Harold Darke : Fantasy in E Major. James Lynch : Paintings.
Originally composed as a piece for organ, Harold Darke’s “Fantasy in E Major” has been arranged for string orchestra here by Clive Jenkins, (the composer’s own string arrangement having been lost). It is played by the Chamber Ensemble of London, conducted by Peter Fisher.
The paintings are by the English landscape artist James Lynch who, rather unusually, paints using the ancient medium of egg tempera.
“Egg tempera was widely used by medieval and Renaissance painters until it was superseded by oil paint. I have been using the medium for over twenty years and originally took my instructions from the Quattrocento manual written by Cennino Cennini.
I make my own gesso ground from rabbit skin glue and whiting according to a traditional recipe, painting several layers of the creamy paste onto a wood panel as the support for the painting. I mix my own paint from the raw ground pigments, egg yolk and water and adjust the watery paint over the course of the painting, moving from a ‘leaner’ mix with less yolk in the water in the early stages of the painting, to a ‘fatter’ mix with a little more yolk in the later stages. I use eggs from the hens I keep below my studio.
Egg tempera is applied in thin layers and each painting is the result of scores of glazes, building up the brilliant richness of colour slowly. The paint glazes are translucent and allow light to bounce back from the underlying white gesso ground, and egg tempera paintings have a unique glow. Egg tempera is very light-fast and does not darken and yellow over time as oil paintings do. Although egg tempera fell out of favour in the late Renaissance, it was rediscovered by later artists such as William Blake and the Pre-Raphaelites. It’s nice to know I am continuing an ancient painting tradition.”