River Landscape with Figures
About the work
This hilly landscape is lit by the warm light of an evening sunset. The view includes a castellated building and the spire of a church at the edge of a river or estuary. In the foreground of the work, four figures scramble up a rocky bank. Cattle can be seen in the lower right corner.
This painting was formerly in the collection of the poet Sheila Wingfield, Viscountess Powerscourt (1906-1992), who lived for a time at Powerscourt Castle in County Wicklow, Ireland.
About the artist
Thomas Barker was born in Pontypool, South Wales. Both his father and brother were also painters. The family moved to Bath in about 1782 and, as a result, he would become known as Barker of Bath. He was educated by coachbuilder and collector, Charles Spackman. Although not thought to have had any formal artistic training, Barker copied 17th-century paintings in Spackman’s collection and, sponsored by Spackman, spent three years in Italy from 1790. Barker was a pioneer in the art of lithography and his considerable output is mainly paintings of rural life, but also includes religious, historical and contemporary social subjects. Despite earlier success, he died in poverty at Doric House, Bath, a picture gallery he commissioned in 1803.
- River Landscape with Figures
- Oil on canvas
- height: 44.50 cm, width: 90.00 cm
- Purchased from the Jeremy Maas Gallery, February 1973
- according the Maas Gallery records: dated 1819
- With Hartley Fine Arts, Surrey; from whom purchased by J. S. Maas & Co. Ltd., London, on 3 February 1966; from whom purchased by Sheila Claude Wingfield (née Beddington), Viscountess Powerscourt (1906-1992; wife of 9th Viscount Powerscourt; daughter of Claude Beddington) on 27 April 1966; presumably sold through Sotheby's, London, 'Viscount Powerscourt’s and others' sale, on 1 July 1971; collection of ‘Peter Hetherington’; from whom purchased by J. S. Maas & Co. Ltd., London, on 20 July 1973; from whom purchased by the Ministry of Works in February 1979
- GAC number