In the Tate Britain, London, there is an oil painting by Bonington of St.Omer.1 It shows the town from the same viewpoint but with a different composition in the foreground. Patrick Noon has suggested that although there is a connection between this oil and the present watercolor, both were conceived as finished, presentation, works.
The first owner of this sheet was probably Lewis Brown, a 'Bordeaux wine merchant of British nationality… who amassed a large collection of Bonington’s watercolours in the 1820s'.2 Another important early owner was Le Comte de Faucigny. He was a member of a Swiss banking family who played an important role in the restoration of the Bourbons to the French throne. In 1824 he married the illegitimate daughter of the Duc de Berry and the English actress Amy Brown, however in 1830, he was forced to flee to England after the July revolution. He owned a number of works by Bonington including the watercolor Fishing Boats Aground (New Haven, Yale Center for British Art) and the oil Coastal Landscape (Location unknown).3
1. P. Noon, Richard Parkes Bonington ‘On the Pleasure of Painting,' New Haven 1992, p. 112, no. 26
2. P. Noon, Richard Parkes Bonington, the complete paintings, New Haven 2008, p. 88
3. Ibid., nos. 92 and 182
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