Paolo and Francesca Rome, about 1814-20 Oil on canvas 35 x 28 cm Paolo kisses Francesca, inflamed by their reading of the Arthurian romance of Guinevere and Lancelot.  Gianciotto, her deformed husband, and brother of Paolo, enters from the right and prepares to kill them.  This story of illicit lovers, condemned to an eternity in … Read more

NATHANIEL HONE (1718-1784)

A Portrait of Charles Lee Lewes London, exhibited 1775 Oil on canvas 71 x 61 cm Charles Lewes (1740-1803) was an actor and singer who specialised in comic roles. He holds the music of a popular drinking song, The Wine Vault, made more suggestive here by the way some words are obscured.  The informal pose, … Read more


A Hen with Chicks, a Rooster and Pigeons Amsterdam, about 1675 Oil on canvas 96.5 x 78.7 cm Hondecoeter was the most important specialist bird painter of the day.  Here, he typically combines a faithful depiction of different species, based on a striking technique, with a subtle characterisation of the birds. Each chick has a … Read more

JAN DAVIDSZ DE HEEM (1606 – 1683/4)

A Still Life with a Nautilus Cup Leiden, Holland, 1632 Oil on wood 77.5 x 64.7 cm The objects are arranged to demonstrate the artist’s skill in showing the play of light on different materials. The focus is a precious drinking cup made from a nautilus shell.  Around it, in a carefully planned disorder, are … Read more

Aert de Gelder (1645 – 1727)

Ahasuerus and Haman Dordrecht, Holland, the early 1680s Oil on canvas 138.5 x 116.8 cm King Ahasuerus (as known as Xerxes) listens to the evil promptings of his first minister Haman.  According to the biblical story, Haman plotted a massacre of the Jews in the Persian empire.  Here, he seeks to poison the king’s mind … Read more

Thomas Gainsborough (1727-1788)

A Portrait of the Honourable Harriot Marsham London, the late 1770s Oil on canvas 75 x 61 cm Harriot Marsham (1721-1796) was the unmarried daughter of the first Baron Romney.  Gainsborough produced this commissioned portrait of her in her fifties, shortly after his move from Bath to London in 1774.  It is painted on a … Read more

Thomas Gainsborough (1727-1788)

A Portrait of Giusto Ferdinando Tenducci Probably Bath, about 1773 Oil on canvas 76.6 x 64 cm Giusto Tenducci (1734-1790) was a celebrated Italian singer who moved to England in 1758.  He was noted for his vanity and an extravagance which left him continually dodging his creditors.  Here he is shown performing, perhaps in a domestic … Read more

Claude Gellée, called Claude Lorrain (about 1604/5 – 1682)

A Pastoral Landscape Rome, 1645 Oil on canvas 101.5 x 134 cm The subject of this serene landscape is the mythical Golden Age.  A shepherd teaches a girl to play the pipes, his herds grazing safely behind, all living in harmony with nature.  Claude’s exhaustive studies of the Roman countryside enabled him to paint such … Read more

The Circle of Rogier van der Weyden (about 1399/1400 – 1464)

The Deposition (centre); Adam and Eve Mourning Abel (left); Joseph’s Coat Shown to Jacob and Rachel (right) Brussels, about 1450 Oil on wood Centre panel 53.3 x 42.8 cm; wings 52.5 x 16.7 cm In the centre, Christ is taken down from the cross by Joseph of Arimathea and others, while his mother, the Virgin, … Read more

Giovanni Battista Cima, called Cima da Conegliano (1459/60 – 1517/18)

Christ on the Cross with the Virgin and Saint John the Evangelist Probably Conegliano, near Venice, about 1488-93 Tempera on wood 82.5 x 115.2 cm The Virgin Mary and Saint John mourn at the foot of a tall cross.  To the right, Christ prays in the Garden of Gethsemane whilst his disciples sleep – the … Read more

Thomas Fearnley (1802 – 1842)

Ramsau Ramsau, Bavarian Alps, Germany, 1832 Oil on paper, laid on canvas 28 x 27 cm Fearnley painted this finished composition from nature in September 1832.  The artist was travelling to Italy when he stopped at the village of Ramsau, high in the Bavarian Alps.  His broad and fluid technique allowed him to work rapidly … Read more

Edgar Degas (1834 – 1917)

Mademoiselle Malo Paris, the early 1870s Pastel on paper 522 X 411 MM Mademoiselle Malo has not been conclusively identified, but apparently she was a dancer at the Paris Opéra.  Degas began to use pastel for portrait studies in the 1870s and this fine example is one of the earliest.  Degas appreciated the qualities of … Read more

Attributed to Alfred De Dreux (1810-1860)

A Horse in a Landscape Paris, possibly the 1830s Oil on canvas 34.3 x 44.4 cm This study was originally attributed to Théodore Géricault (1791-1824), but it is closer in style to his compatriot De Dreux who specialised in equestrian subjects.  He was much influenced by Gericault, but also by English sporting artists.  The unfinished … Read more

Charles-François Daubigny (1817 – 1878)

A Seascape Brittany, possibly 1867 Oil on canvas 84 x 146.5 cm This seascape probably dates from one of the artist’s trips to the rocky coast of Brittany.  Even such large canvases as this were painted on the spot by Daubigny.  The artist uses a range of techniques to capture the different textures of sky … Read more

Aelbert Cuyp (1620 – 1691)

Huntsmen Halted Dordrecht, Holland, the early 1650s Oil on canvas 92.7 x 130.8 cm It has been suggested that the huntsmen might be the three sons of Cornelis van Beveren, a diplomat and wealthy patron from Cuyp’s home town of Dordrecht. However, there is insufficient evidence for this. They wear fashionable Hungarian hunting costume and … Read more

John Crome (1768-1821) and John Berney Crome (1794-1842)

A View near Harwich Norwich, about 1805/7, overpainted about 1832 Oil on canvas 114.3 x 96.5 cm This painting was begun by John Crome about 1805/7, but it was overpainted by his son around 1832.  The alterations were made so that it formed a pair with John Berney Crome’s Near Bury St Edmunds.  The foreground … Read more

Gaspard Dughet, called Gaspard Poussin (1615-1675)

A Classical Landscape with Figures Rome, about 1672/5 Oil on canvas 36.8 x 47 cm Dughet’s classical scenes are different in mood from those of his teacher Nicolas Poussin and the other major Roman landscape painter of the period, Claude Lorrain. He studied in the countryside around Tivoli, producing landscapes just as carefully structured as … Read more

André Derain (1880 – 1954)

Portrait of Bartolomeo Savona London, 1906 Oil on canvas 45.7 x 35.4 cm Savona was a Sicilian student who was staying in the guest house Derain used during his visit to London in 1906.  According to family legend, Savona acted as the artist’s translator when he needed to visit a dentist.  He then painted this … Read more

Maurice Denis (1870 – 1943)

A Portrait of Arthur Huc Paris, 1892 Oil on millboard 28.5 x 53.5 cm This portrait was given by Denis to his patron and supporter Arthur Huc (1854 – 1932).  He was an art critic and newspaper owner in Toulouse.  The artist adopts an unusual horizontal format, allowing him to frame the nonchalantly-posed figure with … Read more

Eugène Delacroix (1798 – 1863)

Saint Stephen Borne Away by his Disciples Paris, 1862 Oil on canvas 46.6 x 38 cm Saint Stephen, the first Christian martyr, was stoned to death outside the walls of Jerusalem in 35 AD.  As darkness falls, his disciples carry away his body.  They look anxiously about, whilst one cleans blood from the steps.  The … Read more