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Summer exhibition July 2018

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Karen Taylor Fine Art was delighted to return to the Illustration Cupboard for our Summer Exhibition. The show started successfully with a well-attended private view which had quite a buzz and went from strength to strength through the week. It was extremely pleasing to see so many people looking seriously at English drawings and watercolours and we enjoyed catching up with old customers and getting to know new ones.

The highlight of the show was a fresh group of watercolours by Louis Francia and John Sell Cotman from a French collection which had not been seen in public since they were painted in the 1830s.  The drawings came from a friendship album compiled by Baron Francois Akerman (1809-1890), régent of the Banque de France, and his wife Louise Bouquet de Saint Simon after their marriage in 1836 and until recently kept (out of the light in a thick leather binding) at their family home, the château de Coulonges in the Loire.

A stunning Francia watercolour of Dunkirk showed the town before WWII took its toll, with loggers floating their timber into the busy port, negotiating the moored shipping. Francia is a pivotal figure in early 19th century Anglo-French art, he sketched with Girtin, exhibited at the Royal Academy and was Richard Parkes Bonington’s teacher. Flashes of his influence on Bonington are evident in this work with characteristic deft touches of red and green for example. Having come to Britain during the French revolution Francia returned home to Calais in 1817 after the fall of Napoleon. Artists from England would visit him when they arrived in France as many did, keen to travel after Europe opened up again after the Napoleonic Wars. Hung together with another Francia marine watercolour, a delicate Cotman of Cologne and two works by Thomas Shotter Boys of Paris and Brussels, the group made quite an impact.

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