The Skirts of the Forest

The Skirts of the Forest



David Cox (1783-1859)
The Skirts of the Forest

With a upright tree study verso
Watercolour over black chalk
48.5 by 68.3 cm., 19 by 26 ¾ in.

Arkwright Family, Hampton Court, Herefordshire

This is a study for one Cox's favourite subjects of the 1850s which he drew on a number of occasions. This version is more of a sketch and omits the figures in other versions. A related subject in the Birmingham Museum Art Gallery is titled `The Frightened Flock' and includes a farmer in the foreground chasing sheep and his sheepdog who are disappearing down the hill to the back left. N. Neal Solly in his biography of Cox describes a related picture as follows: `It represents part of old Sherwood Forest, a wild and grand subject, finely treated. There is a group of wide-spreading oaks on the left-hand side, one with a noble grey stem in the immediate foreground….. a purple distance is seen rather high up in the picture, and the sky is low toned and grey; it is not so brilliant as some of his earlier works, but it is free and impressive.' (N. Neil Solly, Memoir of the Life of David Cox, 1873, reprinted 1973, p.201).