CHAPTER XVIII: HENRY SANDHAM, THE ARTIST OF RAMONA
The constant companion of Helen Hunt Jackson when in California on her Indian mission was the late Mr. Henry Sandham. He was one of the artists of the Century Magazine, had established a reputation in his work and was selected and sent by the Century Company with Mrs. Jackson on her California journey.
Henry Sandham was born at Montreal, Canada, in 1842. It has been said that northern climes are too cold to nourish artistic temperament and talent; but out of the Canadian wintry blasts came Mr. Sandham, destined to rise to success and fame in the world of art.
The wild life of Canada was his special work, and his introduction in the United States was through the Century Magazine, in which were published his sketches depicting the outdoor life of his native land.
MR. HENRY SANDHAM, ARTIST OF THE CENTURY MAGAZINE,
SAN LUIS REY MISSION
Mr. Sandham has declared that, when a youth, every available minute, night and day, he pursued diligently and earnestly drawing, sketching and painting. Even the opposition of his parents to an artistic career did not discourage him.
In 1880 he was selected as one of the original members of the Royal Canadian Academy, which was founded by H. R. H., the Princess Louise. He then went to Europe, where, with the money he had made and saved, he pursued his studies. He soon returned to America and located at Boston, and it was while he was residing there that he was commissioned by the Century Magazine to accompany Mrs. Jackson to California. In later years he went to London, where he continued his work, and where he died, June 21, 1910.
The Century Company is entitled to the credit for the coming of Mrs. Jackson to California; she was its paid contributor. The Mission Indians were to be her principal theme; but the Franciscan Missions and Southern California were within the sphere of her commission.
Mrs. Jackson's magazine contributions were elaborately and realistically illustrated by Mr. Sandham. He went everywhere with his principal. He visited every Mission, studied Indian character, and sketched from life. He himself has said that his sketches ‘‘were always made on the spot, with Mrs. Jackson close at hand suggesting emphasis to this object or prominence to that.’’ This statement includes the
It was not until 1900 that Mr. Sandham gave to the public the Ramona paintings from which were taken the illustrations contained in the Pasadena Edition. This was seventeen years after making the sketches for them in California.
The illustrations proper number fifteen, every one being especially pertinent to the text. They make real and living things of their subjects. In addition there are twenty-six decorative chapter headings; all the work of Mr. Sandham.
This work alone places Mr. Sandham in the front rank of the world's artists. All are most beautiful and interesting, but to the authors the most appealing of these paintings is the one of the meeting of Ramona and Father Salvierderra in the wild mustard. The Father was expected at Camulos ranch on his annual pilgrimage, and Ramona went forth to greet him. The text thus pictures the scene: ‘‘The
The portraits of Ramona and Alessandro are idealized ones. In their faces are plainly depicted the intensity of their natures, their strong characters, their sufferings and their sorrows. These pictures are so strikingly true to the descriptions of the heroine and hero in the story as to be readily recognized. They reveal an undercurrent of woe that is the pathos of the romance.
In the description of Father Salvierderra, when journeying from Santa Barbara Mission to Camulos ranch, pausing many times to gaze at the beautiful flowers that lined his pathway, Mr. Sandham found inspiration for the painting of the Father standing, leaning on his staff, viewing the scene about him. ‘‘Flowers were always dear to the Franciscans,’’ is the quotation from the story that designates this painting. This picture brings realization to this text of the story: ‘‘It was melancholy to see how, after each one of these pauses, each fresh drinking in of the beauty of the landscape and the balmy air, the old man resumed his slow pace, with a long sigh and
THE ALTAR IN THE CHAPEL AT CAMULOS
CHURCH OF THE ANGELS, AT THE PLAZA, LOS ANGELES,
When Felipe, not yet recovered from a recent fever, undertook to assist at the sheep-shearing, he fainted on the top of the shed where he was at work packing the wool. There was confusion and anxiety because of the difficulty incident to removing him to the ground. It was Alessandro who sprang up the cleated post, seized Felipe and carried him along a plank to a place of safety. It was a tragic moment, and the scene is vividly delineated by Mr. Sandham in another of the paintings.
A thrilling scene is presented by the painting portraying Señora Moreno enraged at the discovery of Ramona locked in the arms of Alessandro under the willows at the washing stones in the twilight. With the stamping of her foot, and directing with outstretched arm, she ordered Alessandro out of her sight; but ‘‘Alessandro did not stir, except to turn toward Ramona with an inquiring look.’’ Señora Moreno is pictured in extreme coldness, hatred and anger, Alessandro in despair, Ramona in dignified protest; the whole eliciting sympathy for the lovers, disdain for the Señora.
