- Museum number
The Nant d'Arpenaz in Salenches, Savoy; landscape with river valley to left and mountain with waterfall beyond pasture with cows and family group by a fence and tree to right.
Pen and grey ink, brush and watercolour over graphite, on white laid paper laid down onto old grey paper mount with ruled border
- Production date
Height: 272 millimetres
Height: 350 millimetres
Width: 512 millimetres (support)
Width: 433 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- This watercolour and the one acquired with it (1999-9-25-1) were part of a large group once belonging to Sir William Forbes, 6th Baronet, of Pitsligo or his son, who may have purchased or commissioned them from the artist on one of their journeys to the continent.
K Sloan, Noble Art 2000
The son of Protestant refugees, Michel-Vincent Brandoin was born in Vevey, apprenticed to an uncle in textiles in Amsterdam, visited London in 1757 and Paris and Italy the following year. He settled in Church Street, Chelsea in 1762 taking lessons in watercolour from Sandby, as well as undertaking commissions for views and teaching privately. As 'Charles' Brandoin, he exhibited a watercolour and a 'tinted' drawing, a view of Lake Geneva, at the Society of Artists in 1768 and 1769. Like Sandby, he was as interested in figures as landscape and enrolled at the Royal Academy in 1770, depicting the crowds at its early exhibitions and making watercolour copies of the paintings shown. He also executed a series of caricatures published between 1771-2.
He returned to Vevey in 1773 and spent the rest of his life painting watercolour views for the increasing number of grand tourists passing through Switzerland, based on his own and compositions by others. The present view shows the cascade d'Arpenaz on the Arve River just north of Sallanches. In spite of its similarity to Mary Mitford's view, they do not depict the same falls but indicate the popularity of such views, then and now. Some of Brandoin's views were published in aquatint in the 1790s. In 1771, William Pars had exhibited at the Academy the magnificent Swiss watercolours he had made on his journey with Lord Palmerston the previous year. The works Brandoin showed at the Society of Artists and the Royal Academy included Swiss views, and now that we are more familiar with his work, it must be taken into account in the consideration of the British visual response to the Alps, alongside the watercolours of Pars and John Robert Cozens a few years later. His pupils in London in the 1760s and early 1770s, benefited from his own vision of the landscape combined with the British topographical tradition as he was taught it by Sandby, and his later watercolours painted in Switzerland continued to enter British collections for the rest of the century.
Sir William Forbes, 6th Bart. of Pitsligo (1739-1806) travelled to Italy in 1792 for his wife's health and may well have visited the continent earlier. He had resolved not to purchase paintings or antiquities while abroad, but once in Rome and Naples, he continuously visited the studios of all the artists in residence and amassed a collection to which he added after his return to Edinburgh. His son William Forbes, 7th Bt.(1773-1828) was an amateur artist, depicted by Henri-Pierre Danloux (1753-1809) in 1801, kneeling by a rock and sketching from nature. He also collected and either he or his father might have commissioned this large group of Grand Tour views from Brandoin, or purchased them from an earlier collector like William Beckford for whom Brandoin worked in the 1780s.
Literature: William Hauptman, 'Beckford, Brandoin, and the "Rajah"', Apollo, CXLIII, 41, 1996, pp. 30-9 and forthcoming articles on Brandoin's role as an eyewitness to the London art scene of the 1760s.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
2000 May-Sep, BM P&D, 'A Noble Art', no.129
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- This drawing and 1999-9-25-1 were consigned to Sotheby's by a descendant of Sir William Forbes, 6th Bart of Pitsligo.
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number