Tag Archives: Off the Coast of Cornwall by William Trost Richards

#FineArtFriday: Off the Coast of Cornwall by William Trost Richards 1904

Artist: William Trost Richards  (1833–1905)

Title: Off the Coast of Cornwall

  • Genre: landscape art
  • Date: 1904
  • Medium: oil on canvas
  • Dimensions : Height: 55.9 cm (22 in); Width: 91.4 cm (35.9 in)
  • Collection   Private collection
  • Inscriptions: Signature and date bottom left: W.T. Richards.04.

What I love about this painting:

It is a blustery day, along a rugged seacoast. Intermittent rain squalls blow through, and when one passes the sun peeps out, the bright lull between storms. The sea is that dark greenish color reflecting the sky, a quality stormy waters here in the North Pacific coast often have. It is of a shore in Cornwall, England, but it feels as familiar as if it were the coast of my home, Washington State.

What I love most about how Richards depicted the water is the milk-glass opaqueness of the green water and the way the light seems to shine through the waves.

About the Artist via Wikipedia:

William Trost Richards  rejected the romanticized and stylized approach of other Hudson River painters and instead insisted on meticulous factual renderings. His views of the White Mountains are almost photographic in their realism. In later years, Richards painted almost exclusively marine watercolors.

In the summer of 1874 Richards visited Newport, Rhode Island, and became enthralled with the area’s sublime coastline. He purchased his first of several Newport area homes in 1875 and continued to paint there for the rest of his life, dividing time between Newport and Chester County, Pennsylvania, where he purchased a farm near the Brandywine in 1884. Richards made many excursions to Europe, especially Britain and Ireland, where he produced an important body of work.

He was married to the the poet and playwright Anna Matlack, with whom he had eight children, only five of whom lived past infancy. Matlack educated the children at home to a pre-college level in the arts and sciences. One of their sons, Theodore William Richards, would later win the 1914 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Anna Richards Brewster, their sixth child, went on to become an important painter in her own right, having received an early arts education from her father as well.

Richards was one of the few 19th century American landscape artists who was equally skilled as a watercolorist and a painter in oils. His drawings are considered among the finest of his generation. Many of his drawing still survive.

Today, Richards is highly regarded for the luminist seascapes, images imbued with light and atmosphere, that he created along the Rhode Island, New Jersey and British coasts. Luminist landscapes emphasize tranquility, and often depict calm, reflective water and a soft, hazy sky.


Credits and Attributions:

Off the Coast of Cornwall, by William Trost Richards / Public domain

Wikimedia Commons contributors, “File:William Trost Richards – Off the Coast of Cornwall.jpg,” Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:William_Trost_Richards_-_Off_the_Coast_of_Cornwall.jpg&oldid=288660467 (accessed June 4, 2020).

Wikipedia contributors, “William Trost Richards,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=William_Trost_Richards&oldid=939570835 (accessed June 4, 2020).

Wikipedia contributors, “Anna Matlack Richards,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Anna_Matlack_Richards&oldid=933481876 (accessed June 4, 2020).

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