A Concise History of English Painting by William Gaunt

By William Gaunt

Lines the improvement of English portray from the center a long time to the 20th century, concentrating on the works of Hogarth, Blake, Gainsborough, Stubbs, Reynolds, Constable, Turner, and Bacon.

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When all is said and done, it is informality to which he tended in his later work and not a rigidity of doctrine. The tendency to look once more to the continent of Europe Sterne, Oliver Goldsmith, can be seen in the work of the Scottish painter Allan Ramsay (1713-84), long neglected but now recognized as one who made an original contribution to the classic age of portraiture. Like Reynolds, Ramsay spent some years in Italy but unlike him was not mainly affected by the masters of the great past or inclined to base any formal system on their study.

A small stocky man with blunt pugnacious features and alert blue eyes, he had all the sharp-wittedness of the born Cockney and an insular pride which led to his vigorous attacks on the exaggerated respect for foreign artists and the taste of would-be connoisseurs who brought over (as he said) 'shiploads of dead Christs, Madonnas and Holy FamiHes' by inferior hands. There is no reason to suppose he had anything but respect for the great Italian masters, though he deliberately took a provocative attitude.

Robert Streeter (or Streater) (1624-80), who was noted in his own time for the range of his art and painted the semi-topographical and semi-narrative picture Boscobel and Whiteladies commemorating Charles IFs escape and concealment after the battle of Worcester, seems a tyro in the decorative work by which he is principally known, the ceiling of the Sheldonian Theatre, Oxford (///. ^i). His projection of figures in space falls short of the characteristic Baroque accomplishment. It is all the more remarkable that Pellegrini and the Riccis should have been followxd by an Englishman who produced the most impressive work of any.

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