<< YCBA Home Yale Center for British Art Yale Center for British Art << YCBA Home

YCBA Collections Search

Rev. William Gilpin, 1724–1804, British

Forest Scene

Additional Title(s):

A Giant Scots Fir and Forest Glade

Gray and brown wash with pen and brown ink over graphite with gum on moderately thick, moderately textured, cream wove paper prepared with brown wash, mounted on thick, slightly textured, cream wove paper
Mount: 20 13/16 x 15 7/8 inches (52.9 x 40.3 cm) and Sheet: 17 1/8 x 12 7/8 inches (43.5 x 32.7 cm)

Inscribed in graphite, on back, upper center: "Revd. W Gilpin | of Boldre. 1771."; on back, lower right: "D. 1369"

collector's stamp of Henry Reveley (Lugt 1356), in black ink, lower left; collector's stamp of the Paul Mellon Collection, in blue ink, on back, center

signed in graphite, on mount, lower center: "W. Gilpin"; dated in graphite, on back, upper center: "Done in 1771"

Credit Line:
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection
Copyright Status:
Public Domain
Accession Number:
Drawings & Watercolors
Prints and Drawings
Subject Terms:
figures | forest | landscape | night | path | trees | walking
Accessible by request in the Study Room [Request]
Note: The Study Room is open to Yale ID holders by appointment. Please visit the Study Room page on our website for more details.

Cozen's landscape systems, though they found a receptive audience among certain artists, were too confusing and susceptible to ridicule and parody to gain wide public acceptance. The Rev. William Gilpin's writings on the Picturesque were, by contrast, hugely popular and influential with both artists and a wider public a wider public. Beginning with his Observations on the River Wye, published in 1782 but based on a trip down the river in 1770, Gilpin popularized the Picturesque as a distinct aesthetic category, a species of beauty appropriate to pictures but also applicable to natural scenery. In its simplest formulation the Picturesque was 'that peculiar kind of beauty, which is agreeable in a picture." Gilpin experimented with Cozens's blot method and his own drawings of which this brooding woodland scene is a particularly grand example, are indebted to Cozens in their bold, simplified forms and dark, monochromatic character, If the inscription on the verso, supplied by a descendant in the nineteenth century, is accurate, Gilpin made the drawing between his Wye tour in 1770 and his tour of the Lakes in 1772 (published in 1786). It is unclear whether the drawing represents an actual location or is the kind of imaginary landscape Cozens' methods were meant to promote.

If you have information about this object that may be of assistance please contact us.