William Burgess of Dover, Rural Study - Early 19th-century watercolour painting


An original early 19th-century watercolour painting, William Burgess of Dover Rural Study.

An accomplished sketch in graphite and sepia wash, by Dover’s most eminent artist William Burgess (1805-1861).

William Burgess was born in Canterbury in 1805. After serving an apprenticeship with his uncle, he travelled in Europe with his artist friend Thomas Sydney Cooper. In 1828 he married and settled in Dover, where he made a living as a drawing master. He exhibited at the Royal Academy and the Royal Society of British Artists. In 1844 he opened the Cosmorama, a state-of-the art optic experience, in which he placed his views of Dover behind large convex lenses to create a sense of realism. The exhibition proved very attractive to the town’s wealthy visitors, who also bought Burgess’s paintings and prints. He produced many lithographic views of Dover - particularly popular were his military themed subjects, such as the killing of Sergeant John Monger at Archcliffe Fort in 1860.

Burgess’s original works are uncommon. A number of his paintings and drawings are now in public collections, including a body of work at Dover Museum.

This is one of six drawings by Burgess that we have for sale.

Inscribed on an additional fragment of paper with the attribution: 'William Burgess of Dover'.
In good condition for its age. Very slight toning, commensurate with age. There are small glue remnants on the verso from historically being laid down. The upper edge of the sheet is raw, indicating it was once in a sketchbook. Please see photos for detail.
18.1cm x 11.6cm.

This picture is one of an interesting assortment of pictures, which were acquired together from a single collector and include a number of works by the eminent Dover artist William Burgess (1805-1861). Burgess was a painter and drawing master, who specialised in local Dover subjects, which sometimes featured military and naval elements. There are further naval and marine connections in the collection, spanning the early Victorian era to the early 20th century, which indicate the collector was possibly of Naval descent; an address associated with the collection is at Lowestoft.

Artists of interest featured in the collection include marine artist Neville Sotheby Pitcher (1889-1959), and Count Mario Grixoni (1885-1945), who was son and nephew of senior officers of the Army and Navy, and who as a young man started a Naval career. There is also an early view on the Nile, and a World War Two sketch in India. In addition, the collection features a number of typical Victorian subjects, such as a portrait of Queen Victoria’s dog Dash, along with a canine sketch by the eminent British-American canine painter Maud Earl (1864-1943), whose select clientele included members of the British royal family.

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Product code: JN-646

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