- Museum number
- Object: Severe Weather
Winter scene, with a shepherd sitting on the ground on a rocky mountain, tending to a dying ram, watched by a dog; a dead sheep lying nearby at right; illustration from the 'Illustrated London News', 22 March 1856, p.308; after Ansdell
Wood-engraving and letterpress
- Production date
Height: 236 millimetres (image)
Width: 343 millimetres (image)
- Curator's comments
- The painting was exhibited at the British Institution, London in 1856 (no.16).
The print was accompanied by the following review: "Mr. Ansdell supplies that place in the annual exhibition of the [British] Institution which Sir Edwin Landseer was wont to fill. He is to Landseer what [Samuel] Lover, in song-writing, is to Moore; — or, as some suggest, what, in the same winning art, Robert Burns is to Allan Ramsay. There can be no doubt that Mr. Ansdell has acquired much of that art which makes him so deservedly popular from a careful study of the works of Sir Edwin Landseer. There can be as little doubt that, without the advantage of such a predecessor, he would have been a great painter, for he looks on Nature for himself, and studies her with an observant eye and a careful hand. Could [George] Morland have had the advantages of Landseer and Ansdell, he would have been a greater painter than even his many admirers so ardently assume he is.
Artists, collectors, and dealers occasionally differ with respect to the superior excellence of those joint pictures in which Mr. Ansdell works with Mr. Creswick, or of those in which he courts renewed public approbation by his own hand alone. There is, no doubt, an extra enchantment of distance and a poetic freshness in the landscapes which Mr. Creswick contributes to their joint efforts: so is there, on the other hand, an additional advantage in the animal life (from its size and importance) in those pictures which Mr. Ansdell paints without the avowed assistance of his friend. When Mr. Ansdell aids Mr. Creswick, animal life is lost a little in poetic landscape; when Mr. Creswick calls in Mr. Ansdell to his assistance, poetic landscape is lost a little in animal life. Horses, and asses, and cows, and deer, and dogs, give way to trees, and streams, and hedgerows, and pools, and village stiles, and church spires, and picturesque mills; so, on the other hand, do early English spires and picturesque village stiles give way to well-trained dogs and the rest of the brute creation already enumerated. Without pretending to decide on so-much canvassed a question, we will express the pleasure we feel in continuing to observe that Mr. Ansdell and Mr. Creswick sometimes paint together, and that sometimes they paint alone.
In the picture of 'Severe weather', Mr. Ansdell's masterpiece in the present exhibition (and engraved in our present number), he has not called in or required the assistance of Mr. Creswick. Very fine and truthful it is. The shepherd and his dogs are equally cowering from the cold, bitter, biting blast that blows so pinchingly on the stones which serve (but indifferently) to protect them from a Scottish north-east wind. Very life-like is the entire scene. True to Highland characteristics and Highland nature. As true to the Highlands as Mr. Macaulay’s marvellous description of the Pass of Glencoe in the recently-published volumes of his History. Mr. Ansdell's 'Severe weather' reminds us of a picture by Gainsborough, representing a shepherd boy sheltering himself from a pelting storm. He is behind a hedge, looking up poetically and imploringly, as it were, to the heavens to protect him from so raging a tempest. The picture itself we have never seen (we have inquired after it in vain); but in the noble engraving of it by Richard Earlom (the engraver of Claude's Liber Veritatis) the poetic shepherd boy is put on the wrong side of the hedge. The rain is blowing most bitterly upon him. The mistake was, no doubt, made by the engraver, who neglected to reverse the picture. Gainsborough, a Suffolk lad with a fine eye for nature, would scarcely have committed so grave a mistake" ('Exhibition of the British Institution: Second notice', 'Illustrated London News', 22 March 1856, pp.305, 308, 312 (305)).
- Not on display
- Associated titles
Associated Title: Illustrated London News
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number