Etching

The Irritatingly Versatile Jacob Van Ruisdael by Geoff Harrison

I've always been an admirer of the gloomily beautiful works of Jacob Van Ruisdael (Dutch 17th century).  The sun rarely shines in Van Ruisdael's scenes, yet there is light, airiness and stillness.

The Watermill (ca. 1660)                        Oil On Canvas                                        NGV Melbourne

The Watermill (ca. 1660)                        Oil On Canvas                                        NGV Melbourne

He was also a highly talented draftsman, as the drawing below testifies.

The Watermill, Sun

The Watermill, Sun

He also tried his hand at etching very early in his career (around 1646) and some of his prints contain almost dazzling intricacy.  

The Little Bridge(ca 1652)

The Little Bridge(ca 1652)

Would Van Ruisdael have been such a fine landscape painter without possessing excellent drawing skills?  I doubt it.

Gustave Dore's Mid Victorian London by Geoff Harrison

In 1869 French artist Gustave Dore teamed up with journalist Blanchard Jerrold to produce an illustrated record of the 'shadows and sunlight' of London.  As Jerrold later recalled, they spent many days and nights exploring the capital, often protected by plain-clothes policemen. They visited night refuges, cheap lodging houses and the opium den described by Charles Dickens in the sinister opening chapter of The Mystery of Edwin Drood.  According to The Guardian, the project took 4 years during which time, Dore produced 180 engravings. 

Over London By Rail

Over London By Rail

Some doubts have been cast as to the accuracy of these images as Dore disliked sketching in public.  Jerrold's text was thought to be superficial at the time.

Dudley Street, Seven Dials

Dudley Street, Seven Dials

However both men were "transfixed by the deprivation, squalor and wretchedness of the lives of the poor, even though they realised that London was changing and some of the worst social evils were beginning to be addressed."  THE GUARDIAN 
Scripture Reading In A Night Refuge

Scripture Reading In A Night Refuge

Their work has been described as a landmark account of the deprivation and squalor of mid-Victorian London.

Wentworth Street Whitechapel

Wentworth Street Whitechapel