Posted 1 year ago
My first serious foray into fine art paintings about 20 years ago was collecting 19th century English watercolors. One of the first artists who I appreciated was Thomas Collier RI. He had a very interesting circle of friends who he painted with, so I also focused on their work as well as on Collier's work. At the time, these artist's works were still available at pretty reasonable prices. When artists worked together and were influenced by each other they were said to be in a "circle". Here are four works from the circle of Thomas Collier. The image quality is not great for the Thomas Mower Martin painting, but I stored it before getting a better image. For this post, I tried to get a better image of "Rest" by C. S. Millard, since it hangs on my bedroom wall but results were mixed as it is under glass. I have several paintings each by Collier, Wimperis and Millard, so will eventually do a second post featuring more from those three artists and another artist from their circle. If you are a brute for punishment, there are extensive biographies of these artists on my art collection web site and on Wikipedia.org.
"The Gravel Pit, Hindhead", Thomas Collier, 12.5" x 20", watercolor. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Collier) Thomas Collier Jr., was born 12 November 1840 at Glossop, Derbyshire, the son of Thomas and Martha Siddall Collier. His father was a prosperous grocer and tea dealer. Little is known of Collier's youth. He attended the Manchester School of Art before moving to northern Wales in 1864 to paint in the footsteps of his idol, David Cox. Collier next moved to London around 1870, where he was elected to the Royal Institute of Painters in Water-colours in 1870. He was not a prolific exhibitor, but collectors and critics then and today consider him one of the masters of the English landscape watercolor. Collier was made a Chevalier of the Legion of Honor in acclaim of a painting he sent to the Paris International Exhibition of 1878. Hardworking, shy and often in poor health, he was enabled by a family stipend to work without concern for popular tastes and travel to observe the English countryside (especially in Suffolk). In 1879 Collier built a large house and studio in Hampstead (Longdon) where he spent the rest of his life tirelessly perfecting his studio craft and receiving prominent artist visitors.
unnamed, Edmund Morison Wimperis, 11.25" x 17.25", watercolor, 1887. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edmund_Morison_Wimperis) Edmund Morison Wimperis was born at Flocker's Brook, Chester, England on 6 February 1835, eldest son of Edmund Richard Wimperis, cashier of Messrs. Walker, Parker, & Co.'s lead works at Chester, and Mary Morison. He came early in life to London, and was trained as a wood-engraver and draughtsman on wood under Myles Birket Foster. He did much work for the 'Illustrated London News' and other periodicals and books. He was considered to be an indifferent figure draughtsman, and confined himself mostly to landscapes when he adopted painting as his profession. He was a member of the Society of British Artists from 1870-1874. He began in 1866 to contribute to the Institute of Painters in Water-colours landscapes in the manner of Birket Foster or of David Cox in his tamer moods, for which he is best known. His work was seen to be old-fashioned in technique. Late in his career he started to paint and sketch with Thomas Collier. This association is considered to have freed him to paint more freely with less of the engraver's attention to detail. The painting above, though painted during his association with Collier, I think mixes both the more antiquated style he learned from Foster and the breadth of nature that he learned from Collier. I have seen other of his works painted around the time of this painting that are the stormy, dark wide landscapes minus people that he is better remembered for. Later in life he also painted in oils.
"Rest", C. S. Millard, 5.5" x 9.25", watercolor. Charles Stuart Millard was born on 22 June 1837 in Weston, Ontario, Canada. Millard was primarily a landscape painter in watercolors and oils. He was one of the founding members of the Ontario Society of Artists in 1872 in the company of such notable artists as Thomas Mower Martin. He was also a founding member of the Royal Canadian Academy. Millard moved to England before 1879 when he was employed as an instructor at the South Kensington Art School, London. Millard was later appointed to the Cheltenham School of Art where he served as Headmaster for many years. Millard spent the remainder of his life in England. He was a close friend of Thomas Collier RI, and it is from Collier's letters to Millard that Adrian Bury obtained much of the personal information about Collier for his definitive work on that artist. Millard even appears in one of Collier's paintings.
"Rest" is one of a pair of Millard paintings in my collection that were part of the estate of well known Canadian artist, art collector, and critic John Thrift Meldrum Burnside. I suspect that "Rest" was created by Millard before he moved to England in the late 1870s, but that is not certain. It does remind me of the Welsh countryside where Millard and Collier often painted together. Several of Millard's watercolors are in the Victoria and Albert Museum collection.
"Back of Not---(illegible) Glacier", Thomas Mower Martin RCA, 8" x 10.25", watercolor (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Mower_Martin) Thomas Mower Martin was born in London, England on 5 October 1838. He came to Canada in 1862 where he became one of Canada's early prominent artists, founding member of the Ontario Art Union, the Ontario Society of Artists, the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts, and founder and first president of the Ontario School of Art. He was the first Canadian represented in my collection and was a tough act to follow. It has a couple of condition problems, which I believe can be fairly easily corrected and is actually worth the cost of doing so, but I am going to leave that to a future owner.