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George Barret Jr (1762-1842) - Buildings on the outskirts of Rome
  • George Barret Jr (1762-1842) - Buildings on the outskirts of Rome

    When Roget wrote his epic 'History of the Old Watercolour Society' in 1891 he described the ways of George Barret Jr as 'so unassuming, and his life had been so quietly industrious, that his name has not come before us so often or so conspicuously as it deserves' (Vol. 1, p.299). In fact, there is still not much written about his life with many commentators still believing that he rarely travelled beyond the Thames, with Wales often quoted as one of the furthest places he visited perhaps on a sketching trip with some of his fellow artistic friends.


    Barret Jr certainly admired Claude's Italian landscapes and there are examples of him painting in this romanticised style. However, this drawing of the outskirts of Rome suggests that the artist travelled abroad on at least one ocassion. The work appears to be from a sketchbook with a river in the foreground and various buildings along its banks. The domed structure is most likely a church and the river probably the Tiber. An inscription next to the gallery label suggests it could be the region of Ariccia to the south of the city but this is unlikely due to the lack of rivers in this location. The assumption that Barret Jr travelled to Italy is furthermore backed up from other works by the artist of the country. For example, at Bonham's 'Autumn Athenaeum' sale 29/10/09, lot 515 depcits an 'Italian Road' scene that is attributed to Barret Jr. This work also appears to be from a sketchbook.


    Medium: watercolour and pencil on paper.


    9 x 16.2 cm, framed.


    Provenance: Covent Garden Gallery Ltd (20 Russell Street, London) - bought 19/2/78; Collection of Dr Edward Brett.


    Condition report: good overall, with possible ink or watercolour marks to the top left middle centre, and a small mark in the centre of the picture. These were most likely made by the artist since this work was from a sketch book.




    J. L. Roget. History of the Old Watercolour Society. 2 Vols, Longmans: London, 1891.

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