This mid-19th-century watercolour by British artist Anthony Vandyke Copley Fielding (1787-1855) depicts a view down the River Wye near Chepstow.
If given the opportunity to speak with Copley Fielding, he’d tell you that Claude Lorrain, the eminent baroque landscape painter, had composition sewn up. He’d talk through Claude’s sketches, passionately extolling their virtuous sun-drenched horizons. With equal fervour, he’d praise the careful rendering of trees to guide the eye and the importance of accurate perspective.
Copley Fielding was England’s very own mini-Claude. As if the distinguished Frenchman had been transposed into modest watercolours. Yet, unlike Claude, Copley Fielding opted to paint what he saw rather than travel to the Roman Campagna. His idyllic views were here - on the banks of the Wye, drifting across the twisting river towards a misty silhouette of Chepstow Castle. His figures were unrelated to allegory, they’re merely simple shepherds guiding cattle.
Returning here several times, this unsung hero of British art, captured the countryside he loved with an unrivalled delicacy of tint. Compared to Turner, Copley Fielding’s entry in the history books is unfairly diminutive. But in 1840, he was the king of his domain.
Signed/dated lower left and held within an early 19th-century neoclassical gilt frame.
Medium: Watercolour on paper
Overall size: 15” x 12½” / 38cm x 32cm
Year of creation: 1847
Condition: Artwork presents well. A few marks on the mount. Frame with some light wear.
Artist’s auction maximum: £21,000
Anthony Vandyke Copley Fielding
Anthony Vandyke Copley Fielding trained under John Varley. He was a member (and President) of the Old Water-Colour Society and won a gold medal at the Paris Salon. His works are held in numerous public collections including at the Tate Gallery, the Louvre, Victoria & Albert Museum, British Museum, Royal Academy, National Galleries of Scotland, National Museums Wales, and Manchester Art Gallery.
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