Not currently on display at the V&A

Mount Orgueil, Jersey

Oil Painting
early 19th century (painted)

Mont Orgueil, Jersey, oil on canvas, 41.9 x 62.9 cm, formerly called "A View of St. Michael's Mount, Cornwall"

Object details

Object type
TitleMount Orgueil, Jersey
Materials and techniques
Oil on canvas
Brief description
Oil painting, 'Mount Orgueil, Jersey', British School, formerly attributed to Richard Parkes Bonington
Physical description
Mont Orgueil, Jersey, oil on canvas, 41.9 x 62.9 cm, formerly called "A View of St. Michael's Mount, Cornwall"
  • Height: 41.9cm
  • Width: 62.9cm
  • Height: 16.5in
  • Width: 24.75in
  • Frame height: 67cm
  • Frame width: 86cm
  • Frame depth: 9cm
Dimensions taken from object file
Credit line
Bequeathed by John Forster
Object history
Bequeathed by John Forster, 1876. John Forster (1812-1876) was born in Newcastle, the son of a cattle dealer. Educated at Newcastle Grammar School and University College London, he was a student in the Inner Temple 1828 and qualified as a barrister 1843. Began his career as a journalist as dramatic critic of the True Sun 1832; he later edited the Foreign Quarterly Review (1842-3), the Daily News (1846) and most famously the Examiner (1847-55). He was the author of numerous works, notably the Life and Adventures of Oliver Goldsmith (1848) and the Life of Charles Dickens (1872-4). He bequeathed his extensive collection of books, pamphlets, manuscripts, prints, drawings, watercolours and oil paintings to the V&A.
See also South Kensington Museum Art Handbooks. The Dyce and Forster Collections. With Engravings and Facsimiles. Published for the Committee of Council on Education by Chapman and Hall, Limited, 193, Piccadilly, London. 1880. Chapter V. Biographical Sketch of Mr. Forster. pp.53-73, including 'Portrait of Mr. Forster' illustrated opposite p.53.

Historical significance: When this painting entered the South Kensington Museums in 1876 as part of the Forster bequest it was believed to be a landscape showing St. Michael's Mount, Cornwall, by Richard Parkes Bonington. Although he died young, Richard Parkes Bonington (1802-1828) was a prolific artist. He grew up in France and enrolled in the studio of Antoine-Jean Gros (1771-1835) in 1819. Having begun his career painting landscape and marine scenes in France, Bonington visited England in 1825 where he made close ties with the artists Delacroix and Eugène Isabey. In response to the works that he saw by Turner and Constable during his stay in England, Bonington began to paint en plein air, or in the open air. The last two years of Bonington's life saw him gain popularity with both English and French audiences. His landscapes of continental and British scenes were highly influential both during his lifetime and throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

The broad expanse of shore leading up to a castle on a hill is similar to the landscape of St. Michael's Mount, Cornwall. The original title of this painting, St. Michael’s Mount, Cornwall led Dubisson to suggest in his 1924 publication that Bonington may have accompanied Delacroix to Cornwall in August of 1825 (Dubisson, p.63). After comparing the location depicted in the painting with images of both St. Michael’s Mount, Cornwall and Mount Orgueil, Jersey, Basil Long, Keeper of Paintings, concluded in 1929 that this painting depicts Mont Orgueil, Jersey (see Departmental file). As Bonington is not documented as visiting Jersey, it is now believed that this painting is not by the artist. The composition of the painting showing a broad expanse of shore dotted with figures that leads our eyes across the water to a landmark set against a dramatic sky, in this case Mount Orgueil, is very similar to that employed by Bonington in a number of his works including A Fishmarket Near Boulogne (Yale Centre for British Art) and On the Cote D’Opale, Picardy (Collection of His Grace the Duke of Bedford, see: Noon, catalogue nos. 171 and 206).The use of the soft tones to create the fall of light on the contrasting textures of the pools of water and sand on the shore also recalls the style of Bonington. This similarity of style and subject matter is a testimony to the influence that Bonington had on his contemporaries.

Mont Orgueil is situated on a promontory that overlooks the harbour of Gorey. The structure of Gorey Castle, known as lé Vièr Châté (the Old Castle) by Jèrriais-speakers rises up on Mont Orguiel above the shore and sea beyond. There has been a fortress on this site since prehistoric times. The construction of the present castle was undertaken following the division of the Duchy of Normandy in 1204. The landscape, with the flat shore and the hill of Mont Orguiel, set against the backdrop of a large sky make it an interesting and dramatic part of the landscape. The historical connotations of the fortress would also have made it an appealing subject to depict. Gorey Castle became a popular landmark to depict in the early nineteenth century, with a number of lithographs of the view being produced in the 1830s and 1840s.


Dubisson, A Richard Parkes Bonington, 1924, p.63

Noon, P, Richard Parkes Bonington: The Complete Paintings Yale University Press, 2008, catalogue number 171, pp.196-198; catalogue number 206, pp.258-259.
Formerly attributed to Richard Parkes Bonington.
Subjects depicted
Place depicted
Bibliographic references
  • Ward, T, H, English Public Galleries of London, vol.II, 1888, facing page 174
  • Turner, P, M, Burlington Magazine March, 1925, p.147
  • Dubuisson, A, Richard Parkes Bonington: his life and work, translated by Hughes, C, E, London, John Lane, 1924, p.64
Accession number

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Record createdMay 8, 2007
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