19th century (painted)
Height: 14 in approx., Width: 18.25 in approx.
Oil Painting, 'A Farmyard', style of George Morland, 19th century
Bequeathed by Henry Spencer Ashbee, 1900 Ref : Parkinson, Ronald, "Catalogue of British Oil Paintings 1820-1860", (Victoria & Albert Museum, HMSO, London, 1990), p. xx. 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: George Morland (1763-1804), landscape and genre painter, was the son of Henry Robert Morland, painter, engraver and art dealer. His father encouraged his early artistic promise, training him through copying old-master drawings. At 14 Morland began an official seven-year apprenticeship with his father, during which he made a particular study of 17th century Dutch landscapes and genre scenes, copying works which his father sold as original works. He also made copies of shipwreck subjects by Cluade-Joseph Vernet (1714-1789) and landscapes and fancy pictures by Thomas Gainsborough (1727-1788). These subjects had a great impact on his mature work. Once freed from his apprenticeship he embarked on the life of drinking and association with low-life characters for which he became notorious. By 1786 he had embarked on a fruitful partnership with the engraver William Ward and John Raphael Smith, also a printmaker and a publisher. Morland became established as a painter of moralizing and domestic genre subjects, most of which were intended for the popular print market. As the DNB notes "The subjects were usually of a didactic, moralizing nature, portraying contrasting virtues and vices". Modelled on the work of William Hogarth, they were more in tune with late 18th century ideas of sensibility and were more refined, even sentimental. In 1790 however Morland made the decision to move away from such clear narrative content, painting genre subjects in which there was no narrative or subject matter as such. This seems to have been a response to a shift in taste away from essentially elegant domestic genre, to the picturesque. At the same time he began to modify his style to a less finished, more painterly, even rough handling. He found his new subjects in the village of Paddington where he now lived, opposite an inn frequented by drovers and other country characters. He was hugely prolific and sold most of paintings to dealers. He also continued to work closely with the printmakers and publishers. However, he was no businessman and was often in debt. The last years of his career he was in decline, physically and professionally.
Bequeathed by Henry Spencer Ashbee
Location: In Storage