This charming mid-19th-century oil painting by British artist Alfred Vickers (1786-1868) depicts a landscape with cattle and sweeping mountains.
As cattle meander through a rugged valley, an epic mountainscape towers above and envelops the view. A mother and child rest under an old bough, while a drover guides his flock towards new pasture.
This is an idyllic vision of rural life captured by an artist that adored the British countryside. Inspired by Constable, Vickers studied nature’s various moods with careful observation, often working outside. His short brushstrokes and deftness with colour are comparable to some of the French plein air painters of the mid-19th century. A subject we’ve discussed in a recent essay.
However, Vickers was earlier than many who adopted this style and, as such, was overlooked by the critics who favoured the more conspicuous Victorian painters. Despite exhibiting over 60 times at the Royal Academy, he died in relative obscurity. It’s safe to say that, if he worked in France during this period, he’d be celebrated as a pioneer.
This charming piece is one of a pair - with both previously being sold through Christie’s, New York, in 1994 (£3,220).
Signed/dated lower left and held within a later gilt frame.
Medium: Oil on canvas
Overall size: 25” x 25” / 63cm x 63cm
Year of creation: 1856
Condition: Artwork presents well. Fine craquelure but the paint is stable. Canvas relined. Later stretcher.
Artist’s auction maximum: £10,000
Alfred Vickers was predominantly self-taught and exhibited 62 times at the Royal Academy. His works are held in numerous public collections including at The Wilson, Cheltenham, Reading Museum, Leicester Museum, The National Trust, Sheffield Museum, Wolverhampton Art Gallery, Guildhall Art Gallery, Russell Cotes Art Gallery & Museum, Canterbury Museum, and Nottingham City Museum.
Learn more about Alfred Vickers in our directory.