James Jacques Joseph Tissot (1836-1902)

James Jacques Joseph Tissot (1836-1902)

The Ferry

signed 'J.J. Tissot'; oil on panel
12 x 7¾in. (30.5 x 19.8cm.)
Thomas B. Holmes, Hornsey, East Yorkshire
W.J. Brown, Northumberland, 1914
James Laver, "Vulgar Society." The Romantic Career of James Tissot, 1936, p.120
Michael Wentworth, James Tissot, 1984, pp.131, 133, repr. pl.145
(as 'whereabouts unknown')
Sheffield, Graves Art Gallery, James Tissot, 1955, no.38

Lot Essay

When the picture was exhibited at Sheffield in 1955 the two principal figures were identified as 'Mrs Newton and probably Tissot.' While the female figure is Kathleen Newton, Tissot's mistress and muse for six years prior to her early death in 1882, Professor Willard Misfeldt points out in a recent letter that the man does not resemble Tissot in the least. He further suggests that the picture may be one entitled (Blackfriars) Steamboat which is listed in Tissot's 'carnet' or account book as having been sold in 1879 to the dealer MacLean for (65 or 1625 francs. This would certainly be the correct date, although closer comparison of the painting with the topography of Blackfriars would be needed to establish the connection. Professor Misfeldt continues: 'I am struck by Tissot's compositional cleverness in this painting in the repetition of the arcs - umbrella, wheel, and bridge - as well as the way in which he turns gazes in three directions - left, right and front. The painting puts me in mind of Ford Madox Brown's The Last of England, with which I think it could be compared.'

Michael Wentworth (loc. cit.) also dates the picture to c.1879. He compares it to a larger Thames subject, The Thames (Wakefield Art Gallery; Wentworth, pl.115), exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1876, and to another small panel, Crossing the Channel (whereabouts unknown; Wentworth, pl.146), which appeared at the Grosvenor Gallery in 1879.

We are grateful to Professor Misfeldt for his help in preparing this entry.

More from Victorian Pictures

View All
View All