Thomas Shotter Boys - inv. 3174

Thomas Shotter Boys (1803-1874)

View of a Gothic Church
19th century, first half
ink and watercolour on paper  
8,7 x 4,5 cm
1879 bequest Gian Giacomo Poldi Pezzoli
Inv. 3174

not on display
Go to:

Watercolour painting was very popular in England from the end of the 18th century. Among the most important interpreters were Thomas Girtin (1755–1802) and Joseph Mallord William Turner (1755–1851) who, in their landscapes and views, abandoned a purely descriptive approach in favour of a romantic interpretation of the scene.

An atmosphere of light and colour is characteristic of this new type of landscape which favoured views with ancient monuments, as revealed, for example, in Thomas Girtin’s Abbey of Thornton, Lincolnshire and Abbey of Lindisfarne.

This watercolour in the Museum shows a Gothic cathedral, probably in England, depicted from a low viewpoint which emphasises its majestic nature. The sketchy impressionist technique dissolves outlines in the luminous atmosphere and the overall monochrome colouring is accentuated by bright touches in the foreground figures, rendered in short quick strokes.

Thomas Shotter Boys was a close follower of Richard Parkes Bonington (1802–1828) who, among other exponents of the generation after Girtin and Turner, was one of the most original watercolour artists. Shotter Boys derived the use of ‘pure’ colour from him, without any drawn lines or outlines, resulting in an extremely modern speckled effect.