Description & Technical information

Most of Edward Poynter’s few landscape watercolours date from early in his career. These tend to be records of places he visited, and are among his most personal works, done for his own pleasure and seldom exhibited. (In later years, however, the artist consented to show some of his landscape watercolours at the Fine Art Society, the Grosvenor Gallery and the New Gallery.) In contrast to the more diffused forms of the work of many of his contemporaries, however, his watercolour technique remained precise and controlled, with a restrained colour scheme.

As one contemporary critic noted, ‘It is not too much to claim that, as Sir Edward Poynter’s more ambitious work is of [a] classic order, something of the same quality has overflowed into these small but choice water-colours which are his recreation (as he himself says), from the more severe duties of his positions as chief craftsman, instructor and governor of certain national institutions. His work is not aggressive at all; it does not even attempt sober tours de force; it is merely strong, and simple, and reposeful, and, as a rule, English. But somehow it has a way of making one want to see it again, and to pore over it – just as have his crayon studies...These water-colours are less known, but in their way they have that same reticent beauty which have those well-known figure drawings...There is a peculiar mental quality in them which is at once charming and dignified, despite its suspicion of severity.’

The present sheet is dated 1896, and would appear to depict a view in Northern Italy. As one modern scholar been noted of Poynter, ‘The watercolours he produced in the late 1890s, especially in the area around Lago d’Orta, are minutely detailed and at the same time full of atmospheric effects.’

Medium: Watercolour on board
Signature: Signed with initials and dated 18 EJP 96 at the lower right.

Dimensions: 26.8 x 36.7 cm (10¹/₂ x 14¹/₂ inches)
Provenance: Anonymous sale, London, Sotheby’s Belgravia, 29 June 1976, lot 296.

Categories: Paintings, Drawings & Prints