‘An artist full of charm and verve’

Posted on 20th December 2017 by simonbeattie

Apologies for the recent lack of blog posts.  Things have been so busy: exhibiting at the Boston book fair, processing some recently acquired collections, trying to find someone to come and work for me, and preparing for California.  In cataloguing for the latter, here’s one little item which caught my eye:

A small etched and engraved card (80 × 102 mm), produced in about 1792, possibly an advertisement for the set of four Sketches published by the artist George Morland (1763–1804) that year, or perhaps as some kind of trade card.  The soft ground etching of a man sketching three pigs may well be a self-portrait.

‘George Morland was the son of the pastel portraitist, dealer and restorer Henry Robert Morland and the grandson of the genre painter George Henry Morland.  He was taught by his father and first exhibited at the Royal Academy at the age of fifteen.  Until the age of twenty-one, he devoted his entire existence to his work, his only friend being the painter and engraver Philip Dawe.  In 1784, George Romney offered him a position as his assistant, but Morland refused, because he wanted to enjoy his freedom …

‘At the start of his career, Morland was mainly a painter of childhood … [but] from 1790 broadened his range, painting a greater variety of subjects … [with] horses, sheep, pigs and poultry featur[ing] in a large number of canvases …  He was earning a lot of money, but he was spending even more, and he was obliged to retreat to a country dwelling in Leicestershire.  This stay in the country had a considerable influence on his talent and sharpened his taste for landscape.  When Morland returned to London in around 1792, he suffered the consequences of his past follies, as his creditors had obtained warrants for his arrest, and he lived in hiding for several years in order to avoid imprisonment …

‘Morland is an interesting figure in the English School, an artist full of charm and verve’ (Benezit).

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