Wednesday, 5 December 2012

5th December - Christmas Cheer

I've eaten a fair few mince pies over the last few days, mainly because I've been making them.  They are somewhat delicious and make me feel all Christmas-y, and slightly intoxicated, mainly because of the heroic amounts of brandy that I put in my mincemeat.  Oh yes, I lovingly hand-craft my own mincemeat too.  Well, I slap it all together with booze and suet, if that counts as the same thing.  Anyhow, if Christmas had a flavour, it may well be brandy flavoured...

Christmas Cheer Henry John Yeend King
Yeend King brings us an image of a politely boozey Christmas - some musicians have been offered a glass of something warming from a comely maid from a nice house, for which they look grateful.  Everything looks a bit frosty and cold, emphasised by the scarves worn by the musicians, and nicely shown by the pale watercolours used by the artist.  I promise one of my mince pies could keep you warm for a goodly long time...

Yeend King is one of those artists who is famous and yet the name does not spring readily to mind.  He was better known in Victorian times, due to his choice of genre subjects and scenes of rather nice everyday life.

A Winter Wonderland
Lovely, everyone loves a woman in a headscarf.  Anyhow, last blogvent, I featured another one of Yeend King's pictures, Three Score Years and Ten, showing snowy wonder and a nice red brolly.  Despite the subtle grimness of the image, it does look rather cold, it is still very lovely, with the glorious red umbrella catching your eye and comforting you with the impression that the old lady will get home, warm and safe under the care of her granddaughter, daughter, or random female relative.  Similarly the use of the golden glimmer of the violin and the booze nicely springs out at you as you view Christmas Cheer.  I love the powdery blue of the man on the right's coat and the pink of the maid's dress, all muted and winter-y.  In one piece I found about him, it described his work as bucolic, which I had to look up.  But, yes, his work is very bucolic (relating to pleasant aspects of countryside life), but I don't think he shows a fantasy, he just concentrates on the more pleasing aspects.  A bit like a BBC Sunday evening serial.

Anyhow, the notion of being presented with a glass of something pleasant, rather than the paint-stripper that musicians usually neck, is delightful and full of good will to all men, even men who fiddle in the street.

Now I know I've had too many mince pies, as that last bit made me giggle.  I best go and lie down.  See you tomorrow....


  1. In appearance Yeend King was a contrast to the conventional idea of an artist, being clean-shaven, wearing his hair short, and having a genial smile and a great fund of humor. Like most painters, however, he was a real Bohemian, with a wonderful collection of funny stories, which he told well. He was seldom without a snuff-box, although he himself was not a constant snuff-taker.

    I think you'd have taken to him Kirsty

  2. A man with funny stories and his own snuff is always welcome...

  3. Famous in his lifetime maybe but now pretty much forgotten. Tate took his "Milking Time" painting and just keeps it in storage since they purchased it as far as I know. Some of his work is a bit impressionist like.

  4. The works they have in the Russell-Cotes are very popular and when I feature his work here I always get an enthusiastic response. Time for a retrospective perhaps?

  5. Do you know what happened to the painting Three Score Years and Ten? Did Russell-Cotes sell it?

    Three Score Years and Ten, 1886 (oil on canvas)
    King, Henry John Yeend (1855-1924)
    Primary creator:
    © Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum, Bournemouth, UK
    oil on canvas
    1886 (C19th)

    I saw it sold here in Missouri:

  6. What often happened in the past was that if an artist had a popular painting, they did more than one version of it. No, of course the Russell-Cotes haven't sold it! Look here: (

    You can also see it at the South Shields Museum and Art Gallery (

    If you are in any doubt, Your Paintings on the BBC website is basically the Public Collections Fund website listing (in theory) every painting owned by a public collection in this country, with illustrations. There are 52 paintings by King on there, and they are rather splendid!


Many thanks for your comment. I shall post it up shortly! Kx