This is a lovely work by Frederick William Nelson Whitehead (1853-1938), who was a prominent British painter and etcher active in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He studied at the Leamington School of Art and later at the Académie Julian in Paris under both Lefebvre and Boulanger. Whitehead traveled extensively around France at this time, including trips to Barbizon, and became a proponent of working en plain air, or out of doors.
After returning to England in 1870, Whitehead settled for a time in Dorset and there met Thomas Hardy, with whom he became lifelong friends. Whitehead began exhibiting at this time as well and became known for his British scenes, especially views of Warwickshire, Wessex, and Dorset. He was greatly influenced by Constable and liked to explore the changes in light and atmosphere in his works. Whitehead was a member of the Royal Birmingham Society of Artists and the Royal Academy and exhibited extensively with both, as well as with prominent galleries in London. His work is held in numerous public and private collections, including the Leamington Art Museum.
This work was acquired directly from the artist's great-niece and is an oil on mahogany panel that measures 9.75" x 14" unframed and 14.5" x 19" framed. It depicts several cattle by a rural bridge and is probably a scene in Dorset. The custom Larson-Juhl frame is new and both it and the painting are in excellent condition. The work is signed and dated 1898 lower right and on the reverse is a humorous doodle of a bird with a figure astride it. This work is a nice transition between the Barbizon style and Impressionism, which I always think makes for an especially appealing painting.
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