Huw Wystan Jones: the April Fool

Camille Pissarro (1830-1903), A Flock of Sheep (1888), oil on canvas, 46 x 55.2 cm, Private collection. Wikimedia Commons.

I am, of course, feeling a little sheepish today about yesterday’s article, Huw Wystan Jones: the Welsh Impressionist. It was completely and utterly false, a spoof for the First of April.

In case you missed any, here are the clues which I gave:

  • Huw Wystan – a play on Wystan Hugh Auden, WH Auden’s name
  • the Mouton-Rothschild Collection – does not exist, Château Mouton Rothschild is a famous wine estate, and mouton means sheep;
  • today, the first of April – just in case you had forgotten;
  • Llareggub – a fictional place invented by Dylan Thomas, which is bugger all backwards;
  • Swansea Art School – what is now Swansea College of Art was not founded until 1853;
  • Boudin inspired to paint en plein air – that was by Johan Jongkind;
  • Introducing Monet to Boudin in 1857 – they met directly;
  • encouraging Monet to paint landscapes – that was Boudin;
  • origin of the word cardigan for a wool jacket – that was James Brudenell, the seventh Earl of Cardigan, in the Crimean War;
  • pointillage – actually means a type of massage using the tips of the fingers;
  • father of Neo-Impressionism – that was Georges Seurat, who did live on the Boulevarde de Magenta, and attended the local École Municipale de Sculpture et Dessin;
  • What day could be more appropriate to celebrate the newly-discovered influence of the Welsh Impressionist? – indeed.

I would also like to apologise to Constant Troyon (1810–1865), Camille Pissarro (1830-1903), and Anton Mauve (1838–1888), whose paintings I deliberately misappropriated and attributed incorrectly. For the record, the following are the correct paintings with the correct attributions. I also blurred some of the signatures to hide them: these images are unadulterated in any way.

Constant Troyon (1810–1865), A Sheep Market in Normandy (date not known), oil on canvas, 59 x 84 cm, National Museum of Fine Arts in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Courtesy of National Museum of Fine Arts in Buenos Aires, via Wikimedia Commons.
Constant Troyon (1810–1865), On the Way to Market (1859), oil on canvas, 260.5 x 211 cm, Hermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg. Wikimedia Commons.
Anton Mauve (1838–1888), The Return of the Flock (1886-7), oil on canvas, 100.2 x 161.4 cm, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA. Wikimedia Commons.
Camille Pissarro (1830-1903), The Shepherdess Bringing in Sheep (1886), oil on canvas, 38.1 x 46.4 cm, Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art, University of Oklahoma, OK. Wikimedia Commons.
Camille Pissarro (1830-1903), A Flock of Sheep (1888), oil on canvas, 46 x 55.2 cm, Private collection. Wikimedia Commons.
Camille Pissarro (1830-1903), Landscape with a Flock of Sheep (1889-1902), oil on canvas, 48.3 × 60.3 cm, Norton Simon Museum, Pasadena, CA. Wikimedia Commons.

One interesting discovery which I made in the course of preparing my little spoof was how uncommon sheep are in nineteenth century paintings. With the exception of the wonderful specialist farm animal paintings by Troyon, and some more obviously recognisable works by the Macchiaioli, few artists seem to have depicted sheep much.

Perhaps today’s generation will flock to do so in the light of the fictional Huw Wystan Jones.

I hope that it brought you a little amusement.