barber institute of fine arts
university of birmingham


The European Landscapes of Thomas Fearnley


The fjords, forests, mountains, torrents and glaciers of Scandinavia and Switzerland, the lakes and picturesque country buildings of Cumbria, and the sun-drenched plains, hillsides, rocks and sea-shores of Southern Europe and the Mediterranean…

Landscapes featuring a breathtaking range of Europe’s varied and beautiful scenery feature in this dazzling exhibition- the UK’s first show focusing solely on the work of one of Scandinavia’s most important painters, Thomas Fearnley (1802-1842). Of British ancestry, but born and brought up in Norway, and tutored by Johan Christian Dahl, Fearnley was thought by some critics during his lifetime to possess a talent for landscape that rivalled Turner’s.

He toured Britain several times, and painted views of the Lake District, that he thought would secure him popular esteem and commercial success. These eluded him, and, while he is today revered as one of the fathers of Norwegian paintings, in this country he is now virtually unknown. This exhibition includes iconic large landscape paintings, oil sketches and drawings from major galleries in the UK and abroad, including prestigious loans from Oslo’s National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design, the National Gallery, London and the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge. The show will also include a large number of Fearnley’s paintings from major private collections, many of which have never before been seen in public. Based on extensive new research, this major exhibition aims to restore the reputation of a supremely talented, yet little-known artist of the Romantic era.

A fully illustrated exhibition book will accompany the show.

Above Image: Thomas Fearnley, Grindelwald Glacier, 1838 (detail). The National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design, Oslo.


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