A Large Rare and Unusual English Watercolour and Ink on Paper Depicting the Mountains Hills Crags Cities Sights and Notable Buildings Around the World
All listed on a paper slide affixed to the picture showing their ordered heights on a scale marked in feet from the South American Andean Extinct Volcano ‘Chimboraço’ down to the ‘Racestand at Brighton’ ‘The top of Kew Pagoda’ and finally ‘A Layer of the Sea’
Signed James. S. Hughes and Dated Nov’ 13 1813
Sepia watercolour heightened with white and with outlines in ink
In original gilt frame
Size: 92cm high, 131cm wide - 36¼ ins high, 51½ ins wide / 110cm high, 149cm wide - 43¼ ins high, 58¾ ins wide (with frame)
Ex Private English collection
In the aftermath of the French Revolution, Romanticism and the Picturesque became a popular learned alternative to the ordered world of Enlightenment thought. Mountains were regarded as both beautiful and sublime with the Alps beginning to be explored by English climbers such as Colonel Mark Beaufoy who ascended Mont Blanc four times. Books were published which taught people on how to attain romantic sensibility. William Gilpin in his ‘Observations on the River Wye … relative chiefly to Picturesque Beauty …’ instructed leisured travellers to examine the face of a country by the rules of picturesque beauty.
This painting presents both the picturesque nature of the world’s mountains together with their ordered height. It is a learned study and a ‘Wish List’.
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