Some of the best landscape artists in the world have been British, it is hardly surprising that this nation has produced such a plethora of outstanding painters as the British countryside is among the most diverse and beautiful in the world.
From the towering mountains of Scotland, to the rugged coast of Cornwall, the fantastic rolling hills of England to the spectacular lakes of Cumberland. There are so many settings that an artist could not possibly be inspired by, and in this blog we look at the greatest there has ever been.
Thomas Gainsborough started painting at a very young age, he was inspired by the woodlands and fields near his home in Sudbury where he grew up. When he was just thirteen, Ganisborough was dispatched to London to study art under the famous French painter, Gravelot.
Although landscapes were in his blood he also went on to be a highly successful portrait painter, and was highly sought after by aristocrats and even royalty. Some of his best known works are, the Seat of the Earl of Darlington, and Raby Castle.
Born in Suffolk in1776, John Constable is one of the very famous of all English painters. His signature landscapes are loved all over the world, and sell for astronomical prices. Like his contemporaries, Constable lived a relatively poor existence and riches never came in his lifetime. In fact during his life he was more successful in France then he ever was in his English home.
Constable painted places that he loved and adored, his belief was that the same landscape was never the same as a tree had no two leaves the same.
Turner was another extremely important British landscape painter, but his style was to always include figures as part of his landscapes. He saw them as highly important to the scene, and intrinsic to the meaning of the piece. Whether this be Hannibal crossing the Alps, other famous people in their notorious scenarios. Unlike John Constable who never left Britain’s shores, Turner frequently traveled abroad to expand his knowledge and in search of new landscapes to paint.
Our first Scottish painter is William Adam who once was quoted as saying that his inspiration for painting came from the lush emerald landscapes of Scotland. Adam studied under McTaggart and Chalmers, and like Turner he expanded his techniques by traveling extensively.
He journeyed to Venice, Rome and even Russia in his search for the most perfect landscapes to paint. Such was his popularity that he had the first exhibition of his work when he was just eighteen and he displayed nearly one hundred and sixty-four paintings.
These great landscape artists are the cream of British talent, and they all have one major factor that binds them together, and that is the art of recognizing the perfect location to paint. Obviously, they also had incredible talent and loved the countryside that inspired their art.
In a way great landscapes are at the heart of British culture, they epitomize what England, Scotland and Wales are all about, and depict the very essence of what being British actually means.