Thomas Seddon

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For the New Zealand politician see Tom Seddon

Thomas Seddon (London, 28 August 1821 – Cairo, 23 November 1856) was an English landscape painter associated with the Pre-Raphaelite movement, who painted colourful and highly detailed scenes of Brittany, Egypt and Jerusalem.

Contents

Life

The Citadel of Cairo, 1856 Seddon The Citadel of Cairo.jpg
The Citadel of Cairo, 1856
Jerusalem and the Valley of Jehoshaphat from the Hill of Evil Counsel, 1854. (Tate Gallery) Thomas Seddon - Jerusalem and the Valley of Jehoshaphat from the Hill of Evil Counsel - Google Art Project.jpg
Jerusalem and the Valley of Jehoshaphat from the Hill of Evil Counsel, 1854. (Tate Gallery)

Seddon was born on 28 August 1821 in Aldersgate Street in the City of London, the son of a well-known cabinet-maker of the same name. He was educated at a school conducted on the Pestalozzian system by the Rev. Joseph Barron at Stanmore, and then worked for his father until 1841, when he was sent to Paris to study ornamental art. [1] [2]

City of London City and county in United Kingdom

The City of London is a city and local government district that contains the historic centre and the primary central business district (CBD) of London. It constituted most of London from its settlement by the Romans in the 1st century AD to the Middle Ages, but the agglomeration has since grown far beyond the City's borders. The City is now only a tiny part of the metropolis of London, though it remains a notable part of central London. Administratively, it forms one of the 33 local authority districts of Greater London; however, the City of London is not a London borough, a status reserved for the other 32 districts. It is also a separate county of England, being an enclave surrounded by Greater London. It is the smallest county in the United Kingdom.

Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi Swiss pedagogue and educational reformer

Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi was a Swiss pedagogue and educational reformer who exemplified Romanticism in his approach.

Stanmore suburban area of the London Borough of Harrow, in northwest London.

Stanmore is a suburban residential district of in the London Borough of Harrow in Greater London. It is centred 11 miles (18 km) northwest of Charing Cross. The area, based on the ancient parish of Great Stanmore includes southern slopes of the unnamed ridge of hills rising to Stanmore Hill, one of the highest points of London, 152 metres (499 ft) high. The population of the appropriate London Borough of Harrow Ward was 11,229 at the 2011 Census. The Canons ward which covers Stanmore railway station and eastern areas had a population of 12,471 at the same census.

He then returned to work in the family business. [3] Although Seddon had already decided to become a painter, he continued to study design conscientiously, attending Thomas Leverton Donaldson's lectures on architecture and studying works in the British Museum. In 1848 his design for an ornamental sideboard won him a silver medal from the Society of Arts. [4] Meanwhile, he took lessons at Charles Lucy's drawing school in Camden Town, and attended life classes held by the Artists' Society at Clipstone Street. [5] In the summer of 1849, he went to North Wales, visiting Betws-y-Coed, then a popular destination for artists, where he made his first serious attempts at landscape painting. [6] The next year he went to Barbizon in the forest of Fontainbleau, where he made some studies in oil. [7]

Thomas Leverton Donaldson British architect

Thomas Leverton Donaldson was a British architect, notable as a pioneer in architectural education, as a co-founder and President of the Royal Institute of British Architects and a winner of the RIBA Royal Gold Medal.

Sideboard furnishing

A sideboard, also called a buffet, is an item of furniture traditionally used in the dining room for serving food, for displaying serving dishes, and for storage. It usually consists of a set of cabinets, or cupboards, and one or more drawers, all topped by a wooden surface for conveniently holding food, serving dishes, or lighting devices. The words sideboard and buffet are somewhat interchangeable, but if the item has short legs, or a base that sits directly on the floor with no legs, it is more likely to be called a sideboard; if it has longer legs it is more likely to be called a buffet. In Polish it's named kredens, from Latin credo.

Camden Town Inner city district of London

Camden Town, often shortened to Camden, is a district of northwest London, England, 2.5 miles (4.1 km) north of Charing Cross. It is the administrative centre of the London Borough of Camden, and identified in the London Plan as one of 34 major centres in Greater London.

By the beginning of 1848 Seddon had come into contact with the Pre-Raphaelite movement, having met Ford Madox Brown, and during 1850 he worked on a copy of Chaucer at the Court of Edward III in Brown's studio. Around this time he was also involved in the setting up of the North London School of Drawing and Modelling, an art school for working men [8] in Camden Town. [1] At the end of 1850 he suffered a severe attack of rheumatic fever, [9] during which – apparently close to death – he was reconciled with organised religion, having stopped attending church some years before; according to his brother's memoir "those that knew him best regard[ed] that sickness as the turning point in his spiritual history, and the commencement of his practical Christianity." [10] Just after this illness Seddon left his father's business, which was about to be relocated to Gray's Inn Road. [11] He moved to rooms in Percy Street, off Tottenham Court Road, where he completed a painting of figure subject, Penelope, which was his first work to be shown at the Royal Academy. [12] He visited Wales again in late 1851 and the following summer went to Dinan in Brittany where his sisters were staying; [13] a landscape painted there was shown at the Royal Academy the next year. [14]

Ford Madox Brown 19th-century English painter

Ford Madox Brown was a British painter of moral and historical subjects, notable for his distinctively graphic and often Hogarthian version of the Pre-Raphaelite style. Arguably, his most notable painting was Work (1852–1865). Brown spent the latter years of his life painting the twelve works known as The Manchester Murals, depicting Mancunian history, for Manchester Town Hall.

