Frederick Henry Henshaw, A Gypsy Encampment

Frederick Henry Henshaw, A Gypsy Encampment

This robust mid-19th-century oil painting by British painter Frederick Henry Henshaw (1807-1891) depicts a gypsy encampment within a deep wooded area. It’s typically Victorian and rendered with the confidence of an established Academy artist.

On the left, a channel of light illuminates several figures resting by a blazing fire. Smoke rises, twisting and taken by the breeze. While on the right, two trees strike impressive vertical forms as they emerge from a riverbank. The beauty of the natural world with all its gnarled imperfections.

The Victorians generally had an overly-romanticised view of gypsy life, derived primarily through literature. Several artists portrayed gypsies as representing an escape from typical societal constraints. Living free and basing all decisions upon emotional response without restraint. Being truly at one with nature.

Here, Henshaw used the landscape itself to echo that sentiment - he creates a composition that reinforces the bucolic fantasy. Note the contrast between sky and woodland to add spaciousness and a sense of escape. And the passages of rugged brushwork, which enhance character.

Frederick Henry Henshaw was a consummate professional and a regular at the Royal Academy of Arts. In 1844, when this was created, he was living in Small Heath, Birmingham.

Please note that this painting will need to be crated if shipped overseas. A cost for the crate will be added on during checkout.

Learn more about Frederick Henry Henshaw in our directory.

Medium: Oil on canvas
Overall size: 33½” x 38½” / 85cm x 98cm
Year of creation: 1844
Condition: Artwork presents well. Craquelure but the paint is stable. Frame with some light wear.
Artist’s auction highlight: £9,000 achieved for an oil painting in 1993.

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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