OLD CYPRESS TREES IN AN ITALIANATE GARDEN, WITH PEACOCKS
Bears attribution to reverse of mount [by Bill Thomson] to W.J. Muller
Watercolour over pencil
46 x 40cm
Albany Gallery, Bury Street, London
Bill Thomson (founder of Albany Gallery)
The present work's handling and colouring strongly suggests the influence of Thomas Hartley Cromek (1809-1873), the highly skilled and accomplished watercolourist and teacher of the amateur Robert Henry Cheney. It is recorded in Edward Cheney's journals that Robert Cheney travelled extensively in Italy with Cromek, as well as meeting William Leighton Leech, Edward Lear and Penry Williams among other artists in the peninsula at the time of his Tour.
The particular attention to the colouring of the peacocks in the lower left foreground is the most obvious example of Cromek's impact on the artist's hand; but it is, in particular, the rendering of the trees which suggests a confident attribution to the amateur hand of Cheney. For comparable works, see much of the sale titled Watercolours of the Grand Tour from a Private Collection, Christie's, London, 12.10.2005, in particular Lot 39 (The Villa d'Este, Tivoli).