Oil on canvas 18 x 21 ½ inches Framed size 22.25 x 25.75 inches Signed & dated 1859?
Linnell was born in Bloomsbury, London on 16 June 1792, son of James Linnell a carver and gilder.He was a pupil of John Varley, together with William Henry Hunt and William Mulready. Under the patronage of Benjamin West in 1805 he entered the Royal Academy Schools, where he obtained medals for drawing, modeling and sculpture. He went on to become Britons foremost landscape painters. He was also a very celebrated portrait painter. Linnell was a member of the Old Watercolour Society from 1810 to 1820; he then resigned in order to concentrate on landscape painting in oils.He exhibited his work at the Royal Academy from 1807 to 1882 and at the British Institution. Linnell lived in Hampstead; then Porchester Terrace and in 1852 retired to Redhill in Surrey, now a very wealthy man. He did not give up painting however as the Surrey landscape filled him with inspiration. Linnell was a friend and patron of Blake and gave him the two largest commissions he received for single series of designs-£150 for drawings and engravings of The Inventions to the Book of Job, and a like sum for those illustrative of Dante Aligheri. He was the father-in-law of Samuel Palmer. Some art historians claim that Linnell emulated his son in laws work, but it was Palmer who gained much artistically from Linnell. Linnell was very religious and his landscapes are imbued with a feeling of the grandeur of nature.His subjects were often of country life in Surrey, painted in a distinctive warm brown tone, with masses of fleecy white clouds. His works commonly deal with some scenes of typical uneventful English landscapes, which is made impressive by a gorgeous effect of sunrise or sunset that could be seen from his house in Redhill. They are full of true poetic feeling and are rich and glowing in colour. Among his best-known works are ‘The Last Gleam before the Storm’, ‘The Timber Wagon’ and ‘Barley Harvest’. Linnell was proposed as an Associate of the Royal Academy but withdrew his name and would never consent to submitting it again. He lived in his vast country mansion at Redstone Hill surrounded by his large family until his death on 20 January 1882. Sadly, his house fell into ruins in the 1930’s.
Three of his sons, John Jnr, James Thomas and William all became painters.
Bibl: Victorian Painters - Christopher Wood Works Represented: Birmingham; Bristol; Dublin; Glasgow; Hamburg; Leeds; Liverpool, Victoria & Albert Museum, London; National Portrait Gallery; Tate Gallery; Manchester, Melbourne; Montreal; Metropolitan New York; Norwich; Preston; Sheffield; Sydney, Wolverhampton.