Attrib. Joseph Powell PNWS, At Bohemia - Early 19th-century watercolour painting


An original early 19th-century watercolour painting, Attrib. Joseph Powell PNWS At Bohemia.

A beautiful work in brown wash and graphite attributed to watercolourist and printmaker Joseph Powell PNWS (1769/80?-1834). The rural view depicted is described as ‘At Bohemia’ - Bohemia is a Wiltshire hamlet on the edge of the New Forest National Park, southeast of Salisbury. There are known paintings by Powell depicting other locations in this vicinity, at Itchen Ferry (dated 1798) and Wareham in Hampshire. Characteristic of Powell is the meticulous mark-making in graphite to denote foliage and the sensitive, deft treatment of foreground animals. The ‘At Bohemia’ inscription in brown ink matches inscriptions on other works by Powell, including a similar sepia work sold by Abbott and Holder inscribed ‘At Rydal’ and a watercolour over pencil in the collection of The Huntington Art Collections, California inscribed ‘At Rossthwaite in Borrowdale’.

We acquired this work as part of a collection which included a drawing by Captain Thomas Hastings (1778–1854) and a painting bearing the signature ‘P. Sandby’. The work has been historically attributed to Joseph Powell on the back of the mount, as shown. The back of the mount also bears a historic catalogue number, upper right.

Presented in a wash line window mount.

Unsigned. Inscribed lower right: 'At Bohemia'. There are various graphite inscriptions on the verso of the paper, as shown. 
Some age toning to the paper and a small amount of foxing towards the upper right corner. There is a very slight loss to the edge of the paper at the upper right, as shown. The mount has minor marks and age toning as shown.
12.6cm x 21.1cm.

Joseph Powell PNWS (1769/1780?-1834) was the first president of the New Society of Painters in Water Colours, founded in 1831. He exhibited at the Royal Academy (until 1829) and with the Associated Artists in Water Colours (1808-12).

Born in London, Powell is thought to possibly have been the son of Joseph Powell and Mary March who married at St Marylebone in September 1776. The young Joseph Powell exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1797 his address was printed as ‘At Mr. Pouncey’s, Pratt Street, Lambeth’, suggesting he was a pupil of draughtsman and engraver Benjamin Thomas Pouncy (d.1799). Powell became a printmaker as well as a watercolourist, making etchings after some of the Old Masters.

Powell lived in London all his life but toured extensively producing sketches and watercolours of landscape subjects around the south coast of England, Shropshire, the Lake District and Wales. He was also a successful drawing-master, making etchings for the use of his pupils, who included the brothers Samuel Redgrave (1802-1876) and Richard Redgrave (1804-1888).

Works by Joseph Powell are in a number of public collections in the UK and abroad, including the Royal Academy, Tate, V&A and Wordsworth Trust, Christchurch Art Gallery / Te Puna O Waiwhetu, New Zealand, Lauren Rogers Museum of Art, Laurel, Mississippi and The Huntington Library, California.

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Product code: JM-153

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