Wonderful slightly Gauguin’ish etching by William Strang RA owned by Anthony J Sargeant (it is a First State Etching).
Strang was born in 1859 at Dumbarton, the son of Peter Strang, builder, and educated at the Dumbarton Academy. He worked for fifteen months in the counting-house of a firm of shipbuilders (William Denny and Sons) before going to London in 1875 when he was sixteen. There he studied art under Alphonse Legros at the Slade School for six years. Strang became assistant master in the etching class, and had great success as an etcher. He was one of the original members of the Royal Society of Painter-Etchers, and his work was a part of their first exhibition in 1881. Some of his early plates were published in The Portfolio and other art magazines. Strang was elected to the Royal Academy in 1921 and died suddenly shortly thereafter.
During his lifetime, Dumbarton-born William Strang (1859 – 1921) built up an international reputation as a highly skilled and imaginative printmaker, portraitist and painter. His diverse subjects ranged from the fantastic to the very real, including uncompromising depictions of contemporary life and the effects of poverty and social injustice, landscapes, subjects from the bible, bewildering allegories, and narrative illustrations. He was also a prolific and highly successful portraitist.
Anthony Sargeant bought this charming portrait of Laurence Binyon quite recently at auction. It is a drypoint of 1898 by William Strang printed by his son David Strang. Other examples are owned by the National Portrait Gallery, and National Galleries of Scotland.
Laurence Binyon was a distinguished English poet, dramatist and art scholar (1869-1943) He was Keeper of Prints and Drawings at the British Museum for many years but also held posts as Norton Professor of Poetry at Harvard University and Byron Professor of English Literature at Athens University among others.
He is probably best remembered today for the middle stanza of his poem, “For the Fallen” used in Remembrance Days services:
They went with songs to the battle, they were young.
Straight of limb, true of eyes, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe.
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.
They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;
Aubretia spills over the old stone wall that forms the boundary between the garden of Anthony Sargeant and a quiet Shropshire lane. It is mid-April in England and the Aubretia is in full bloom on a cool English Spring day
Anthony J Sargeant thought the reader might like the alliteration – they look like snowdrops but flower slightly later in early spring in England (today is 2nd April 2017). It has been a beautiful Spring day. (Spring Snowflakes – Leucojum vernum)
The honours board that hung on the wall of the school hall name all of the school captains (head-prefect) for the period 1930-1972. Anthony J Sargeant, Tony, was a pupil from 1955-62. In this piece he reflects upon the school ethos and regime with respect to Daily Morning Assembly during that period. The school in question had been one of many Grammar schools in South London endowed by the Livery Companies of London (in this case The Haberdashers’ Company) – Thus the school was ‘Haberdashers’ Aske’s Hatcham Boys’ School.
These tiny flowers were photographed by Anthony Sargeant yesterday 30th March 2017. They are growing in the hedgerow around his Shropshire home. Suddenly Spring has arrived in England and the hedgerows are blossoming with many wild flowers as well as some escapees from domestic gardens.