A pathetic part of the Ramona story is the journeying of Alessandro and the heroine on horseback from Camulos ranch to Temecula and thence on to their place of marriage, San Diego. ‘‘Baba and Benito,’’ the respective
MR. HENRY SANDHAM AS HE APPEARED A YEAR BEFORE HIS DEATH
GREVEJA PA AND MISSION INDIANS
A demonstration of implicit trust of woman in man and of religious fidelity of the latter in reciprocation is the experience of Ramona and Alessandro in the mountains the first night after their elopement from Señora Moreno's. ‘‘Before nightfall of this, their first day in the wilderness, Alessandro had prepared for Ramona
In the graveyard at Temecula Alessandro and Ramona met Carmena, an Indian woman, crazed with grief, who was passing her days at her baby's grave in Pachanga and her nights by her husband's at Temecula; all the result of American aggression in the Indians' country. Carmena watched with Ramona while Alessandrowent to Hartsel's in Temecula to secure his father's violin. The reproduction of this incident on canvas by Mr. Sandham is in illustration of the lines of the story reading: ‘‘Dismounting, and taking Baba's bridle over
The day after their marriage Alessandro and Ramona arrived at San Pasquale, where had located some of Alessandro's Temecula people, who wondered ‘‘how it had come about that she, so beautiful, and nurtured in the Moreno house, of which they all knew, should be Alessandro's loving wife. . . . Toward night they came, bringing in a hand-barrow the most aged woman in the village, to look at her. She wished to see the beautiful stranger. . . . Those who had borne her withdrew and seated themselves a few paces off. Alessandro spoke first. In a few words he told the old woman of Ramona's birth, of their marriage, and of her new name of adoption.’’ Then followed words from Ramona, interpreted by Alessandro; and the old woman, lifting up her arms like a sibyl, said: ‘‘It is well; I am your mother. The winds of the valley shall love you, and the grass shall dance when you come.’’ The painting of Mr. Sandham shows the old woman and other Indians seated, Ramona kneeling and Alessandro standing, bending, with his left hand on Ramona's right shoulder. It presents an
When Felipe, in his first search for Ramona and Alessandro, arrived at Santa Barbara Mission, ‘‘the first figure he saw was the venerable Father Salvierderra sitting in the corridor. As Felipe approached, the old man's face beamed with pleasure, and he came forward tottering, leaning on a staff in each hand. 'Welcome, my son,' was the Father's greeting, and he asked, 'Are all well?' Felipe knew then the Father had not seen Ramona, and dismay seized him. And when Felipe told him he was seeking Ramona, the Father cried, 'Ramona! . . . Seeking Ramona! What has befallen the blessed child?'’’ The painting is emotional and enlivens the text of the story to action.
The portrait of Felipe, the eldest son of Señora Moreno, presents a Mexican gentlemen of culture and character. The sombrero and cigarette of the Mexican are in evidence. Instead of a front there is a side view of the subject. The picture is an interesting study of a young man who adored and wished to please his mother, who loved Ramona ardently, but rationally and unselfishly, and who was scorched by the fire that raged between the cold
The canvas story of the brutal and tragic murder of Alessandro by Jim Farrar is a painting of distressing horror. It shows Jim Farrar on horseback and Alessandro stepping out of his dwelling, his hands pleadingly lifted, Ramona leaning against the open door, her hands to her face, the picture of grief and despair. Capitan, the faithful collie, is at Ramona's side. The painting is true to the story of Alessandro's death.
The portrait of Father Salvierderra painted for the Pasadena Edition of Ramona, is not to be confused with the original portrait of that character produced by Mr. Sandham from life while he was at Santa Barbara with Mrs. Jackson in 1883. Of this original portrait Mr. Sandham's daughter, Miss Gwendoline Sandham, residing in London, has thus written the authors: ‘‘It is a very fine watercolor, and perhaps the best picture my father ever painted, and has been 'hung on the line' in most of the world's big exhibitions; and though, for form's sake, it has been catalogued with a price, it has always been exhibited with the red star, 'sold,' on it, as it was my mother's property. It is now mine. It is a portrait study of the original of Father Salvierderra, and was painted, I believe, in the cloister of Santa Barbara Mission.’’
When Mr. Sandham was making the Ramona sketches at Santa Barbara Mission, including the original portrait of Father Salvierderra, the prototype of this character, Father Sanchez, gave to the artist his cassock,
HOME OF TEMECULA INDIANS AND SAN DIEGO MISSION
PORTRAIT OF FATHER SALVIERDERRA
From a letter received from Miss Gwendoline Sandham by the authors the following is of special interest: ‘‘It might interest you to know that the Franciscan robe my father mentions in his little note to 'Ramona,' is still in my possession. The father gave it to him himself on the condition that it should never be used for masquerading, theatrical displays, etc. Unfortunately the sandals and girdle are missing, and I fear the moths have played sad havoc with the robe itself, but it is a very real memento of the original of Father Salvierderra, and as such my father always held it in sacred regard. If you care to have the remains of the robe to be presented to the City of Los Angeles I will be very glad to send it on to you.’’
