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Oil painting - View of Osterley Park from the East
  • View of Osterley Park from the East
    Devis, Anthony Thomas, born 1729 - died 1816
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View of Osterley Park from the East

  • Object:

    Oil painting

  • Place of origin:

    Britain (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1784 (painted)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Devis, Anthony Thomas, born 1729 - died 1816 (painter (artist))

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Oil on canvas

  • Museum number:

    P.22-1949

  • Gallery location:

    On display at Osterley Park House, London

This view of Osterley Park was probably commissioned by Mrs Sarah Child (1741-93), the widow of Robert Child (1739-82) and is based on a drawing (Object Number 1949.87), in the Toledo Museum of Art. Devis was a topographical draughtsman and the large number of his drawings in public collections throughout the United Kingdom, testify to his extensive travels. He exhibited a small number of paintings at the Free Society of Artists and the Royal Academy of Art between 1761 and 1781.

Physical description

View of Osterley, from the south-east, with a river flowing diagonally and a herd of deer in the foreground.

Place of Origin

Britain (made)

Date

ca. 1784 (painted)

Artist/maker

Devis, Anthony Thomas, born 1729 - died 1816 (painter (artist))

Materials and Techniques

Oil on canvas

Dimensions

Height: 48.75 in estimate, Width: 72.5 in estimate, Height: 123.8 cm, Width: 184 cm

Object history note

Purchased as Lot 130 at Christies, 15th July 1949

Historical context note

This painting by Anthony Devis shows a south-easterly view of Osterley Park after the major refurbishment by the great Neo-classical architect, Robert Adam (1728-92), between 1761-83. Adam retained parts of the original Tudor structure and the distinctive Tudor turrets that rise above the roof-line are clearly visible. Adam’s unusual transparent portico on the first floor, accessed by a broad flight of steps, is also visible. Prominent in the painting, is one of the three long, narrow lakes that were an amalgamation of the Tudor ponds and canals and were cleverly juxtaposed to give the impression of a river wrapping around the house. This lake bisects the painting in a diagonal direction and is an effective means of organising the compositional details of the landscape view.

Devis painted a pendant, View in Osterley Park with two Children, museum number P.21-1949, also in the V&A collection. Both paintings are thought to have been painted in 1784, presumably to commemorate the completion of the Adam changes, and were probably commissioned by Mrs Sarah Child (1741-93), the widow of Robert Child (1739-82). The attribution to Anthony Devis has been contested although there is no evidence to the contrary (Eileen Harris, Osterley Park, Middlesex, The National Trust, 1994).

Toledo Museum of Art has two drawings by Devis (Osterley from the Southeast, Object Number 1949.87; Osterley from the Southwest, Object Number 1949.88). These are almost identical in composition to the two V&A paintings and are presumably preparatory studies for them. Two watercolours by Devis, dated 1757, of the well-known menagerie at Osterley Park, are in a private collection (Eileen Harris, p.75).

Osterley Park House was built in the 1570s by Sir Thomas Gresham (1519?-1579), founder of the Royal Exchange. After a period of neglect, the house came into the Child family when it was bought by Sir Francis Child (1642- 1713) from the executors of Dr. Nicholas Barbon. It was Child’s grandsons, Francis Child (1735-63) and Robert Child (1739-82) respectively, who initiated and almost completed the great building operations that transformed the Tudor house into a monument of eighteenth-century classicism, employing Robert Adam in 1761 to reconstruct it. After Robert Child’s death in 1782, the house was maintained by his widow, Mrs Sarah Child, until his granddaughter and heir, Sarah Sophia Fane (1785-1867), was deemed of age to inherit. As Sarah had married George Villiers, who succeeded in 1805 as the fifth Earl of Jersey, Osterley passed into the Jersey family. In 1949 the Osterley estate was given by the 9th Earl of Jersey to the National Trust, and the Victoria & Albert Museum was charged with the management and public display of the house.

The V&A bought this painting and its pendant, as well as the furnishings and furniture of Osterley Park, in the Christies sale of the contents of Osterley Park on 15th July 1949 (lots 129 and 130). The Museum subsequently retained these at the house on long-term loan. More recently, whilst the long-term loan arrangement still continues, the National Trust undertook to manage the entire Osterley estate.

Anthony Devis was the half-brother of Arthur Devis (c.1711-1787), and should not be confused with his nephew Thomas Anthony Devis (1757-1810). The large number of Anthony Devis’s drawings in public and private collections throughout England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales, testify to his extensive travels as a topographical artist. He exhibited a small number of paintings at the Free Society of Artists and the Royal Academy of Art between 1761 and 1781.

Descriptive line

Oil painting, View of Osterley Park from the East, attributed to Anthony Devis, British school, late 18th century

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Victoria and Albert Museum, Department of Prints and Drawings and Department of Paintings, Accessions 1949, London: HMSO, 1961.
Helen Clifford-Smith, An Inventory and Valuation of The Works of Art including the Oil Paintings, Miniatures, Drawings by Robert Adam, Furniture, Books, and other Contents of The State Rooms at Osterley Park, Isleworth, Earl of Jersey, typescript, prepared for the purpose of insurance, 1939, pp. 69-71.
The Earl of Jersey and Helen Clifford-Smith, A Guide to Osterley Park, Isleworth, London, 1939, pp. 54-56.
Catalogue of Pictures and Porcelain at Upton House, Banbury: the Catalogue of Pictures edited by the 2nd Viscount Bearsted, National Trust, London, 1950, p.7.
Upton House: The Bearsted Collection: Pictures, National Trust, 1964, p. 11.
Peter Ward-Jackson, Osterley Park, A Guide, London, 1954, p. 8.
Osterley Park House, Victoria & Albert Museum, Cambridgeshire, John Hardy and Maurice Tomlin, 1985, pp. 27-29
Eileen Harris, Osterley Park, Middlesex, National Trust, London, 1994, pp.54, 72.

Materials

Oil paint; Canvas

Techniques

Oil painting

Categories

Paintings

Collection

Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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