- Museum number
Valley of the River Lea, Hertfordshire; grassy meadow in foreground with river flowing through it beyond, small copse to right with gently sloping hills in distance, crowned with row of trees. 1814
Watercolour on grey paper
- Production date
Height: 343 millimetres
Width: 541 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- Stainton 1985
Linnell's journals record visits to the River Lea in 1814 in connection with a commission he had received for illustrations to a new edition of Izaak Walton's 'Compleat Angler'; this drawing is one of a number of studies made on blue paper in that year.
His master, John Varley, had encouraged him to sketch small picturesque subjects from nature such as gnarled trees, broken fences and old cottages, but in this group of Hertfordshire drawings he has abandoned his earlier conventional notions of pictorial composition and picturesque motifs in favour of the faithful representation of broad stretches of open and often featureless countryside. Samuel Palmer was later to recall the advice of Mulready (a fellow-pupil with Linnell of John Varley) "to copy objects which were not beautiful, to cut away the adventitious aid of association". In fact, Linnell's obsessive concentration on transcribing exactly what he saw has resulted in a strikingly original image.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
1982 Oct-Dec, Cambridge, Fitzwilliam Museum, 'John Linnell', no. 34
1983 Jan-Mar, Yale Center, 'John Linnell', no. 34
1985, BM, British Landscape Watercolours 1600-1860, no.153
1991 Jan-Mar, Cleveland MA, Ohio, BM English Watercolours, no. 71
1991 Mar-June, N Carolina MA, BM English Watercolours, no. 71
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- This item has an uncertain or incomplete provenance for the years 1933-45. The British Museum welcomes information and assistance in the investigation and clarification of the provenance of all works during that era.
From the collections of James Linnell, and Mrs Edith Bell (nÃ©e Linnell), the artist's second daughter
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number