Attr. Thomas Creswick, Undulating Landscape With River, Cattle & Birch Trees

Attr. Thomas Creswick, Undulating Landscape With River, Cattle & Birch Trees

It’s been a privilege to handle this fine mid-19th-century piece by English artist, Thomas Creswick RA (1811-1869). It represents some of the best British landscape painting of the period.

Creswick was well-loved by the Victorian middle classes who scattered their walls with picturesque etchings, rural idylls, and gentle pastoral scenes. He was born in Sheffield but is known as one of the leading figures of the ‘Birmingham School’ of landscape painters. Together with artists such as David Cox (1783-1859) and Thomas Baker (1809-1864), he scoured the Isles searching for the perfect view across Britain’s green and pleasant land.

Often, this took him over the border into the Welsh valleys and the Irish pastures. But he also covered a great deal of England - particularly Devonshire.

John Ruskin, the 19th-century art critic, described Creswick as “one of the very few artists who do draw from nature and try for nature”. By this, he was referring to how Creswick was an honest painter who captured what he saw without altering a composition for the sake of aesthetics. He also sketched outside, immersed in the countryside he loved so dearly.

In this piece, which dates to around 1840, we see two figures, probably a shepherd and his wife, guiding their cattle along a familiar path. While a small dog, closest to the foreground, looks across a deep valley with interest.

The cattle are sheltered by several tall Birch trees that cast their long shadows across the trodden earth. Creswick has observed the light beautifully here, which creates atmosphere and pulls us closer to the scene.

Towards the horizon, our eyes pass over a field with distant grazing cattle - little more than a few brushmarks skilfully rendered. And out beneath the heavy clouds, a series of hills appear lighter with every degree of separation.

For us, this is a masterpiece and one of Creswick’s finest works in terms of composition, atmosphere, observed light and palette. It deserves a great home where it’ll be cherished for many years.

The painting is housed within a beautiful scroll and foliate frame with corner ornamentation.

Please refer to our blog article for more information about Thomas Creswick.

Medium: Oil on canvas
Overall size: 43” x 31” / 110cm x 78cm
Year of creation: c. 1840
Provenance: England
Condition: Very presentable with nothing that detracts from the aesthetic. Light craquelure but the paint layer is stable. The canvas has been relined. Frame with some light wear.
Artist’s auction highlight: £35,000 achieved for ‘The Nearest Way in Summer Time’ at Christie’s in 2000.

Conservation & History

We care profoundly about our role as custodians and every piece in the collection has been assessed by our conservator. When required, we undertake professional restoration carefully using reversible techniques and adopt a light touch to retain the aged charm of each work. We also restore frames rather than replace them as many are original and selected by the artists themselves.

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