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Thomas Shotter Boys (1803-1874) - Boulogne Cathedral, France
  • Thomas Shotter Boys (1803-1874) - Boulogne Cathedral, France

    Thomas Shotter Boys spent much of his early career in Paris where he was close friends with Richard Parkes Bonington and William Callow. Bonington supposedly helped to convice Boys to focus more on painting and not on engraving, and the two artists would often sketch together. In fact, many works attributed to Bonington today could easily have been painted by Boys. (1) Nevertheless, Boys has a distinct style with a focus on architectural accuracy, whereas Bonington was renowned for his mastery of portraying light and shade in his watercolours.


    Boys returned to live in England in 1837 but did regularly visit the continent after this period to visit his sister Mary in Darmstadt. She married William John Cooke whose cousin was the famous artist Edward William Cooke. This work although not dated shares a similar signature to a work from 1830 included in Roundell's important book on the artist. (2) This watercolour depicts the French coast and includes two children that 'are typically Boysian, if unintentionally humorous in their exaggerated proportions.' (3) This could easily be applied to the Boulogne Cathedral watercolour. The figures are certainly 'Boysian' and are gathered around a pulpit on a side chapel of the Cathedral. A catechesis lesson appears to be taking place with various children gathered around the speaker.


    Medium: watercolour on paper, signed and inscribed l.r. 'Cathedral (Boulogne) T. Boys', 34 x 26 cm, framed.


    Provenance: Albany Gallery (1 Bury Street, St James's, London)




    (1) James Roundell. Thomas Shotter Boys, London: 1974. See Chapter II which explores Boys time in Paris, pp.20-37.

    (2) Ibid., pp.98-99, see Plate 29.

    (3) Ibid., p.98.

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