|Alternative Title||Landscape with a Ruined Bridge; Paysage avec un pont en ruine|
|Collection||Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle|
|Artist||Valenciennes, Pierre Henri de (French painter, 1750-1819)|
|Description||This dramatic scene demonstrates Valenciennes's predilection for painting nature. Swathes of light and rain descend from a brooding sky onto a jagged and mountainous coast where spume rises from the crashing waves. In the foreground the artist's brushwork recreates the effect of the wind blowing through the wild grass and bushes. A small figure gives scale to the rocky heights of the cliff to the right and provides a sense of human drama amid the violent storm. He motions urgently towards a ruined bridge which must have fallen into the swollen river below.|
|Current Accession Number||B.M.448|
|Former Accession Number||No. 540; No. 38|
|Inscription||front ll 'Val. 1817'|
|Measurements||40.8 x 48.2 cm cm (estimate)|
|Material||oil on canvas|
|Acquisition Details||Bequeathed by the founders John and Joséphine Bowes 1885.|
|Provenance||Possibly purchased by the Comte de L'Espine at the Valenciennes sale, 8, quai des Orfevres, Paris, 26-29 April 1819; possibly by descent to Alexandre-Émile, Vicomte de l'Espine; probably purchased by Lamer after the Vicomte de l'Espine's death, 1865; purchased from Lamer, Paris, by John and Joséphine Bowes, 26 August 1865, total 420 francs for four paintings by Valenciennes and two by Achille-Etna Michallon.|
|Principal Exhibitions||Pierre-Henri de Valenciennes, Musée Paul Dupuy, Toulouse, 1956 - 1957, cat. no. 109 as Paysage avec un pont en ruine; The Romantic Movement, Tate Gallery and Arts Council Gallery, London, 1959, cat. no. 362 as Landscape with a Ruined Bridge; Some Paintings from the Bowes Museum, Arts Council (touring), 1959, cat. no. 8 as Landscape with a Ruined Bridge; Paintings from the Bowes Museum, Royal Albert Memorial Museum, Exeter, Arts Council, 1962, cat. no. 11 as Landscape with a Ruined Bridge; Art Treasures of England: The Regional Collections Royal Academy, London, 1998, cat. no. 335 as Landscape with a Ruined Bridge; Hidden Treasures of the Bowes Museum, Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle, 2001 - 2002; The Road to Impressionism: Joséphine Bowes and Painting in Nineteenth Century France, Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle, 2002 - Mar 2003, cat. no. 100.|
|Publications||Miquel, P., Paysage et société, 1800-1900, l'école de la nature, Maurs-la-Jolie, 1975, vol. 5, p. 97; Rosenthal, N., et al, Art Treasures of England: The Regional Collections, London, 1998, pp. 390-391; Coutts, H., The Road to Impressionism: Joséphine Bowes and Painting in Nineteenth Century France, Barnard Castle, 2002, pp. 16, 19, 45, 92, pls.17 and 100.|
Recorded in John Bowes' catalogue as no. 540, 'Strong wind on the Sea Shore - On the right a Rock with Clouds round the Summit'. Recorded as no. 38 in 1877 list of paintings in the Bowes collection at the rue de Berlin.
The sale of the contents of Valenciennes' studio, his library, and his collection of natural history, took place at 18, quai des Orfèvres, Paris, on Monday 26 April 1819 and the three following days. The sale catalogue did not list paintings in detail individually. Lot 7 was described as ‘Environ cent vingt Esquisses, peintes à l'huile, faites d'après nature, à Rome, et ayant servi de modèles aux élèves de feu M. Valenciennes.' It is possible that Valenciennes's paintings in the Bowes collection were originally sold at this sale to the Comte de l'Espine. The family of the Comte de l'Espine had one of the largest collections of paintings by Valenciennes and Achille-Etna Michallon. A large proportion of the works were bequeathed to the Louvre by Princess Louis de Cröy, great-granddaughter of the original Comte de l'Espine, in 1932.
A bill, dated 26 August 1865, from Lamer to John and Joséphine Bowes lists '4 tableaux Valenciennes garantis' with two paintings by Achille-Etna Michallon for 420 francs. Two of these works are labelled on the back with 'Vte de l'Espine'. It is probable that this painting also came from that collection.
|Rights Owner||The Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle, Co. Durham|
|Author||Dr Anne L. Cowe|