While a man and a woman converse on the bank of a river, which courses through rocky terrain, in the distance high above them two figures can be made out, one on horseback, crossing a stone bridge. This romantic view of an unidentified landscape was painted by Benjamin Barker.
A larger canvas by Barker, landscape in format and showing the same scene from a slightly different angle, was sold through Christie’s in February 1984, from the collection of ‘a lady of title’. The Christie’s work also includes figures in the foreground and crossing the bridge in the distance, although not the same figures depicted here.
Benjamin Barker was born in Bath, the younger brother of the acclaimed painter Thomas Barker (1769-1847), known as ‘Barker of Bath’. Despite the eclipsing fame of his brother, Benjamin enjoyed a successful career as a landscape painter, teacher of drawing and painting, and a restorer of pictures. Between 1800 and 1831 he regularly exhibited landscape views of English and Welsh locations at the Royal Academy; in addition to showing his work at the Society of Painters in Water Colours and the British Institution up to 1821. Barker died in 1838 at the home of his artist daughter, Marianne, at Totnes in Devon.
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