of course, a brook shaded by trees, and over which, on the right, passes a wooden bridge, painted with happiest reality. It has been worked out with the most earnest labour, from a given locality.' Frederic George Stephens further explained the intended allegory in his essay on the artist for the Art Annual: 'A cart, with an old man and a young man in it, is entering the shallow stream, which is spanned by a rustic wooden bridge; over this a young woman passes, caressing a baby, while, leaning on the handrail, a country boy is talking to the young man. The "moral" of the design is distinct, and could not but give significance of these earthly shows of beauty which, although "men may come and go", are for ever renewed.'
at 5:00 PM