David Cox (1783-1859)

Hay-on-Wye, Wales

David Cox, Hay-on-Wye

Signed l.r.: D. COX., watercolour over traces of pencil with scratching out and touches of gum arabic

21.3 x 34 cm.; 8 3/8 x 13 3/8 inches

Guy D. Harvey-Samuel (1887-1960);

Fine Art Society, Annual Exhibition of English Drawings and Watercolours, April 1960; no. 108;

Private collection, U.K. until 2020

framed work

This sparkling watercolour in superb condition and dating from circa 1824 is a fine example of the fluent small-scale drawings with which Cox had commercial success in the mid to late 1820s.

He wrote to William Radclyffe that he intended to devote more time to saleable smaller works, as his larger pictures were not finding buyers (Scott Wilcox points out that his discovery of the elegant small watercolours by Bonington at this date would have provided a compelling model (See Scott Wilcox, ed., Sun, Wind, and Rain: The Art of David Cox, exhibition catalogue, Yale Centre for British Art, p. 36).

Cox drew several versions of this view; the closest to this one is a slightly larger drawing in the British Museum (1915,0313.6).  Another version was engraved by William Radclyffe as plate XI in Thomas Roscoe’sWanderings and Excursions in South Wales in 1837 in which agricultural labourers and their horses replace the sheep and cattle in the foreground. Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery have a slightly smaller version with sheep in the foreground (1927P678 and see David Cox, Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery, 2008-9, no. 31).