William Trost Richards (American, 1833-1905)
The Isle of Hoy
Signed "Wm. T. Richards. 98" l.l., titled on a typewritten gummed label affixed to the back of the frame.
Oil on canvas, 34 1/4 x 60 in. (92.0 x 152.5 cm), framed.
Condition: Lined, retouch, craquelure.
Provenance: A Massachusetts estate.
N.B. Born in Philadelphia, Richards had only a limited education; as a young teen he left school to help support his family as a commercial draughtsman. He began studying painting formally with Paul Weber and William Stanley Haseltine. By the mid-1850s he was exhibiting at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art, and had discovered the works of Albert Bierstadt and Frederick Church. The subjects and light of the Hudson River School attracted and influenced him, and he began working en plein air. In 1867, he witnessed a dramatic and violent storm on the ocean. The experience drove Richards to shift his focus to seascapes. He was particularly fascinated by the way weather and sunlight affected the appearance of waves and coastlines. It is these subjects for which he is best known.
While Richards traveled extensively, he spent much of his time studying and painting the coastlines around Newport, Rhode Island, and the British Isles. The Isle of Hoy is part of the Orkney Islands, a small chain of islands on the north coast of Scotland. It is famous for its high cliffs and dramatic views. A study for this work is also included in this auction as lot 236.
The lining is adhered with wax. The largest area of retouch is to the cresting wave (it is about 3 inches high). There are also strokes in the sky and slightly larger areas near the edges (see UV images for all). There is also a hand-written label affixed to the stretcher that reads in part, "...Havand College/..."
Framed dimensions 73 x 47 x 4 inches. Frame with a label from McCaughen & Burr, St. Louis, affixed to the back.
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