Wooded Landscape with Waterfall

  • About the work
    Location
    Country: Canada
    City: Ottawa
    Place: British High Commission

    As cattle are herded across a stone bridge, water crashes down a small fall below. The scene is framed by the rocky banks of the river and the twisted trunks of trees. A second figure of a man can be made out to the left of the composition.

    This view probably shows an imaginary, idealised landscape, rather than an actual location. Notions of the ‘picturesque’ developed in Britain during the 18th and 19th centuries, particularly through the travel writings of William Gilpin, who was born in the English Lake District. Travellers, tourists and artists were encouraged to evaluate the landscape according to ideas of pictorial beauty, as set out in the work of artists such as Claude Lorrain and Salvator Rosa. The rugged landscapes of Italian 17th-century painter Rosa were particularly admired by those concerned with the picturesque and a similar respect for the irregularity and wildness of nature is evident in this work.

    This work was purchased for the Government Art Collection from the collection of journalist and newspaper editor Sir Bruce Stirling Ingram in 1963. Ingram, a keen collector of art, became editor of the ‘Illustrated London News (1900-63) at the age of 22 and editor of ‘The Sketch’ (1905-46) at 27.

  • 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.
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  • Details
    Title
    Wooded Landscape with Waterfall
    Date
    Medium
    Watercolour on paper
    Dimensions
    height: 40.50 cm, width: 50.50 cm
    Acquisition
    Purchased from Sir Bruce Ingram, 1963
    Provenance
    Collection of journalist and newspaper editor Sir Bruce Stirling Ingram (1877-1963) and on loan to the Ministry of Works from 1952; from whom purchased by the Ministry of Works in 1963
    GAC number
    1571