Lowell Libson & Jonny Yarker Ltd

  • Pencil and watercolour
  • 7 ½ × 9 ¾ inches · 191 × 248 mm
  • Signed, inscribed and dated ‘J. Linnell 1813, North Wales DollyDellan Valley’
  • Sold


  • The artist’s family; 
  • By descent to 1994; 
  • Private collection, UK


  • London, P & D Colnaghi & Co, A loan exhibition of Drawings, watercolours and paintings by John Linnell and his circle, 1973, no. 27, reproduced pl. x;
  • Salisbury, Festival Exhibition, John Linnell 1792 - 1882, 1977, no. 2;
  • Cambridge, Fitzwilliam Museum and New Haven, Yale Center for British Art, John Linnell – A Centennial Exhibition, 1982, no. 23; 
  • London, Spink-Leger, Feeling through the eye, 2000, no. 52.


  • Katharine Crouan, John Linnell, A Centennial Exhibition, 1982, pp. 9 & 58.

This sensitive watercolour was made by Linnell during his transformative trip to Wales, when he experimented with new colour and light effects.  In August 1813, Linnell set out on a month’s tour of Wales accompanied by George Lewis, an engraver who had recently made prints, after Michelangelo’s drawings, as illustrations for William Young Ottley’s Italian Schools of Design. Linnell’s choice of travelling companion is perhaps indicative of his interest in Renaissance principals of art and his desire to combine these with his personal perceptions of landscape.

In his autobiographical notes, Linnell recorded: ‘I saw that elaborate drawing which was only to be acquired by drawing the naked figure was essential in everything – in trees and rocks as much as the figure itself and that it was their quality which I felt to be so entirely the source of all that I admired in the works of the great men of Italy and Germany.’[1]

This trip had a profound effect on Linnell, who had never been further from London than the Sussex downs. He established his independence as an artist and also abandoned his interest in a picturesque mode of landscape. As he later noted, this summer tour provided him with endless inspiration: ‘I have never visited Wales since but that one month’s study supplied me with material for life.’ 


  1. John Linnell, Autobiographical Notes, p. 46.