David Cox

Boy Opening Gate for Sheep

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
David Cox 1783–1859
Watercolour on paper
Support: 267 × 362 mm
Bequeathed by Travers Buxton 1945

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Cox began to break down the dense washes of his earlier style towards a new fragmentation, that was unlike the fine hatching and stippling of watercolour stalwarts like Hunt. Instead he used a looser, highly flexible method of painting in nervous flicks of the brush. This reinterpretation of the techniques of JR Cozens was to become Cox’s unmistakable style. He abandoned the sombre colour of the earlier manner and adopted a fresh, naturalistic palette that set a standard of informal realism matched by none of his contemporaries except Constable. Artists such as Cox explored the physical qualities of air and sky with unprecedented insight.

Gallery label, September 2004

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