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  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Description

    Dolwydellan Castle; rocky landscape with castle in middle distance to right, sheep in foreground and river beyond them. 1856 Watercolour with scratching out

  • Producer name

  • School/style

  • Date

    • 1856
  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 274 millimetres
    • Width: 384 millimetres
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Content

        Signed and dated: "A.W.Hunt April 1856"
  • Curator's comments

    Another view of Wales from about this time, a view of 'Cwm Trifaen', a glaciated valley in Snowdonia, 10 x 14 ", inscribed 'painted about 1857/Exhibited 1864-5' [at the Old Watercolour Society Winter exh] and rather close in feel to the Museum's watercolour of 'A Rent in Weatherlam' (2004,1230.1), was with The Maas Gallery in spring 2010 (cat. no. 5). It shows the valley overswept by a dark and dramatic thunderstorm and another version (same size and signed and dated 1856) is in a private collection. He visited the valley at least twice, in 1856 and 1857 and complained of the weather, making his work 'unendurable'.

    The following text is from Lindsay Stainton, 'British Landscape Watercolours' (British Museum Press, 1985) (no. 192):
    Unusually for a professional artist, Hunt could have followed an academic career. A scholar of Corpus Chnsti College, Oxford, and in 1851 winner of the Newdigate Prize with a poem on 'Nineveh', in 1853 he was elected to a Fellowship which he held until his marriage in 1861 (celibacy being then an essential condition of a Fellowship). On the other hand, he had always been encouraged to paint by his father, himself a landscape painter and friend of David Cox, and in 1850 was already exhibiting in Liverpool. By the mid-1850s he had decided to make art his profession, the chief formative influences on his mature style being the drawings of Turner and the writings of Ruskin. He was never, in the full sense of the term a 'Pre-Raphaelite' - his notion of landscape painting as involving an annual sketching tour must have seemed rather old-fashioned - but he was associated with their circle in the late 1850s and his watercolour landscapes, many of which were painted out ot doors, have something of the Pre-Raphaelite quality of intensity.
    Inspired apparently by the chapters on geology in volume IV of Ruskin's 'Modern Painters' (1856) and by the Pre-Raphaelite emphasis on painting entire pictures from nature, Hunt developed an obsessive, quasi-scientific, interest in rocks, pebbles and lichenous stones, painstakingly stippled in and scratched at. Allen Staley has aptly characterised the stippling in Hunts watercolours as "exhausting", and even Ruskin, came to denounce his "plethoric labour" as a debasement of the Pre-Raphaelite "truth to nature" that he had once championed; but for Hunt's many admirers the technical virtuosity and dramatic colouring of his watercolours produced an ideal combination of poetical imagination and scientific truth which made him a worthy heir of Turner.
    Dolwydellan in North Wales was a favourite subject: in 1865 he painted a similar view, with spectacular effects of light, 'A November Rainbow - Dolwydellan Valley' (Ashmolean Museum, Oxford).

    The following label was written by Kim Sloan for Places of the Mind, 2017:
    A scholar at Oxford, Hunt began painting landscape watercolours seriously in the 1850s. He was commissioned by a bookseller and collector of Turner’s works to undertake a series of painting expeditions to Wales to create pictures for the bookshop. Hunt later travelled constantly in the summers, filling hundreds of sketchbooks (Ashmolean Museum, Oxford) with pencil sketches, notations and colour studies modelled on Turner’s method. He worked up finished landscapes in the studio using his own meticulous ‘stippling’ technique.

    For further information see Kim Sloan 'The 'tormentingly elusive' art of drawing landscape' in Kim Sloan (ed.), Places of the Mind: British watercolour landscapes 1850-1950, (London, 2017), pp. 24-67.


  • Bibliography

    • Stainton 1985 192 bibliographic details
  • Location

    On display: G90

  • Exhibition history

    1985, BM, British Landscape Watercolours 1600-1860, no.192
    2017 23 Feb-27 Aug, London, BM, G90, Places of the Mind: British Landscape watercolours 1850-1950

  • Associated places

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date


  • Acquisition notes

    Sir George A Drummond, of Montreal; his sale Christie's 27 June 1919 (119), bt Agnew's for Lloyd, £42 plus 5% commission £2 2s. (stock 9316). UNDER THE TERMS OF THE BEQUEST, NONE OF THE PRINTS OR DRAWINGS BEQUEATHED BY R. W. LLOYD MAY BE LENT OUTSIDE THE BRITISH MUSEUM (Registration Numbers 1958,0712.318 to 3149).

  • Department

    Prints & Drawings

  • Registration number


Dolwydellan Castle; rocky landscape with castle in middle distance to right, sheep in foreground and river beyond them. 1856 watercolour with scratching out

Dolwydellan Castle; rocky landscape with castle in middle distance to right, sheep in foreground and river beyond them. 1856 watercolour with scratching out

Image description



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