GEORGE PRICE BOYCE RWS (1826-1897)
PRE-RAPHAELITE (founded 1848)
Abinger Mill-Pond, Surrey - Morning in Late Autumn (England, 1866 - 1867)
Watercolour on paper
Signed and dated G. P. Boyce . 1866 – 7 lower left, Inscribed with title on a label on the back board in the artist's hand George P. Boyce 14 Chatham Place, Blackfriars.
A T Squarey, purchased from the artist's studio, 1867
The Charrington family; given by them to:
Philip E W Street, May 1949; by descent to 2004
The Art Journal, 1867, page 147,
Newall, Christopher and Judy Egerton George Price Boyce, The Tate Gallery, introduction to the exhibition catalogue, London 1987, page 26
The Diaries of George Price Boyce, Edited by Virginia Surtees, Old Watercolour Society, 1980, page 24
London, Society of Painters in Water-Colours, Summer Exhibition, number 224
Burslem, Wedgwood Institute, Art Exhibition, 1869, number 7
Description / Expertise
Signed and dated G. P. Boyce. 1866 – 7.; inscribed with title on a label on the back board in the artist’s hand George P. Boyce 14 Chatham Place, Blackfriars; Also bearing the following handwritten labels attached to the backboard: Purchased direct from Mr G P Boyce, at his studio – 14 Chatham Place. Blackfriars London in the year 1867. A. T. Squarey; and George Price Boyce R.W.S. (1826-1897) This painting is signed “G.P.Boyce. 1866-7” In pencil is written by the painter the following: “for A. T. Squarey Esq. March 66 April 67 Abinger Mill Pond George P. Boyce” The above, now covered over, is on the back of the mount at the bottom, on right upside down.
In The Art Journal’s review of the 1867 Summer Exhibition at the Old Water-Colour Society, we read that: G. P. Boyce has the advantage of being eccentric, and his style will hardly become commonplace, save in the repetitions of his imitators. He displays pictures which, as usual, please by their peculiarities. Sometimes he is sombre, often lustrous, always harmonious, even in his contrasts. That he affects subjects which an ordinary artist would condemn as unpaintable, is rather in his favour.(2)
As Boyce became intimate with the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood during the 1850s through his friendship with Rossetti, he became increasingly concerned with ‘truth to nature’ advocated by John Ruskin in the first volumes of Modern Painters. Christopher Newall writes: Of all Pre-Raphelite landscape painters Boyce gives the greatest sense of the everyday life of the countryside; the clamour of birdsong, the murmur of water in the millpond and the rustle of poplar leaves even on a still summer’s day, speaking to the modern spectator as if they had never been interrupted.(2)
Boyce’s landscapes were highly respected within the Pre-Raphaelite circle. Not only did
Ruskin admire his work, but Rossetti is known to have called on his assistance and advice when he sought to include landscape elements into his work.
In 1858, Boyce recorded how Rossetti called and borrowed two sketches of mine on the coast of Babbacombe as a help to background of a delicate little drawing of a loving couple on a sea beach on a windy day he is doing for Miss Herbert.(3)
From the late 1850s throughout most of the 1860s, Boyce left London for extended periods and ventured into the countryside to paint. In the quiet rural villages of Pangbourne, Mapledurham, Whitchurch, Streatley and Abinger, he studied nature outdoors in accordance with the principles of Pre-Raphaelite landscape painting. The painter George Dunlop Leslie described Boyce’s circumstances during these periods of retreat: At Pangbourne I met my friend G. P. Boyce, the watercolour artist, who was lodging at Champ’s picturesque little cottage on the edge of the weir pool. The rooms were very old and small, and it pleased Mr Boyce’s taste to hang amongst the humble cottage pictures one or two precious little works by D Rossetti. He had brought with him also some of his favourite old blue tea-cups and plates. He painted two very fine works while I was at Whitchurch: one of Champ’s cottage itself and the weir pool with a twilight effect, and the other of a large old barn half-way up the hill at Whitchurch; there were a lot of black Berkshire pigs snoozling in the straw in the foreground.
1. The Art Journal, 1867, page 147, quoted by Christopher Newall, George Price Boyce, The Tate Gallery exhibition catalogue 1987, page 26
2. Newall and Egerton, George Price Boyce, The Tate Gallery, 1987, page 26
3. The Diaries of George Price Boyce, Edited by Virginia Surtees, Old Watercolour Society, 1980, page 24