James Burrell Smith was a landscape painter and watercolourist. He was a celebrated Victorian artist who painted in both watercolour and in oils.
He was born in 1822 in the south of England and in 1843 he moved to Alnwick, Northumberland. He studied under the Newcastle artist, Thomas Miles Richardson Senior.
Burrell Smith travelled widely around the UK depicting a variety of landscape views and architectural sites. His subjects included views in the Lake District, Cornwall, Wales and Scotland.
His sensitive and meticulously observed watercolours were exhibited from a property at Suffolk Street, London from 1850 to 1881.
At this time he also was employed as a drawing master and built up an extensive teaching practice which concentrated on the techniques of watercolour painting. In the 1850s he sent a selection of works for exhibition at the Society of British Artists.
His works are in the following collections: the Victoria and Albert Museum, London; Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge; Laing Art Gallery, Newcastle; National Gallery of Wales, Cardiff; Alnwick Castle, Northumberland.
A particularly fine large watercolour looking across Princes Street Gardens by Burrell Smith is in the collection of the National Gallery of Scotland.
Burrell Smith died in London at West Kensington in 1897.
This small-scale watercolour is a beautiful work by the artist - it is signed and dated 1888 along the bottom edge, It is a more miniature size and is certainly very jewel-like in its attention to detail The artist has recorded a ruinous medieval abbey set against a vibrant blue sky. It is certainly reminiscent of watercolours by Turner of similar architectural subjects. The use of two little figures in the front of the composition - is a device that was often used by Turner to give an impression of scale and make the building look more magnificent. The colours and the meticulous attention to detail are certainly not that far removed from studies made by Turner for publication in guidebooks.
A fabulous little watercolour by a much-overlooked and underrated British artist.
It is fresh to the market - having been in our own personal collection for decades. It is a superb example by Burrell Smith and is of museum quality.
It is in excellent condition and has no fading or damage.
Image size: 17.2 x 12.5 cm. Frame size: 38 x 30 cm
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