A View of Westmorland
Date 1792
Artist:George Morland, British, 1763-1804
Dimensions Overall: 40 1/2 x 56 1/2 in. (102.9 x 143.5 cm) Overall, Frame: 49 1/4 x 65 1/4 in. (125.1 x 165.7 cm)
Medium Oil on canvas
Credit Line Gift of Morrie A. Moss, Memphis
Description This is an oil on canvas painting. A peasant family in the foreground, involved in an act of smuggling, approach a boat where two men await them. A lush landscape on the English coast surrounds them.
Exhibition HistoryLoaned to The Boston Museum of Fine Arts, June 14 - Sept. 22, 1939, from the collection of T. Jefferson Coolidge (probably in conjunction with the exhibition "Art in New England: Paintings, Drawings, Prints from Private Collections in New England).
"Reopening of the Joan P. Brock Galleries," Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk, Va., Opening in March of 2008.
"Selected Paintings from the Mr. and Mrs. Morrie A. Moss Collection," Brooks Memorial Art Gallery, Memphis Jan. - Feb., 1965. (Exhib. cat. no. 26 as "Landscape with Figures").
Published ReferencesCatalogue. _Catalogue of the Important Collection of Ancient and Modern Pictures...of John Heugh, Esq._. London: Christie, Manson & Woods. 05/10/1878: p. 30, no. 228.
Catalogue. _Catalogue of Pictures by Old Masters and Works of the Early English School, the Property of Sir George Elliot, Bart...and from Numerous Private Collections_. London: Christie, Manson & Woods. 07/08/1905: p. 3, no. 19.
Catalogue. _Catalogue of the Important Collection of Ancient and Modern Pictures and Watercolour Drawings, the Property of Barnet Lewis, Esq., Removed from 2 Hamilton Place, W.1 and Foxbush, Hildenborough, Kent_.. London: Christie, Manson & Woods. 02/28/1930: No. 112.
Chrysler Museum. _Selections from the Permanent Collection: The Chrysler Museum_. Norfolk, VA: Chrysler Museum of Art. 1982:p. 52.
Jefferson C. Harrison. _The Chrysler Museum Handbook of the European and American Collections: Selected Paintings, Sculpture and Drawings_. The Chrysler Museum, Norfolk, VA, 1991, p. 82, #62.
Inscriptions Signed and dated 1792 bottom center of saddlebag.
Provenance Miss Martineau, Norwich; John Heugh, Esq., London; Thomas Agnew & Sons; Edward Ashworth, Esq.; Vicars; Barnet Lewis, Esq.; Clements; Mr. T. Jefferson Coolidge, 1939; Findlay Galleries, New York, 1961; Mr. and Mrs. Morris A. Moss, Memphis; Gift of Mr. Morrie A. Moss to the Chrysler Museum, 1974.
Catalog Entry George Morland English, 1763-1804 A View of Westmorland, 1792 Oil on canvas, 40½" x 56½" (102.9 x 143.5 cm) Signed and dated on the sacks at center: _G. Moreland_ _1792_ Gift of Morrie A. Moss, 74.5.2 An artistic prodigy, George Morland was already exhibiting drawings at London's Royal Academy by the age of ten. The elder Morland - a painter and an art dealer who restored Old Master pictures - was cynically aware of the commercial value of his son's precocious talent, and he pushed him to perfect his craft. While apprenticed to his father in 1777-84, the boy was kept perpetually busy. He made drawings for sale and copied the popular landscapes of Joseph Vernet and the Dutch and Flemish paintings that his father restored in his studio. Once free of his father, Morland rejected the strict discipline of his early years and embraced a life of reckless self-indulgence. Despite his increasingly dissolute ways, he produced a remarkable number of pictures. Many of them were cosigned to unscrupulous art dealers who systematically underpaid him and kept him in debt. He died, alcoholic and debt-ridden, at the age of forty-one. During the later 1780s Morland specialized in moralizing genre paintings of upper-middle class life and in fashionable, sentimental pictures of children at play. After 1790 he turned almost exclusively to picturesque scenes of English country life - interiors of stables and landscapes with gypsies, smugglers and peasants. These subjects were determined partly by the Dutch paintings he had first encountered in his father's shop and partly by the coastal scenes of Vernet and Philipp de Loutherbourg. Influential, too, were the contemporary landscape styles of Thomas Gainsborough (no. 58) and the French rococo masters. With his landscapes Morland forged a vision of rustic English life that affected native artists for generations. The finest works of Morland's uneven career were his country scenes of the early 1790s. Among them is _A View of Westmorland_ of 1792, which reveals the artist at the height of his powers. Here an apparently innocent genre interlude is made the pretext for a stunning evocation of the English coast. The painting depicts a peasant family proceeding toward the shore where two men await them in a boat. The rather anxious, covert glance of the woman suggests that she and her family are actually involved in the not so innocent act of smuggling contraband, an activity often depicted in Morland's landscapes. Though the figures possess the solidity and the mass of seventeenth-century Dutch masters, the landscape itself, evoked in fluid strokes, is a lush tribute to the rococo. Jefferson C. Harrison. _The Chrysler Museum Handbook of the European and American Collections: Selected Paintings, Sculpture and Drawings_. The Chrysler Museum, Norfolk, VA, 1991, p. 82, #62.
Object Label George Morland English (1763-1804) A View of Westmorland, 1792 Oil on canvas Gift of Morrie A. Moss 74.5.2 The finest paintings of Morland's London career were his English country scenes of the early 1790s - picturesque views of stable interiors and landscapes with gypsies, smugglers, and peasants. Among them is his View of Westmorland, which combines an idyllic evocation of England's Lake District with a rustic scene from peasant life. In the painting a family proceeds toward the shore where two men await them in a boat. The woman's rather anxious, covert glance suggests that she and her family are actually involved in smuggling contraband, an activity often shown in Morland's landscapes. With landscapes like this, Morland forged a view of English country life that affected native artists for generations.
Object Number 74.5.2