Saturday, March 15, 2008

James Clarke Hook

[The Brook] 1859

This painting is both realistic and symbolic. It depicts an actual scene near Chiddingfold in Surrey with the detail closely observed in a way that greatly pleased Ruskin. But the figures, reading from right to left represent the different ages of 'man' and the RA catalogue included these lines from Tennyson's '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 for ever.

Hook was mainly known for his seascapes.

[Young Dreams]

[Luff, Boy!] 1858

Painted after his visits to Clovelly in North Devon.

--- James Clarke Hook and Painters of the Sea exhibition ---
till June 8th
Penlee House Gallery, Penzance

Woman Behind the Painter: The Diaries of Rosalie, Mrs James Clarke Hook
by Juliet McMaster (Editor)
University of Alberta Press (2005)

Amazon Synopsis
The wife of the prominent Victorian painter of seascapes, James Clarke Hook (1819-1907), Rosalie was a trained artist herself, and brought her artist's sensibility, her humour, and her talent for relationships to the project of writing a diary of their travels to Italy in the two turbulent years of the Risorgimento leading up to 1848. Hook had won a travelling studentship from the Royal Academy, on the strength of which he married, so the couple's European travels were their working honeymoon. Hook's career as an Academician lasted over fifty years, during the great boom in the Victorian art market; and Rosalie's subsequent diary records a busy professional couple in the thick of running a country home with studio, annual trips to the bracing coastal sites where Hook painted, and their relations with such famous contemporaries as Holman Hunt, G F Watts, and John Everett Millais. Juliet McMaster, a descendant of the Hooks, provides a fascinating introduction on their professional and personal lives. The book is illustrated throughout by Hook's vivid sketches of Florence, Rome, Parma and Venice, hitherto unpublished, and by many of James's and Rosalie's paintings.

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