Attrib. Peter De Wint OWS, Cow at Rest - early 19th-century graphite drawing

An original early 19th-century graphite drawing, Attrib. Peter De Wint OWS Cow at Rest.

A highly accomplished graphite drawing showing a cow at rest in a meadow, with another cow behind it. Peter De Wint OWS (1784-1849) ranks as one of the chief English watercolourists. He moved to London in 1802 where he was apprenticed to John Raphael Smith, the mezzotint engraver and portrait painter. In 1806 he visited Lincoln for the first time, then lived there with William Hilton RA, near to John Varley – who gave lessons to De Wint. In 1807 he first exhibited at the Royal Academy, then in 1809 he entered the Royal Academy schools. He was elected an Associate of the Old Watercolour Society in 1810 and became a full member the following year. In 1812 he became a member of the Society of Painters in Watercolours. De Wint was also a successful drawing-master. Peter De Wint drew and painted many rural scenes, especially in Lincolnshire. He produced known cow studies, including examples in a sketchbook in the Victoria and Albert Museum.On laid paper. Double mounted on backing paper as shown.

Possible indistinct signature in the image lower right.
Some minor adhesive marks and age toning, as shown.
4.3cm x 7.1cm.

This select group of fine cow studies includes drawings attributed to Peter De Wint, one of the chief English watercolourists, Anthony Devis, landscape painter and draughtsman, and Henry Thomas Alken, artist of sporting and coaching subjects. The presence of cows in late 18th- and early 19th-century English landscapes was a feature favoured by artists looking to imbue their pastoral paintings with a sense of calm – a pastoral vision of England, it has been argued, that was designed to appeal to the new class of industrialist collector that came into being with the Royal Academy in 1768.

These drawings form part of a larger collection of mainly equestrian pictures we have for sale, connected with two highly regarded horse painters: Charles Loraine-Smith (1751-1835), a keen horseman known for his early hunting and sporting scenes, and Charles Cooper Henderson (1803-1877), the pre-eminent painter of Victorian horses and coaches. At a time when animal painting was seen as a ‘lower’ form of art, these artists were pioneering in establishing the respectability and status of the genre. The story of why these pictures have come together is a mystery, but it is possible that the collection was at one time owned by Charles Cooper Henderson: our collection includes a watercolour by William James Müller – and, interestingly, Charles’s brother, the distinguished art collector John Henderson, was an avid collector of Müller’s works. 

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Product code: JJ-827

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