A Rainbow over Oporto, Portugal

A Rainbow over Oporto, Portugal



James Holland, O.W.S. (1799-1870)
A Rainbow over Oporto, Portugal

Signed with initials lower right and inscribed:
Low Water/S.t Johns - Sept JH 1837. Oporto
Watercolour over pencil heightened with bodycolour on buff paper
16.9 by 24.8 cm., 6 ½ by 9 ¾ in.

Bought from the Albany Gallery, London, March 1979;
By descent until 2022

James Holland was commissioned by Robert Jennings to visit Portugal in the summer of 1837 in order to produce a series of drawings for engravings for Jennings' forthcoming publication,
The Tourist in Portugal (published in 1839). Holland initially intended to visit Oporto in early July, but became ill and had to return to Cintra to convalesce. He returned to Oporto to finish his explorations of the city in late August, leaving in early September to return to England. He is one of the only British artists to visit Portugal in the first half of the nineteenth century.

Fascinated by the effects of light, the subject must have captivated the artist's imagination. Holland produced another view of Oporto from St John's which formed the basis for one of the engravings in Jennings' publication. His Portuguese views are generally considered his best works.