Richard Parkes Bonington

Richard Parkes Bonington (25 October 1802[1] – 23 September 1828) was an English Romantic landscape painter, who moved to France at the age of 14 and can also be considered as a French artist, and an intermediary bringing aspects of English style to France.[2] Becoming, after his very early death, one of the most influential British artists of his time, the facility of his style was inspired by the old masters, yet was entirely modern in its application. His landscapes were mostly of coastal scenes, with a low horizon and large sky, showing a brilliant handling of light and atmosphere. He also painted small historical cabinet paintings in a freely-handled version of the troubadour style.

Richard Parkes Bonington
Richard Parkes Bonington by Margaret Sarah Carpenter (née Geddes)
Portrait of Richard Parkes Bonington by Margaret Sarah Carpenter
Born25 October 1802
Died23 September 1828
EducationÉcole des Beaux-Arts, Paris
MovementOrientalist, Romanticism

Life and work

Richard Parkes Bonington 003
François I and Marguerite de Navarre (45.7 by 34.5 cm), based on the discovery of a scratched inscription on a window at the Château de Chambord

Richard Parkes Bonington was born in the town of Arnold, four miles from Nottingham.[1] His father also known as Richard was successively a gaoler, a drawing master and lace-maker, and his mother a teacher. Bonington learned watercolour painting from his father and exhibited paintings at the Liverpool Academy at the age of eleven.

In 1817, Bonington's family moved to Calais, France, where his father had set up a lace factory. At this time, Bonington started taking lessons from the painter François Louis Thomas Francia,[3] who, having recently returned from England, where he had been deeply influenced by the work of Thomas Girtin,[4] taught him the English watercolour technique. In 1818, the Bonington family moved to Paris to open a lace shop. There he met and became friends with Eugène Delacroix. He worked for a time producing copies of Dutch and Flemish landscapes in the Louvre. In 1820, he started attending the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris, where he studied under Antoine-Jean, Baron Gros.[3]

It was around this time that Bonington started going on sketching tours in the suburbs of Paris and the surrounding countryside. His first paintings were exhibited at the Paris Salon in 1822. He also began to work in oils and lithography, illustrating Baron Taylor's Voyages pittoresques dans l'ancienne France and his own architectural series Restes et Fragmens. In 1824, he won a gold medal at the Paris Salon along with John Constable and Anthony Vandyke Copley Fielding, and spent most of the year painting coastal views in Dunkirk.[3]

In 1825 he met Delacroix on a visit with Alexandre-Marie Colin to London, and they sketched together there, and shared a studio for some months in Paris on their return; Delacroix influenced him in turning to historical painting. He also developed a technique mixing watercolour with gouache and gum, achieving an effect close to oil painting. In 1826 he visited northern Italy,[5] staying in Venice for a month,[6] and London again in 1827–8. In late 1828 his tuberculosis worsened and his parents sent him back to London for treatment. Bonington died of tuberculosis on 23 September 1828 at 29 Tottenham Street in London, aged 25.[5]


Landscape near Quilleboeuf Richard Parkes Bonington.jpeg
Landscape near Quilleboeuf, c. 1824–1825. Yale Center for British Art

Delacroix paid tribute to Bonington's work in a letter to Théophile Thoré in 1861. It reads, in part:

When I met him for the first time, I too was very young and was making studies in the Louvre: this was around 1816 or 1817... Already in this genre (watercolor), which was an English novelty at that time, he had an astonishing ability... To my mind, one can find in other modern artists qualities of strength and of precision in rendering that are superior to those in Bonington's pictures, but no one in this modern school, and perhaps even before, has possessed that lightness of touch which, especially in watercolours, makes his works a type of diamond which flatters and ravishes the eye, independently of any subject and any imitation.[7]

To Laurence Binyon however, "Bonington's extraordinary technical gift was also his enemy. There is none of the interest of struggle in his painting."[6]

Bonington had a number of close followers, such as Roqueplan and Isabey in France, and Thomas Shotter Boys, James Holland, William Callow and John Scarlett Davis in England. In addition, there were many copies and forgeries of his work made in the period immediately after his death.[8]

A statue to him was erected outside the Nottingham School of Art by Watson Fothergill, and a theatre[9] and primary school in his home town of Arnold are named after him. In addition, the house in which he was born (79 High Street, Arnold) is now named ‘Bonington House’ and is Grade II listed.[10] The Wallace Collection has an especially large group of 35 works, representing both his landscapes and history paintings.


