• Figures by a Waterfall, a Town on a Hill beyond -

    watercolour heightened with scratching out and gum arabic

    21.2 by 16cm, 8 1/2 by 6 1/4 inches


    Michael Campbell dates this drawing to circa 1811-12 which makes it an early work. At the time Martin was training as a glass and china painter at William Collins? workshop on the Strand and in the evenings he studied as a painter. In 1811, he exhibited his first picture at the Royal Academy, ?Landscape Composition? and left Collins?s workshop the following year. In 1812, he painted one of his first major paintings, ?Sadak in search of the Waters of Oblivion? which was accepted by the Royal Academy and he was beginning to establish himself as a drawing master. In the present work, although Martin has clearly drawn on the many eighteenth century views of the town and waterfall at Tivoli which he would have known, the topographical details are incorrect for Tivoli. The depiction of two figures dwarfed by a romantic landscape became a theme in his work



    Anonymous sale, Christie?s, 8th April 1997, lot 56;

    Private Collection

  • The Flight into Egypt -

    signed lower left: J. Martin 1835

    grey and brown washes

    9 by 13.5cm, 3 1/2 by 5 1/4 inches


    This illustrates the escape of the Holy Family from Bethlehem after King Herod?s edict. Martin?s earlier treatments of the subject show the moment of the Holy Family?s arrival in Jerusalem but here he shows them leaving Bethlehem at night with the first streaks of dawn visible in the sky and Bethlehem on a hillside beyond (depicted in Matthew, ch. II, 14). The distance between the figures in the foreground and the city in the distance emphasizes the isolation of the Holy Family.


    This image was engraved as a mezzotint in 1838 and was used as the basis for a large oil exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1842 and sold at Christie?s on 17th November 1989, lot 36a for ?260,000 (see William Feaver, The Art of John Martin, 1975, p. 172, no.129). Martin also produced another mezzotint of the subject with some variations in composition (see Michael Campbell, John Martin ? Visionary Print Maker, 1992, p.152, no. C.W. 113)



    With Agnew?s;

    Anonymous sale, Sotheby?s, 16th July 1987, lot 143;

    Private collection until 2007



    By the artist as a mezzotint, 1838

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