These pictures come from a sketchbook inscribed ‘GH Wollaston, Chalet Blanc, Morgins, Valais, 1905.’ Another inscription reads ‘Flax Bourton, Somerset’ (these inscriptions are not included with the picture).
Morgins, a village in the Swiss canton of Valais, is famous nowadays for skiing. In the early twentieth century it was an Alpine resort that was popular with walkers: it is the first of many place names associated with mountains, which appear throughout the sketchbook.
The choice of subject matter in this collection is perhaps explained by the artist’s occupation. G. H. Wollaston, of Flax Bourton in Somerset, was for many years a master at Clifton College in Bristol, where he taught geology, while also being involved with a number of geological societies. While many of our watercolours and pen and ink studies show an interest in atmospherics, and a real skill in rendering mist and cloud formations, almost all of them feature mountains and hills too.
These pictures are all monochrome, in blue, grey or brown watercolour washes and ink. This serves to bring out the tonal values of the subjects that are depicted.
The sketchbook was made by Lechertier Barbe Ltd, Jermyn Street and Regent Street London, and the pictures are on laid paper, many with a Michelet watermark.