George Barret Senior

River Scene with Watermill, Figures and Cows

Medium
Oil paint on canvas
Dimensions
Support: 997 x 1248 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Bequeathed by Alan Evans 1974
Reference
T01881

Display caption

This painting shows an idealised landscape. The Irish painter, George Barret, made up his views from stock motifs such as cottages, watermills, peasants and cattle.They may seem artificial now but in their time these landscapes were appreciated for their naturalness. Contemporary art theory said that painting should represent a higher form of reality in which the ugliness and disorder of the real world were suppressed, in favour of aesthetic harmony. Barret’s pictures embodied this idea and he became one of the most successful landscape artists working in London in the 1760s and 1770s.

Gallery label, May 2007

Catalogue entry

T01881 RIVER SCENE, WITH WATERMILL, FIGURES AND COWS

Not inscribed
Oil on canvas, 39 1/4×49 1/8 (98.4×124.8)
Bequeathed by Alan Evans to the National Gallery and transferred to the Tate Gallery 1974

Coll: ...;(?) Bohn, 1885; ...; Dr Dyce Brown (deceased), sold Christie's 3 April 1911 (86), bt. Pawsey & Payne; ...; Mrs E. C. West, Christie's 7 July 1916 (as ‘Nasmyth, A water mill with Angler’, one of three in lot 46, ‘from the Bohn Collection, 1885’), bought in; ...; Alan Evans

This is probably a late work, painted when Barret was well established in England. It does not appear to have been exhibited. The location has not been identified, and is probably fanciful.


Published in:
The Tate Gallery 1974-6: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions, London 1978

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