David Cox 1783 – 1859
There is no doubt about David Cox’s importance as an artist in Wales. He worked regularly in the country after his first visit in 1805, and each summer between 1844 and 1856.
He was a frequent visitor to the Royal Oak in the village of Betws-y-Coed during these years, and he used his frequent visits to the area to study the landscape of Wales in paint and ink. His paintings were an outstanding success, causing Selby to state that the Royal Oak was close to becoming an academy for landscape artists.
Many followed Cox to the Betws-y-Coed area, strengthening the image of Wales amongst the population of England, as an mythical land of natural wonders.
We see David Cox at his best in the Welsh Landscape collection, especially in his etchings of the Snowdonia mountains. He was an expert in light and shade, understanding the passion for ‘picturesque’ images amongst the wealthy English.
Paul Sandby 1725 – 1809
It was the sponsorship of Sir Watkin Williams-Wynn that allowed Paul Sandby to work as an artist in Wales. He travelled extensively throughout the country, capturing scenes of natural beauty which became part of the Wynnstay family collection. Prints from this collection form the majority of Sandby’s work that is present in the Welsh Landscape collection.
Sandby was greatly interested in the wild Pembrokeshire landscape throughout his life, and made many studies of the county. But his work was not limited to Pembrokeshire’s borders, he travelled the length and breadth of Wales painting wild and remote landscapes.
Henry Gastineau 1791 – 1876
Gastineau studied at the Royal Academy School, where he learnt his craft as an artist. Following this, he travelled across Britain, and spent much time in Wales portraying the landscape and buildings of historic importance.
He was elected a fellow of the 'Old Watercolour Society' in 1821, and a full member of that society in 1823.
Gastineau’s images of the Welsh landscape showcase his craft as an artist, portraying Wales along with other countries famed for their natural beauty such as Switzerland and Austria. The pictures portray castles and mountains, along with coastlines and historic buildings, showing a Welsh civilization tied to the land.
Towards the end of his life he moved to London to work as an artist in Camberwell, where he died in January 1823.
John Preston Neale 1780 – 1847
Neal worked for years on The Beauties of England and Wales by John Britton 1771 – 1857, a topographic study of the lands of Britain that took 20 years to complete. The National Library of Wales has a large collection of his pencil drawings.
Many of the prints in the Welsh Landscape Collection by Neale are from the volume. They include images from every county of Wales, concentrating on the family homes of the gentry such as Gogerddan, and Middelton Hall. There are also a number of images of the landscape, showcasing the range of this artist’s ability.
William Henry Bartlett 1809 – 1854
Bartlett was educated as an architect, and became a gifted artist. Painting was his primary love, causing him to travel the world.
His interest in beautiful landscapes took him to America and Canada to paint, and even to countries in Asia. Unfortunately, only two of his paintings were exhibited in London.
He travelled extensively in Wales, creating images of a high standard including some excellent studies of the Menai Bridge in north Wales. There are also a number o seascapes from the Beaumaris and Caernarfonshire areas.
Sir Richard Colt Hoare 1758 – 1838
An English antiquarian and archaeologist, who came from the wealthy family of Sir Richard Hoare, mayor of London. As a result of his background, he had enough money to travel around Europe on his visits to the continent, in order to indulge his interest in archaeology. He learned painting and became a regular visitor to Wales.
He became very fond of Wales and its people, and took an interest in Welsh culture and society. He translated the Itineraium Cambriae, the work of Gerald of Wales from Latin to English. He made studies of Welsh landscape in paint and ink, and published his pictures in William Cox’s Historical tour in Monmouthshire in 1801.
Julius Caesar Ibbetson 1759 – 1817
Ibbeston began his career as an artist in London in 1777, and he was fortunate to display his work in The Royal Academy during 1785. He travelled extensively around the world and produced numerous pieces of art of a high standard.
He visited Wales thanks to the sponsorship of John Stuart 3rd Earl of Bute in 1789 when he worked in the Vale of Glamorgan. He stayed in Cardiff Castle for a large part of the year as he travelled through south Wales.
He had returned to Wales by 1792, travelling with his friends, John ‘Warwick’ Smith and Robert Fulke Greville. He came to love the Welsh landscape, and created successful pictures of the Aberglaslyn area. He travelled all over Wales but returned time and time again to Aberglaslyn. After his return to England, he published A Picturesque Guide in 1793, which utilised his studies in ink of the Welsh landscape.