DIMENSIONS: (unframed) 18.00 x 24.00 in./45.72 x 60.96 cm
SIGNATURE: Signed lower right
MEDIUM: Oil on canvas
Cove through the trees
DIMENSIONS: (unframed) 18.00 x 24.00 in./45.72 x 60.96 cm
We know from the memoirs of Augustus John that students of fine art at the Slade School were sent off regularly to the National Gallery to study the work of the old masters in detail. This pedagogy was supplemented with visits to the Royal Academy winter shows, the Burlington Fine Arts Club and Guildhall Art Gallery old master exhibitions. In Orpen’s student years and immediately after there was a sudden surge of interest in Dutch and Spanish 17th Century painting.
Beyond Rembrandt and Hals, the keen student would have absorbed the neat, middle class homes of Holland, depicted in the work of Terborch, Metsu, Vermeer and De Hooch, in which wealthy merchants quietly accumulated wealth and possessions. Protestants who abjured the cavalier swagger of Van Dyck’s English sitters had more in common with those who would emerge from the shadows to patronize Orpen and his contemporaries at the turn of the 20th Century.
Private Collection, United Kingdom
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Foweraker was born in Exeter, and studied at the Cathedral School there. He was an exhibitioner at Cavendish College, Cambridge in 1890, and went on to enter Christ’s College, as a student, and gained a degree in Applied Science from there in 1893. He then went to City and Guilds art school and was awarded First Class Honours in 1896. He also qualified as a Milling Engineer. And worked as a Sometime Demonstrator in Science at Exeter Technical College, as well as a journalist and engineer. In July 1897 he was married to Annie Triphina Coles, and in the next year took up art as his professional occupation.
Between 1898 and 1912, Foweraker exhibited his work regularly. He was made a member of the Royal Society of British Artists in 1902, and exhibited 52 paintings to at their Galleries in Pall Mall during these years. He also exhibited at several important provincial galleries, and originated an exhibition of works by modern painters at Exeter, which developed into the Devon and Cornwall Fine Art Society, which is still extant today.
In 1902, the artist moved with his family to Lelant, near Carbis Bay in western Cornwall. He taught water colour painting at Algernon Talmadge’s Cornish School of Landscape and Sea Painting in St. Ives, and produced a number of views of the Cornish landscape and coastline. Cornwall was becoming a centre for Modern British painters and was particularly favoured by the Impressionists, because of the uniquely clear quality of the light there. He continued to exhibit regularly in London, and at provincial galleries, showing mainly landscapes and views in Devon and Cornwall, as well as Dorset, where he moved to in the 1920s.
Foweraker had a life-long love for the British countryside, and paintings such as Cove Through the Trees demonstrate his familiarity with it and talent for depicting it. However, he also frequently travelled to Spain, France and North Africa, and produced a wide and varied collection of paintings from these places. From c.1905 onwards he spent the winters in Andalucía, southern Spain, where he organized painting classes, holding regular sessions in Malaga in January and February, Cordoba in March and Granada in April. He also contributed illustrations to Leonard Williams’s Granada: Memories, Adventures, Studies and Impressions (1906), and Charles Marriott’s A Spanish Holiday (1908).
Although primarily a landscape painter, Foweraker was by no means repetitive or formulaic in his methods of depiction. Each painting takes a new view of the land, and encourages a different reaction from the viewer. He achieved this with his accurate and practiced depiction of light, and by focusing in on different parts of the landscape. For example, in Cove Through the Trees, he chose to paint the rolling hills below through the twisted trunks of the trees on the brow of a hill, giving the viewer a vista to the British countryside on a summer’s day. He was fascinated by the variations of light on the landscape, particularly moonlight, and has become known his moonlight paintings, in which people carry glowing lanterns and light shines from windows. The artist died in January 1942 at Swanage. His works were and still are much sought after, as beautiful landscape paintings and as pieces of the Impressionist movement.