This is fascinating for a number of reasons. First, it is a drawing by Samuel Prout (1783 – 1852) who was one of the masters of British watercolor architectural painting. (I have included some information about him at the end of the listing). It is based on the historical tragedy of
the downfall of doge Francesco Foscari and his son Jacopo, in Venice in the mid 15th Century. This historical true story was the basis of Lord Byron's verse play, as well as Verdi's opera, and a number of paintings and drawings.
Artist: Samuel Prout (1783-1852).
Size: 4" by 6". With Margins 5 1/4" by 8 1/4".
Matted and Framed 12 1/8" by 15 1/8".
Published By: Robert Jennings, Gallerie Vivienne, Paris.
Engraver: James Tingle (British, 1790–1858/60)
Date Of Publication: October 28, 1829.
Provenance: Property from the Collection of Charles and Sheila Nemes of Hinsdale, Illinois.
About Samuel Prout: Prout secured the position of Painter in Water-Colours in Ordinary to King George IV in 1829, and afterwards to Queen Victoria. John Ruskin, whose work often emulated Prout's, wrote in 1844, "Sometimes I tire of Turner, but never of Prout". Prout is often compared to his contemporaries; Turner, Gainsborough, Constable and Ruskin, whom he taught. In London, Prout saw new possibilities, and endeavoured to correct and improve his style by studying the works of the rising school of landscape. To earn a living, he painted marine pieces for Palser the printseller, took students, and published drawing books for learners. He was one of the first to use lithography in his artwork.
It was not however until about 1818 that Prout discovered his niche. He made his first visit to the Continent, and studied the quaint streets and market-places of continental cities. He suddenly found himself in a new and enchanting province of art. His eye caught the picturesque features of the architecture, and his hand recorded them with skill. The composition of his drawings was natural. their color exhibited "the truest and happiest association in sun and shade." The picturesque remnants of ancient architecture were rendered showing their time-worn ruggedness; and the solemnity of great cathedrals was brought out with striking effect. Often compared to Turner, but while Turner concentrated upon the infinite beauties of nature, Prout, more interested by the cityscape.
Prout was appointed the coveted title of 'Painter in Water-Colours in Ordinary' to King George IV in 1829, and afterwards to Queen Victoria.
At the time of his death there was hardly a place in France, Germany, Italy (especially Venice) or the Netherlands where his face had not been seen searching for antique gables and sculptured pieces of stone.
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