Frederick Walker, 'Autumn Days', wood engraving, 1862. Museum no. E.2960-1904
Frederick Walker (1840-1875)
Illustration to 'Autumn Days' by Dora Greenwell (1821-1882), published in 'A Round of Days' (1866); 'Picture Posies' (1874); 'English Rustic Pictures' (1882).
Edited and engraved by the Dalziel Brothers
Museum no. E.2960-1904
The process of wood engraving required highly skilled craftsmen. It became the most popular form of book illustration in the mid-19th century. Wood engravings were engraved on dense boxwood blocks which were then set and printed together with the type. The Dalziel Brothers (active 1839-1905) was one of the most influential wood engraving, printing and publishing firms from the 1860s to the 1880s. In 1857 they founded the Camden Press so that they could print and publish fine art or gift books such as the Bible Gallery, for which this engraving was done. They also wood engraved and printed for many of the leading publishers and periodicals of the period, playing a vital role in the flourishing of black and white illustration in the 1860s. From 1871 to 1879 the Dalziels were also in charge of the illustrations and engraving of the Household edition of Charles Dickens (1812-1870).
Frederick Walker was commissioned by the Dalziel Brothers to produce a series of prints. They gave him free rein to choose his subjects and then had poems written to suit the images.
Thomas Riley, 'Gathering Apples', etching, 1882. Museum no. E.5153-1904
Thomas Riley (active 1880s)
Published in Portfolio (Volume XIII, 1882)
Museum no. E.5153-1904
This print was published with the following caption: 'The association of human and vegetable forms is natural and happy; it is the union of the two greatest worlds of creation known to us, and it has been so valued and understood by the greatest artists of past times.'
Wenceslaus Hollar, 'Autumn', etching, 1641. Museum no. E.6143-1911
Wenceslaus Hollar (1607-1677)
Museum no. E.6143-1911
This print by Wenceslaus Hollar is one of a set of four etchings from a series 'The Four Seasons', each with a three-quarter length figure of a woman dressed appropriately for the time of year. The woman in this print depicts autumn. In her hand she holds an apple, a common pictorial reference to the season. It perhaps suggests other meanings too; the verses below the illustrations have erotic connotations and the apple can be perceived as the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge and a symbol of worldly sin.
Anonymous, 'The Months of the Year - September', wood engraving, 1870. Museum no. E.7061-1888
'The Months of the Year - September'
Wood engraving by R & L Taylor
Museum no. E.7061-1888
This print is from a series showing the months of the year. Although the purpose of the series is unknown, it was probably intended for publication in a magazine or annual. The prints employ popular imagery and symbolism to create an easily recognisable character for each month. In this engraving the imagery underlines the link between women and nature that was so popular in the 19th century.
Frederick Walker, 'Autumn', watercolour, 1865. Museum no. P.3-1911
Frederick Walker (1840-1875)
Signed and dated 1865
Museum no. P.3-1911
Given by the executors of Sir William Agnew Bt.
There was a great vogue in the 19th century for images that depicted idealised rustic or seasonal settings. This is often interpreted as an escapist response to the upheavals of urbanisation and industrialisation. Many Victorian artists also specialised in sentimental interpretations of the historical past, producing works that were emotionally resonant but rarely true to period. The concept of one's personal past also formed part of visual imagery, with a focus on the more poignant life events: birth, childhood, marriage and death.
In this image it seems probable that Walker is referring not only to the passage of the seasons, but also to the passage of human life. The apple and tree have biblical connotations of Eve and the Tree of Knowledge.
The Orchard, William Morris and John Henry Dearl, about 1863. Museum no. 154-1898
William Morris (1834-1896) and John Henry Dearle (1860-1932)
Made by Morris & Co
Tapestry woven in wool, silk and mohair on a cotton warp
Museum no. 154-1898
The Orchard was William Morris's first attempt to design a figurative tapestry, inspired by the wish of rich clients to have unique works of art by him, and by the success of his firm of Morris & Co in producing fine tapestries designed by the artist Edward Burne-Jones. It depicts an array of fruit trees with their harvest ready for gathering, including apples, grapes, olives and pears, behind a row of figures in medieval-inspired dress.
The figures are holding a scrolling banner with a poem of Morris' own composing, written especially for the tapestry, and celebrating the bounty of the orchard, and the rhythm of the seasons.
A Woman with Children Gathering Apples, Samuel Percy, about 1790-1820. Museum no. A.12-1970
A Woman with Children Gathering Apples
Samuel Percy (1750-1820)
Wax in gilt wood frame
Museum no. A.12-1970
Samuel Percy was one of the most popular and prolific wax modellers of the late 18th and early 19th century in Britain and specialized in portrait waxes as well as genre scenes such as this one. Wax has been used to create a wide variety of works of art, from sketching out objects as small and detailed as a rosary bead to sculptures as large and powerful as a monumental marble by Giambologna. In addition it is a versatile sculptural material in its own right, exhibiting on a small scale arresting dramatic qualities and often astonishing verisimilitude.
Léon Augustin L'Hermitte, 'The Market Place of Ploudalmézeau, Brittany', about 1877, about 1877. Museum no. CAI.68
Léon Augustin L'Hermitte (1844-1925)
'The Market Place of Ploudalmézeau, Brittany'
Oil on canvas
Museum no. CAI.68
Léon Augustin L'Hermitte painted mainly scenes of peasant and rural life which he exhibited at the Paris Salon from 1864. Like many artists of this period he was fascinated by the traditional dress and way of life of the Bretons. The small town of Ploudalmézeau, France is near the coast of Finistère, at the western tip of Brittany. The painting shows smallholders in the market place selling their produce of apples, carrots and cabbages.
Paul Drury, 'September', 1928. Museum no. E.3169-2004, © The Estate of Paul Drury
Paul Drury (1903-1987)
Museum no. E.3169-2004
Purchased through the Julie and Robert Breckman Print Fund
© The Estate of Paul Drury
Strongly influenced by the imagery of both Samuel Palmer and Edward Calvert, 'September' is the most successful of all Paul Drury's landscapes. It exquisitely evokes the peace and fecundity of the English countryside, bathed in the rich glow of late evening sunlight, as two women and a child gather fallen fruit from beneath an apple tree. With meticulous craftsmanship, the artist took the print through 13 etched states and careful burnishing of the plate in order to achieve his effects of subtly glimmering light.