Hastings from the East Cliff watercolour heightened with bodycolour 38.5 x 56cm (15 3/16 x 22 1/16in).
EXHIBITED: London, The Royal Watercolour Society, 1825, no.228.
The son of a Dutch-American father and Scottish mother, Peter De Wint drew on the British landscape for his subject matter. Whilst working as an apprentice to John Raphael-Smith, De Wint met William Hilton, who was to become a life-long friend.
Stylistically, De Wint was influenced by John Varley and Thomas Girtin whose sweeping brushstrokes and subdued blocks of colour were introduced to him by his patron Dr. Monroe. During the summer months, De Wint visited his patrons at their country estates in order to sketch the landscape and work as a tutor to the children of the family. He was to teach throughout his career in order to supplement his income and this resulted in numerous pupils working in his style.
De Wint's style is characterized by broad and flowing brushstrokes and skillful use of colour. He preferred river and harvesting scenes, painting wide and shallow panoramas with small masses of woodland. De Wint rarely exaggerated features in his works, preferring understated and truthful paintings that alluded to the calm British countryside and nostalgia of a bygone age. His palette was often brilliant, as he employed gamboge, vermillion, purple madder, earth pigments, prussian blue and indigo colours, however over time many of his works have faded. Although after his formative years De Wint's style remained largely the same, his later work is more fluid and brighter.
Although receiving only moderate recognition during his own lifetime, De Wint was a member of the O.W.S. and exhibited at both the Royal Academy and British Institution. John Clare, the poet wrote of him "For nothing would appear so valuable to me as one of those rough sketches, taken in the fields, that breathe the living freshness of open air and sunshine."