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Philippe-Jacques de Loutherbourg, 1740–1812

Figures by a stream with cattle watering

Materials & Techniques:
Pen and black ink, graphite, and gray wash on medium, slightly textured, cream laid paper
Sheet: 14 × 20 inches (35.6 × 50.8 cm)
Credit Line:
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Fund
Copyright Status:
Public Domain
Accession Number:
Drawings & Watercolors
Prints and Drawings
Subject Terms:
animal art | cattle | genre subject | landscape | peasants | stream
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IIIF Manifest:

The Alsatian artist Phillppe Jacques de Loutherbourg arrived in London in 1771, having already established himself in Paris as a successful painter of pastoral landscapes and dramatic shipwreck scenes. with an introduction to the actor-manager David Garrick, Loutherbourg gained employment designing scenery for productions at the Drury Lane Theatre. He also explored the beauties of the English and Welsh countryside, making pioneering use of the actual scenery of Britain in his theatrical work, in paintings exhibited at the Royal Academy, and in publications.
This Pastoral landscape, which may well predate Loutherbourg's move to England, is a decorative artificial construct rather than a transcript of nature. In that sense it is not far removed from the synthetic approach to landscape advocated by Alexander Cozens, and its components - the watering cattle in a shaded pool, the sleeping herd boy, the tête-à-tête of hunter and milkmaid - are very much the standard elements of Thomas Gainsborough's landscape creations, though rendered with a delicacy and fastidiousness of touch in place of Gainsborough's bravura draftsmanship. Loutherbourg and Gainsborough were in fact friends, and a portrait sketch of Gainsborough by Loutherbourg is in the Yale Center for British Art.

Scott Wilcox

Wilcox, Forrester, O'Neil, Sloan. The Line of Beauty: British Drawings and Watercolors of the Eighteenth Century. Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, 2001. pg. 65 cat. no. 50

Nobleness and Grandeur - Forging Historical Landscape in Britain, 1760 - 1850 (Yale Center for British Art, 2005-01-27 - 2005-04-24) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition] [Exhibition Description]

The Line of Beauty : British Drawings and Watercolors of the Eighteenth Century (Yale Center for British Art, 2001-05-19 - 2001-08-05) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition] [Exhibition Description]

Olivia Horsfall Turner, Nobleness & grandeur : forging historical landscape in Britain 1760-1850, , Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT, 2005, p. 16, no. 15, V 1420 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Sotheby's sale catalogue : Watercolours and drawings from the Michael Appleby collection : 29 November 2000, Sotheby's, November 29, 2000, p. 52, lot 60, Auction Catalogues (YCBA) [YCBA]

Scott Wilcox, Line of beauty : British drawings and watercolors of the eighteenth century, , Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT, 2001, p. 65, no. 50, NC228 W53 2001 (YCBA) [YCBA]

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