The Berger Collection


John Martin (1789-1854)
Landscape: View in Richmond Park, 1850
Oil on paper mounted on board
Signed and dated at lower right, J. Martin 1850
20 x 36 in. (50.8 x 91.4 cm)

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John Martin was a key figure in early nineteenth-century British art. Known for his large-scale scenes of apocalyptic Biblical events set in imaginary, often fantastic landscapes, he was trained as a commercial artist before beginning to paint classical landscapes inspired by Claude Lorrain. At age twenty-three his career was launched with Sadak in Search of the Waters of Oblivion (St. Louis Museum of Art), which he exhibited to great success at London’s Royal Academy of Arts in 1812. The picture introduced a characteristically Romantic theme that Martin would develop throughout his career: man heroically struggling against the forces of nature.

The Berger picture records a view in Richmond Park, a 2,500-acre open space southwest of London. During the 1840s and early 1850s Martin painted numerous independent landscapes, including several of prospects in Richmond Park. Here the view is to the west across the Thames Valley, with the River Thames visible in the distance. The small figure reclining in the foreground is a recurring feature in many of Martin’s late London-area landscapes.


Provenance

Private collection, Nottinghamshire; from which acquired by an unknown dealer, Nottinghamshire, 1977; from whom acquired by a private collector, 1978; from which acquired by Ben Elwes Fine Art, London.

Bibliography

Literature: Possibly Thomas Balston, John Martin 1789-1854: His Life and Works, London, 1947, no. 90, pp. 226, 278 ("Richmond Park").
Exhibition: Possibly Royal Academy, London, 1851 (exhibited as "Richmond Park").


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