T03235 HARVEST FIELD WITH REAPERS, HAYWOOD, HEREFORDSHIRE 1815
Oil on canvas, 5 7/16 × 7 11/16 (14 × 19.5)
Purchased (Grant-in-Aid) 1981
Prov: ...; Sir Thomas Lane Devitt, Bt (1839–1923); his grandson, Peter K. Devitt; by descent to the vendor.
Exh: as for T03234.
Both these paintings [T03234 and T03235] depict harvesting in fields at Haywood, a few miles south-west of Hereford. The view in each is roughly eastwards, looking towards Dinedor (or Dynedor, as Lewis spelt it) Hill, which lies to the south-east of Hereford. Lewis appears to have spent some time here in the summer of 1815. At the Society of Painters in Oil and Water Colours in April of the following year he exhibited twelve small oils and two larger ones depicting views in the area. The larger canvases are Tate Gallery N02960, ‘Hereford, from the Haywood, Noon’ and N02961, ‘Hereford, Dynedor, and Malvern Hills, from the Haywood Lodge, Harvest Scene, Afternoon’. The smaller exhibits were grouped three to a frame and, like the two larger works, were described in the catalogue as ‘Painted on the Spot’. T03234 and T03235 come from the collection of Sir Thomas Lane Devitt, whose descendants still own a third harvest scene similar in size and character to the other two. Together they may have made up one of the frames of small works shown by Lewis in 1816, the most likely one being no.136, ‘A Frame containing Three Subjects. The first, Dynedor and Malvern Hills, Noon. The second, Dynedor and Malvern Hills, Morning. The third, Dynedor Hill, Noon. Painted on the Spot.’
Judging from the disposition of the middle-distance trees, the reapers in T03235 may be working in the lower part of the principal field seen in the larger ‘Harvest Scene’, Tate Gallery N02961. In the latter the corn in this part of the field is shown already standing in sheaves. The topography of T03234 is more difficult to relate to the ‘Harvest Scene’, despite the similarity between the pair of tall trees seen in each.
Lewis' early career as a landscape painter (from 1820 he was primarily a portraitist) is poorly documented and we do not know, for example, why he chose to work in the area of Haywood in 1815. The five Herefordshire scenes mentioned in this entry, four of them now in the Tate Gallery, appear to be his only surviving landscapes in oil from this period. Lewis returned to the area in later years, publishing a pamphlet at Hereford on education in 1838 and making studies of Kilpeck church which were published in 1842.
The Tate Gallery 1980-82: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions, London 1984