Wednesday, March 26, 2014


The drawing at top in red chalk is inscribed along its lower right-hand edge  Stonehenge by Mr. Henry Gyles. It was created on the spot in Wiltshire about 1680  according to the Tate, where it is reverently preserved (along with other works on paper seen here).

Above, another rendering (in watercolor) of a distant Stonehenge – from a sketchbook kept by J.M.W. Turner between 1799 and 1802. Below, ink and chalk on blue paper a nearer view of the same subject from a Turner sketchbook dated 1827.

Later in 1827, back in his studio, Turner produced a more elaborate Stonehenge watercolor. This picture became the basis for an engraving by R. Wallis (below) published in 1829. Turner's Stonehenge  in all its versions  looks magical and beautiful but weightless.

A decade later the "young genius" William James Müller (English-born son of an immigrant father) made his own watercolor of Stonehenge (above). Critics of the day said that Müller "could suggest more, with fewer touches" than any of his older established colleagues (a group that would have included Turner). And Müller's Stonehenge is successfully heavy, that much is definite. He died in 1845, at the shocking age of 33.

In 1973 English artist Henry Moore (1898-1986) created a portfolio of intaglios/lithographs called Stonehenge. On the heaviness spectrum, Moore's interests appear nearer to Müller's than to Turner's.