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Frederick Richard Pickersgill
A little gondela
Oil on millboard : 48,3 X 61,1 cm
No mention of a signature
Manchester, Manchester Art Gallery

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Pickersgill R.A., Frederick Richard
"The enchanted forest"
In short
 
Pickersgill, though not a member of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, shared their love of medieval culture and of nature. He was a member of the Royal Academy, which the Brotherhood hated.
Our painter was strongly influenced by 16th and 17th century literature and by Late Renaissance, Venetian painting (especially by Titian).
 
About Frederick Richard Pickersgill
 
English painter and book illustrator
London 1820 – 1900 Yarmouth (Isle of Wight)
 
Most of his works depict scenes drawn from 16th and 17th century English literature (including Edmund Spenser, William Shakespeare and John Milton) and from Gerusalemme Liberata by Torquato Tasso (1581), but also from classical mythology, religion, and history (medieval subjects).
 
His father, Richard, was a naval officer and marine painter.
He was a pupil of his uncle William Frederick Witherington (1785 – 1865).
 
His painting “The Death of Harold” was purchased for the Houses of Parliament in 1847; that was the real start of his succesful career, although he had already exhibited at the Royal Academy from 1839 onwards (until 1875). 
 
Our painter was also active as a book illustrator: his archaizing style was especially appropriate for religious subjects.
 
He was elected a Royal Academician in 1857 and in 1873 was appointed Keeper and Trustee of the Academy. 
He retired in 1888 and went to live on the Island of Wight in Yarmouth.
 
His uncle, Henry William Pickersgill RA (1782 – 1875) was an important portrait painter.
 
About our painting
 
Pickersgill was strongly influenced by the 16th century Venetian paintings of Titian.
Just ike the Pre-Raphaelite painters he loved dramatic, fanciful themes from Medieval and Renaissance periods.
 
The enchanted forest is one of those deeply rooted British symbols. Dangers of all sorts hide in it, lovers lose and find themselves there. The person who leaves a wood in English literature is often a very different person from the one who initially entered it.
 
Why should you buy this painting?
 
Because this enchanted forest is a typical English, Victorian theme that pleases to all boys under 100 years old: a knight, half-naked mysterious nymphs, warm Venetian colours.
 
Because stylistically our magical painting shows very diverse influences, from Titian over Rubens, but also from contemporary Pre-Raphaelite artists.
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