Julius Caesar Ibbetson (1759-1817)
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Julius Caesar Ibbetson (1759-1817)

View of Ullswater, Cumberland, taken from Gowbarrow Park; and View of Grasmere, Westmoreland, taken from White Moss

Julius Caesar Ibbetson (1759-1817)
View of Ullswater, Cumberland, taken from Gowbarrow Park; and View of Grasmere, Westmoreland, taken from White Moss
the former signed and dated 'J Ibbetson p 1806' (lower right); the latter signed and dated 'Julius Ibbetson 1806' (lower left)
oil on canvas
27½ x 36¼ in. (70 x 92 cm.)
a pair (2)
London, Royal Academy, 1806, the former as no. 379 'View of Ullswater, Cumberland; taken from Gowbarrow Park' the latter as no. 484 'View of Grasmere, Westmoreland; taken from White Moss'.
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Lot Essay

By the end of the eighteenth century, the dramatic landscape of the Lake District was the subject of artistic and literary admiration. Thomas West's Guide to the Lakes, first published in 1778, encouraged vistors to seek out the most picturesque viewpoints in the area and the poet Thomas Gray immortalised in his writings the emotional impact of the landscape, inspired by his visit of 1769. These evocative pictures of Ullswater and Grasmere are exceptional examples of the romantic views of the lakes and surrounding hills that Ibbetson and his contemporaries, such as Jacques-Philipe de Loutherbourg, Francis Towne and Edward Dayes were painting at the turn of the nineteenth century.

Ibbetson, the second child of Richard Ibbetson, a Yorkshire clothier, is thought to have gained his unusual middle name because he was delivered by caesarean section. Little is known of his early education, probably supervised by Quakers, before his apprenticeship to John Fletcher, a ship painter in Hull, between 1772 and 1777. In 1777 he moved to London where his principal employment was as a picture restorer. In 1785, he exhibited his first picture at the Royal Academy, where he was to continue to exhibit over the next thirty years. Through the intervention of the conniosseur Captain William Baillie, Ibbetson accompanied Colonel Charles Cathcart on the first British embassy to Peking. On his return in 1789, he toured Wales with Viscount Mountstuart (later 1st Marquess of Bute), which he later revisited in 1792, with another patron and connoisseur, Colonel Grant.
In 1798, Ibbetson moved to Liverpool to assist the art dealer Thomas Vernon, and made his first visits to the Lake District. He began exhibiting lakeland views at the Royal Academy in 1799, one of which, View of the lower waterfall at Sir Michael Le Fleming's at Rydal (Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool), recalls a view that Joseph Wright of Derby painted the previous year (Musuem of Art, Derby). He moved to Rydal in 1801, after his marriage to Bella Thomson, and by 1802 had moved to Ambleside at the northern edge of Lake Windermere, a bustling town which he was to fondly recall in his last known oil painting, The Market Place at Ambleside (1817; Temple Newsam House, Leeds).
Although Ibbetson moved to Masham in 1805, he continued to recall the spectacular scenery of the Lake District. These views of Ullswater and Grasmere are typical of his finest lakeland compositions, a golden panoramic landscape is framed by rustic figures and healthy looking animals. A similar, but slighly later composition, Langdale Pikes, was painted for his great patron, Timothy Hutton, in 1808 (Private Collection) and in the same year he painted another view of Ullswater from the foot of Gowbarrow Fell (taken from a lower viewpoint than the present picture; Fizwilliam Musuem, Cambridge).

Ibbeston died on 13 October 1817 and was buried in the churchyard of St. Mary's, Masham.

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