This depiction of a lush, green river landscape was painted by George Barret senior. Barret is considered one of the best landscape painters of his day. The detailed and accurate representation of vegetation and rocks in the foreground of the painting are a characteristic feature of his work.
It has been suggested that this work represents ‘summer’ in a now dispersed set of works depicting the four seasons. It may also be a later work by the artist, made in response to the growing popularity of picturesque scenes of rural life (sentimental genre scenes). Although he was a skilled animal painter, the figures and dog in this painting may have been added by another artist. Barret is known to have collaborated with animal painter Sawrey Gilpin, who painted figures on horseback within some of his compositions.
George Barret senior was born in Dublin. He began his artistic career colouring engravings and taught drawing in Dublin while making his own studies of the landscape around the city. By the time Barret moved to London in around 1763, he had established a successful career. Barret became a founder member of the Royal Academy in 1768, exhibiting there until 1782. His landscapes, influenced by Dutch and Italian art, are predominantly views of the wilder areas of Britain, including part of Wales and the Lake District, but also include views of the country estates owned by his various patrons. He was appointed Official Painter to the Chelsea Hospital in 1782, but did not live to complete any work for the hospital.
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