• An Italianate Landscape -

    Watercolour over pencil heightened with white on two sheets of laid paper joined

    14.2 by 40.2 cm., 5 ½ by 15 ¾ in.



    With Thos. Agnews, circa 1981


    Taverner was a lawyer by profession, inheriting his father’s position as Procurator-General of the Court of Arches of Canterbury, based in Bow Church, London, but he was also a highly skilled artist. The engraver George Vertue records in one of his notebooks in 1733: `Mr Taverner about Aeta 30 (beside his practice in the Law) has a wonderfull genius to drawing of Landskap in an excellent manner, adorned with figures in a stile above the common’ (George Vertue, `The Notebooks of George Vertue’, Walpole Society, vol. 3, p.68). According to Martin Hardie, he was `our first regular and systematic painter of free landscapes in watercolour’ (Martin Hardie, Water-colour Painting in Britain, 1966, vol. I, p.69).


    The majority of his works are of imaginary Italianate compositions in the manner of Claude and Poussin although he appears never to have visited Italy. He was one of the earliest exponents of the combination of watercolour and bodycolour as the lead white bodycolour on the present drawing indicates. A number of his works are in the same panoramic format. A drawing from the Oppé collection in the Tate Gallery measures 7 ½ by 18 inches and is also on two sheets of paper (see Anne Lyles and Robin Hamlyn, British Watercolours from the Oppé Collection, 1997, p.50, no.7, ill. p.51).

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