Romantic Watercolor: The Hickman Bacon Collection

Thursday, October 10, 2002
Sunday, January 5, 2003

From the 1890s to the eve of the First World War, Sir Hickman Bacon (1855–1945) assembled an extraordinary collection of British watercolors. The collection, which remained in the family, is the greatest of its type still in private hands. It is rich in works by the giants of romantic watercolor painting, including John Robert Cozens, Thomas Girtin, John Sell Cotman, and above all Joseph Mallord William Turner. Organized by the Dulwich Picture Gallery, the exhibition showcased eighty-two of the most outstanding sheets from this remarkable collection, which were shown in this country for the first time.

The watercolors were selected by Eric Shanes, an independent art historian and expert on Turner. The David T. Langrock Foundation generously supported the exhibition in New Haven.

At the Center, the presentation of the watercolors from the Hickman Bacon Collection was supplemented by a small display on the techniques of watercolor painting in the early nineteenth century, including drawing manuals and paint boxes from the Center’s own collection. Also on view from the Center’s holdings was a select group of large watercolors created for public exhibition, the sort of highly elaborated watercolors that did not appeal to Sir Hickman Bacon but played their own important role in the development of Romantic watercolor painting.

David Cox, The Junction of the Severn and the Wye with Chepstow in the Distance (detail), 1830, watercolor with stopping out, rubbing out, scraping out, and gouache, Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Fund


Dulwich Picture Gallery, London:
September 19, 2001–January 6, 2002

Yale Center for British Art:
October 10, 2002–January 10, 2003