Beautifully lit, a transcendentally beautiful woman sits for John Hanson Walker. One of his favorite models, it would appear. Quite possibly the artist’s wife. The epitome of late Victorian taste and sensibility. Dated 1901. Oil on Canvas, 18 x 22.
“(The eminent Victorian painter) Frederick Leighton discovered the boy John Hanson Walker serving in his father’s antique shop in Bath in the 1850’s. Moved by his ‘ideal’ beauty, he used him as a model, inspiring in him the wish to become an artist too. He gave Walker the tools of his trade, helped him to art school in London and befriended him and his future wife Nan when there was family opposition to the marriage. The painting of Nan, Leighton’s wedding present to the couple, is arguably his finest portrait. Leighton’s care for his young protege exemplifies the concern that the great Victorian President of the Royal Academy felt for all struggling young artists, and his letters to Walker, included in this book, show his great gift for friendship. The author describes how Walker’s association with Leighton enabled him to rise from a working class background to become one of England’s fashionable portraitists, to get valuable commissions in America, and to carry on painting, exhibiting and dealing in pictures for over fifty years. Walker’s story is told against the setting of the artist’s world and in the later Victorian and Edwardian eras.”
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