Wooded Landscape and Coastal Town
About the work
This mysterious landscape makes the viewer feel they are in a shadowy, wooded area, looking through the trees towards a brightly lit sky. To the right of the foreground, men with rifles and horses are on a hunting expedition. To the left, a man pauses while following his cattle along a path leading towards a coastal village, to acknowledge a hunting dog. The buildings of the village are classical in style, suggesting that this is a Mediterranean scene. However, it is an imagined, rather than topographical, landscape.
John Wootton produced both idealised, classical landscapes and topographically accurate landscapes, although he was best-known for painting the pedigree horses and hounds of his aristocratic patrons. Wootton’s other subjects include large representations of military sieges and tapestry-size hunting pieces, like this example. Several of his large-scale landscapes remain in the great halls of country houses, including Badminton House, Gloucestershire; Althorp, Northamptonshire; and Longleat House, Wiltshire. Who commissioned this work and for which property has yet to be established.
About the artist
John Wootton was born in Warwickshire. He was probably a page to Anne Somerset (later Countess of Coventry), daughter of the first duke of Beaufort. In the 1690s he studied painting under Jan Wyck. Wootton moved to London in 1706, where he made his reputation as a painter of horses at Newmarket. As well as sporting subjects, he produced decorative landscapes, including examples at Althorp, Northamptonshire, and Longleat House, Wiltshire. His most generous patron was Edward Harley, second Earl of Oxford. Wootton retired in c.1760, finding his work overshadowed by Richard Wilson, Thomas Gainsborough and George Stubbs. He married twice and had two surviving children. He died at about the age of 82 and is buried at Marylebone Parish Church.
John Wootton (c.1682 - 1765)
- Wooded Landscape and Coastal Town
- Oil on canvas
- height: 212.00 cm, width: 200.00 cm
- Purchased from Oscar & Peter Johnson, September 1964
- br on plinth: J.Wootton / fecit 1747.
- [Possibly With art dealer Julius Weitzner; by whom sold through Christie's, London, on 22 June 1962 (Lot 147), as ‘A wooded landscape with Horsemen halted beside a road on which a peasant drives cattle and goes towards a seaport’, signed and dated 1743; from which sale purchased by Rutland Gallery;] with O & P Johnson; from whom purchased by the Ministry of Works in September 1964
- GAC number