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Francis Nicholson O.W.S. (1753-1844) - In the Tyrol
  • Francis Nicholson O.W.S. (1753-1844) - In the Tyrol

    This impressive watercolour by Nicholson of a view in the Tyrol was almost certainly an exhibition piece by the artist or an important commission. He also produced another depiction of the 'Castle of the Tyrol, Near Meran' in 1822 after a picture by 'The Honorable Mrs. Fortescue'. Both picturesque compositions show the magnificence of the landscape and have three figures in the foreground which are almost mirrored.


    The Tyrol today is a state in western Austria that comprises North Tyrol and East Tyrol. It also borders the autonomous Italian province of South Tyrol. The two states, together with the Italian province of Trentino are part of the Tyrol-South Tyrol-Trentino Euroregion. When Nicholson painted our watercolour (probably also around the 1820s) the boundaries of the region were very different. It was an important area to visit when sketching in Italy and Germany. The artist Clarkson Stanfield travelled there in the early 1830s and produced sketches of the Tyrol for 'Heath's Picturesque Annual 1832: Travelling sketches in the North of Italy, the Tyrol, and on the Rhine'. Nicholson would have had many sketches from other artists to help inspire him to paint our composition.


    Often Nicholson's works 'have faded very badly, especially in the skies, which have become a hot pink' sometimes due to the influence of William Payne's technique which was' overdependent on a yellowish green.' [1] Importantly, our watercolour is an excellent example of Nicholson' work and has not suffered this fate. The colours are still vibrant and help to show the impact Nicholson's pictures would have had at the Old Watercolour Society.


    Medium: watercolour on paper, 63 x 54 cm, framed with inscription on Abbott & Holder label verso.


    Provenance: Abbott & Holder, 30 Museum Street, London (label verso).


    Condition report: generally very good condition for its age. Sporadic faint foxing in the sky.




    [1] Huon Mallalieu, 'The Dictionary of British Watercolour Artists up to 1920 Volume II M-Z', Antique Collectors Club: Woodbridge (2002, revised edition), p.74.

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