John LinnellStudy of Buildings ('Study from Nature') 1806

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Artwork details

John Linnell (1792‑1882)
Study of Buildings ('Study from Nature')
Date 1806
MediumOil paint on board
Dimensionssupport: 165 x 254 mm frame: 305 x 390 x 38 mm
Acquisition Purchased 1967


From about 1804 to1806 Linnell was the pupil and apprentice of the landscape painter John Varley (1778–1842), an influential teacher and central figure in the development of landscape painting in England in the early nineteenth century. Linnell had met Varley’s brother William while drawing at Christie’s saleroom, and on meeting John Varley had impressed him with his talent. Linnell, then thirteen years old, persuaded his father, for whom he had been earning money by copying paintings by George Morland (1763–1804), to let him join Varley’s ‘Academy’, living with John and his brother Cornelius, also a painter, in Broad Street, Golden Square, Soho, central London.

Varley encouraged his students to sketch directly from nature in the open air; his much-quoted motto was ‘Go to Nature for everything’, and as Linnell’s biographer records, ‘henceforth Linnell adopted it as his own. In order the better to enable his pupils to carry out his advice, Varley in the summer took a house at Twickenham near the river Thames, and sent them out into the highways and byways to make such transcripts as they could.’ (Story, p.25… (read more)

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