Charles Nobbs, York; Tennants, Leyburn, 23 November 2006, lot 777 (as Mountainous Landscape with Swirling Clouds) The Maas Gallery, London, April 2007
Probably Royal Academy, 1857, no.761
John Ruskin, Notes on Pictures, 1903-12, XIV, p.117
In 1856 and 1857 Hunt worked upon several atmospheric landscapes in Snowdonia, including two versions of Cwm Trifaen showing the peak of Glyder Fach. It was probably John Ruskin’s observations of meteorological phenomena on the landscape published in the fourth volume of Modern Painters in April 1856 that reawakened in Hunt a desire to capture the wilderness of the Welsh mountains. This had initially been inspired by Hunt's time at the Liverpool Collegiate School, where the principal was the noted geologist and Bible scholar, Reverend William John Conybeare.
In September 1857 Hunt wrote from Snowdonia: ‘I am in the land of damp – of fog and mist… We have had nothing but rain for the last fortnight… I’ve composed my epitaph – to be graven on the biggest stone of the biggest moraine there – We’ve survived “hanging” only to come to this.’ He urged the buyer of one of the versions of Cwm Trifaen not to exhibit it: ‘It would give those fellows an excuse for mounting my picture as high as Hamon. Ruskin will see it in Durham better probably than he would in London.’ A year later his fears proved well-founded when the poor hanging of Snowdon, after an April Hailstorm and two further works by Hunt incurred the wrath of Ruskin. Snowdon, after an April Hailstorm has been identified as the undated picture exhibited at the Ashmolean Museum in 2004, The Poetry of Truth – Alfred William Hunt and the Art of Landscape Painting. However it has also been suggested that the present work may be the 1857 exhibit, as it better fits the description by John Ruskin, ‘… a very remarkable drawing, and the best study of sky that I can find this year; notable especially for its expression of the consumption of the clouds, - not their driving away, but melting away, in the warmer air.’
The sheet appears to be sound and not laid down; undulates slightly. Very minor frame abrasion along right edge and a very minor fragment missing in lower right corner - not visibly distracting. The work appears in good overall condition.
Held in a gilt composite frame under glass with a cream mount; unexamined out of frame. "In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue. NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS PRINTED IN THE SALE CATALOGUE."