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William Oliver, rare watercolour, Windsor Castle, Berkshire, 1880
William Oliver, rare watercolour, Windsor Castle, Berkshire, 1880
William Oliver, rare watercolour, Windsor Castle, Berkshire, 1880

William Oliver, rare watercolour, Windsor Castle, Berkshire, 1880

Regular price £12,500.00
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Stunning and rare study of Windsor Castle, Berkshire, William Oliver – pencil and watercolour, dated 1880.

William Oliver (1823–1901) was one of England's greatest 19th century artists. 

This contemporary 1880 study of Windsor Castle is Oliver's satirical attempt to revisit JM Turner's (1775-1851) Windsor Castle masterpiece, dated 1829. The pair lived three miles apart, Turner in Covent Garden; Oliver at Kensington. 

Tellingly, Oliver decides not include Turner's iconic sun over the Windsor's flagpole. This may have been a reaction to Turner's obsession with sol and sun – for what reason we may never know. But it is important.

Oliver chooses instead to replicate Turner's terrestrial subjects such as "man and dog on punt" (bottom right), "barge and mast" (bottom right) "Thames barge" (centre), and most significantly, "white horse" bottom left. The Oliver scene is cropped slightly to the left of the Thames, compared to Turner's, placing the Windor's flagpole to the top, left corner rather than Turner's centre top.

Oliver was patron to the royal family, and one of his oils remains in the Royal Collection. Titled Jack's Letter, it is signed and dated 1881, just months after this classic reworking of Windsor Castle, minus the sun.

Oliver's status as the London's best watercolourist of the late 19th century was unrivalled, and Jack's Letter was presented as a wedding present to the Duke and Duchess of York, on July 6 1893.

Oliver enrolled as student at the Royal Academy Schools of the Royal Academy of Arts in 1848. His exceptional talent was immediately identified.

He won 1st prize for his drawing from the antique in 1851 in the annual Premiums, resulting in him receiving a pretigious commission in the early 1850s. The Arundel Society sent Oliver to tour Northern Italy and make drawings and watercolours of the classical masterpieces in the churches and galleries. Engravings were then made from these drawings, and he played a key role in producing one of the Society's most important early publications. Copies of the book of the engravings are in the collections of the Royal Academy and the Royal Collection Trust.

Three of the watercolours are held by the Victoria and Albert Museum.

By the late 1860s he was based in London. His favoured exhibition venue was the Royal Academy of Arts. He toured London's classical buildings, sketching out drawings, some of which resulted in watercolour like this one of Windsor Castle.

More than 30 of his paintings are still exhibited in public museums and galleries throughout the United Kingdom.

A certificate of authenticity is included. Also included for free is an exclusive accompanying booklet on The Stephen Neale Art Collection, as well a detailed biography of William Oliver and this 1880 study of Windsor Castle from the River Thames.



Signed: Lower right

Inscribed: Inscribed, signed and dated 1880 in pencil

Height: 21cm (8″) Width: 28cm (11″)

Condition: Black spots to right side of picture; foxing to the top and right of sky 

Presented: Unframed