Thursday, May 28, 2015

William Logsdail: From Cityscapes to Portraits

William Logsdail (1859-1944) was born in the hill city of Lincoln in the English Midlands and received his initial art training there before going to Antwerp for further study. So it might be said that his training was probably competently done for the times, but not at the elite level. But training can only take someone part of the way; personal factors come to the fore once a career is launched. In Logsdail's case, architecture was a strong interest, so his best known works include scenes of the cities of Venice and London. He could portray people as well, so by the early 20th century switched to portraiture for a more reliable income stream. His Wikipedia entry is here.

I don't believe I've ever seen a Logsdail painting in person, so my evaluation of the London scenes below must be tentative. The impression I have is that although they seem fairly tightly done, this is slightly loosened by his use of color and atmospheric perspective. Some other works shown below are painted more loosely, though his portraits of the 1900s generally seem to have a high degree of finish.


An interesting point of view. Shown is the central tourist zone square-on. Most artists choose to paint from the opposite side of the Grand Canal and sight down it.

Venice - 1881

Eve of the Regatta - 1881
Some of the better American illustrators of 1895-1930 painted scenes much like this.

By the Lion of St. Mark, Venice - 1885
Here Logsdail sights along the canal, but this view is in the opposite direction from the usual depictions.

Church of Santa Maria della Salute, Venice - 1885
Another unconventional viewpoint. The Church is usually shown with the canal or its shoreline in the foreground, rather than from a subsidiary canal as done here. This viewpoint is one a photographer might select, though Logsdail was a plein-air artist in those days and didn't use reference photos so far as I know.

St. Paul's and Ludgate Hill - ca. 1884
An historical document, this is.

Bank and the Royal Exchange - 1887

The Bank of England - 1888

St. Martin's-in-the-Fields - 1888

The Greek Theatre, Taormina, Sicily - 1890s
Having visited Taormina a year ago, I can vouch that Logsdail did a good job of capturing the scene. That's Mt. Etna in the background. Today, the shoreline is built up and large tourist hotels can be found.

John William Waterhouse - ca. 1887
Portrait of the well-known Victorian artist. The style is similar to that used by the Glasgow Boys school.

The Artist's Wife - ca. 1905

George Nathaniel Curzon - 1909
Curzon had been Viceroy of India before this was painted.

Mary Victoria Leiter, Lady Curzon - 1909
A posthumous portrait of Curzon's first wife.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Great historical portraits! Thanks a ton for sharing this wonderful post. I am an Aboriginal Art painter and love going to the art events. Last week I attended a fantastic art event in New York. All the paintings were extremely beautiful over there!