With Simon Dickinson Ltd., London; From whom acquired on 15 June 1994 by the present owner.
Referred to by contemporary newspaper critics as ‘the ingenious and celebrated Mr Carver’, Robert Carver was an Irish artist who specialised in idealised landscapes in the style of Poussin and exhibited extensively at the Incorporated Society of Artists, The Royal Academy and the Free Society of Arts, of which he became President in 1777. The son of a landscape and history painter, Richard Carver, and trained at the Dublin schools under Robert West, Carver moved to London in 1769 and was probably most celebrated in his own day as a scene painter. Between 1770 and 1774 he was employed by David Garrick, together with P. J. de Loutherbough and his fellow countryman James Barry, at Drury Lane, before transferring to the rival Covent Garden Theatre during the 1774–75 season, where his scenery for the 1782 performance of Samuel Arnold’s comic opera The Castle of Andalusia was noted to have been one of his greatest successes.
The canvas is lined, the paint surface is clean, and the varnish is slightly discoloured. Two vertical, faint surface scratches are visible in the sky upper left, both approx. 2.5 cm. long. Small, discoloured retouchings are visible scattered in the sky, notably in the blue sky upper centre and upper left and the clouds just surrounding this. Inspection under ultraviolet light reveals a thick varnish underneath which the aforementioned retouchings are confirmed. More concentrated retouchings are revealed in four areas, 3 in the area of the sky just mentioned, and 1 in the sky centre right, the largest of these measuring 4 x 2 cm. There is also retouching to a U-shaped repaired tear in the tree trunk along the centre of the right margin approx. 2 x 6 x 6 cm., to an L-shaped scratch through the temple and the bottom of the central figure’s yellow dress approx. 20 x 15 cm., and to two small vertical scratches in the temple and the trees just to the right of it both approx. 2 cm. The rest of the composition appears largely untouched with just a scattering of spot retouchings mainly along the lower margin and in the trees upper left. In overall good condition.
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