This beautiful 18th-century pastoral landscape depicts a scenic river view under the mellow haze of a sunset. It’s an idyllic snapshot of the British countryside.
From our viewpoint on the riverbank, our eye is drawn towards a stone bridge where a drover is guiding his cattle to a nearby field. A large tree creates a majestic vertical, which guides the eye further. Beyond them, additional livestock graze by a distant copse, a few careful marks signify their form.
During the mid to late 18th century, wealthy patrons sought images that celebrated an idealised view of a pastoral lifestyle - man’s harmony with the natural world. It was a topic of much interest in poetry, discussion and art with its roots in antiquity.
In 1599, Christopher Marlowe’s ‘The Passionate Shepherd to His Love’, creates a vision of pastoral bliss:
Come live with me and be my Love,
And we will all the pleasures prove
That hills and valleys, dale and field,
And all the craggy mountains yield.
There will we sit upon the rocks
And see the shepherds feed their flocks,
By shallow rivers, to whose falls
Melodious birds sing madrigals.
Artists looked to capture this sentiment with celebratory vistas and romantic atmospheres, often travelling to Rome to immerse themselves in classicism. This particular work is similar to those by British artist George Smith of Chichester (1713/14-1776).
Held within a splendid Rococo gilt frame dating to circa 1760.
Learn more about George Smith of Chichester in our directory.
Medium: Oil on canvas
Overall size: 19” x 17” / 48cm x 43cm
Year of creation: c. 1770
Condition: Craquelure but the paint is stable. Canvas relined. Frame with some age-related wear.