Picturesque Landscapes of Britain

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This enchanting series of topographical watercolours in blue-grey grisaille depict picturesque ‘Beauties of Britain’, including Tintern Abbey, Blenheim Palace, Great Malvern Priory and Chichester Cathedral – celebrated views in the English watercolour tradition, painted by artists such as Thomas Girtin, and – our artist’s contemporary – J.M.W. Turner. The artist, initialled C.G., has produced a classically picturesque composition, framed by rich foliage, combining topographical detail with a Romantic appreciation of nature.

The artist’s distinctive palette involves extensive use of Payne’s Grey, a blue-grey alternative to black invented by William Payne in the late 18th century, which allows for great subtlety of shade gradation. The topographical nature of the series and the precise delineation of architecture recalls the 18th century works of Samuel Hieronymus Grimm, whilst the emphasis on and freer treatment of foliage is more in the Romantic style of Turner.

This series of paintings comes from a larger collection of pictures we have for sale, associated with the city of Oxford and a number of prominent 19th-century Oxford artists, including William Turner of Oxford. Although the identity of the artist of this series is a mystery, they were likely local to the Oxford area, as the series includes lesser-known Oxford locations at Iffley and Littlemore, as well as a beautiful view of the Oxford skyline.