Belgium Indomitable: a Yell of Fury


This dramatic picture by Jean Delville, a Professor at the Royal Academy of Brussels, was included in ‘Allies in Art‘, one of several art compendiums published during the First World War mostly aimed at raising funds for wounded soldiers, and in this instance, to aid Belgian refugees fleeing their devastated homeland.

'Belgium Indomitable' by Jean Delville

‘Belgium Indomitable’ by Jean Delville

The accompanying commentary reads:

“This is not a painting; it is a yell of fury, a bitter cry of outraged national feeling. M. Delville was a professor at the Glasgow School of Art, and his decorations of the Palais de Justice in Brussels, which in their strong dramatic outline recall the work of Alfred Rethel, have won him European fame.”


The Great God Pan

'The Great God Pan' by Norman Price

‘The Great God Pan’ by Norman Price

This bucolic image of a laughing Pan is by Norman Mills Price (American, 1877-1951) and dates to around 1910. It comes from the  Elizabeth Barrett Browning volume in the ‘A Day with the Poets’ series, by May Byron, and illustrates a stanza from Barrett Browning’s poem ‘The Musical Instrument‘:

“This is the way,” laugh’d the great god Pan,
(Laugh’d while he sat by the river,)
“The only way, since gods began
To make sweet music, they could succeed.”
Then, dropping his mouth to a hole in the reed,
He blew in power by the river.

The Ages of John Ruskin

The Ages of John Ruskin

The Ages of John Ruskin

“He gave us eyes for we were blind,
He bade us know and hear
By him the wonder of the mind
Of God on earth was clear.

We knew the travail of his soul,
We thank Thee for his rest.
Lord, lead us upward to his goal
The pure, the true, the best.”

These are the concluding verses of the hymn sung at John Ruskin‘s funeral on 25th January 1900 when he was buried in Coniston churchyard. The hymn was written by Canon Hardwicke Rawnsley; it didn’t go down very well with everyone as a clergyman in a Liverpool parish magazine described it as “shocking blasphemy and a disgrace to God’s House.”

Hardwicke however thought “that the thanks to God expressed in that last verse for the rest which had been granted were felt by all who sang it; and as we went through the sleet and rain towards the deodars, and the white crosses which mark the resting-places of the ladies of the Thwaite, though tears fell, there was, in the deep that is beyond tears, the comfort of the thought that the labourer had at last “gone home and ta’en his wages.”

(The images come from “The Portraits of John Ruskin” by M.H. Spielmann in The Magazine of Art, 1891; the text comes from “Canon Rawnsley. An account of his life” by Eleanor F. Rawnsley, 1923).

Fashion in 1848


1848 was the year of Revolution in Europe, and also the year that the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood was founded. According to “Les Modes Parisiennes“, fashionable ladies of 1848 were wearing outfits such as the ones shown below.


Fashion in the year 1848

Hope by GF Watts

'Hope' by GF Watts

‘Hope’ by GF Watts

Hope‘ is one of the most recognisable images of the Victorian era, and also one of the most reproduced as a print.

In her 1904 biography of GF Watts, his biographer Rose Sketchley comments that “’Hope‘ echoes so faintly the ancient assertion of her power, is so evidently sick with the infection of the close thinking on the event that has bent her form from her old upward-pointing height, that she is not to be known but by careful inquest.

Hope,’ Mr. Watts explains, “need not mean expectancy. It suggests here rather the music that can come from the remaining chord.”

An extract from ‘The Pictures of Ideas’, in ‘Watts’ (Little Books on Art) (1904) by R.E.D. Sketchley (Rose Esther Dorothea Sketchley, 1875-1949).