viernes, 22 de julio de 2016


Christa Zaat

Walter Langley (British painter) 1852 - 1922
The Jackdaw of Reims, 1882
33 x 18 cm. (13 x 7 1/16 in.)
signed 'WLangley' (lower right), inscribed 'Walter Langley, Grosvenor Chambers, Broad St Corner, Birmingham' on a label attached to the reverse
private collection

Catalogue Note

The unusual title The Jackdaw of Reims was taken by Langley from the eponymous poem by the Rev. Richard Harris Barham (1788-1845) from the Ingoldsby Legends. The poem begins:

Jackdaw sat on the Cardinal's chair!
Bishop and abbot and prior were there,
Many a monk and many a friar,
Many a Knight and many a squire,

With a great many more of lesser degree,
In sooth a good company;
And they served the Lord Primate on bended knee.
Never, Queen, was a prouder seen,
Read of in books, or dreamt of in dreams,
Than the Cardinal Lord Archbishop of Rheims!

The silver plate on the floor is likely to be a reference to the following verse where the jackdaw steals the Cardinal's ring from beside his plate.

The great Lord Cardinal turns at the sight,
Of these nice little boys dress'd all in white:
From his finger he draws
His costly turquoise (ring);
And not thinking at all about little Jackdaw,
Deposits it straight
By the side of his plate
While the nice little boys on his Eminence wait;
Till, when nobody's dreaming of any such thing
That little Jackdaw hops off with the ring!

The jackdaw is then cursed by the Cardinal, apprehended as the thief and eventually has the curse lifted and is canonised.

Whilst the title and the date of the work might suggest that it was painted during Langley's visit to Brittany in 1881, it is more likely that the work was inspired by this trip (such as the water barrels that the costume of the girl), as the setting appears to be Newlyn and not France.

We would like to thank Roger Langley for his kind assistance in preparing this catalogue entry.

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