Sunday, October 5, 2014

Garden History 18C Over There - English Landscape Painter & Portraitist Arthur Devis 1712-1787

1749 Arthur Devis (English artist, 1712-1787) Robert Gwillym and Family

During the 1990s, I was trying to see both the English & American landscapes as those living in the 18C did. One of my favorite artists Arthur Devis allowed me to see both the English landscapes & the people who designed & lived in them. Here are a few of his paintings.

1749 Arthur Devis (English artist, 1712-1787) The Thomas Cave Family

Arthur Devis was born in Preston, Lancashire, England, in 1712, the eldest son of Anthony Devis & Ellen Rauthmell. He left Preston as a young man to study in London with the sporting & topographical painter Peter Tillemans.

1751 Arthur Devis (English artist, 1712-1787) Sir George und Lady Strickland im Park von Boynton Hall

1751 Arthur Devis (English artist, 1712-1787) The James Family

After the Tillemans' retirement in 1733, Devis returned to Preston, & his earliest dated landscape was in 1735. His earliest dated portraits are from 1741, & by the following year he is recorded working in London. In 1741, he married Elizabeth Faulkner; & apparently the couple had 22 children.

1754 Arthur Devis (English artist, 1712-1787) The Clavey family in their garden at Hampstead

In 1745, well established as a painter of small-scale portraits & conversation pieces, he settled on Great Queen Street in Lincoln's Inn Fields as his base. Many of his early commissions came from Lancashire Jacobite families obtained through his father's local connections. By 1752, he took on an apprentice, George Senhouse, but discharged him after 3 years for idleness; he had at least 3 other students during that period.

1758 Arthur Devis (English artist, 1712-1787) Alicia and Jane Clarke

From 1761, Devis exhibited irregularly at the Free Society of Artists, of which he became president in 1768. In 1763, Francis Vincent (then a Barrister of the Inner Temple) commissioned Devis to paint himself, his wife Mercy & daughter Ann at Weddington Hall. Devis never exhibited at the 'Society of Artists' or the 'Royal Academy of Arts' & never competed for admission to those societies.

1763 Arthur Devis (English artist, 1712-1787) Francis Vincent, his Wife Mercy, and Daughter Ann, of Weddington Hall, Warwickshire

In later life Devis was active as a restorer; between 1777 & 1778, he was paid 1,000 pounds for cleaning & repairing the Painted Hall at Greenwich. In 1783, he sold his collection of pictures & retired to Brighton, where he died on 25 July 1787.

Arthur Devis (English artist, 1712-1787) Henry Fiennes Clinton,9th Earl of Lincoln, with his wife Catherine and his son George on the great terrace at Oatlands

Arthur Devis (English artist, 1712-1787) Mrs Edward Travers in a landscape garden

Arthur Devis (English artist, 1712-1787) On the grounds of Ranelagh

Arthur Devis (English artist, 1712-1787) Sir Nathaniel and Lady Caroline Curzon

Arthur Devis (English artist, 1712-1787) The Edgar Children