This is a large museum-quality 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. The artist also has an excellent auction track record, with larger works often fetching close to $10,000.
This work was acquired directly from the artist's great-niece and is an oil on canvas that measures 30" x 25" unframed and 37.5" x 32.5" framed. It depicts an atmospheric woodland stream running through a stand of trees and retains its fine original ornate gold frame. The work is signed lower right and likely dates to c. 1885. The handling of the light filtering in and the reflections in the water are masterful. Condition is excellent and the work is ready to hang.
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