James Thomas Watts RCA, Silver Birch Woodland -19th-century watercolour painting


An original late 19th-century watercolour painting, James Thomas Watts RCA RBSA Silver Birch Woodland Scene.

Birmingham painter James Thomas Watts RCA RBSA (1850-1930) was a master of woodland scenes, and between the late 1870s and 1905 he confined himself nearly entirely to this subject. This signed watercolour shows Watts’ interest in the appearance of trees and woodlands in the varying seasons, and the play of light and shadow. The woodland majestically fills the picture plane; the detail of the elegant birch trunks is picked out in the foreground whilst the background recedes with broader dabs of wash. The artist’s working underdrawing in graphite is visible in places. His technique has been described as both painterly and sharply realistic.

On 'Arnold & Foster Ltd, Kent Drawing Board'.

We acquired this watercolour along with another which, although unsigned, appears to also be by Watts and is an unfinished woodland sketch (see stock code JK-131).

Signed lower right: 'James T. Watts'.
In good condition for its age overall, there is a small amount of foxing to the paper visible at the upper right. Some marks to the board on the verso, as shown.
38cm x 25.3cm.

James Thomas Watts RCA RBSA (1850-1930) was born in Birmingham and attended King Edward’s School, like Burne-Jones a generation earlier. He studied at Birmingham School of Art, then in 1874 settled in Liverpool, where he became a much respected member of the local artistic community. Watts exhibited in both oils and watercolour, but the latter was his preferred medium. He exhibited widely, including at the Royal Academy, Royal Society of British Artists, and Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours. He was a member of the Royal Cambrian Academy and the Royal Birmingham Society of Artists.

Watts was a master of the woodland scene, generally painting subjects around the areas of North Wales, Liverpool and Lancashire. He was strongly influenced by the writings of Ruskin and the work of the Pre-Raphaelites. This can been seen in his meticulous depiction of nature and his attempts to revive a sense of realism in landscape.

His works are held in a number of public collections, including the British Museum, Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

Text copyright © 2018 Somerset & Wood Fine Art Ltd. All rights reserved.

Product code: JK-132

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