Earlswood Common, Redhill, Surrey
Signed bas droite
59cm x 26cm
Samuel Bough was born in the border area of Carlisle but is known as the most important Scottish watercolourist of his period. He influenced the development of Scottish watercolour painting towards a freer, plein air style. He did also produce some works in oils.
He was the son of a shoemaker, and largely self-taught though he received some local instruction in art. At 15 he worked briefly and unsuccessfully in a solicitors office before being sent to London to learn the art of engraving under Thomas Allum. Three years later he walked back to Carlisle and then began a period of wandering through the Lake District practicing his art. He then worked as a scenery painter at the Theatre Royal in Manchester, and later in a similar capacity at the Princes Theatre Glasgow, where he met and married the opera singer Isabella Taylor, and then at the Adelphi Theatre, Edinburgh. He was then encouraged by fellow artists to paint full time and did so with considerable success. He was greatly influence by the works on John Constable, and his own style developed over the years from a detailed to a broader more confident approach. He was elected an Associate of the Royal Scottish Academy in 1875 but it was some years before he became a full member, no doubt due to his somewhat outspoken personality and reputation for getting into scrapes!
He has been described as a “difficult personality” and was given to “promiscuous hospitality” but was a well-known and popular character in Edinburgh, where he spent most of his productive years. He also worked in Germany and Holland, but is best known for his Scottish landscapes and harbor scenes, particularly of the coast near Fife.
Bough’s work is much acclaimed; he was awarded the Heywood Gold Medal at the Royal Institute, had 15 works exhibited at the Royal Academy, and many more in Scotland, where his works are still preserved at the Glasgow Gallery, the National Gallery of Edinburgh, and the Aberdeen Gallery. He also has a drawing in the Victoria and Albert Museum and a work in the Tate. He was active in the establishment if the Royal Scottish Watercolour Society and was its original Vice- President.
Bough was much admired by Robert Louis Stevenson, and painted a view of his house at Swanston. Stevenson penned a glowing obituary of him following his death in Edinburgh in 1878. Bough also provided the illustrations for Robert Burns’ 1875 edition of Poems and Songs.