British Drawings

British Drawings

British Drawings

British Drawings

Excerpt

The brown colour of many early drawings is due either to bistre or to the fading of iron gall ink which would have been black when originally applied. Pastel colours had been introduced from France before the Restoration and were used in Riley's time. According to Horace Walpole, one Edmund Ashfield had considerably increased the colour range of the medium during the latter half of the century, and Evelyn the diarist speaks of portraits of his cousin's children "all painted in one piece, very well, by Mr. Luttrel in crayon on copper" (4.8.1694).

RESURRECTION

THE very early years of the eighteenth century were of that darkness popularly supposed to precede the dawn, and a Stygian gloom it was. Jones was dead and Barlow died in 1702. The portraitists are represented by the secondary gifts of the Richardsons, father and son. Jonathan Richardson, the elder, had been a pupil of Riley, and being talented, had succeeded Kneller as the fashionable purveyor of the aristocratic visage. A solitary British exponent of the late Baroque, Sir James Thornhill, was much in demand as a decorator, particularly of ceilings in great country houses and public buildings. Thornhill drew in the florid, somewhat grandiose manner of Tiepolo and the late Venetians. Usually a second-rate performer, there is a certain dash and brilliance in the best of his drawings. His work is almost always in direct relation to architecture and is at least exceedingly accomplished. Pen, wash and chalk were not unnaturally the media he employed.

The dawn however was breaking in no uncertain fashion. In 1697, William Hogarth, who is generally supposed to be the father of all British art, but who actually was the symbol of its reawakening rather than its birth, was born in London, and within twenty years Scotland had produced Allan Ramsay, and Wales, Richard Wilson. The century following these events is generally considered the great period of British painting and it is certainly one of the two peaks of our achievement in drawing. The thin trickle of the preceding two hundred years from the magnificent, if cloudy, sources of the Gothic period now widens into a river, comprising three main streams which, though superficially different, in essence show the same virtues as the source. The lyrical vision of the tenth and eleventh centuries is reasserted in the drawings of Gainsborough, Alexander Cozens and Richard Wilson, though the form has become principally landscape immediately subject to Italian, Dutch and French influences. The linear vitality and freedom of the early Winchester school re-emerges in the hands of Hogarth and Rowlandson while the visionary imagination of the Gothic draughtsmen reappears in the work of Blake and his circle. Hogarth's direct . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.