Pictures in Stringham’s Flat

When Jenkins and Widermerpool bring the drunk Stringham back to his flat, Jenkins is reminded of Stringham’s room at school [AW 214/205]. On the walls hang the racehorse prints of The Pharisee and Trimalchio, pictures of Stringham’s parents, a drawing by Modigliani, an engraving in the style of Hollar, and “a set of coloured prints of a steeplechase ridden by monkeys mounted on dogs.”

We have already discussed the racehorse prints.  The Modigliani will reappear later in Dance in more detail; we will explore it then. The engraving is of Glimber, the large seventeenth-century home, which Stringham’s mother owned as a life estate from her first husband.

Arundel House for the N. Wencelaus Hollar engraving, 9 X 20 cm The Wencelaus Hollar Digital Collection, The University of Toronto

Arundel House fromthe N.
Wencelaus Hollar
engraving, 9 X 20 cm
The Wencelaus Hollar Digital Collection, The University of Toronto

Wenceslaus Hollar (1607-1677) was a Bohemian artist, etcher, engraver, and cartographer who came to England in 1636 in the retinue of Lord Arundel, whom he had met that April in the Rhineland. Arundel was one of the greatest art collectors of the seventeenth century and became Hollar’s patron; for a time Hollar was drawing master to the Prince of Wales, later Charles II. John Aubrey, whom Powell wrote about in John Aubrey and His Friends (1948), described Hollar as a “very friendly good-natured man as could be, but Shiftless to the World, and dyed not rich.”  His etchings and engravings show a wide range of subjects in photographic detail; we agree with Powell, who regarded him as an “astonishingly accomplished” artist. [SPA… 182-184]

As for the comic steeplechase scene, we have actually found a Currier and Ives print that matches the description.  Currier and Ives were prolific popularizers of art during the Victorian era, producing nearly 7500 lithographs from their New York presses between 1834 and 1907.  They sold their work through diverse outlets, including a London office, where Stringham’s family might have bought the print shown below.

Steeplechase Cracks Currier and Ives Hand colored lithograph 14 X 9.75 inches photo from website of the Springfield Museum

Steeplechase Cracks
Currier and Ives
Hand colored lithograph
14 X 9.75 inches
photo from website of the Springfield Museum

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