Thomas Smith of Derby (Derby c. 1720 - 1767 Bristol) A view ...





Thomas Smith of Derby (Derby c. 1720 - 1767 Bristol)
A view of Oxford looking across from the Southern Edge of Christ Church Meadows with figures
Oil on canvas
Signed, 'Thos Smith'

Hailed by his contemporaries as a landscape painter on a par with Salvator Rosa, Claude, Poussin and Vernet, Thomas Smith of Derby appears to have been the, largely self-taught, son of the currier.

Smith was one of the first artists to specialise in beautiful and accurately observed depictions of the English countryside. In fact, he would  remain in and around Derby for most of his life, to the point of becoming synonymous with the place. In 1741 he married a lady called Hannah, most likely Hannah Sylvester, and they had four children together, including the renowned painter John Raphael Smith (1751 - 1812) and the miniaturist Thomas Corregio Smith. Their daughter Sophia also became an artist. 

During his own formative years Smith is thought to have come into contact with the works of itinerant landscape painters like Jan Siberechts, Leonard Knyff and Pieter Tillemans, all of whom worked, albeit at different times, for the Earl and Dukes of Devonshire at Chatsworth. He may well have seen landscapes by John Wotton and his pupil George Lambert in other local collections. Judging by his treatment of trees and foliage it would appear that he had been further influenced by Italian and Netherlandish artists, and we know that collected, and sometimes dealt in, such paintings himself in later life. 

To enable wider distribution Smith's works, starting with his landscapes of the Peak District, were reproduced as series of engravings, initially by himself and subsequently by some of the best engravers of the time; established names such as French Huguenot refugee François Vivares, with whom Smith would collaborate throughout his life, and Gérard Scotin, another Huguenot settler, who would go on to engrave some of the Hogarth's famous series Marriage a la Mode. The artist very rarely signed his oil paintings, presumably because they were intended for engraving (by which time his authorship would be acknowledged by the engraver). 

He kept most of his original works with him until he died in 1767 at the Hot Wells, Bristol, after which they were sold off in two major auctions, the latter taking place in the Great Piazza, Covent Garden, in February 1769.

Thomas Smith lived in Bridge Gate in Derby and is known to have exhibited at the Society of Artists and the Free Society of Artists from 1760 to 1767. 

(Canvas) 27.25 in. (H) x 48.25 in. (W)
(Frame) 51.75 in. (H) x 30.4 in. (W)

Auction Date: 29th Jun 2023 at 2pm

Fees apply to the hammer price:

Room and Absentee Bids:
1 to 450000: 30% inc VAT*
450001 to 4000000: 24% inc VAT*
4000001+: 18% inc VAT*
Online and Autobids:
1 to 450000: 30% inc VAT*
450001 to 4000000: 24% inc VAT*
4000001+: 18% inc VAT*
*These fees include buyers premiums and internet surcharges.
Please see the auctioneers terms & conditions for more information

Other Lots in this Auction

Sale Dates:
29th Jun 2023 2pm (Lots 1 to 344)