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David Cox, 1783–1859

Capel Curig, Caernarvonshire, Wales

ca. 1840
Watercolor over graphite on moderately thick,moderately textured, cream laid paper
Sheet: 12 3/8 x 20 3/4 inches (31.4 x 52.7 cm)
Credit Line:
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection
Copyright Status:
Public Domain
Accession Number:
Drawings & Watercolors
Prints and Drawings
Subject Terms:
landscape | mountains | rain
Associated Places:
Caernarvonshire | Capel Curig | Cymru | United Kingdom | Wales
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IIIF Manifest:

David Cox toured north Wales regularly during the first half of the nineteenth century. Despite the number of large-scale landscapes he produced from these travels, Cox was most admired for his on-the-spot studies, although they also were criticized for being too rough; many considered his works not as portraits of places but as projections of his mind. This sketch’s monochromatic tones communicate a subdued, woeful mood, reinforced by Cox’s loose handling of the watercolor. The spots on the paper are presumably from rain, evidence of the relationship between artists and natural forces, as Wales’ inclement climate rendered it both a wonderful and challenging place for plein air painting. Although its stormy weather could inspire sublime paintings, it also could threaten the preservation of such works, as well as the duration that artists could spend painting outdoors. Here, we see art’s fragility when tested by the natural elements it seeks to capture, and the ways that such evidence can enhance or change one’s view of a work.

Gallery label for the Art in Focus: Wales(Yale Center for British Art, 2014-04-04 - 2014-08-10)

Art in Focus : Wales (Yale Center for British Art, 2014-04-04 - 2014-08-10) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

Susan Morris, Thomas Girtin, 1775-1802, Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, 1986, p. 51, no. 123, NJ18 .G44 M67 (LC) (YCBA) [YCBA]

Yale Center for British Art, Wales, New Haven, 2014, p. 21, V2519 (YCBA) [YCBA]

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