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Thomas Shotter Boys, 1803–1874

L'Institut de France, Paris

Materials & Techniques:
Watercolor, with pen in brown ink over graphite on moderately thick, rough, beige wove paper
Sheet: 14 x 10 7/16 inches (35.6 x 26.5 cm)

Signed and dated in watercolor, lower center: "Thomas Boys | 1830"

Inscribed in artist's hand in brown ink, lower center: "Thomas Boys | 1830"; verso: inscribed in faded/erased graphite, upper center; [unreadable writing, very faded]

Credit Line:
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection
Copyright Status:
Public Domain
Accession Number:
Drawings & Watercolors
Prints and Drawings
Subject Terms:
architectural subject | barrels (containers) | bridge (built work) | buildings | chimneys (architectural elements) | cityscapes | doors | laborers | people | river | sky | steps | trees | water | wheels | windows | workers
Associated Places:
France | Institut de France | Paris | Pont des Arts | Seine | Île-de-France
Accessible by appointment in the Study Room [Request]
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IIIF Manifest:

Boys’s work in watercolor was closely modeled on that of his friend and mentor Richard Parkes Bonington; indeed, many of Boys’s early watercolors either copy works by Bonington or adopt the same subjects. Such is the case with this watercolor, which presents the Institut de France from almost the same vantage point as a watercolor by Bonington now in the British Museum. Bonington’s watercolor probably dates from the last year of his life, a time when he and Boys were frequently working together. Boys's watercolor is not, however, a simple copy. The angle at which Boys presents the famous building by Le Vau has shifted slightly, the foreground incident on the Quai Conti is different, and most significantly Boys includes the Pont Royal, which Bonington had inexplicably omitted. Although Boys took over many elements of Bonington’s virtuosic watercolor style, there is in Boys’s handling a crispness and precision, if also a hardness, not evident in Bonington’s more sensitively atmospheric use of the medium.

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, 2007, cat. no. 111

An American's Passion for British Art - Paul Mellon's Legacy (Royal Academy of Arts, 2007-10-20 - 2008-01-27) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

Paul Mellon's Legacy : A Passion for British Art (Yale Center for British Art, 2007-04-18 - 2007-07-29) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition] [Exhibition Description]

An American's Passion for British Art - Paul Mellon's Legacy (Yale Center for British Art, 2007-04-18 - 2007-07-29) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

English Landscape (Paul Mellon Collection) 1630-1850 (Yale Center for British Art, 1977-04-19 - 1977-07-17) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

A loan exhibition of English drawings and watercolours from the collection of Mr and Mrs Paul Mellon of Upperville, Virginia, P. & D. Colnaghi & Co., London, 1964, cat. no. 50, pl. XII, N5247.M385 L62 (YCBA) [YCBA]

John Baskett, Paul Mellon's Legacy: a Passion for British Art: Masterpieces from the Yale Center for British Art, , Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT, 2007, p. 294, no. 110, pl. 110, N5220 M552 P38 2007 OVERSIZE (YCBA) [YCBA]

Stephen Duffy, The discovery of Paris, watercolours by early nineteenth-century British artists , The Wallace Collection, London, London, 2013, p. 73, ND1928 D84 2013 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Painting in England 1700-1850 : collection of Mr. & Mrs. Paul Mellon : Exhibition at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, , 1,2, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, VA, 1963, p. 105, no. 196, ND466 V57 v.1-2 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Paul Mellon's Legacy : a passion for British art [large print labels], , Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT, 2007, v. 2, no. 110, N5220 M552 P381 2007 OVERSIZE (YCBA) [YCBA]

Yale University Art Gallery, English drawings and watercolors, from the collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon, April 15 - June 20, 1965 , New Haven, 1965, cat. no. 50, Pl. XII, NC228 Y34 (YCBA) [YCBA]

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