John Dawson WATSON
(Sedbergh 1832 - Conwy 1892)
Haystack, Inver, Perthshire
Signed with initials, dated and inscribed J. D. W. / 1859. / Inver Strath Braan. Perth. at the lower left
213 x 214 mm., 8 3/8 x 8 3/8 in. [sheet]
A stylistically comparable work by Watson - a study of the trunk of a birch tree – was formerly in the Oppé collection and is now in Tate Britain.
Watson’s oeuvre is made up largely of small oil paintings and highly detailed watercolours of historical and genre scenes, as well as the occasional pastoral subject, executed in a manner strongly influenced by the example of the Pre-Raphaelites. Watson’s landscapes were much praised in particular by John Ruskin, while the early 20th century scholar Forrest Reid noted that he ‘was a sound draughtsman whose work frequently surprises us by its power and beauty.’ Watson also enjoyed a highly successful career as a book and magazine illustrator, notably producing a series of drawings for John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress, published in 1861. He also made designs for furniture, medals and theatre costumes. The last years of his career were spent in Conwy in North Wales, where he was engaged on a program of decoration for the Castle Hotel there. A large exhibition of Watson’s work was held in Manchester in 1877, and works by the artist are today in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, the Castle Museum and Art Gallery in Norwich, the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool, and elsewhere.
The Maas Gallery, London
The Fine Art Society, London, in March 2010
Christopher Cone, Whitby.