This richly illustrated book explores the development, variety and innovation of the landscape oil sketch in British art, from its appearance in the 1770s; through to its flourishing during the first two decades of the nineteenth century; and its effective disappearance, save for Constable’s persistence, during the 1820s. With an insight into the different modes artists of this period used for oil sketching, Michael Rosenthal and Anne Lyles show how each practitioner approached similar subjects – at a time when oil sketching en plein air was still comparatively unusual. The result is an introductory study into the techniques of sketching, and the often surprising connections that can be drawn between the artists involved. These stimulating comparisons prompt questions about the importance of oil sketching in this period and how finished works were planned, evolved and executed.
Featuring works by Turner and Constable alongside artists such as George Stubbs, John Linnell, William Henry Hunt, John Sell Cotman, John Crome, Francis Danby, Thomas Jones, George Robert Lewis and Augustus Wall Callcott, this timely study re-investigates many beautiful and revealing sketches which, brought together here, showcase a direct naturalism of a kind unprecedented in the history of British art.
Michael Rosenthal is Emeritus Professor at the University of Warwick. Anne Lyles is a leading authority on the art of John Constable, and the editor of Constable: The Great Landscapes. The editor Steven Parissien is Director at Compton Verney.
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