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Oil painting - Bird catching
  • Bird catching
    Bocion, François, born 1828 - died 1890
  • Enlarge image

Bird catching

  • Object:

    Oil painting

  • Place of origin:

    Lausanne (painted)

  • Date:

    1850s (painted)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Bocion, François, born 1828 - died 1890 (painter (artist))

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Oil on canvas

  • Credit Line:

    Bequeathed by Rev. Chauncey Hare Townshend

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

François Bocion (1828-1890) was born in Lausanne. He first trained with Christian Gottlieb Steinlen (1779-1847) in Vevey and subsequently with François Bonnet (1811-1894) in Lausanne. In Paris in 1845, Bocion entered the atelier of Louis-Aimé Grosclaude (1784-1869) and later that of Charles Gleyre (1806-1874) and befriended Gustave Courbet (1819-1877) and other important exponents of the Realist movement. Back in Lausanne in 1849 he became a teacher at the Ecole moyenne et industrielle of Lausanne, a position he held until his death. At the same time, he had an extensive output with several travels abroad. He exhibited in Paris, Vienna, Anvers, London and was a founder member of the Swiss society of watercolorists (1884).

This painting is a fine example of the genre scenes Bocion produced during his youth. It shows two young peasants catching birds not far from the Leman lake depicted on the left background. This painting was most likely executed shortly after Bocion returned to Lausanne from Paris as it shows the influence of the Realist movement and more specifically of the painter Corot.

Physical description

Two boys hidden behind a hut are looking out for birds, at their feet is a number of dead birds while in the background in a view of a lake with mountains in the distance.

Place of Origin

Lausanne (painted)


1850s (painted)


Bocion, François, born 1828 - died 1890 (painter (artist))

Materials and Techniques

Oil on canvas

Marks and inscriptions

'F. Bocion'
Signed by the artist, lower left


Height: 40.5 cm estimate, Width: 32.5 cm estimate, :

Object history note

Rev. Chauncey Hare Townshend, listed in the 1868 post-mortem register of the contents of his villa in Lausanne (V&A R/F MA/1/T1181) as 'An Oil on Canvas. Birds catching. By F. Bocion. In frame. Signed. Swiss. Present century'; bequeathed by Rev. Chauncey Hare Townshend, 1868.

Historical significance: This painting is one of a group of 16 paintings bequeathed to the museum by the Rev. Townshend who had a villa in Lausanne where he spent the winter.
Although the thematic of the Leman lake is central in his oeuvre, Bocion also executed rustic subjects such as the present one dominated by a direct observation after the motif and the care of realistic rendering. Scenes by the lake were also numerous in his oeuvre and in this painting, one can recognise in the left background the steady surface of the lake.
Such subject matters illustrating peasants' life refer to the Realist painter Corot, deeply admired by Bocion and his entourage in Lausanne. These pictures were produced mostly during his youth until c. 1855, after this date Bocion tended to concentrate almost exclusively on lake views. Characteristic of Bocion's art are the broad brushwork, inherited from his training years in Paris, mixed with an accurate rendering of details.
This painting was bought by the Rev. Townshend and displayed in his villa in Lausanne (Switzerland). It completed there a large collection of 19th-century landscapes paintings and it is not unlikely that he knew personally the artist.

Descriptive line

Oil painting, 'Bird Catching', François Bocion, Swiss school, 1850s

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

Kauffmann, C.M., Catalogue of Foreign Paintings, II. 1800-1900, London: Victoria and Albert Museum, 1973, p. 10, cat. no. 26.
Reymondin, Michel, Catalogue Raisonné de François Bocion, Immerc, Wormer, 1989, no. 16, p. 15.


Oil paint; Canvas


Oil painting

Subjects depicted

Hut; Boys; Lake; Genre scene; Birds




Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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