Richard Parkes Bonington 005

Normandy, c. 1823

Richard Parkes Bonington 001

View of the Lagoon Near Venice, 1827. Louvre

Richard Parkes Bonington Venice Grand Canal

Venice, Grand Canal

Charles V visits François Ier after the Battle of Pavia

Charles V. visits François Ier after the Battle of Pavia, c. 1827

References and sources

  1. ^ a b "Arnold" in Chambers's Encyclopædia. London: George Newnes, 1961, Vol. 1, p. 633.
  2. ^ Novotny, 171
  3. ^ a b c Ingamells, 19
  4. ^ Binyon, pp.166 – 7
  5. ^ a b Ingamells, 19-20
  6. ^ a b Binyon, pp. 169
  7. ^ Noon, Patrick: Richard Parkes Bonington "On the Pleasure of Painting", page 12. Yale University Press, 1991.
  8. ^ Reynolds, Graham (1998) [1971 (as A Concise History of Watercolour))]. Watercolours. World of Art. London: Thames and Hudson. p. 108.
  9. ^ "Arnold". Gedling Borough Council website. Gedling Borough Council. Retrieved 21 May 2014.
  10. ^ Gedling Borough Council Planning and Environment Department Local Plans Section (6 December 2005). "Listed Buildings" (PDF). Gedling Borough Council. Retrieved 21 May 2014.
  • Binyon, Laurence (1933). English Watercolours. London: A&C Black.
  • Cambridge, M (2002). Richard Parkes Bonington: Young and Romantic. Nottingham: Nottingham Castle ISBN 0-905634-58-6 (Catalogue of exhibition at Nottingham Castle Museum in 2002; contains an account of the life and works that includes many references.)
  • Ingamells, John, The Wallace Collection, Catalogue of Pictures, Vol I, British, German, Italian, Spanish, Wallace Collection, 1985, ISBN 0-900785-16-0
  • Novotny, Fritz (1971). Painting and Sculpture in Europe, 1780-1880. Pelican History of Art (2nd ed.). Yale University Press. ISBN 0-14-056120-X.

Further reading

  • Noon, P (2009). Richard Parkes Bonington : the complete paintings. New Haven, Yale University Press. ISBN 0-300-13421-5

See also

External links

1802 in art

List of years in Art

Events in the year 1802 in Art.

1828 in art

Events in the year 1828 in Art.

Alexandre-Marie Colin

Alexandre-Marie Colin, a French painter of historical and genre subjects, was born in Paris in 1798. He was a pupil of Girodet. His religious and historical paintings are characterised by a style based on a careful study of the old masters, while his genre pieces are vigorous and lifelike. Amongst these latter may be noticed his 'French Fish-Market' (1832) in the Berlin Gallery, and his 'Gipsies Resting.' Amongst the former may be named a 'Christopher Columbus,' a 'Flight into Egypt,' and an 'Assumption of the Virgin.' He died in 1875.

Alfred Elmore

Alfred Elmore RA (1815–1881) was a Victorian history and genre painter. He was born in Clonakilty, Ireland, the son of Dr. John Richard Elmore, a surgeon who retired from the British Army to Clonakilty.

His family moved to London, where Elmore studied at the Royal Academy of Arts. His early works were in the troubadour style of Richard Parkes Bonington, but he soon graduated to religious work, notably The Martyrdom of Thomas à Becket, commissioned by Daniel O'Connell for Westland Row Church in Dublin. Between 1840 and 1844 Elmore travelled across Europe, visiting Munich, Venice, Bologna, and Florence.

Elmore seems to have been associated with The Clique, a group of young artists who saw themselves as followers of Hogarth and David Wilkie. According to his friend William Powell Frith he was member of the group, but since it was most active while he was in continental Europe, his involvement was probably short-lived.

Most of Elmore's later works were historical narrative paintings. Religious Controversy and The Novice were implicitly anti-Catholic in character. Other paintings set episodes from Shakespeare, or the history of the French Revolution. They often contained subtle explorations of the process of creation, most importantly his two paintings about technological innovation, The Invention of the Stocking Loom (1847, Nottingham Castle Museum) and The Invention of the Combing Machine (1862, Cartwright Hall, Bradford). Both portray the process of industrialisation by depicting picturesque pre-industrial handicrafts. The inventor is supposed to be pondering these manual skills while he forms in his mind a mechanism to replace them.

