An original early 19th-century watercolour painting, Anthony Devis Cows Grazing.
This peaceful bucolic scene in ink and watercolour shows two cows in a field. Anthony Devis (1729 – 1816) was an English landscape painter, brother of the celebrated portrait painter Arthur Devis. Among his most famous works are a series of designs for a dinner and dessert service, commissioned by Catherine the Great of Russia from the English porcelain manufacturer Josiah Wedgwood: its decoration featured views of British country houses, and also bore a standard green frog device. Known subsequently as the Green Frog Service, it is regarded as one of Wedgwood’s masterpieces. This work shows Devis's characteristic fine use of grey ink and delicate watercolour wash.
Unsigned. Inscribed verso: 'Anthony Devis' with historic accession number 'S.1179'.
Some light creasing and age toning to the paper as shown.
12.4cm x 19.7cm.
This select group of fine cow studies includes drawings attributed to Peter De Wint, one of the chief English watercolourists, Anthony Devis, landscape painter and draughtsman, and Henry Thomas Alken, artist of sporting and coaching subjects. The presence of cows in late 18th- and early 19th-century English landscapes was a feature favoured by artists looking to imbue their pastoral paintings with a sense of calm – a pastoral vision of England, it has been argued, that was designed to appeal to the new class of industrialist collector that came into being with the Royal Academy in 1768.
These drawings form part of a larger collection of mainly equestrian pictures we have for sale, connected with two highly regarded horse painters: Charles Loraine-Smith (1751-1835), a keen horseman known for his early hunting and sporting scenes, and Charles Cooper Henderson (1803-1877), the pre-eminent painter of Victorian horses and coaches. At a time when animal painting was seen as a ‘lower’ form of art, these artists were pioneering in establishing the respectability and status of the genre. The story of why these pictures have come together is a mystery, but it is possible that the collection was at one time owned by Charles Cooper Henderson: our collection includes a watercolour by William James Müller – and, interestingly, Charles’s brother, the distinguished art collector John Henderson, was an avid collector of Müller’s works.
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Product code: JJ-823