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David Cox O.W.S. (1783-1859) - Windermere During the Regatta
  • David Cox O.W.S. (1783-1859) - Windermere During the Regatta

    Although this work is inscribed 'Haddon Hall' on the mount, we believe this picture likely depicts Lake Windermere. It is easy to see why this work may have been linked to the Terrace at Haddon Hall as Cox produced various views on this subject at the Society for Painters in Water-colours (now the R.W.S) between 1831 and 1850. Furthermore, Cox often painted figures in historical costume in his stately home watercolours of Haddon or Hardwick Hall. The figures in this watercolour appear to be also elegantly dressed. The main difference is the depiction of a lake in the background which does not exist at Haddon.


    The composition closely links to a work held in the Yale Center for British Art's Collection (accession number: B1985.24) which is titled 'Windermere During the Regatta'. This large and highly detailed watercolour is dated 1832 and was exhibited at the SPWC as number 251. Interestingly, the recent exhibition book 'Sun, Wind, and Rain: The Art of David Cox' (edited by Scott Wilcox) explores the fact that 'of more than eight hundred works that Cox exhibited at the SPWC during his long and prolific career, only three were scenes of the Lake District: Windermere during the Regatta and a watercolour titled Langdale Pikes, both exhibited in 1832, and Windermere Lake, exhibited in 1837. He apparently visited hte lakes only once, in 1831.' [1] The catalogue description explains that 'the first regatta in the Lake District was held on Bassenthwaite Lake in 1779. Other lakes quickly followed suit, and as the number of tourist visitors increased, the regattas become much more elaborate and genteel affairs.' [2] The Yale Center's watercolour depicts Brathay Hall in the distance with the Langdale Pikes visible on the horizon. This is likely to be a very similar view in our work (slide right to view a photograph of the Yale work) and Cox is representing the Lowood regatta. Wilcox however states that 'the terrace is grander than anything at the inn or anywhere else in the vicinity. Indeed, Cox's image is a refined confection, with a nod to Antoine Watteau, bearing only a superficial resemblance to any festivities celebrated on the lake in his time.' [3]


    We believe our watercolour is perhaps a study for the larger exhibition piece and would explain why it is from a slightly different angle. Further research would certainly benefit the work since Cox's Lake District views are particularly scarce.


    Medium: watercolour on paper. 17.5 x 23.8 cm, framed.


    Provenance: I.P. Mendoza (St. James's Gallery) - label affixed verso; Sotheby's stencil 085058/2/18 in yellow chalk; Unknown auction 28/10/1987 - a pink label affixed verso.




    [1] Scott Wilcox (ed.), 'Sun, Wind, and Rain: The Art of David Cox', Yale University: 2008, p.185.


    [2] Ibid., p.186.


    [3] Ibid., p.186.


    Condition report: faded with a few small foxing marks in the sky and scenery. The frame appears to be an original from the 19th century and is delicate in places with the odd bit of paint loss.

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