Wednesday, September ?, 1889

Wednesday Sept. ——-

Went to the exposition. Visited the art galleries of England, Holland, Belgium, Spain, Hungary and the United States. Englands display is poor, much more so than United States. The chief thing of interest to me was a life size picture of Gladstone by Millais, magnificent. He is standing as though addressing the House of Parliament and the flash of his intellect seems almost to speak from the canvass. A beautiful life size portrait of Lady Coldridge, daughter of the – –

poet, in a white lace robe, by Leighton , is to me one of the sweetest things in the gallery. The”Last Rose of Summer” is also superb

The United States display occupies four rooms. Two statues by Story stands at the entrance as you ascend the star case. Some things are fine, especially Bridgman’s picture “Pirate of Lore” attracting crowds. It is in three parts in one immense frame. A/ beautiful girl has fallen asleep in a garden, a peacock fan in her hand. The flowers about her,the shade and vines are climing over the garden wall ; her sweet innocent heavenly face unconscious of all but peace, while over the wall peers a villian. In the next picture the villian has  attacked her, while she is struggling to defend herself, and in the last she lays dead pierced to the heart. The coloring and awful story make it interesting, and the artistic s kill of Bridgman have here found full expression.

[This is the first of a few entries in this subsection that have no exact date but are interspersed with entries that have exact dates whose order doesn’t match up with those that don’t, all leading me to believe that these small number of entries may have been typed out of order.]

[Millais painted multiple portraits of British Prime Minister W. E. Gladstone, and so far I have been unable to definitively determine which one was exhibited at the Exposition, though it seems likely it was one painted in the 1880’s. The art critiques I have read suggest that today these portraits are generally not looked very favorably upon as accurately portraying Gladstone’s character, as portrait painting was overall still supposed to do in the Victorian era.]

[By “Coldridge” Addie appears to mean the poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge, but she was confused about his family in this entry. His only known daughter was Sara Coleridge; Sara had died in 1852. The portrait of a woman in the Coleridge family by the painter Frederic Leighton is of Amy Augusta Jackson Coleridge (nee Lawford), second wife of Lord John Coleridge, who was a grand-nephew of the poet. Here is a reproduction of the painting that seems to best match Addie’s description, “Amy Augusta, Lady Coleridge.” Sources vary on its exact date, with some only giving a range; a few sites date it as being finished in 1890, but if it is the correct painting, it would have to have been finished by 1889. It is also possible that this painting really was finished in 1890 and there is a second painting of Lady Amy Augusta Coleridge by Leighton that I haven’t located online. For those interested, here is a contemporary article about Lord and Lady Coleridge’s sensational 1885 marriage.]

[“The Last Rose of Summer” appears to have been a popular painting title, both then and more recently. Without an artist’s name to narrow down results, so far I have been unable to determine which painting titled “The Last Rose of Summer” was shown at the Exposition Universelle de 1889. I did discover that it was a popular song in the late 1800’s and that the song is believed to have inspired at least some of the paintings.]

[It is very likely that the artist Bridgman to which Addie referred was American artist Frederick Arthur Bridgman, one of the top “Orientalist” painters of the mid-19th century to early 20th century and one of the best-known American painters of the time. Bridgman had studied at Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris under Jean-Léon Gérôme and frequently participated in the Paris Salon. An “Orientalist” painter being featured at the Exposition Universelle de 1889 fits well with what seems to have been a major theme that year. Today Bridgman appears to not be very well known in the States outside of art history and art dealer circles. Here is a blog post on him. Here is a website devoted to him, featuring copies of many of his paintings. If you are browsing at work, be aware that number of his paintings are of nudes. With regards to the specific reference in this journal entry, I have yet to find a painting or set of paintings that he did called “Pirate of Lore”; perhaps it was a colloquial name commonly known at the time.]

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