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Edward Dayes (1763-1804) - Lancaster
  • Edward Dayes (1763-1804) - Lancaster

    A recently rediscovered view of Lancaster by Dayes was sold at Christie's in 2010 and is now currently in the Morgan Library and Museum. It depicts Lancaster seen from the old bridge over the river Lore with the parish church and old castle on the far side. This work had disappeared for a long time and was known only through an engraving. Jonathon Yarker believes the re-appeared picture 'to be not only [Dayes] most ambitious landscape, but his masterpiece in this genre'. [1]


    Our work is a more distant view of Lancaster and can be dated to c.1792-1794. The earlier mentioned composition is dated 1794 which suggests Dayes produced sketches of the city around the same time. The provenance trail for our work is extensive and has been in various important collections. The style of Dayes influenced both his pupil Thomas Girtin and the artist J.M.W. Turner. Both of whom also produced their own depictions of Lancaster. 


    Dayes was 'particularly fond of producing what are, in effect, blue monochromes, in which he uses Prussian blue and brown Indian ink over light pencil'. [2] This is certainly obvious in our watercolour.


    Medium: watercolour on paper with pencil and blue and brown washes, c.1792/1794, 18.1 x 25.7 cm, framed.


    Provenance: Mrs P.W. Kessler; Thos Agnew & Sons (label verso); Christie's, 26/11/1948, lot 25 (125 gns. to Mawson, Swan & Morgan); Christie's, 28/10/1994, lot 22.




    [1] Jonathon Yarker, 'Ambition in the Grand Manner: Edward Dayes as History Painter', Lowell Libson Ltd: London (2003), p.19.


    [2] Huon Mallalieu, 'The Dictionary of British Watercolour Artists up to 1920: Volume I A-L, Antique Collectors' Club: Woodbridge (2002), p.206.

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