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Henry Ryland

A drawing on the Antiques Roadshow over a week ago was by Henry Ryland. It is a lovely study and it captures beautifully the shape and form of the sitter through light and shadow.
We discussed in one of my classes how the drawing was made and the techniques used to gain such tonal contrasts. We agreed that a softer pencil 4 - 6b might have been used together with the equivalent of a putty rubber. I’m not sure at the time the drawing was made whether this was bread crumbs or a softer pliable eraser. It is thought that artist used the former prior to 1770. ‘The claim is partly true. A New Yorker story from 2012 describes how, “Before rubber, the material most suited for erasing pencil marks was bread crumbs.” This claim is echoed by Reader’s Digest, which said, “Before erasers became a stock pencil accessory in 1858, you might not be surprised to see a writer carrying around a stale baguette with his papers and gear. That’s because breadcrumbs were the writing world’s most popular erasers from 1612 to 1770.” ‘ ‘Kneaded erasers have great plasticity and can be stretched, compressed, split, and molded for precision erasing, pruning lines, cleaning edges, creating highlights through subtractive drawing, or performing other detail work. They can completely remove light marks, but are ill-suited to fully erasing dark areas. They may also smear or stick if too warm.’ I have added a link to a clip from the Antiques Roadshow. Here is further information about the artist. ‘Henry Ryland (1856–1924) was a British painter, book illustrator, decorator and designer. He was the son of John Benjamin and Elizabeth Ryland and was born in Biggleswade, Bedfordshire in 1856.He studied in London at the South Kensington Art School, and at Heatherley's. He also studied in Paris under Jean-Joseph Benjamin-Constant, and at the Académie Julian under Gustave Boulanger and Lefebvre. He exhibited at the Grosvenor Gallery, and from 1890 at the Royal Academy. He also was a regular exhibiter at the New Gallery and the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours (formerly the New Society of Painters in Water Colours). He became a full member of the latter institution. Although he did paint in oils, he specialized in highly finished watercolour paintings containing images of young women in classical draperies on marble terraces. Subjects of this type were popularized by Lawrence Alma-Tadema, Albert Moore and J. W. Godward. Unlike Moore he rarely painted nudes. His watercolours were widely reproduced as prints. Ryland also designed stained glass and his woodcuts were used in a number of magazines, including the English Illustrated Magazine in the 1880s and 1890s. (Wikipedia) A new exhibition has opened at the Barbican Centre in London that includes some of the most important British artists from the last century. I have added a link to a review about the show. that


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