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Serene pastoral landscapes by prominent West Sussex painter at Bonhams 19th Century Paintings Sale
Edward Stott, ARA, The labourer's cottage - suppertime. Estimate: £20,000 – 30,000. Photo: Bonhams.

LONDON.- Two atmospheric works by renowned Sussex painter Edward Stott ARA (1859-1918) will be among the highlights of Bonhams 19th Century paintings, drawings and watercolours sale on 23rd January 2013, at New Bond Street. The two paintings, which have not been seen on the market for nearly 100 years, show peaceful scenes of the Sussex countryside, near the artist’s home in Amberley.

‘The labourer’s cottage – suppertime’, estimated at £20,000 – 30,000 shows a family group outside their cottage at dusk, while ‘Peaceful rest’, estimated at £30,000 – 50,000 represents a shepherd bringing his flock down to the floodplains to drink.

Edward Stott made a significant departure from the pre-Raphaelite style employed by many artists in the late 19th Century, preferring to modify the ‘plein-air’ painting of his youth and developing a mature British Impressionist manner. While he exhibited alongside artists such as Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones Bt., ARA, RWS (1833-1898) and George Frederick Watts RA (1817-1904), he was opposed to their grand rhetoric. His direct and intimate style was well suited to portraying the family groups and farming scenes of the Sussex countryside, which captivated the artist.

Stott’s affection for Amberley, where he moved in 1889, and where he is buried, is clear from the atmospheric and often poetic overtones in these paintings. His sympathetic images of farmers and their families were the result of direct contact with the local people. He developed a deep familiarity with the countryside and by the turn of the 20th Century, he had truly succumbed to the charm of his surroundings.

The paintings offered for sale celebrate rural life in a time when industry and mechanisation was becoming increasingly important. There was a growing sense of instability leading up to the turn of the century, with tension between the old country ways and modern urbanisation affecting the way society developed. While many painters of this period injected a narrative or morality into their works, Stott focussed on creating atmosphere by using soft brushwork and a resonant palette of evening colours.

Charles O’Brien, Head of 19th Century Pictures commented, “Stott’s paintings are stunning representations of the rolling countryside in West Sussex. His approach is almost Symbolist, and his aim was to portray what he saw through a highly sensitive use of light and colour. In this respect he is almost unique among his peers. They are sensitively painted and there is a sense of nostalgia for a way of life which was fast being eroded in the late 19th Century. Against the backdrop of industrialisation, these exquisite landscapes are a real celebration of rural life. Both paintings have been in a private collection for some time, so it is exciting to see them emerge onto the open market.”

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