Rambling with Rothenstein (1): Introduction

Rambling 0

John Rothenstein wrote “An Introduction to English Painting” over fifty years ago. It’s a narrative account taking us from the illuminated manuscripts of the Lindisfarne Gospels through to the art and artists of the 1950s. A lot has changed since then, socially and culturally; our ways of seeing are necessarily different.

Nevertheless, I thought that in this “time of lockdown”, it might be interesting to follow Rothenstein’s path – a gentle research project, meandering off now and then – using his book as a map and rummaging in the Internet for related images, articles and so on.

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The Common Viewer

aims to create, from whatever odds and ends, some kind of whole – a portrait of the artist, the sketch of an age, some stories of art – albeit rickety and ramshackle

(a ‘mis/translation’ of The Common Reader, Virginia Woolf, 1929)

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John Rothenstein was Director of Leeds City Art Gallery and then the Tate.
He was the son of actress Alice Knewstub and artist William Rothenstein who portrayed the two-year-old John with his mother in “Mother and Child” (1903; Tate)

Mother and Child 1903 by Sir William Rothenstein 1872-1945

https://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/rothenstein-mother-and-child-t05075

(As a young man Rothenstein Sr. spent time in Paris with Toulouse-Lautrec and Charles Conder:
https://thecommonviewer.wordpress.com/2019/01/12/toulouse-lautrec-the-englishmen-at-the-moulin-rouge/ )

There are several portraits of the adult John Rothenstein at the National Portrait Gallery https://www.npg.org.uk/ , including a fabulous 1927 painting by Jacques-Emile Blanche:

Rambling 3

John was married to illustrator and fellow-writer Elizabeth (nee Smith) whose work includes an insightful biography of Stanley Spencer, sadly out of print.

Already we digress, but that is very much the point of this ramble: to wander off via books, pictures and especially, given our state of isolation, websites of interest.

And it is very much a conversation,

do please add in anything else you find along the way!

About TheCommonViewer

Researching "British Art Groups - from the Ancients to the Surrealists" (notes protected - please contact me for password); plus related reviews & ramblings! Twitter: @TheCommonViewer

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