Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Barking Timber in Wychwood Forest, Oxfordshire

Joshua Cristall (British, baptised London 1768–1847 London)
1818 (?)
Graphite, pen and gray ink, and watercolour with gum arabic and with scratching out
Sheet: 15 3/4 x 12 1/4 in. (40 x 31.1 cm)
Credit Line:
Purchase, Brooke Russell Astor Bequest, 2013
Accession Number:
Not on view
A significant watercolorist in his lifetime, Cristall was largely forgotten after his death, only rediscovered in 1950 by Graham Reynolds who declared that Cristall’s watercolors provided the basis for Cotman’s first and greatest style and even anticipated Cezanne’s innovations. The artist's mature work is distinct among his contemporaries for focusing on the human figure, and this drawing demonstrates his abiding interest in themes of rural work. He likely encountered these bark workers in Witchwood Forest, Oxfordshire and, although certainly aware of precedents by Thomas Gainnsborough and George Morland, Cristall adds a distinct quality of classical nobility. The artist's compositions often focus on a comely young woman, but avoid sentimentality and a sense of narrative, leaving the subjects detached while engaged in commonplace activity.
Thomas Agnew & Sons, Ltd., in 2000; W.S Fine Art Ltd. / Andrew Wyld (British); Christie's, London, "Andrew Wyld: Connoisseur Dealer", 10 July 2012, lot 121; Vendor: Katrin Bellinger Kunsthandel , Munich
Old Water Colour Society Annual Exhibition Catalogue.. 1818, cat. no. 344 (possibly).

Basil Taylor Joshua Cristall, 1768-1847 Ex. cata., Victoria and Albert Museum. 1975, pp. 104-11.

Susan Sloman "Joshua Cristall's Figure Compositions: a look at some of the artist's sources" Watercolours and Drawings. vol. 3, no. 4, Autumn 1988, pp. 15-16.

John Tisdall Joshua Cristall, 1768-1847: In Search of Arcadia. 1996, Biography of the artist.

Thomas Agnew & Sons, Ltd. English Watercolours, Drawings and Small Oil Paintings: Agnew's 127th Annual Exhibition.. March 1–24, 2000, cat. no. 62.

Christie's, London Andrew Wyld: Connoisseur Dealer: Part I. [Sale catalogue]. London, July 10, 2012, lot 121.

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