FINE EARLY 19TH CENTURY HISTORY PAINTING - BY RICHARD WESTALL R.A.
Period Portraits are pleased to present this vibrant and high quality historical study by Richard Westall R.A. Set within a circular painted cartouche, this work speaks of drama and romance, a handsome knight in glistening armour, prepares to leave two fair damsels upon the battlements, to head though the verdant valley below and into battle.
History paintings such as this derive from the word historia in Latin and Italian, meaning ‘story’ or ‘narrative’. Such works were traditionally occupied the most prestigious place in the hierarchy of genres, rather like the epic did in literature. This genre of painting is defined by its subject matter not its artistic style, and almost always contains several figures in action, such as this fine example. A captured moment in a narrative, as opposed to the rather more static subjects of portraiture.
Housed in its original fine neoclassical style frame. this desirable oil on canvas exhibits both vigorous brushwork and a rich colour palette making it highly decorative, it is ready to hang and enjoy.
Richard Westall R.A (1765-1836) is variously recorded as being born in 1765 in Reepham in Norfolk, or in Hertford. He first exhibited at the RA in 1784, eventually exhibiting 384 works at the Academy in the course of his career. He became a student in the RA Schools in 1785, six years after they opened.
He was well known amoung other artists. From 1790 until 1794 he lived with Thomas Lawrence, who would later become President of the Royal Academy. Westall had his greatest success as a painter of literary and historical subjects including scenes from Shakespeare, Milton, Scott, Byron and Goethe.
The peak of his career was in 1814 when he held an exhibition in Pall Mall of over 300 pictures. But his career went into decline and he became short of money, partly because of the expense of organising this exhibition. He undertook many commissions to illustrate books and continued to exhibit at the Royal Academy. He evidently continued to be well networked in London: in the late 1827 he became drawing master to the eight year-old Princess Victoria, later Queen Victoria. He taught her twice weekly until his death in 1836. She recalled Westall was “a very indulgent, patient agreeable master, and a very worthy man.”
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Canvas : 20.5" x 20.5" / 52cm x 52cm. Frame: 25" x 25” / 64cm x 64cm. Internal Ref: 00062