ALBERT JOSEPH MOORE, ARWS
Study for Battledore & Shuttlecock
Signed with anthemion
Chalk on brown paper
27 by 13 cm., 10 ½ by 5 in.
(frame size 49 by 34.5 cm., 19 ¼ by 13 ½ in.)
Julian Hartnoll, London;
private collection, UK.
Albert Joseph Moore was born in York, the son of the artist William Moore of York and brother of the artists Henry, William, Edwin and John Collingham Moore. After a brief period of Pre-Raphaelitism, from 1860 he began to exhibit carefully studied aesthetic compositions, combining the influences of Classical Greece with that of Japan. His later work consists almost entirely of single Grecian figures, or groups of figures, carefully posed in an elaborate design, his prime interest being not subject matter, but of design of composition and harmony of colour. In 1865 a close friendship developed between Moore and Whistler; Moore introducing Whistler to purely pictorial arrangements of colour and form and Whistler introducing Moore to the art of Japan. Their friendship lasted until the former’s death in 1893. As a monogram Moore used the Greek anthemion, which could be incorporated into the design of his pictures. This may well have given Whistler the idea of using his butterfly monogram. Like Leighton, Moore made careful studies and drawing for every figure in his pictures, first nude, then draped. He also made several colour sketches for each picture, and would sometimes complete these later, which accounts for the existence of several versions of the same composition. Moore was rather reclusive by nature and seldom mixed with his fellow artists or in Victorian society. He exhibited at the Royal Academy, Royal Watercolour Society and elsewhere and his works are in many public and major private collections.
The two paintings, Battledore and Shuttlecock, were commissioned by James Leathart of Newcastle upon Tyne in 1869 and were completed in September 1870. In 1871-2 Moore became engaged upon a single larger composition, Battledore and Shuttlecock known by a large study now in the collection of the Victoria & Albert Museum. The present whereabouts of the finished painting is unknown and it is possible it was never completed. Moore made many studies for these paintings; both nude and draped chalk compositional drawings and small oil sketches experimenting in colour themes. In his intention to show the players paused between periods of play he set his models to play battledore and shuttlecock in his studio so that he could make authentic studies of their poses.