Thomas Shotter Boys RWS
Brussels from the Outside the Porte de Hal with a View of Notre Dame de la Chappelle
Watercolour with bodycolour and scratching out
Inscribed verso in pencil: Hors du Port de Hal
The artist’s sale;
John Manning, 8 Bury Street;
Thomas Agnew & Sons, London;
Anthony Molins, his sale at Sotheby’s London, 24 November 1977;
Private collection, U.K.
The distinctive tower of Notre Dame de la Chappelle, where Pieter Brughel the Elder is buried, is seen on the right- hand side of the composition. It was built near the city walls in the 12th century, although the remains today date from a century later and the nearby Porte de Hal is the only surviving fortified city gate of the walls of medieval Brussels. The two towers of Brussels cathedral balance the view to the left.
Boys made several visits to Belgium in the late 1820s and early 1830s and was in Brussels during the Belgian Revolution of 1830. His wife Célèstine was Belgian, her home either in or near Soignies.
The artist’s virtuoso mastery of watercolour techniques is splendidly illustrated in the deft handling of the medium in this drawing.
Thomas Rowlandson (1756 - 1827)
The Comforts of Bath - The Bath
Pen, grey ink and watercolour over traces of pencil
13 x 20.4 cm
This subject was aquatinted by Rowlandson and published by S.W. Fores in 1798, as plate 7 of Christopher Anstey’s The New Bath Guide or The Memoirs of the Blunderhead Family, 1766. There are numerous small differences between the present drawing (and the other two known versions of it) and the aquatint, notably the central structure with a tower is missing in the aquatint.
Another, smaller, version of this composition measuring 18 x 18.1 cm is in the Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, Paul Mellon Collection, see John Baskett and Dudley Snelgrove, The Drawings of Thomas Rowlandson in the Paul Mellon Collection, 1977, no. 299 ill. Another version can be found in the William A. Farnsworth Library and Art Museum. A further unpublished version is in the collection of the Victoria Art Gallery, Bath.
Bath was the most fashionable spa in England in the late 18th century with several public and private baths. The King’s Bath, named after Henry II and built on the foundations of the old Roman reservoir enclosing the hot spring, was a rich source of public amusement. From 6 to 9 o’clock in the morning bathing took place, when fully dressed patients waded through the hot water. The spectacle is wittily described by Lydia Melford in Tobias Smollett’s Expedition of Humphrey Clinker, I, 77, for which Rowlandson made ten illustrations in 1793: