Original Victorian Watercolour Drawing by Keeley Halswelle (1832 -1891). At Grotto Ferrara, outside of Rome

$197.63

This is an interesting little on-the-spot drawing by the listed British artist and illustrator, Keeley Halswelle.

It shows a scene of a journey on the road to Rome, near Grotto Ferrata.

In the foreground is a covered wagon laden with provisions - and it is obviously a stop in a longer journey - as they have un-coupled the oxen pulling the wagon and it grazes at the side of the road, The roadway is bounded by a row of spindly trees and more people and carts are shown very lightly sketched in in the background. This is possibly the wagon which is taking the artist to his new residence in Rome and is in part a document of his journey.

Given its size - this must have been a quick sketch done by the artist in his sketchbook. It is not signed (as you might expect from a sketchbook study) but is inscribed with the location and date: Grotto Ferrata April 1868.

It certainly is a charming little sketch - done in pencil and highlighted with watercolour.

My little Italian study is certainly beautifully presented in a lovely glazed frame and all ready to hang on your wall. It was acquired via Bourne Fine Art, a prestigious Edinburgh art gallery - and was No. 23 in their Edinburgh Festival Exhibition in 1996. The study has a provenance of coming from the artist's family.

A pretty little sketch and a great size for a more domestic interior.

The image measures 8 cm x 14 cm.

The frame measures: 22 x 28 cm.

Keeley Halswelle was born at Richmond in Surrey. At an early age he contributed drawings to the "Illustrated London News" and took up book illustration. He travelled to Edinburgh to work for Robert Chambers on his publication of the Illustrated Shakespeare and became great friends with the Scottish publisher William Nelson. He contributed illustrations for editions of the poetical works of Byron, Scott, Wordsworth and Longfellow (mostly published in Edinburgh).

In 1866 he was elected an associate of the Royal Scottish Academy in Edinburgh, and was later elected a member of the Institute of Painters in Oil Colours in 1882.

In 1868 Halswelle left Britain for Italy and stayed for several years in Rome. He did many sketches, studies and oil paintings documenting his visit. It also seems that he travelled to Menorca, Spain, Gibraltar and Portugal, but there is only vague information about his southern journeys.

In later life, he was considered a fine landscape painter and a painting of the River Thames above Maidenhead is in the collection of Tate Britain, London.

Halswelle showed over 100 works in the Scottish Royal Academy, Edinburgh and over 30 in the Royal Academy, London

Oil paintings by Halswelle often fetch four-figure sums at auctions.

A fair price for this interesting little 19th-century travel study by a fine Victorian artist.

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