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Creator:
John Warwick Smith, 1749–1831, British
Title:

Bay Scene in Moonlight

Date:
1787
Medium:
Watercolor over graphite on medium, slightly textured, cream wove paper
Dimensions:
Sheet: 13 3/8 x 19 7/8 inches (34 x 50.5 cm)
Inscription(s)/Marks/Lettering:

Inscribed in black ink, lower right: "J. Smith 1787"

Signed in black ink, lower right: "J. Smith 1787"

Credit Line:
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection
Copyright Status:
Public Domain
Accession Number:
B1977.14.4383
Classification:
Drawings & Watercolors
Collection:
Prints and Drawings
Subject Terms:
bay (body of water) | boats | child | clouds | lake | landscape | man | moon | nighttime | rocks (landforms) | ship | sky | woman
Access:
View by request in the Study Room [Request]
Note: The Study Room is open by appointment. Please visit the Study Room page on our website for more details.
Link:
https://collections.britishart.yale.edu/catalog/tms:8244
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Celebrated in his own time as one of the great innovators in the development of a national school of watercolor painting, Smith in his “Bay Scene in Moonlight” produced one of the very few nocturnes in eighteenth-century watercolor painting. Earlier examples are the various views by Paul Sandby of Windsor Castle on rejoicing night (three versions in the Royal Library). More likely models for Smith’s evocative nocturne are the paintings (and the prints after the paintings) of moonlight coastal scenes by the French landscape and marine painter Claude Joseph Vernet, which were often part of a set of landscapes or seascapes illustrating the times of day. The solemn stillness of Smith’s watercolor, however, seems to have less in common with the night pieces of Vernet than with the later Romantic paintings of the coast in moonlight by Caspar David Friedrich.

Scott Wilcox

Baskett, John, Jules David Prown, Duncan Robinson, Brian Allen, and William Reese. Paul Mellon's Legacy: A Passion for British Art. New Haven : Yale Center for British Art , 2007, cat. no. 58



John "Warwick" Smith was celebrated in his own time as one of the great innovators in the development of a national school of watercolor painting. In his Bay Scene in Moonlight Smith attempts in watercolor the type of atmospheric moonlit coastal view that the French painter Claude Joseph Vernet had made popular in oils.

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. 92, cat. no. 74, N5220 M552 P38 2007 OVERSIZE (YCBA)

Presences of Nature - British Landscape 1780-1830 (Yale Center for British Art, 1982-10 - 1983-02) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

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]

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]

Masters of the Sea - British Marine Watercolors (National Maritime Museum, 2005-08-25 - 2005-10-25) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

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]

Masters of the Sea - British Marine Watercolors (Yale Center for British Art, 1987-06-10 - 1987-08-02) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

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. 269, no. 58, pl. 58, N5220 M552 P38 2007 OVERSIZE (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. 58, N5220 M552 +P381 2007, Mellon Shelf (YCBA) [YCBA]


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