This 19th-century oil painting by eminent British artist George Vicat Cole RA (1833-1893) depicts a Summer’s day on the River Arun.
With its shimmering reflections of riverside flora, the resplendent Arun winds humbly through the reeds. Three cows approach to take water under the radiant glow of the midday sun. It’s an idyllic snapshot of pastoral bliss captured by a master of the English landscape. Vicat Cole worked predominantly outdoors, often balancing on a bobbing punt, with a canvas perched upon his easel. His works convey a deep affinity with nature, describing its intricate details with careful observation.
In the foreground, the grasses are picked out in various tones, each blade seemingly rendered with still-life accuracy. While beyond, the windswept trees rustle with a quintessentially British quality.
Like Constable before him, Vicat Cole held nature aloft and celebrated its virtues. During the 1870s/1880s, he painted the Arun numerous times, with many of these works now held in museums. Few could match his precision and masterful observation.
An amiable man, he invites the viewer to join him and meander through the scenery. Note the visual pathways from the river through to the distant woodland.
Monogrammed in the lower left and held within its original gilt frame. The work is dated 1880, the year he was elected a member of the Royal Academy.
Medium: Oil on canvas
Overall size: 28½” x 21½” / 72cm x 55cm
Year of creation: 1880
Condition: Artwork presents well. Fine craquelure but the paint is stable. Canvas relined. Frame with some light wear.
Artist’s auction maximum: £47,788
George Vicat Cole RA
Vicat Cole trained under his father George Cole (1810-1884). He exhibited at the Society of British Artists and the Royal Academy, where he later became a member. His works are held in numerous public collections including at the Russell Cotes Art Gallery & Museum, V&A, Tate, Manchester Art Gallery, National Trust, National Museum of Wales, Royal Academy, and Walker Art Gallery.
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