This late 18th-century gouache by British artist John Inigo Richards RA (1731-1810) depicts a picturesque landscape with track, figures and distant cottages.
Immersed in the raucous drama of London’s 18th-century theatre scene, Inigo Richards sought solace in the British countryside. As the principal scene painter at Covent Garden Theatre, his bucolic backdrops brought colour and context to numerous plays featuring leading actors. For inspiration, he’d escape to the delights of rural England, often sketching in Kent and the home counties. Charming cottages and churches accompany dappled trees and far-reaching views. All brought back to the studio before working up a design.
Alongside his ‘day job’, Inigo Richards produced landscapes in watercolour and gouache. His beautifully rendered vistas capture a pastoral idyll in miniature, each composition rendered with dexterity and fine detail.
Note the weight of the figures here, the seated father and son, the shading on the mother’s dress - the clever use of twisted trees, which frame the view. Inigo Richards was a perfectionist and proud of his work - apparently rather hot-tempered with it, which often comes with the territory. His works are masterful and, in our opinion, he stands out as the finest landscape watercolourist of his generation. And it’s no wonder that he became one of the original founding members of the Royal Academy, and also its Secretary.
Every inch of this delicate piece is bliss.
Held within a later frame. Previously sold through Sotheby's, London, 9th April 1992, lot 110.
Medium: Gouache on paper
Overall size: 16” x 15” / 41cm x 38cm
Year of creation: c. 1790
Condition: Artwork presents well. Minor discolouration in the top left. Frame with some light wear.
Artist’s auction maximum: £135,000 (Christie’s)
John Inigo Richards RA
John Inigo Richards studied at the St Martin's Lane Academy under George Lambert. He was a founding member of the Royal Academy. His works are held in numerous public collections including at the British Museum, V&A and National Museum Wales.
Learn more about John Inigo Richards in our directory.