The door of a grotto

William Marlow British

Not on view

Marlow made this free watercolor sketch during a trip through France and Italy. Spontaneous brushwork and bright washes evoke strong sunlight playing across stone, contrasted with a shadowed recess covered by a rough wooden door. The artist’s travel likely was supported by the duchess of Northumberland, since Marlow later made many finished oils of Italian subjects for this English patroness. The freshness of the drawing is an early demonstration of watercolor’s expressive potential and anticipates groundbreaking innovations that would be made twenty years later by the British artists Thomas Jones and John Robert Cozens in Rome and Naples.

The door of a grotto, William Marlow (British, Southwark, London 1740/41–1813 Twickenham, London), Watercolor and graphite

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