royal academy

The Letter (1878). Marcus Stone, R.A. (English, 1840-1921). Oil on canvas. 

The figure is taken from Stone’s Royal Academy exhibit of 1878, no. 71, entitled The Post Bag. Stone often painted smaller, cabinet, pictures, copying admired characters from larger compositions.


ART HISTORY MEME » [2/9] installations

Svayambh (Royal Academy, London, 2009)
Anish Kapoor

“‘Svayambh’, Sanskrit for 'self-generated,’ [is] a 40-ton block of blood-red wax, paint and vaseline that travels at a stately pace on a train track across five rooms. Too large to slip comfortably through the archways, it skins itself as it passes, depositing trails of crimson goo on walls, cornices, floors. Each journey takes 90 minutes – so slow that the movement is imperceptible, although the train, like time and ageing, never stops, waiting for no man. During the course of the show, it will splatter and coat its five galleries, churning archways into tunnels scarred with blood-like coagulations: a painted battleground.” (x)


Guess what? There was a Chinese artist working in the UK back in the eighteenth century. And he’s been hiding in one of the most famous paintings of artists ever - that of the founders of the Royal Academy in London!

Johann Zoffany
The Portraits of the Academicians of the Royal Academy

UK (1771–72)
From here

Porcelain sculpture of a fashionable western lady holding a child
UK (1770)
From here

John Hamilton Mortimer
Portrait thought to be of Tan Che Qua
UK (1770-1)
Hunterian Museum
From here

Wikipedia says:

Tan-Che-Qua (alternatively Tan Chitqua or Tan Chetqua) (fl. 1769-1772, died 1796) was a Chinese artist who visited England from 1769 to 1772. He exhibited his work at the Royal Academy in 1770, and his clay models became fashionable in London for a short period, but returned to China in 1772…

Already in his middle years, Tan-Che-Qua arrived in London from Canton in August 1769 on the East Indiaman Horsendon. The Chinese authorities had given him permission to travel to Batavia (now Jakarta), but he came to England instead. He lived in lodgings on the Strand, where he worked as a clay modeller, creating busts and small statuettes. One of the only known surviving examples of his work is a figurine of physician Anthony Askew, held by the Royal College of Physicians.

He attended meetings at the Royal Academy of Arts, and exhibited work there in 1770. He was included in a group portrait of the Royal Academicians by Johann Zoffany; a portrait of Tan-Che-Qua, thought to be the one exhibited by John Hamilton Mortimer at the annual exhibition of the Incorporated Society of Artists in 1771, is held by the Hunterian Museum at the Royal College of Surgeons in London. The portrait was misidentified as Wang-y-tong, another Chinese visitor to London in the 1770s, who attended meetings of the Royal Society. He was also sketched by Charles Grignion the Elder.

He boarded the East Indiaman Grenville in March 1771 intending to return to China, but after a series of accidents the crew took against him and he disembarked at Deal, Kent. He returned to China in 1772. The Gentleman’s Magazine reported that he committed suicide in Canton in the mid-1790s. According to the RKD he died in Guangzhou in 1796.

Why on earth do us East Asian artsy types living in the UK not know about this guy? I mean, I can just imagine a story about his guy, working with clay and porcelain far away from home… did something happen that drove him to kill himself?

Oh, and then there’s this:

Tan Chet-Qua
An Explanatory Discourse
UK (1773)
From here

Sir William Chambers used his name - Tan Chet-qua - for the narrator of his Explanatory Discourse by Tan Chet-qua, of Quang-Chew-fu, Gent., an appendix to the second edition (1773) of his book on Chinese gardening, Dissertation on Oriental Gardening (1772), a fanciful elaboration of contemporary English ideas about the naturalistic style of gardening in China.

This is available for free download. Man oh man. There is stuff to mined here.


American composer James Horner (born August 14, 1953) was killed in a plane crash earlier this Monday at the age of 61. Horner - who became one of the leading film score composers of his generation - developed an interest in composition early in life, with his studies taking him to the Royal Academy of Music in London and the University of Southern California (USC) in Los Angeles to study. Subsequent work with the American Film Institute (AFI) propelled him to highly prominent jobs in Hollywood at a young age. Horner would be nominated for ten Academy Awards, winning twice for Titanic’s original score and for Best Original Song for “My Heart Will Go On”.

Nine of the many films he worked on follow. Excerpts from each film score can be heard if you click on the link (left-right, descending):

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982) - directed by Nicholas Meyer; starring William Shatner, Ricardo Montalbán, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, James Doohan, George Takei, Nichelle Nichols, Walter Koenig, and Kirstie Alley

An American Tail (1986) - directed and co-produced by Don Bluth; starring the voices of Cathianne Blore, Dom DeLuise, John Finnegan, Phillip Glasser, Amy Green, Madeline Kahn, and Christopher Plummer

Willow (1988) - directed by Ron Howard; starring Val Kilmer, Joanna Whalley, and Warwick Davis

The Land Before Time (1988) - directed and co-produced by Don Bluth; starring the voices of Gabriel Damon, Candace Huston, Judith Barsi, and Will Ryan

Glory (1989) - directed by Edward Zwick; starring Matthew Broderick, Denzel Washington, Cary Elwes, Morgan Freeman, Cary Elwes, Cliff De Young, Andre Braugher, and Jihmi Kennedy

The Rocketeer (1991) - directed by Joe Johnston; starring Billy Campbell, Jennifer Connelly, Alan Arkin, and Timothy Dalton

Legends of the Fall (1994) - directed and co-produced by Edward Zwick; starring Brad Pitt, Anthony Hopkins, Aidan Quinn, Julia Ormond, and Henry Thomas

Apollo 13 (1995) - directed by Ron Howard; starring Tom Hanks, Kevin Bacon, Bill Paxton, Gary Sinise, and Ed Harris

Titanic (1997) - directed, co-produced, and written by James Cameron; starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, Billy Zane, Kathy Bates, Frances Fisher, Bernard Hill, Jonathan Hyde, Danny Nucci, David Warner, Bill Paxton, and Gloria Stuart

Other scores of interest: Krull (1983), Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984), Cocoon (1985), Aliens (1986), Field of Dreams (1989), Braveheart (1995), Jumanji (1995), The Missing (2003), The Legend of Zorro (2005), and Avatar (2009).


Carne Griffiths

From his website: 

Carne Griffiths

Working primarily with calligraphy inks, graphite and liquids, such as tea, brandy and vodka Griffiths’ fascination with drawing focuses on the creation and manipulation of the drawn line. […] 

Originally from Liverpool, Griffiths graduated from the Kent Institute of Art and Design in Maidstone in 1995. After completing a one-year KIAD fellowship and moving to London he served an apprenticeship at the longest-established gold wire embroidery firm in the world. Here he worked as a gold wire embroidery designer for twelve years, eventually becoming the creative director. Carne produced intricate designs for the military and the film, theatre, fashion and advertising industries. […]

Since establishing his own studio in 2010, Carne has exhibited in the UK at the London Original Print Fair at the Royal Academy, the London Art Fair in both 2011 and 2012, and overseas at Urban in Ibiza in 2011 and Arts After Dark, New Orleans in 2010. Carne also collaborated with the British photographer Rankin for a feature in the 2nd edition of Hunger Magazine early in 2012.