John Scarlett Davis (British, Leominster, Hereford 1804–1845 London)
Watercolor over graphite with stopping out and gum arabic
sheet: 7 7/8 x 13 in. (20 x 33 cm)
Purchase, Robert Gordon and PECO Foundation Gifts, 2008
Not on view
This elevated vista shows the River Wye from the Forest of Dean, with the Welsh town of Chepstow in the distance. Davis uses the curves of the river to carry the eye toward its estuary. Broad washes of green and brown suggest foreground foliage, while the middle ground is rendered in paler tones, and tiny sailboats near the horizon help to convey a sense of expansive space. Davis was a child prodigy who won a medal from the Society of Arts in London at age eleven, then studied at the Royal Academy Schools, and pursued a career painting portraits, landscapes and watercolor views. He specialized in representing art gallery interiors and his watercolors share the sensibility of his contemporary Richard Parkes Bonington, contrasting freely rendered passages of wash with precise details.
Signature: lower right: "Scarlett Davis, 1834"
Michael Ingram (British, 1917–2005); Sale, Sotheby's, London, June 6, 2007, lot 227; Vendor: Katrin Bellinger Kunsthandel, Munich
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Drawings and Prints: Selections from the Permanent Collection," July 12, 2010–October 3, 2010.