Description: John Brett, A.R.A. (1831-1902)
Jerbourg Head, Guernsey
inscribed and dated 'Jerbourg Aug 3 74' (lower right)
oil on canvas
10 x 19¼ in. (25.4 x 49 cm.)
Exhibited: Springfield, 1993.
Literature: C. Payne, John Brett, Yale, 2010, no. 712.
Provenance: Rev. D. Jelley; Christie's, London, 2 June 1989, lot 148.
with Christopher Wood.
with Shepherd Gallery, New York, 1989, where purchased by the present owner.
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This work, the earliest known example of Brett's larger sketch format of 10 x 19 in., was painted during the first of his two visits to Guernsey, and shows Jerbourg Point in the south-east of the island. The viewpoint is high above Moulin Huet Bay, looking towards the unusual group of rocks known as Le Tas de Pois d'Amont, with the island of Jersey beyond in the far distance. The sketch was one of the sources for Brett's Royal Academy work the next year, Spires and Steeples of the Channel Islands (whereabouts unknown). In his Notes on the 1875 Academy, Ruskin described this picture as 'without any question the best bit of sea and atmosphere in the rooms.' This comment could apply equally well to the sketch, which is also noteworthy for the way in which 'the paint on the water surface in the bay ...(is) laid with extreme science in alternations of color [sic].'