Peter De Wint

Study of Burdock and other Plants


Not on display
Peter De Wint 1784–1849
Oil paint on board
Support: 262 x 335 mm
frame: 362 x 432 x 55 mm
Purchased 1983

Display caption

De Wint's early interest in open-air painting was fostered by the portrait painter and engraver John Raphael Smith, who took him on sketching expeditions
by the river Thames. However, it would also have been nurtured by his friendship with the watercolourist John Varley, who was De Wint's London neighbour early
in the century.


This sketch belongs to a small group
of oil studies of grasses and weeds
which De Wint made early in his career, the result of a campaign of painting
from nature.

Gallery label, September 2004

Catalogue entry


Oil on board laid on panel 10 3/8 × 13 1/4 (262 × 335)
Purchased (Grant-in-Aid) 1983
Prov: As one of a group of four oil studies of plants: Harriet de Wint, the artist's widow; by descent to her grand-daughter Miss H.H. Tatlock, by whom bequeathed to her companion Miss G.M. Bostock, by whom given or sold by 1937 to Geoffrey Harmsworth. Three of the four, including T 03669, were sold by him c. 1977 to R.R.M. Prior, from whom purchased by Andrew Wyld 1978; purchased from him by the Tate Gallery
Exh: Peter de Wint Centenary Exhibition, Vokins 1884; The Works of Peter de Wint, Usher Art Gallery, Lincoln 1937 (84, as ‘Study of Foliage’); Peter de Wint, Andrew Wyld, September–October 1979 (7); The Discovery of the Lake District, Victoria and Albert Museum, September 1984–January 1985 (173)
Lit: David Scrase, Drawings and Watercolours by Peter de Wint, exhibition catalogue, Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge 1979, p.13

This is one of a group of four small oil studies of wild plants which stayed together until c.1977 (see Prov:); all four were included in the de Wint exhibitions of 1884 and 1937, each as ‘Study of Foliage’ (in the 1937 exhibition the other three were nos.83, 86 and 87). One of the four passed after Sir Geoffrey Harmsworth's death in 1980 to a beneficiary of his will. Of the three (including T03669) acquired in 1978 by Andrew Wyld, who identified the various plants, ‘Sorrell and Cow Parsley’ (no.8 in his 1979 exhibition) is now in a private Californian collection; another, slighter, study is in the collection of the Huntington Library, San Marino, California. Writing of the group of four in the catalogue of the Fitzwilliam Museum's exhibition of watercolours and drawings by de Wint, David Scrase considers that each of them ‘shows De Wint's manner in oil at its very best’. None of the four oil studies is dated, and it is difficult to suggest a date for T03669. De Wint made many watercolour studies of docks and reeds, and some more detailed studies of flowers; some of the best examples are in the collection of the Usher Art Gallery, Lincoln.

Dr Bernard Vedcourt, Herbarium and Library, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, confirms that the big leaves in T03669 are probably one of the burdocks (Arctium); the other plants and reeds are not identifiable.

In the Victoria and Albert Museum's Lake District exhibition of 1984–5, this study was juxtaposed with ‘Derwentwater’ (no.172), a watercolour by de Wint in the collection of the Lady Lever Art Gallery, Port Sunlight, the catalogue suggesting (p.75) that this oil study contributed to that finished watercolour. Whether the two works are directly related is arguable, especially as similar plants occur in the foreground of many of de Wint's Lincolnshire watercolours.

Published in:
The Tate Gallery 1982-84: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions, London 1986


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