Elmore's best-known work is On the Brink (1865; Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge), a moral genre painting depicting a young woman who has lost her money gambling, and is 'on the brink' of responding to the blandishments of a seducer, who is depicted as a satan-like figure, luridly bathed in red light, and whispering corrupting thoughts in her ear.

By the late 1860s Elmore was moving away from such Hogarthian subjects towards a more classical style influenced by Edward Poynter and Lawrence Alma-Tadema. He also painted Arabic figures, in line with the vogue for Orientalism in art.

Elmore suffered from neuralgia through much of his life, and in his late years he became lame following a fall from his horse. He died of cancer in January 1881 and was buried in Kensal Green cemetery in London.


Bonington may refer to:

Bonington BizCom, a form group at The Bulwell Academy

Chris Bonington (* 1934), mountaineer, United Kingdom

Joe Bonington (* 1967), fitness trainer and mountaineer ,United Kingdom

Richard Parkes Bonington (1802–1828), landscape painter, England

Sutton Bonington, village in south-west Nottinghamshire, England

Bonnington (disambiguation)

Bonnington may refer to:

In England:

Bonnington in Kent, England

In Scotland:

Bonnington, East Lothian

Bonnington, within the City of Edinburgh

Bonnington Linn, near New Lanark: a water featureOther uses include:

Richard Parkes Bonington (1802-28), British artist, especially in watercolour

Bonnington (sternwheeler), a lake steamer in British Columbia, Canada

Borough of Gedling

Gedling is a local government district with borough status in Nottinghamshire, England, whose council is based in Arnold, north-east of Nottingham. The population at the time of the 2011 census was 113,543. It is part of the Nottingham Urban Area.

It was formed on 1 April 1974 by merging the urban districts of Arnold and Carlton and part of the rural district of Basford. It is named after the village of Gedling. Other settlements include Burton Joyce, Calverton, Colwick and Ravenshead.

Copley Fielding

Anthony Vandyke Copley Fielding (22 November 1787 – 3 March 1855), commonly called Copley Fielding, was an English painter born in Sowerby, near Halifax, and famous for his watercolour landscapes. At an early age Fielding became a pupil of John Varley. In 1810 he became an associate exhibitor in the Old Water-colour Society, in 1813 a full member and in 1831 President of that body (later known as the Royal Society of Watercolours), until his death. In 1824 he won a gold medal at the Paris Salon alongside Richard Parkes Bonington and John Constable. He also engaged largely in teaching the art and made ample profits. He later moved to Park Crescent in Worthing and died in the town in March 1855.

Copley Fielding was a painter of much elegance, taste and accomplishment and has always been highly popular with purchasers. He painted a vast number of all sorts of views (occasionally in oil-colour) including marine subjects. Specimens of his work from 1829 to 1850 can be seen in the water-colour gallery of the Victoria and Albert Museum and other major museums. Among the engraved specimens of his art is the Annual of British Landscape Scenery, published in 1839.

Cows Crossing a Ford

Cows Crossing a Ford is an early 19th century painting by French artist Jules Dupré. Done in oil on canvas, the work depicts farmers driving their cattle across a river in Limousin, a region of central France. The way in which the low horizon and sky are rendered in the painting are a testament to Dupré's interest in the works of John Constable and Richard Parkes Bonington, two landscape painters. Cows Crossing a Ford is in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Francis I, Charles V and the Duchess of Étampes

Francis I, Charles V and the Duchess of Étampes is a c.1827 history painting by Richard Parkes Bonington, now in the Louvre in Paris. It shows Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, Francis I of France and Anne de Pisseleu d'Heilly. It was lent to the Musée des beaux-arts de Lyon for its 2014 exhibition L'invention du Passé. Histoires de cœur et d'épée 1802-1850..

François Louis Thomas Francia

François Louis Thomas Francia (1772–1839) was a French watercolour painter born in Calais and famous for his shore landscapes. He spent much of the earlier part of his life in England. The British painter Richard Parkes Bonington was his pupil.

Glynn Vivian Art Gallery

The Glynn Vivian Art Gallery is the public art gallery of the City and County of Swansea, in South Wales. The gallery is situated in Alexandra Road, near Swansea railway station, opposite the old Swansea Central Library.

