Art/ Collection/ Art Object

View of Kensington Gardens, London

John Linnell (British, London 1792–1882 Redhill, Surrey)
Watercolor over graphite
Overall: 4 x 5 1/2in. (10.2 x 14cm)
Credit Line:
Purchase, Guy Wildenstein Gift, 2000
Accession Number:
Not on view
Compact, luminous, and intense, this unkempt view of Kensington Gardens is deliberately unidealized. Beneath dense clouds and distant trees, two wooden poles and a shed with a tiled roof punctuate a raw, sloping patch of earth. Just twenty years old, Linnell had recently converted to a nonconformist Protestant sect, acquired a camera obscura, and, influenced by William Paley’s Natural Theology, sought direct proof of God’s creation in landscape. The meticulous representation of nature became a moral imperative. To achieve it Linnell developed a distinctive technique using small touches of pure color that anticipated the work of Samuel Palmer and the paintings of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. The artist probably added the identifying annotation at the bottom of the sheet at a later date.
Inscription: Signed in pen and brown ink at lower left: "J. Linnell 1812"
Inscribed in pen and brown ink at bottom center: "Kensington Gardens / about 1812 / No.1."
John Linnell (British, London 1792–1882 Redhill, Surrey)(and by descent to the following); Joan Linnell Ivimy, in 1993The artist's family by descent to John Linnell Ivimy, 1993; sold, Sotheby's, London, November 11, 1993, lot 108; Private Collection, United Kingdom London art market, 1999 (Spink-Leger Galleries).; Spink-Leger Galleries, London, ex. March 14-April 19, 2000, no. 50; Vendor: Spink-Leger Galleries, London
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Drawings and Prints: Selections from the Permanent Collection," January 28, 2002–April 21, 2002.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Drawings and Prints: Selections from the Permanent Collection," March 19, 2015–June 22, 2015.

Winter Exhibition of Works by Old Masters and by the Late John Linnell.. Royal Academy of Arts, 1883, cat. no. 143.

Loan Exhibition of Drawings, Watercolours, and Paintings by John Linnell and his Circle. Exh. cat. P. & D. Colnaghi & Co., 1973, pl. VII-B, cat. no. 19c.

Landscape in Britain 1750-1850. Ex. cat. Tate Gallery, London, 1973-74, cat. no. 244.

William Turner und die Landschaft seiner Zeit. Ex. cat. Hamburger Kunsthalle , Hamburg, Germany, Hamburg, 1976, cat. no. 277.

John Linnell 1792-1882. Salisbury City Library, Salisbury, 1977, cat. no. 17.

John Linnell: A Centennial Exhibition. Exh. cat. Fitzwilliam Museum, Yale Center for British Art, Yale University, Cambridge/ New Haven, 1982, cat. no. 21, pp. 8, 57, ill.

British Landscape Painting. Exh. cat. Leger Galleries, London, 1994, cat. no. 28.

Feeling Through the Eye: the 'New' Landscape in Britain 1800-1830. Sale cat. Spink-Leger Galleries, London, 2000, cat. no. 50, 75, ill.

Related Objects

Portrait of a Mother and Child

Artist: John Linnell (British, London 1792–1882 Redhill, Surrey) Date: 1823 Medium: Graphite with watercolor and gouache Accession: 2014.703.3 On view in:Not on view

Underriver–The Golden Valley

Artist: John Linnell (British, London 1792–1882 Redhill, Surrey) Date: ca. 1833 Medium: Pen and brown ink, brush and brown wash, over graphite on cream wove paper Accession: 2014.636 On view in:Not on view

The Lake of Zug

Artist: Joseph Mallord William Turner (British, London 1775–1851 London) Date: 1843 Medium: Watercolor over graphite Accession: 59.120 On view in:Not on view