Lot 204
  • 204

English School, early 19th Century

25,000 - 35,000 USD
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  • English School, early 19th century
  • Landscape with a horse-drawn cart
  • oil on canvas
  • 48 5/8 x 67 1/4 inches
  • 123.5 x 170.8 cm


George A. Hearn, New York, by 1908;
By whom given to The Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1909 (as John Crome, Inv. no. 10.58.2).


Catalogue of the Collection of Foreign and American Paintings Owned by Mr. George A. Hearn, New York 1908, pp. xi, 49, reproduced plate 56 (as John Crome);
"The Gift of Mr. George A. Hearn" and "Complete List of Accessions," in Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 5, May 1910, pp. 105, 129 (as John Crome);
P. M. Turner, "Pictures of the English School in New York," in The Burlington Magazine, 22, February 1913, p. 270 (as possibly a late work of Benjamin Parker [sic, for Barker]);
K. Baetjer, European Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art by artists born before 1865, A Summary Catalogue, New York 1980, vol. I, p. 19, reproduced vol. II, p. 281 (as British, 19th century);
K. Baetjer, European Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art by artists born before 1865, A Summary Catalogue, New York 1995, p. 205, reproduced (as British Painter, early 19th century);
M. Owens, "Design Notebook: At the Met, Britannia Rules Again" in The New York Times, 6 July 1995, reproduced p. C6 (view of the Aitken Gallery);
K. Baetjer, British Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1575–1875, New York 2009, pp. 208–209, cat. no. 104, reproduced.


The following condition report has been provided by Simon Parkes of Simon Parkes Art Conservation, Inc. 502 East 74th St. New York, NY 212-734-3920, simonparkes@msn.com, an independent restorer who is not an employee of Sotheby's. This large landscape has not been recently cleaned or restored and would certainly benefit from some attention. The canvas has been lined, but the paint layer is very dense and would certainly improve if the lining were reexamined. The condition of the paint layer itself is very good. It is unevenly cleaned, and there is very little evidence of abrasion in cleaning, except perhaps in the lower left, where there appears to be some thinness. There is also a little thinness in the trees in the center of the left side. However, this is a complex piece of painting, with a good deal of paint and transparent glazes, and the condition can be considered excellent. The details around the horse drawn cart are particularly impressive. One could certainly clean the picture and leave the old lining, but it would be ideal if the lining were reexamined to slightly reduce the cracking. At present, a few retouches to some cracks in the sky are visible under ultraviolet light. If and when the picture is cleaned, a few more retouches may be revealed, but this is the least one can expect for a work from this period.
"This lot is offered for sale subject to Sotheby's Conditions of Business, which are available on request and printed in Sotheby's sale catalogues. The independent reports contained in this document are provided for prospective bidders' information only and without warranty by Sotheby's or the Seller."

Catalogue Note

When given to The Metropolitan Museum in 1909, this impressive landscape was ascribed to the Norwich School painter John Crome, but this attribution was ultimately rejected by Miklos Rajnai in 1965.1  Over the years, attributions to James Stark, Benjamin Barker and George Vincent have been proposed, but none of these suggestions has been fully convincing.  The painter was clearly influenced by Dutch 17th century landscapes which he could have studied in the sale rooms or in private collections.


1.  Letter in the archives of The Metropolitan Museum of Art and, again, verbally in 1971.