Richard Parkes Bonington (British, 1802-1828) Boulogne harbour 13 x 19 cm. (5 x 7 1/2 in.) unframed

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Lot 58
Richard Parkes Bonington
(British, 1802-1828)
Boulogne harbour 13 x 19 cm. (5 x 7 1/2 in.) unframed

Sold for £ 5,400 (US$ 6,953) inc. premium
Richard Parkes Bonington (British, 1802-1828)
Boulogne harbour
watercolour
13 x 19 cm. (5 x 7 1/2 in.)
unframed

Footnotes

  • The present watercolour was painted shortly after Bonington's arrival in France in the late autumn of 1817. Patrick Noon has dated the work to 1818 suggesting that it was painted on the same day as Port de Peche, Boulogne (see Patrick Noon, Richard Parkes Bonington, On the pleasure of painting, Yale Centre for British Art, 1992, no.1.).

    Under Bonaparte, Boulogne was transformed into a major port. The Duke of Rutland, a seasoned continental traveller who had visited Bologne before, commented on landing there after the Napoleonic Wars in 1815,

    'It is indeed a surprising work; when it is considered that what was formerly a simple and contemptible inlet formed by the tide is now an excellent harbour...capable of containing three hundred vessels.'
    The Duke of Rutland, Journal of a short trip to Paris during the summer of 1815, London, 1815.

    In the present work, we see only a couple of those moored boats with figures, probably fishermen, at work to the right of the picture. Bonington was only sixteen when he painted the sketch which exhibits his precocious talent with the brush. The rather subdued palette shows the influence of the late works of Thomas Girtin who was a key inspiration to Bonington in his early work.

    The delicate underdrawing discernable in the present work, in line with the rigging and outlines of the boats, confirms that the artist sketched his composition in graphite and then altered the design as he applied his washes. These in-process modifications are typical of Bonington's technique.

    We are grateful to Patrick Noon for authenticating the present lot.
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