View of St Malo, France

View of St Malo, France



Clarkson Stanfield, R.A. (1793-1867)
View of St Malo, France

Inscribed lower left:
S.t Malo
Watercolour over pencil heightened with touches of bodycolour on buff paper
172 x 254 mm., 6 ¾ x 10 in.

London, Agnew's, 131st Annual Exhibition of Watercolours and Drawings, 2004, no. 68

Stanfield was the son of the actor and anti-slavery writer James Field Stanfield and was in the Navy from 1808 until 1818 when he started working as a scenery painter. From 1820 he exhibited in London and elsewhere and was elected a member of the Royal Academy in 1835, when he gave up scene painting to concentrate on his topographical paintings which achieved great success. He travelled widely in Europe and especially France, Holland and Italy. Three years after his death in 1870, a major retrospective of his work took place at the Royal Academy. The critic of
The Times praised the show as follows:

"There are no English painters whose works have won wider and warmer popularity outside the artistic pale. Stanfield's practiced command of the artist of composition, his unerring sense of the agreeable and picturesque in subject and effect, his pleasant and cheerful colour and last, not least, the large use to which he turned his knowledge and love of the sea and shipping… (all) added to the widespread admiration he had won by his consummately skillful scene painting, (and) combined to make him one of the most popular, if not the most popular, of landscape painters."

The present watercolour is an on-the-spot sketch dating from August 1832 when Stanfield travelled from Calais to St Malo with his wife and son. A number of watercolours from this tour were engraved for Heath's
Picturesque Annual for 1834 (see Pieter van der Merwe, The Spectacular Career of Clarkson Stanfield 1793-1867, exhibition catalogue, Tyne and Wear County Council Museums, 1979, no. 194, p.122).