One of the best things about the picture sales we have in Fernhurst is that they often include first-rate artists who, for one reason or other, have vanished from the public consciousness over the years. It’s a delight and privilege to play a small role in bringing them to bidders’ attention once more, but it also gives me a bit of a thrill to clap eyes on a stunning landscape, marine scene or portrait that has been hidden away, often for decades or longer, and bring it back into the light once more.
For all the amazing talent and inspiration of the Contemporary scene and its conceptual art, I could spend hours looking at the intricate detail and colour tones of Water Williams’ (active 1841-80) rocky river landscape, On the Lledr, which will appear in our January 30 sale. Here is art at its subtle and moving Victorian best.
It may not be a masterpiece by the Pre-Raphaelites, or a striking abstract by the best of the Modern British movement, but for tone and mood, it’s the sort of work that creeps up on you and has the power to entrance. Who are the figures walking along the path, and where are they going? Is that Snowdon in the background?
This is the sort of painting in which you can truly immerse yourself, and there are plenty more of this sort waiting to be discovered out there. Now that’s thrilling.