Egham Lock, result 1 of 1
Although Haden made his first etchings around 1845, it was not until twelve years later that he began to seriously create in the medium. At first he worked closely with great American-born artist James McNeill Whistler, his brother-in-law, but eventually their relationship disintegrated as their aesthetics took divergent paths and Whistler's ego (and genius) got the better of him. To his credit, Haden never 'dissed' Whistler's etchings thereafter, though he could stand him personally no longer. More stylistically conservative than Whistler but an excellent technician, Haden was at his best when producing romantic, serene landscapes in either pure etching or etching and mezzotint.
The importance of line and light is pre-eminent in his work and reflects the influence of earlier English artists such as the Norwich school, as well as 17th century Dutch artists like Rembrandt. Although Haden viewed etching as a spontaneous medium, many of his most important compositions were first worked out in preliminary drawings and progressed through several states. Recognition of his art came in the form of a knighthood (which Whistler sneered at), publications, exhibitions and the increased popularity of the etching medium to which he devoted his artistic life. Haden did much to put etching on the map at the Royal Academy and to make its practitioners eligible for election. He has been given something of a raw deal by art historians, seduced by Whistler's brilliance; solidity and loyalty to the craft, which Haden had in spades, are too often overlooked - as is his art.
Haden etched Egham and Egham Lock on the same day. The etchings show complimentary lyrical views of the River Thames in Surrey, just west of London. The subject matter is deliberately low-key and the landscape pleasant but unspectacular, with trees in left, right and background; the river dominates the foreground. An opened lock gate is in the middle ground, with shadows of the gate reflected on water surface.The etching was published in the Gazette des Beaux-Arts, 10 (1864) but this is an original signed impression.
The Annex Galleries, 'Francis Seymour Haden', https://www.annexgalleries.com/artists/biography/916/Haden/Francis
Wikipedia, 'Francis Seymour Haden', https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francis_Seymour_Haden
Dr Mark Stocker Curator, Historical International Art August 2018
Now viewing Egham Lock