ARTHUR GLENNIE R.W.S. (1803 – 1890)
“The Rock of Bonea, La Cava, Napoli”
Watercolour. Signed. Titled on reverse
9 1/8” x 13 ¼” (232mm x 336mm)
Overall framed size 18 ¼” x 21 ¾” (463mm x 552mm) IMAGE
Arthur Glennie was born on 5th February 1803 at Dulwich Grove, Surrey. His father was William Glennie LL.D., and his mother's maiden name was Mary Gardiner. He was one of a family of thirteen (twelve brothers and one sister). He went to school at Dulwich Grove and learnt drawing with the other boys, as part of the educational course, from the school teacher, Samuel Prout, who used to spend a great portion of one day in the week there, taking the boys out to sketch in fine weather. He began his working life in a mercantile business, and it was only when ill health gave time and occasion to follow art instead as an amusement that the talent he displayed was held, under Prout's advice, to justify his taking it up as a profession. With this sound foundation of knowledge he, later in life, derived much benefit from the remarks and advice of that excellent artist, William Havell. He was about 34 years of age when he joined the Old Watercolour Society. In 1837 and 1838 his eleven subjects were from Rome and the neighbourhood. In 1839 four out of five were from Sandwich in Kent. In 1840 his address changed to Keston, Bromley, Kent and the following year he moved to Penzance. It may have been at this period that he was engaged in teaching, chiefly at Sidmouth in Devon, for about two years. From 1842 to 1854 he lived at 90 Park Street, Grosvenor Square. From the first however, he had (with the above exceptions|) exhibited foreign subjects, and in 1846 he was residing in Rome and in 1855, the year of Fieldings death, he made it his headquarters, with it continuing to be his home for the rest of his life. His address there from 1855 to 1870 was 43 Vicolo de'Gerci, in which house the artist Henry Riviere had also lodged for many years. From 1871 he lived at 17 Piazza Margana. On 14th June 1858 Arthur Glennie received full Membership to the Old Watercolour Society, having exhibited a total of 68 drawings in annual numbers varying from one to six during the 22 years when he held the rank of Associate Member. In 1865 he married Anne Sophie Parker, daughter of the late Reverend E.G. Parker, formerly Chaplain at Bahia under the Foreign Office for twenty years, and afterwards Chaplain to her Majesty's Forces. They had no children. With few exceptions his subjects were foreign, and chiefly confined to Italy. Most are from Rome and the Campagna and the surrounding territory of Central Italy, some extending to towns in Umbria and Tuscany, and on a few occasions, northward to the Riviera. A considerable number of his drawings, beginning with the year 1844, are from Fiume on the borders of Croatia, and Pola in Istria (A. Glennie's "Drawings of Pola in Istria" are described by C.C. Nelson in a "Sessional Paper" of the Royal Institute of British Architects, printed in 1851). To this disgrict he appears to have been attracted by the residence of a brother-in-law during his life, and after the death of that relative in 1860 by his duties as executor. In August 1866 he and his wife were at Sorrento and after that many of his works are of the Bay of Naples. Mrs Glennie also accompanied him to Istria which he revisited "many times for the purpose of his art". On 28th January 1868 he wrote to his friend Jenkins, on returning to Rome after seven months absence, that his wife and he, having found Fiume too hot in the summer had sought "cooler quarters in the Croatian Mountains" where they had enjoyed "a delightful climate, in the midst of pine forests". The result was apparent in several subjects in the winter exhibition of 1867-68. Amongst the pages of catalogues from the Old Watercolour Society (1837-1881) are about a score of home subjects, a few sketches at old Gilbert White's Selborne in Hampshire and others in the Home Counties, together with three that have Scottish names. Arthur Glennie died at his house in Rome on 23rd January 1890, aged 87, being the oldest exhibitor in the Old Watercolour Society. His widow died on the following 30th July aged 58. The Rome he painted had undergone vast changes in his later days, and that some of his views in the Forum had already become antiquated he recognized by adding the words "as formerly" to some of the drawings of his last decade. At the time of his death he had exhibited an aggregate 252 drawings in the summer exhibitions, and 134 frames of sketches and studies in the winter shows, which began in 1862-3, making a total of 386 exhibits, as Associate or Member of the Old Watercolour Society, since 1837. To this, if separate sketches, several in frame, were counted singly, added about 40 bringing the total to considerably above 400. A gathering of 17 works after his death were also made in the winter exhibition of 1890-91. Landscapes, inspired by the above scenes, careful in topography, distinguished by tender harmonies of colour generally warm in tone and conveying the impression of broad glow of Italian sunshine, form the staple of Glennie's pleasing art. His practice was almost exclusively confined to watercolours and his atmospheric effects appear to be due to the employment of the transparent pigments that characterize the British School of watercolour painting in its native purity. He used Newman's dry colours, and his drawings were generally worked up as much as possible on the spot.