Peter La Cave (1769-c.1811)

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Little is known about the biography of Peter La Cave (or Le Cave) (1769-c.1811), but he was a prolific watercolourist of rural life, his paintings focusing on groups of peasants, horses and cattle. He is believed to have been connected with a family of Dutch artists of French extraction. He was working in England from around 1789 to 1816, exhibiting at the Royal Academy in 1801. He appears to have had connections with both Julius Caesar Ibbetson (1759-1817) and George Morland (1763-1804), the latter for whom he worked as an assistant. La Cave’s pencil drawings are considered particularly effective, John Sell Cotman having praised them in a letter to Turner in 1804. Cotman is thought to have studied La Cave’s depiction of cows in particular, tracing from La Cave’s drawings, for inclusion in his own work. J.R. Morris and John Thomas Gower are two artists believed to have been La Cave’s pupils.