Sunday, 2 October 2016

Gladys Hadkinson and Philippe Zilcken.

Curious by heart my attention to this etching wasn't drawn by the quality or subject, some leafless trees surrounding a pond with a fence. But it hung for several weeks in a local charity shop and reminded me of Philippe Zilcken (the Hague 1857-1930) a Dutch painter/etcher who was appreciated and well known around the turn of the century because of his skills as an etcher for his etched copies of very popular paintings by Hendrik Willem Mesdag (1831-1915).

He was also known for his interest and travels in the Orient with his contemporary but much more famous and appreciated "Dutch Orientalist" Marius Bauer (the Hague 1867-1932) (below).

Zilcken's etchings, often unrecognized, can be regularly found in sales, car boots, charity shops etc.. Bauer's  work (with "Rembrandtesque" light) on the other hand is highly sought after and very collectable. (Follow the Label to read about my Bauer find or click here).   

The signature, after some serious puzzling reads G. Hadkinson and: '2  '16, probably indicating a "second state" print created in 1916. I thought there might be an interesting story in here somewhere. 

Googling, I found a mentioning of a correspondence in the Amsterdam Rijksmuseum (sadly not to be consulted by the public) between Ernestine Hadkinson (1863-1928) and Philippe Zilcken.  And also some works created by Gladys' younger sister Dorothy (1892-1958) are kept in "the Rijks".  

This Hadkinson family is mentioned living in Greece, Macedonia and Turkey. Ernestine Hadkinson-Seiffert was born in the Hague, Netherlands, her father was August Seiffert.  

Here's some genealogy maybe helping to solve the mystery concerning the maker. In here I found a G. for Gladys Hadkinson.  

Gladys Anna Eleanora Hadkinson was born in Kravolak in Macedonia-Vadar region in 1895 (although her birth was registered in 1918 by her grandfather at the British Consulate General in Saloniki in Greece: 23 years later !). 

Sadly Gladys Hadkinson died in Paris 1925 shortly after or during giving birth to a daughter: Sylvia Georgina Ruth Hadkinson (Paris 1925-2011 U.K.). I found her father Charles was a farmer in Macedonia and is mentioned as a RNVR (Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve) in the British army and is mentioned in publications with war-witness accounts. This particular corner of Europe (Balkan) has a violent past: wars, feuds and ethnic cleansing. 

Maybe Gladys travelled and settled in Paris to study further but she is not mentioned in any Artist Lexicon, dying so young of course, nor has she an artistic entry in the Internet. I suggest her mother Ernestine, one way or the other knew the etcher Zilcken (they were both from the Hague). Is it far fetched suggesting she possibly negotiated concerning etching or drawing lessons for her artistic daughter(s) ........ ?

Three Dutch etchers: Ph. Zilcken (1857-1930), Jan Veth (1864-1925) and Marius Bauer (1876-1932)
and a printing technician. 

Ernestine (Hadkinson) Seiffert died in Surabaya, Indonesia in 1928 so Gladys' parents probably divorced or separated earlier because her father Charles Hadkinson had two more children in Greece with a second wife in 1924 and 1925, he died in Alexandria Egypt 1942. Ernestine, probably well educated, wrote an article in an Amsterdam newspaper (de Groene Amsterdammer) in 1914 on Macedonia. 

I have no clue how this etching with an interesting family history ended up in my back-yard. It was donated to a local charity shop, its artistic and family ties and values long forgotten. 

Maybe this posting will be picked up by some-one interested in this particular Hadkinson family.  

All information and help is welcomed !

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