Tuesday, February 1, 2011

“If You Please, Sir, a Lion Have Come”

Nineteenth-century animal painter Briton Riviere was wise to live near the Zoological Gardens in London, for the authorities there were kind to him.




According to an 1896 article in the New Windsor magazine:

“When the beasts die they courteously send the bodies over in a cart to the painter. One morning, when he was at breakfast, a servant entered the room with the remark, ‘If you please sir, a lion have come.’ Mr. Briton Riviere stepped out into the street, and there, sure enough, was a lion upon a truck. The beast had died during the night.
But a limp, dead lion is a very different object from the splendid living beast, with every muscle taut and radiant with the symmetry of limb and motion that delight the painter’s heart, so the dead animal is merely utilised in the way that medical students study the subjects of the dissection-room....Tame creatures, such as horses, dogs, and donkeys, Mr. Briton Riviere admits to his studio. They enter from a large stable door, and sit, or rather stand, patiently upon a bed of straw.”
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Image from Art Prints on Demand
Previously on GJ: Briton Riviere's Studio (photo showing big cat skins)
Enchantment Symposium (with another repro of Riviere)

9 comments:

phiq said...

The two animals here are wonderfully animated. Was Riviere aiming for some kind of Christian image? Lambs and lions...

My Pen Name said...

i am sure many people have seen this but wow:
http://www.googleartproject.com

My Pen Name said...

PS. That's what i love about the American Museum of Natural history diarama's - the animals are articulated and have the appearance of muscle tension, etc.

PETE said...

The butler ended his sentence in a preposition.


I wish we all could be so lucky.

maxwest said...

I wonder if someone could get away with a dead animal being sent to them to paint. I'd wager PETA would have something to say about that.

Roger said...

James, you probably don't want to associate yourself with Kevin Alfred Storm...

James Gurney said...

Roger, Oh, I see what you mean. I was moving fast, and that was where I found the image. I was just crediting the source website. Now that I see the slant it's coming from, I should hasten to say that I certainly don't endorse any ideas on Strom's site.

James Gurney said...

I replaced it with a file from Art Prints on Demand.

Roger said...

No problem James. It's a beautiful piece of art nonetheless.