As a leading painter of the Romantic movement, de Loutherbourg influenced such artists as J.M.W. Turner, and was an extremely important artist in his own time. Born in Strasbourg, he studied under Carle van Loo and Casanova, and was eleceted an Académicien at the Paris Academy in 1767. He moved to London in 1771 having been painter to the King of France, and befriended David Garrick, taking up a position as scenic director at the Drury Lane Theatre. The majority of de Loutherbourg's oeuvre was landscape painting, and he was elected a full Royal Academician in 1781. Ellis Waterhouse notes that 'his output of landscapes was extremely varied and influential...sometimes with almost Rowlandson figures..' (Waterhouse, The Dictionary of British 18th Century Painters, Suffolk, 1981, p.226), an observation that certainly applies to the figures in the present work.
Kenwood House, situated on the northern fringes of Hampstead Heath, was built in the early 18th Century, and adapted by William Murray, 1st Earl of Mansfield (1705-1793), who acquired the house in 1754. He employed the architect Robert Adams to re-model the house, notably adding a third storey, stuccoing the façade and adding the central pilasters.
We are grateful to Ralph Hyde for confirming the topography of this lot, on the basis of photographs.