Ellis, Cows Grazing, River Derwent, Matlock - Mid-19th-century graphite drawing


An original mid-19th-century graphite drawing, Ellis Cows Grazing, River Derwent, Matlock.

A particularly fine graphite drawing with touches of watercolour wash and white bodycolour, of cows grazing by the river Derwent near Matlock in the Peak District. Verso there is an additional collection of graphite studies of various religious imagery, including a priest reading from a Bible and a decorative inscription that reads 'Tintern Abbey'. On grey paper.

Unsigned. Inscribed verso upper right: 'Nr. Matlock'.
There is the odd, barely visble, spot of foxing, and a minor mark to the upper right edge of the paper. Otherwise, in good condition.
11.1cm x 18.9cm.

This work is one of a collection of exceptionally fine watercolours we have for sale, which were once in the possession of Sir Charles Robert Bignold. The watercolours are the work of a father and daughter by the name of Ellis (E. Ellis and A.A. Ellis) and span dramatic and picturesque locations across England, Wales and the Continent.

Whilst the identity of the Ellis artists is a mystery, an inscription accompanying the collection explains its origins: ‘from a series of sketches executed during a pedestrian tour by a father and his daughter, 1850-75’. The paintings are of consistently high quality and are a remarkable first-hand record of a father and daughter’s ambitious tour through some of Europe’s most picturesque scenery in the mid-19th century.

The paintings have a prestigious provenance, being formerly in the collection of Captain Sir Charles Robert Bignold (1892-1970), who belonged to the prosperous Bignold family of Norwich - his ancestor Thomas had established the Norwich Union Insurance Company in 1797. Charles Robert Bignold was a distinguished collector of fine books – his ‘picture book’ estate sale was held at Sotheby’s in 1971 – and the outstanding watercolours in this collection are a testament to Bignold’s fine connoisseurship.

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Product code: JH-773

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