David Cox the Elder

The Today, we visit an English landscape painter known for being one of the most important members of the ‘Birmingham School‘. We visit #DavidCox the Elder (1783-1859). Cox studied in Birmingham and started his working career painting miniatures. From there he progressed to painting backdrop scenes for theatres. This brought him to London, where he decided to turn professional. Cox’s talents peaked around 1841. His works were a precursor to Impressionism. He simplified his works by decreasing detail and combining it with abstraction. Cox used this generalisation to focus on the overall effect of the work. Cox painted with a boldness and pushed the boundaries of technique leading to the later impressionist.

This step into something new can be seen in the second artwork shown – #EtonCollege. Here we see the lack of detail – the slight abstraction of the image – the reliance on the overall effect to produce a satisfactory artwork. The first work shown uses less abstraction but does show Cox’s concern with the depiction of light, atmosphere, and weather. Cox was known for his use of chalk as his drawing material rather than graphite and his use of a rough and absorbent ‘Scotch’ wrapping paper. Both of these assisted his development of a rougher and freer painting style.

Cox did paint in oils but he is best known for his watercolours.

The first artwork ‘Landscape near Martigny’ is attributed to David Cox while the second ‘Eton College’ is signed and titled on the verso. Two works which show the wonderful skill and artistry of a man at the acme of his skill and art.

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