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.

19 October 2012- 27 January 2013

Blue Gallery

The publication to accompany the show. 'In Front of Nature, The Landscapes of Thomas Fearnley' by Ann Sumner and Greg Smith is available for £17.95.


The first and only monograph in English on Thomas Fearnely, a major romantic landscape artist from Norway.  The volume, ‘In Front of Nature’ accompanied a major exhibition at the Barber Institute of the artist and contains five essays which consider Fearnley’s career and illustrates 90 works by Fearnley and his contemporaries (many unpublished).

‘In Front of Nature’ will be available for purchase from the University online shop soon for £17.95 + £4 p&p