Landscape with cottage and trees
early 19th century (painted)
Colkett, Samuel David
Height: 8.875 in approx., Width: 11.75 in approx.
Oil painting, 'Landscape with Cottage and Trees', British School (formerly attributed to John Crome), early 19th century
Bequeathed by Henry Spencer Ashbee, 1900. Henry Spencer Ashbee (1834-1900) was the founder and senior partner of the merchants Charles Lavy and Company of London, who specialised in silks. He was elected Fellow of the Society of Arts 1877, and travelled around the world 1881. He was the author of numerous articles, particularly on bibliographical subjects. He collected the finest library concerning the life and work of the Spanish author Miguel de Cervantes outside Spain, and his bequest to the V&A of watercolours and over 40 oil paintings includes many illustrating Don Quixote. Ashbee's library also included humorous books, and most notoriously a vast collection of erotica, which he catalogued under the title The Index of Forbidden Books. His library was left to the British Museum. Historical significance: This Landscape was believed to be by the Norwich School artist John Crome (1768-1821) when it was acquired as part of the Ashbee bequest in 1900. In the early years of the twentieth century this attribution was doubted and the painting was instead suggested to be by an artist of the Norwich School (See note on object file). More recently the painting has been attributed to Samuel David Colkett (1800/6-1863). The attribution to Samuel David Colkett has been made on the style of the painting. This can be seen in the compositional motifs of a track with dark, heavy indents from carts, winding between a rustic house on the right and trees on the left being used to guide our eyes back in to the composition (for example see Landscape with Cottage, Norwhich Castle Museum, number: 1951:235:30.F). In both these paintings a group of trees opens out on to a distant view of fields. Colkett's interest in marking this vista with a building, in the case of 1838-1900 a church tower, can also be seen in Landscape with a river and mill and sheep in the foreground (Norwich Castle Museum, number 1951:235:31.F). The way that the trees are painted, in dark evergreen tones with small dabs of paint to define the leaves that fan out from the branches, is also typical of Colkett's work. This link to Colkett is strengthened by the standing figure on the right of the central group which has been noted as appearing in another work by the artist (see note on object file). Samuel David Colkett (1800/6-1863) worked as a Landscape painter in oil and watercolour and as an engraver. He was a pupil of James Stark (1794-1859), who was in turn a pupil of John Crome, one of the most influential artists of the Norwich School. Unlike many of the artists associated with the Norwich School, Colkett was not a member of the Norwich Society of Artists, established by Crome in 1803. From 1828 Colkett lived and worked in London, exhibiting at the R.A (in 1830 and 1831) as well as the British Institute, where he exhibited 30 works. He returned to Norwich in 1836 where he worked as a dealer, restorer and drawing master. In 1843 Colkett moved to Yarmouth. He lived and worked in Cambridge from 1853 until his death in 1863. His style closely follows that of his tutor, James Stark. Colkett studied under the Norwich School artist, James Stark. There are very close similarities in the landscapes of pupil and tutor. Stark was a pupil of John Crome, who was the main figure in the Norwich School. The rustic scene, with its domestic building, figures and cattle, as well as the way that Colkett represents the trees using dots of paint to create the effect of the foliage reflect Dutch seventeenth-century landscapes of artists such as Hobbema 1638-1700. John Crome was particularly interested in Dutch landscapes and it would seem that this interest came down to Colkett via his master James Stark. This may also explain the original attribution to Crome, although in style it is certainly that of Colkett.
Bequeathed by Henry Spencer Ashbee
Location: In Storage