John Martin (Circle)

The Valley Of The Thames Viewed From Richmond Hill

John Martin (Circle)

The Valley Of The Thames Viewed From Richmond Hill

This mid-19th-century oil painting depicts a view from Richmond Hill across a wide expanse of the River Thames.

Winding its way between a verdant array of leafy, tree-lined pastures, the commanding Thames shimmers in mid-Summer. From Richmond Hill, the horizon line fades into tinted mists above clusters of ancient woodland. While picnickers rest among wandering deer.

For centuries, artists, poets and writers were transfixed by this vista - JMW Turner, William Wordsworth, Thomas Christopher Hofland, Francesco Zuccarelli and John Martin, to name just a few. It’s English but, under the Summer sun, feels Italian.

During the early to mid-19th century, painting here became a team sport. Artists would flock, carrying easels, sketchbooks, and umbrellas. Each seeking to witness “one of the finest prospects in the world.” This piece, produced in around 1850, is particularly charming and skilfully captures the various vertical layers as they lighten beyond the river. Smoke rises from a dwelling nestled between trees and two lovers court in the foreground.

Intriguingly, the figures bear a resemblance to those in a larger piece by John Martin (1789-1854), exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1851. Although many aspects of the landscape are different. It’s tempting to consider this as a study for that larger work as it was produced around the same time. Alternatively, the artist could’ve worked alongside him - admiring the same view.

Held within an early 19th-century neo-classical revival frame.

Learn more about John Martin in our directory.

Medium: Oil on canvas
Overall size: 23” x 17½” / 58cm x 44cm
Year of creation: c. 1850
Condition: Artwork presents well. Canvas relined. Light craquelure but the paint is stable. Frame with some light wear.

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