Dinan Subprefecture and commune in Brittany, France

Dinan is a walled Breton town and a commune in the Côtes-d'Armor department in northwestern France. On 1 January 2018, the former commune of Léhon was merged into Dinan.

Seddon spent much of the early part of 1853 preparing for a journey to Egypt in the company of one of the Brotherhood's founders, William Holman Hunt. In June he went to Dinan again, where he painted a large and elaborate landscape showing the ruined monastery of Léhon. Seddon left France for Egypt in November, arriving in Alexandria on 6 December, [15] and moved on to Cairo, Hunt not having yet arrived.

William Holman Hunt Pre-Raphaelite artist

William Holman Hunt was an English painter and one of the founders of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. His paintings were notable for their great attention to detail, vivid color, and elaborate symbolism. These features were influenced by the writings of John Ruskin and Thomas Carlyle, according to whom the world itself should be read as a system of visual signs. For Hunt it was the duty of the artist to reveal the correspondence between sign and fact. Of all the members of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, Hunt remained most true to their ideals throughout his career. He was always keen to maximize the popular appeal and public visibility of his works.

Alexandria Metropolis in Egypt

Alexandria is the second-largest city in Egypt and a major economic centre, extending about 32 km (20 mi) along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea in the north central part of the country. Its low elevation on the Nile delta makes it highly vulnerable to rising sea levels. Alexandria is an important industrial center because of its natural gas and oil pipelines from Suez. Alexandria is also a popular tourist destination.

Seddon and Hunt set up camp near the Pyramids, with another Englishman called Nicholson, who was terminally ill, and died there. [16] Then, in a change of plan, the two artists decided to move on to Jerusalem, sailing from the mouth of the Nile in late May. [17] On arrival Seddon left Hunt in the city, [17] and pitched a tent on a hill looking up the valley of Jehosophat, with a view of the biblical sites of the Garden of Gethsemane and the Mount of Olives, [18] from where he painted much of the highly finished landscape Jerusalem and the Valley of Jehoshaphat from the Hill of Evil Counsel. He left the city for France in October 1854. [19]

Mount of Olives mountain in Jerusalem that is mentioned several times in the Bible

The Mount of Olives or Mount Olivet is a mountain ridge east of and adjacent to Jerusalem's Old City. It is named for the olive groves that once covered its slopes. The southern part of the Mount was the Silwan necropolis, attributed to the ancient Judean kingdom. The mount has been used as a Jewish cemetery for over 3,000 years and holds approximately 150,000 graves, making it central in the tradition of Jewish cemeteries. Several key events in the life of Jesus, as related in the Gospels, took place on the Mount of Olives, and in the Acts of the Apostles it is described as the place from which Jesus ascended to heaven. Because of its association with both Jesus and Mary, the mount has been a site of Christian worship since ancient times and is today a major site of pilgrimage for Catholics, the Eastern Orthodox, and Protestants.

Although the Valley of Jehosphat was exhibited with the subtitle Painted on the Spot during the Summer and Autumn Months, Seddon continued to work on it in Dinan, along with another oil painting and two watercolours also begun in Jerusalem,. [18] He finally finished it, with some help from Hunt, following his return to London in January 1855 and showed it for the first time at an exhibition in his studio in Berners Street in March of the same year. [18] His Eastern subjects were exhibited again the following year in Conduit Street.

In October 1856 Seddon visited Cairo again, [2] but died of dysentry there on 23 November. [1] In 1857 his works were exhibited in the gallery of the Society of Arts, and Jerusalem and the Valley of Jehoshaphat, was purchased by subscription and presented to the National Gallery. [2] John Ruskin pronounced Seddon's views of Egypt and Palestine to be "the first landscapes uniting perfect artistical skill with topographical accuracy; being directed, with stern self-restraint, to no other purpose than that of giving to persons who cannot travel trustworthy knowledge of the scenes which ought to be most interesting to them". [2]

A memoir of Seddon, by his brother, John Pollard Seddon, was published in 1859. [2]

See also

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References

  1. 1 2 3 Graves, Robert Edmund (1897). "Seddon, Thomas (1821-1856)". In Lee, Sidney (ed.). Dictionary of National Biography . 51. London: Smith, Elder & Co.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 "Seddon, Thomas"  . Encyclopædia Britannica . 24 (11th ed.). 1911. p. 577.
  3. Seddon 1858, p. 4.
  4. Seddon 1858, p. 5.
  5. The Orientalists (Exhibition catalogue). London: The Royal Academy of Arts. 1984. pp. 227–9.
  6. Seddon 1858, p. 7.
  7. Seddon 1858, p. 8.
  8. Staley and Newall 2004, pp. 106–7.
  9. Seddon 1858, p. 11-13.
  10. Seddon 1858, p. 14-15.
  11. Seddon 1858, p. 15.
  12. Seddon 1858, p. 17.
  13. Seddon 1858, p. 20–21.
  14. Seddon 1858, p. 23.
  15. Seddon 1858, p. 29.
  16. Seddon 1858, p. 51-8.
  17. 1 2 Seddon 1858, p. 64.
  18. 1 2 3 The Pre-Raphaelites (Exhibition catalogue). London: Tate Gallery. 1984. pp. 151–2.
  19. Staley and Newell 2004, p. 120.

Sources