Eye Candy for Today: Samuel Prout street scene

French Street with a Medieval Turret, Samuel Prout
French Street with a Medieval Turret, Samuel Prout

In the National Gallery of Art, DC.

The National Gallery’s page says this was done in brush and watercolor, as apparently does the artist’s inscription, but I would have assumed an initial drawing in pen and brown ink. Though it exists in that fascinating boundary between drawing and painting that watercolor often traverses, this feels much more like a drawing than a painting to me.

It’s hard to tell if some color has been lost since the early 19th century, but I love the subtle bits of color, particularly blue, within the otherwise largely monochromatic composition. I also love the atmospheric feeling of the background street, and wonderful touches like the stylish sign on the wine store.

The original is roughly 12×9 inches (30x22cm).

6 Replies to “Eye Candy for Today: Samuel Prout street scene”

  1. I found the answer in E. Cobham Brewer 1810–1897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
    Body-colour (A).
    Is a paint containing a body or consistency. In water-colours it is mixed with white lead and laid on thickly. 1

  2. In the 17th century a number of Dutch artists made what they accurately described as ‘pen-paintings.’ One such artist was Willem van de Velde the younger, famous for his seascapes, maritime depictions and naval battles. The technique shown here would seem to be an outgrowth of that tradition.

Comments are closed.