James Deacon

Classical Landscape


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
James Deacon c.1710–1750
Graphite and watercolour on paper
Support: 219 × 236 mm
Purchased for the Tate Gallery by the Art Fund, as part of the Oppé Collection 1996

Display caption

Deacon is a rare artist. This picture is one of only three works, all similar in style and subject, which can be attributed to him. He was the son of the Collector of the Coal Duty for the Port of London, who defrauded the Revenue. James was believed to have been involved in this; though his guilt was never proved, this affair undoubtedly affected his career as an artist. He died from gaol fever caught after he visited the Old Bailey to watch a trial. This imaginary landscape owes a clear debt to the earlier classical landscapes painted by Nicolas Poussin and Gaspard Dughet. These were particularly popular among connoisseurs and artists of the day.

Gallery label, September 2004

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