Tuesday, 1 December 2020

Tuesday 1st December - Night (no.2)

 Oh good heavens!  Is it that time of year again? Mind you, 2020 has made time lose all meaning, so it might well still be March as far as I'm concerned.  However, as is traditional here at The Kissed Mouth, it is Blogvent!  This year I felt I should do something extra special and really delve into thorny art historical questions, bring themes of metaphysical discourse into a strong thesis on the real meaning of art in the twenty first century...  

Me, being a serious writing lady...

 But then I realised that sort of business does not keep a girl in stockings and fans, I am, by and large, stuffed with utter nonsense, and after all it's been a rather rum year  so I bring you twenty-four days of something that has been in rather short supply this year - kissing!  Welcome to Snogvent!

That's right, in the comfort of your own home, take your mask off and live vicariously through lust-addled Victorians and their many images of embracing in a un-socially-distant manner. 

First up (if you excuse the expression) is this one...

Night (no.2) (1907) William Orpen

This is an odd one for me to start with in a way, as it is far darker and less polished than my normal taste in art (I do love my High Victorian sharpness). However, there is a soft gorgeousness to it that is utterly romantic.  While looking for images for this month, I found that an awful lot of images of kissing didn't actually show people, well, kissing.  There was a lot of meaningful looks and stuff but no actual lip action.  While not being weird about this, I need lips touching, I don't care how awkward that is to paint! Sorry, that is being a bit weird about it, it's been a long year.  Anyway, Major Sir William Newenham Montague Orpen (1878-1931) was an Irish painter who had his studios in London.  One such 'studio' was his house, as shown here, 13 Royal Hospital Road, Chelsea.  He was rather partial to this view (minus the snogging) as he used it in other paintings, the same chair and window normally standing for isolation within a city...

Solitude or The Window: Night (1906)

Night (c.1907)

The long, drape-y curtains are the same, sometimes with the picture, sometimes with his round mirror (seen to such effect in The Mirror (1900)).  While the women alone seem pensive, and in Solitude, despairing, the woman in Night (no.2) is not alone.  The woman is in fact Orpen's wife, Grace Knewstub (relation of Rossetti's studio assistant Walter Knewstub) and the man who embraces her is a self portrait, showing all the warmth and love of the couple's marriage, but that was not to last.  A year after this loving image was created, Orpen had started an affair with Evelyn Saint-George, a married American  millionaire, with whom he had a child.

Well, ruined marriages aside, it's a lovely painting and a cosy way to start Snogvent, so I shall see you tomorrow for more kissing. 


Before you go, the lovely people at Unicorn have a lovely offer for you - up until Christmas, if you would like to buy a copy of either Light and Love or Girl Gang, you can do so for £10 each and receive a signed copy if you use the code KIRSTY at the checkout.

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