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    Sale 11932

    Revolution

    13 April 2016, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 15

    Sir Thomas Lawrence, P.R.A. (Bristol 1769-1830 London)

    Studies from Nature: The Source of the Manifold at Ilam Park; and A View of Dovedale looking towards Thorpe Cloud

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    Sir Thomas Lawrence, P.R.A. (Bristol 1769-1830 London)
    Studies from Nature: The Source of the Manifold at Ilam Park; and A View of Dovedale looking towards Thorpe Cloud
    oil on paper, laid down on canvas
    17¾ x 27 in. (45 x 68.6 cm.)
    (2)a pair


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    These remarkable landscapes are unique in Lawrence's oeuvre, being his only pure landscapes. Fresh and spontaneous, they feel astonishingly modern, yet were painted early in the artist's career, probably soon after 1790. In their free and confident handling of paint, they are fine examples of the precocious talent which saw Lawrence rapidly establish himself in London in the late 1780s; the character of the two can be paralleled to the background of the celebrated portrait of Queen Charlotte (London, National Gallery), exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1790.

    The late Sir Michael Levey noted a brooding quality in the pictures, commenting that the 'secluded tree-filled glades are painted with a passionately dramatic response to deep, lush countryside, away from all human habitation, giving an exciting, claustrophobic sense of foliage and terrain rising to shut out the sky.' The two pictures demonstrate an original talent for landscapes which Lawrence was to suppress in preference for the career as a portrait painter which alone would secure him the financial resources which his pattern of living--and later collecting--necessitated.

    The title used by Lupton for each picture in 1834--'Study from Nature'--certainly expresses their character. The tradition that they were 'painted at Ilam Hall, Derbyshire, when Lawrence was painting the Watts Russell family there', is recorded in a letter of 1951 from Colonel Grant to Kenneth Garlick (Garlick, 1993, p. 15). Garlick suggested that the Mr. Watts from whom Lawrence received a half-payment of 15 guineas about 1790, was David Pike Watts, whose daughter Mary married Jesse Russell (1786-1875), second son of Jesse Russell (b. 1743), of London and Wolthamstow: the younger Jesse assumed the name of Watts Russell in 1817. Ilam Hall was rebuilt for him and his wife: it is now demolished, but the estate is owned by the National Trust.

    In the 1861 and 1884 sale catalogues it is implied that the figures in both pictures are by Thomas Stothard. There is in fact little reason to suppose that the pictures are not entirely by Lawrence himself, although Garlick considered it possible that the figures and animals in View of Dovedale might be by Stothard; he observed that 'it may well be that on [Lawrence's] return [to London] he employed Stothard to complete [the picture] and put in the animals and figures' (Garlick, 1993, p. 16). Whether the younger painter would have been in a position to employ Stothard, who became an Associate of the Royal Academy in 1791, is uncertain, and it may be that the reference to Stothard represents no more than a confused memory of the latter painter's recorded visit to Ilam in 1825, long after the present pictures were executed. It is perhaps significant that the View of Dovedale, by nineteenth-century standards the more 'complete' of the two compositions, was copied at an early date. The copy in question is now at Tabley House, Cheshire, University of Manchester (Catalogue of Pictures at Tabley House, 1899, no. 8; Garlick, 1964, as a repetition; 1993, p. 17, fig. 3 as a copy).

    Provenance

    William Russell; Christie's, London, 23 February 1861, lots 161 and 162, as 'Sir Thomas Lawrence, P.R.A., 'A small woody Landscape, with figures by Stothard, R.A.' and 'The Companion' (each bought in at £2 15s.).
    William Russell; (+), Christie's, London, 6 December 1884, lot 81 (8 gns. to Buttery).
    Thomas Agnew & Sons; Christie's, London, 18 June 1920, lot 83 (6 gns. to Maitland).
    Col. M.H. Grant, collector and art historian, by 1925, from whom (presumably) acquired by
    Capt. R.S. de Q. Quincey (1896-1965), breeder, The Vern, Marden, Herefordshire.
    Anonymous sale [Pictures from the Collection of Captain R.S. de Q. Quincey]; Christie's, London, 18 April 1996, lot 25, 'The Source of the Manifold at Ilam Park', and lot 26, 'A View at Dovedale looking towards Thorpe Cloud' (sold £188,500 and £265,500 respectively).
    Sold privately, on behalf of the purchaser at the 1996 sale, to the following, in 2003,
    Sold privately, on behalf of the purchaser in 2003, to the current owner in 2011.


    Pre-Lot Text

    PROPERTY FROM AN IMPORTANT PRIVATE COLLECTION


    Literature

    Col. M.H. Grant, The Old English Landscape Painters, Leigh-on-Sea, 1925, II, p. 202, pl. 121.
    K. Garlick, Sir Thomas Lawrence, London, 1954, p. 64, pls. 20 and 21.
    Anon., exhibition review, The Times, 28 October 1961, p. 4, 'The two early landscapes which so uniquely illustrate a capacity for landscape painting, otherwise confined to the backgrounds of the portraits'.
    K. Garlick, 'A Catalogue of the Paintings, Drawings and Pastels of Sir Thomas Lawrence', The Walpole Society, XXXIX, 1964, p. 209.
    K. Garlick, Sir Thomas Lawrence: A complete Catalogue of the oil paintings, Oxford, 1989, no. 890, pls. 7a and b.
    K. Garlick, 'Two Lawrence Landscapes', The Ashmolean, 1993, pp. 15-20, figs. 1 and 2.
    M. Levey, Sir Thomas Lawrence, New Haven and London, 2005, pp. 104-5, pls. 58 and 59.


    Exhibited

    London, Burlington Fine Arts Club, English Paintings and Drawings c. 1780-1830, Winter 1933-1934, nos. 11 and 19.
    Bristol, City Art Gallery, Sir Thomas Lawrence, 5 July-31 August 1951, nos. 32 and 33.
    London, The Arts Council of Great Britain, Early English Landscapes from Colonel Grant's Collection, Winter 1952-1953, nos. 32 and 33.
    London, Arthur Tooth, November-December 1953, nos. 13 and 14.
    London, Royal Academy of Arts, Sir Thomas Lawrence, P.R.A., 1769-1830, 28 October-31 December 1961, nos. 32 and 34.
    Oxford, Ashmolean Museum, on loan, 1992-1996.