A great many works by the celebrated French artist, Jean Baptiste Greuze (1725-1805), can be found in museums worldwide. Indeed, his self-portrait hangs in the Louvre. His original painting of Girl with Doves was exhibited at the Paris Salon of 1800 and now resides in London’s Wallace Collection. Even the famous English landscape painter, John Constable, copied it in 1831 for a Lady whose daughter was said to have resembled the original.
In this outstanding pastel rendering of Girl with Doves by H.R. Water, the elements of the original are strongly felt. The young lady with her blue eyes, heart-shaped and pouty lips, and a cascade of soft, brown hair with golden highlights is as captivating as in the original. As in the original, she is holding up a pair of doves. The doves’ crate on which she rests her arm is at her side, with another still inside. A charming basket of eggs is balanced on her lap. There is an overall softness to the picture, not only because of the nature of its pastel medium, but also because of the artist’s vision of innocence and beauty. It is signed in a tiny script on the left side.
According to Christopher Wood, author of “The Dictionary of Victorian Painters,” W.R. Waters was working as an artist between the years 1838 and 1867. His specialty was portraits of women and children and “figurative subjects,” although there are records showing that he also painted animals. His studio was in Dover, Kent, the major ferry port that faces France across the narrowest part of the English Channel. Waters exhibited at some of the major venues in London, including 8 works at the Royal Academy and 11 at the British Institution. Some of his titled works include, “Blowing Bubbles,” “The Nosegay,” and “Playing at Cat’s Cradle.” Works by the artist have sold for several thousand dollars at auction.
On the back is some information on the artist and the inspiration for his painting. According to this, the piece is apparently signed “on the mount,” but this signature may be obscured by the framing.
It is housed in its original wood and gesso gilded frame with a wide gilded slip that keeps the glass from touching the pastel painting. The beautiful Victorian frame suits the picture exceptionally well.
The condition of the painting is excellent, especially for its age. There are no issues whatsoever to report. The frame is in excellent condition as well, as I have had it professionally restored. As it was the original frame, the painting has been protected very well.
It measures 18-3/4 inches wide by 22-3/4 inches high, including the frame.
Girl with Doves, by W.R. Waters (after Jean Baptiste Greuve)
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