European & British Paintings Day Auction

European & British Paintings Day Auction

View full screen - View 1 of Lot 24. Morning Pasture.

Property from a British Private Collection

Thomas Austen Brown, A.R.S.A., R.I., R.S.W.

Morning Pasture

Auction Closed

July 4, 02:11 PM GMT


10,000 - 15,000 GBP

Lot Details


Property from a British Private Collection 

Thomas Austen Brown, A.R.S.A., R.I., R.S.W.


1859 - 1924

Morning Pasture

signed and dated Thomas Brown 1894 lower right and titled, signed and inscribed Morning Pasture / T. Austen Brown / 96 South Hill Park / Hampstead Heath / London N.W.  on a label attached to the stretcher

oil on canvas

Unframed: 127 by 102cm., 50 by 40in.

Framed: 165 by 140cm., 65 by 55in.

Mr William Hunter Esq. of 30 Buckingham Terrace, Edinburgh

Sale: Christie's, 12 November 1987, lot 616

Sale: Sotheby's, Hopetoun House, 19 April 2004, lot 45

Purchased at the above sale by the present owner

London, Royal Academy, 1896, no. 422

The fact that Thomas Austen Brown's father was a drawing master is evident in the wonderful fluidity of Morning Pasture, this large and dynamic painting which ranks highly among the artist's masterpieces. Brown's record at the Royal Scottish Academy School was exemplary and he attracted much attention for his earliest works. His pictures were described as 'Bright in colour, joyous in sentiment and marked by considerable grace in design, drawing and handling, they were scenes of country life much in the mood and manner of R W Macbeth's work of that period, with a soupçon of Orchardson's elegance and colour added.' (Caw).

Brown was greatly influenced by the rustic painters of France, namely Jules Bastien Lepage whose interest in the hard work of peasant folk and rural traditions and use of broken brushstrokes and refracted light finds a close parallel in Morning Pasture. Lepage's painting of a girl guarding cattle entitled Pauvre Fauvette of 1881, Pas Mèche and another work entitled The Potato Gatherers were owned by George McCulloch the famous Scottish mining engineer. McCulloch also owned three works by Brown including Wayside Pasture exhibited at the Royal Scottish Academy in 1895, a similar image to Morning Pasture which was painted a year later after Brown’s move to London. The similarity of composition, colour and handling of paint makes Pauvre Fauvette a likely precedent for Morning Pasture and certainly illustrates the shared interest in technique and subject.

By the 1890s the work of Lepage was greatly admired in Britain and artists like Stanhope Forbes, Frank Bramley and John William Waterhouse were also greatly influenced by his work. It can be no coincidence that when Brown moved to London in 1895 he took as his residence 8 Primrose Studios on Fitzroy Road in Primrose Hill next door to Waterhouse. Waterhouse may have introduced Brown to McCulloch who already owned Ophelia, Flora and the Zephyrs and Saint Cecilia by Waterhouse. The connection between Waterhouse and Brown has so far not been investigated but the shared interest in the work of Lepage may have brought the two artists together. In early works by Waterhouse such as The Orange Sellers and The Toilet (both private collections) the artist best known for mythological extravaganzas, painted similar subjects to those of Austen Brown. Brown's admiration for French art and his desire to explore the possibilities of working in the continental manner led him to spend much of his time from 1897 onwards painting in France. Morning Pasture was the last picture exhibited by Brown before he moved from Edinburgh. It marks a move away from the highland subjects he had painted in the 1880s and early 1890s at Largo and Blairgowrie. Here we find the looseness of brush stroke and natural earthy colour that derive from his increasing interest in French painting.

Austen Brown found great success on the continent, winning gold medals in exhibitions at Barcelona, Budapest, Dresden and Munich. He became a Member of the Beaux Art Société of Paris and an Honourary Member of the Brussels Academy and his pictures can be found in the municipal galleries of Brussels and Munich, as well as closer to home at the Victoria and Albert Museum, Leeds City Art Gallery and Glasgow Art Gallery.