Henry John Boddington (1811 - 1865) Country Landscape with Figures Oil on Canvas 34 x 42 inches

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Country Landscape with Figures

Henry John Boddington, born in 1811, was one of the most important landscape artists of the Victorian era. He was actually born Henry John Williams, the second son of painter Edward Williams (1781 - 1855), and was therefore a member of the illustrious Williams family of painters, of which notable members include James Ward R.A. and George Morland. Boddington mostly learned to paint from his father, who was at the time a notable landscape artist, and received no formal training. Boddington developed a very refined style, paying close attention to detail and painting in the classical style of the great English landscape artists such as Joseph Wright of Derby.

In 1832, Boddington married Clarissa Eliza Boddington, and adopted his wife's name in order to distinguish his work from his brothers and other relatives. Boddington's success earned him a lucrative living through his art, and he lived in South West London, in areas such as Surrey and Hammersmith during his life. At the age of just 31, Boddington became a member of the Royal Society of British Artists, a coveted and exclusive position which carried with it both status and responsibility.  

Boddington's art was highly celebrated during his day and continues to be much sought after. He wanted to distinguish himself in all aspects of his art, and developed an individual style characterised by his treatment of blocked light as it filtered through an archway of trees. Boddington also prefered larger canvases, as they fully allowed him to exploit size in order to convey the majesty and power of the landscapes he so delicately portrayed. His landscapes are described in a Quarterly Review of the time as exhuding the "scenic breath and power" of nature, and Jan Reynolds, a modern art critic, observed that his "most characteristic effect is the appearance of a warm day, with the sun just out of the picture, giving a filmy, hazy atmosphere to the landscape, with deep blue shadows adding greater value to the opposing tone of yellow. The distant mountains are melting in vapory sunlight. The artist is a master of this effect...".  

During his life, Boddington exhibited prolifically in the Royal Academy, the Royal Society of British Artists, and the British Institution. Boddington is still highly regarded, and his works are can be viewed at prestigious museums around the world such as the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, the National Museum of Wales in Cardiff, and the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, Massachussetts.  



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