J.D. Croome Ink Drawings
This superb collection of pen & ink works is by Victorian painter J.D. Croome (fl.1839-1852/1856-1868?). J.D. Croome evidently had an eye for narrative social drama, these wonderfully characterful drawings each telling a story in a single scene. The consistent linear style, with use of hatching to create tone, suggest that these drawings are preparatory sketches for book illustrations, possibly for wood engraving.
The collection includes subjects from genteel high society, with drawing room and park scenes, bringing together finely-dressed figures from the old to the young, in interior and exterior recreational spaces. The drawings characterfully capture and lightly satirise social interactions, including marriage market and polite society conventions.
The collection also includes bustling Victorian street scenes and dynamic equestrian subjects, with hunting scenes, ladies riding side-saddle and sensitively drawn horse studies. Croome also depicts circus and theatrical subjects, including glamorous dancers, actors and musicians, evidencing the popularity of such performances in Victorian society. Circuses, and trick riding in particular, were especially popular.
Some of the drawings are initialled and a few are inscribed below, sometimes humorously, including reference to Charles Dickens’s “Pickwick Papers”.
J.D. Croome exhibited at the Royal Academy, the British Institute and the Society of British Artists. He worked as head of Waterford School of Art in Ireland from 1852, and then headmaster at Belfast School of Design. On the Belfast School’s closure in 1858 he continued to teach from his studios into the late 1860s.
Croome’s drawings are in collection of The Fralin, University of Virginia Art Museum.