Lodore Waterfall, near Keswick

  • About the work
    Country: Norway
    City: Oslo
    Place: British Embassy

    When this painting was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1785, a journalist for the ‘London Magazine’ described the work as follows:

    ‘The picture… is covered with a gloom, expressive of the approach of evening. A peasant and his family are seated before a cottage, and a little boy, who appears in disgrace for misbehaviour, is the best of the figures.’

    Responses to the work were particularly concerned with the hazy effect created by de Loutherbourg. One reviewer for the ‘Morning Post’ commented:

    ‘This is a very beautiful and complete picture, a display, at the same time, of the most consummate art and a lively imagination. The figures are highly engaging, and the natural mistiness of the landscape admirably preferred.’

    This ‘natural mistiness’ did not, however, appeal to everyone: ‘Loutherbourg’s pictures are well laid, and their construction ingenious - pleasing - but why so eternally hazy?’ asked a writer for the ‘Morning Chronicle’. ‘Why not do justice to his own ideas, in proportionably brilliant finishing of them?’

  • About the artist
    Philip James de Loutherbourg, was born in Germany, the son of a miniaturist and engraver. The family moved to Paris in 1755 where he studied with Carle Van Loo and Jean-Georges Wille, before entering the studio of François Joseph Casanova. He left Paris in 1768 to travel through France, Switzerland and the Rhineland. In 1771 he arrived in London, where David Garrick gave him control of the scenery at Drury Lane Theatre. He remained at the theatre when Sheridan took over. In 1781, he became a member of the Royal Academy. He travelled throughout the UK on sketching tours and began painting naval victories in the 1790s. In 1807 he was made Historical Painter to the Duke of Gloucester. He died in Hammersmith, aged 71.
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  • Details
    Lodore Waterfall, near Keswick
    Oil on canvas
    height: 113.00 cm, width: 152.50 cm
    Purchased from Colnaghi's, March 1953
    Sdbl: P J de Loutherbourg 1784
    Collection of M. Bernard; from whom purchased by Colnaghi, London, on 28 June 1949; from whom purchased by the Ministry of Works on 13 March 1953
    GAC number