Description The influential English author and critic John Ruskin profoundly influenced the Pre-Raphaelite painters in England as well as their contemporaries in America. He once wrote that the duty of the artist was "neither to choose, nor compose, nor imagine, nor experimentalize; but to be humble and earnest in following the steps of nature, and tracing the figure of God." At the beginning of the 1860s, a number of American artist responded by producing views of plants growing in their natural state. Richards' first attempts at working from nature in the Ruskinian manner date from 1858 and this phase lasts until 1865. This watercolor, which is dated 1860, portrays nature at closer quarters than his initial attempts. It also shows his growing control of the medium, although he did not come to specialize in watercolor until a decade later. This work is an interesting comparison to WAM 37.2642 which was painted from studies in the studio. In this work Richards' handling of watercolor is much broader and his subject matter wild and romantic, recalling the work of J.M.W. Turner.
|7/28/1982||Examination||examined for loan|
|3/04/1985||Examination||examined for condiiton|
|1/06/2016||Loan Consideration||examined for loan|
- The New Path: Ruskin and the American Pre-Raphaelites. Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Boston. 1985.
- American Drawings from the Walters Art Gallery. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1987.
- Botanical Delights: Floral Motifs in 19th-Century Art. Government House, Annapolis; Strathmore Hall Art Center, North Bethesda; Academy Art Museum, Easton. 1998-1999.
- A Discerning Eye: Nineteenth-century Drawings and Watercolors. Academy Art Museum, Easton. 1998-1999.
- American Watercolor in the Age of Homer and Sargent. Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia. 2017.
- The American Pre-Raphaelites: Myriad Facts, Marvelous Delicacy. National Gallery of Art, Washington. 2019.
Provenance Acquired (possibly by purchase) by William T. Walters, Baltimore, before 1862; inherited by Henry Walters, Baltimore, 1894; by bequest to Walters Art Museum, 1931.
Inscriptions [Signature and date] Bottom right: Wm. T. Richards 60
Credit Acquired by William T. Walters, before 1862
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