John William Inchbold

Gordale Scar, Yorkshire

exhibited 1876

On display at Tate Britain

Artist
John William Inchbold 1830–1888
Medium
Oil paint on canvas
Dimensions
Support: 1254 x 913 mm
frame: 1580 x 1230 x 100 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Presented by the Patrons of British Art through the Friends of the Tate Gallery 1988
Reference
T05467

Display caption

Inchbold, who was born in Leeds, came under the influence of the Pre-Raphaelites in the early 1850s. He established himself as one of the leading landscapists of the movement but by the end of the decade had adopted a broader, more atmospheric approach, as shown here. When it was first exhibited at the Royal Academy it was accompanied by lines from Wordsworth’s sonnet ‘Gordale’ of 1818: ‘... when the air/Glimmers with fading light .../Then, pensive Votary!, let thy feet repair/To Gordale-chasm, terrific as the lair/where the young lions couch; ...’.

Gallery label, November 2016

Technique and condition

Painted on a fine linen canvas with a smooth white lead oil ground. The canvas is stretched onto a substantial stretcher with a Robersons colourman's stamp on the single crossmember. It has a similar original auxiliary canvas, with the ground on the reverse, stretched and immediately behind the painted canvas.

The artist's technique makes full use of the white ground exploiting the translucency of the oil paint in places, for example, the thin shadows but also its opacity in the whites and more thickly painted passages. A stiff brush was used, following the contours and shapes of the rocks to emphasise their texture and form. The sky and waterfall are also strongly brushed. There is a painterly and possibly unresolved area in the foreground.

Changes in transparency work against the recession of the image. It has been recently restored and now has a sprayed clear varnish. Some raised cracks relate to the priming and stretcher.

It has its original frame. Gilded over carved applied mouldings.

Stephen Hackney
1995

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