Lines and Colors art blog

Richard Parkes Bonington
Richard Parkes Bonington was one of the great English landscape painters at the height of the grand era of landscape painting in the 1800’s, and a notable figure in the English watercolor movement.

He is credited with carrying the influence of both of those artistic waves to Continental Europe and inspiring many European painters to take up the practice of painting with watercolor, including Delacroix.

In his tragically short life of twenty six years, and a career as a painter that lasted only ten, he produced a notable body of work; with fresh, atmospheric paintings that bent the rules of what was acceptable in painting at the time, and helped lay the groundwork on which later sharp breaks with tradition (i.e. Impressionism) would be based.

He preferred to work outdoors, and took his compositions from modern life rather than composing “history paintings” in which the landscape was subservient to some concept of classical antiquity or religious significance.

His paintings are notable for their sweeping skies, atmospheric haze and quick suggestions of texture in place of labored rendering.


4 responses to “Richard Parkes Bonington”

  1. I love the detail that emerges from that quick suggestion of texture. What did he die of? That is younger than I am now and I am surely not painting any vast mysterious-yet-everyday scenes of docks.

  2. He apparently contracted some kind of illness on a sketching trip that resulted in consumption (TB).

  3. Thanks or this post on Bonington. I have been looking for some work on him for some years now. I only found a tiny book by John Ingamells with a nice full biography but sadly also an overemphasis on his historical painting instead of his superb landscapes. Great to see some of his work here.


  4. Thank you for the introduction to this artist. I have not had the pleasure of viewing his work , he is quite good, thanks again for the excellent post.