Henriette de Verninac

Henriette de Verninac (1780–1827) was the daughter of Charles-François Delacroix, minister of Foreign Affairs under the Directory, and wife of the diplomat Raymond de Verninac Saint-Maur. She is known as the subject of a portrait by Jacques-Louis David.

Louis Godefroy Jadin

Louis Godefroy Jadin (June 30, 1805, Paris - 1882, Paris) was a French painter specializing in animals and landscapes, especially known for having painted the hunts of Napoleon III and the dogs of the high society of the Second Empire. His father was the composer Louis-Emmanuel Jadin.

In painting and engraving, a student of Louis Hersent, of Abel de Pujol, of Paul Huet, of Richard Parkes Bonington and of Alexandre-Gabriel Decamps, he exhibited at the Salon for the first time in 1831. A close friend of Alexandre Dumas, Jadin accompanied Dumas on several voyages, in particular to Naples in 1835 and to Florence in 1840. Dumas introduced the painter to Ferdinand Philippe, Duke of Orléans, for whom Jadin decorated the dining room of the palace of Tuileries with hunting scenes.

Jadin won two medals of the third class, in 1834 and 1855, a medal of the second class in 1840, and a medal of the first class in 1848. He was made chevalier of the Légion d'honneur in 1854.

Mademoiselle Rose

Mademoiselle Rose (also Seated Nude) is a painting by French Romantic artist Eugène Delacroix, regarded as the leader of the French Romantic school. This nude was painted before 1824, and is currently held and exhibited at the Louvre in Paris. Another is at the Alte Nationalgalerie in Berlin.

Margaret Sarah Carpenter

Margaret Sarah Carpenter (née Geddes, 1793 – 13 November 1872), was an English painter. Noted in her time, she mostly painted portraits in the manner of Sir Thomas Lawrence. She was a close friend of Richard Parkes Bonington.

Paul Huet

Paul Huet (3 October 1803 – 8 January 1869) was a French painter and printmaker born in Paris. He studied under Gros and Guerin. He met the English painter Richard Parkes Bonington in the studio of Gros, where he studied irregularly from 1819 to 1822. Bonington's example influenced Huet to reject neoclassicism and instead paint landscapes based on close observation of nature. The British landscape paintings exhibited in the Salon of 1824 were a revelation to Huet, who said of Constable's work: "It was the first time perhaps that one felt the freshness, that one saw a luxuriant, verdant nature, without blackness, crudity or mannerism." Huet's subsequent work combined emulation of the English style with inspiration derived from Dutch and Flemish old masters such as Rubens, Jacob van Ruisdael, and Meindert Hobbema.He exhibited in the Salon for the first time in 1827, when one of the eight paintings he submitted was accepted by the jury. Afterwards he showed at the Salon regularly, and won the support of many important critics. Among his champions was Eugène Delacroix, whom Huet had met In November 1822. Less enthusiastic was Étienne-Jean Delécluze, who criticized Huet as "the painter who has been the most faithful to the principles of Constable, Turner, Daniell and by extension Watteau ... he totally neglects design."Huet participated in the July Revolution of 1830, and was involved in republican politics for a period afterwards. He was awarded a pair of Sèvres porcelain vases from King Louis-Philippe in 1844. He was awarded a gold medal at the Salon of 1848. He exhibited in the Exposition Universelle of 1855, where he was awarded a medal, and also exhibited in the International Exposition of 1867.Huet's works, which include oil paintings, watercolors, etchings, and lithographs, are Romantic in feeling. He was unusual among French landscape painters in his use of watercolor for sketching as well as for finished works, which were often so richly developed that they resemble oil paintings. The vividness with which he depicted natural forms influenced the painters of the Barbizon School and later the Impressionists.Paul Huet died in Paris on 8 January 1869.

Richard Parkes

Richard Parkes may refer to:

Richard Parkes (clergyman) (born 1559), English clergyman

Richard Parkes (piper) (born 1960), Northern Irish bagpipe player

Yale Center for British Art

The Yale Center for British Art at Yale University in downtown New Haven, Connecticut, houses the largest and most comprehensive collection of British art outside the United Kingdom. The collection of paintings, sculpture, drawings, prints, rare books, and manuscripts reflects the development of British art and culture from the Elizabethan period onward.

Theologians and
Visual artists
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