It should be gratifying to Ramona lovers in California to know that the original paintings of Mr. Sandham, from which were taken the illustrations of the Pasadena Edition of Ramona, are in California, having been purchased and being now owned by Mr. C. C. Parker of Los Angeles, a book-dealer and a book-lover, who pays tribute always to Helen Hunt Jackson and lauds the artistic genius of Henry Sandham.
The wide range of Mr. Sandham's talent was beyond the ordinary. It would be difficult to name an artist who sketched and painted so many and such a variety of subjects as did he. He was equally brilliant with animate and inanimate things; portraits, landscapes, buildings, animals and character scenes and studies.
There was a Memorial Exhibition of Mr. Sandham's sketches and paintings, found in his studio after his death, at the Imperial Institute, London, under the patronage of all the former living Governors General of Canada, and the then recently appointed one, H. R. H., the Duke of Connaught; and other prominent persons, including United States Ambassador, Hon. Whitelaw Reid. One gallery was reserved entirely for the royal reception. Four hundred and sixty-six pictures and sketches of the dead artist were exhibited. In the list were these California subjects: ‘‘Death Bell of the Brothers,’’ Santa Barbara Mission; portrait, ‘‘Father Salvierderra’’; ‘‘California Hydraulic Mining’’; ‘‘Young Chinese Merchant’’; ‘‘On a California Ranch’’; ‘‘After Sundown’’; ‘‘The Priests' Garden,’’ Santa Barbara Mission;
During most of the time Mr. Sandham was in Los Angeles he made his home at the hacienda of Don Antonio and Doña Mariana de Coronel. Mrs. Jackson introduced him to this courteous and hospitable couple, and asked as a favor that he be permitted to be in their home, so, as Mrs. Jackson stated, he might hear stories of the Mission Indians and study and sketch them in life. She especially requested that the Coronels should select Indians as subjects for Mr. Sandham's work.
For two months at a time Mr. Sandham was at the Coronel home, working earnestly and constantly. His illustrations of Mrs. Jackson's writings were but a minor part of his drawings and paintings while in California. ‘‘He was an enthusiastic worker,’’ said Doña Mariana de Coronel to the authors. ‘‘I have known him to sketch and paint from four to five subjects in one day, all complete. My husband and I brought to him many Indians, men, women and children, dressed in their native costumes, and assisted in posing them for Mr. Sandham, who sketched and painted them. He was a most courteous and considerate gentleman. Whenever any person or thing
From a source other than Señora de Coronel the authors have the information that Mr. Sandham pronounced her the best and nearest type of the Madonna he had ever seen in life. He painted a bust picture of her, which he kept in a prominent place in his eastern studio, which he always designated as ‘‘My California Madonna.’’
‘‘We were sitting on the veranda, whence we could count thirty different kinds of roses, and Don Antonio in the gentle Spanish was telling us of the California of the past. Señora, his charming young wife, interpreted for us, often beginning a sentence before he had quite finished,
After witnessing the shearing of a band of sheep at ‘‘Lucky’’ Baldwin's ranch, Mrs. Jackson sat in an unusually prolonged silence. It was Mr. Sandham who said to her, ‘‘You are tired?’’; to which she thoughtfully and feelingly answered: ‘‘No; but for the first time in my life I appreciate the scriptural text, 'As a sheep before her shearers is dumb.'’’ ‘‘The helpless protest of the Mission Indians,’’ wrote
THE GRAPE ARBOR, CAMULOS, LEADING UP TO THE WILLOWS AT THE WASHING STONES
THE GUITAR AND ‘‘THE DEATH BELL’’
The original paintings from which the illustrations of the novel were taken should belong to the public, and to this end the authors are negotiating with the owner, that they may be placed for all time in the Los Angeles Museum of History, Science and Art. They do mute but just tribute to Henry Sandham, companion and co-worker in California with Helen Hunt Jackson.‘‘
|His pieces so with live objects strive,|
|That both or pictures seem, or both alive,|
|Nature herself, amaz'd, does doubting stand,|
|Which is her own and which the painter's hand;|
|And does attempt the like with less success,|
|When her own work in twins she would express.|
|His all-resembling pencil did out-pass|
|The mimic imagery of looking-glass.|
|Nor was his life less perfect than his art,|
|Nor was his hand less erring than his heart,|
|There was no false or fading color there,|
|The figures sweet and full proportioned were.|