View of Kensington Gardens, London

John Linnell British

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.

View of Kensington Gardens, London, John Linnell (British, London 1792–1882 Redhill, Surrey), Watercolor over graphite

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