Thomas Robert Colman Dibdin (1810-1893), is known both for landscapes and architectural studies, including depictions of English and French churches. He was a late starter, however, not taking up painting until the age of 28, after working as a postal worker. In this creative and artistic rendering of a Norfolk church, he transformed the ancient building into a fascinating work of art.
The artist’s color palette is subtle and earthy. He used the power of a cloudy sky to lend a magical character to the painting. The imposing bell tower rises up like a fortress.
Dibdin placed figures around the church for perspective and scale. The church’s earth colors contrast while harmonizing of the blues and grays of the sky. In fact, in several places the colors of the church are fused with those of the sky to give the scene a more extraordinary appearance.
Dibdin was a prolific exhibitor at the major London galleries, including the Royal Academy. Works by the artist are in the collections of the British Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum. This piece is signed in the lower right corner along with the name of the church and the date of 1853.
The watercolor is housed in its original elaborate wood and gesso gilded frame. The frame amplifies and extends the design of the church. The piece has also been matted in several mats and has a gold leaf border. An interesting, old framer's label can be found on the back, along with an owner's address card.
The painting has good, strong colors that have held up well these past 167 years. It has a beauty that has not faded with time. There is some discoloration in the form of a line, probably from a previous mounting. Otherwise, it is in excellent condition. The frame has several places of missing gesso work. However, the patina and color of this original frame adds much to the overall decorative value of the watercolor.
It measures 24-1/2 inches wide and 19-5/8 inches high, including the frame.
Watercolor of a Norfolk Church by Thomas Dibdin Dated 1853
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