Research by Marjorie Gregson
Acc No 153
Artist James Elliot
Artist dates 1850-1899
Medium oil on card
Size 21.6 X 27.4 cm (8.75 x 10.75 in)
Date painted unknown
Inscr: signed (L.L.)
Date donated unknown
Also in the Collection: A Highland Loch by James Elliot
The artist, identified by his signature, is James Elliot. His distinctive signature has the initials of his name conjoined as can be seen on this painting in the bottom left hand corner. This compares with that on several of his paintings in national collections.
According to 'The Dictionary of British Art, Victorian Painters' by Christopher Wood, his name was wrongly listed as Elliott with two t’s in 'The Royal Academy of Arts: a complete dictionary of contributors and their work from its foundation in 1769 to 1904' by Graves. This confusion may have arisen as there was also a Devon painter named James Elliott, born 1833, who painted scenes of Cornwall and Devon.
Elliot was a landscape painter, primarily of Welsh landscapes, who exhibited at the Royal Academy‘s annual exhibitions between 1884 and 1897 and also at the Suffolk Street Gallery in London.
His birthplace in 1850 was given as Scotland although he later lived at various addresses in Manchester and on the 1881 census there is a James Elliot, described as a landscape artist, lodging in Betws-y-Coed. The Snowdonia village was a thriving centre for artists during the 1800s and became known as the first artists’ colony in Britain.
The Liverpool Mercury of 23 June 1886 reported that two of his paintings shown at the Southport Spring Exhibition in the Atkinson Art Gallery were priced at £15. These were On the Liddal and On the Llugwy.
An article entitled 'Welsh Exhibitors at the Royal Academy', which appeared in The Western Mail (Cardiff) on 3 May 1890, stated that 'Mr. James Elliott (sic), Miner’s Bridge House, Betws-y-Coed, sends a landscape, A Flood on the Glaslyn, a work of considerable merit'.
Other works include
On the Gwyedd (1888) Kirklees Museums and Galleries
Birch Wood in the Lledr Valley Williamson Art Galleries and
On Snowdon (1886) National Gallery of Wales
In the Valley of the Ogwen (1885)
Those Heavenly Hills All Veiled in Mist (1895)
Rain Clearing Off (1897)
A Quiet Spot for Contemplation
The Last Rays of Sunlight (1889)
A Highland Loch Lytham St Annes Art Collection
His death was reported in The Scotsman on 10 August 1899:
SUDDEN DEATH OF A SCOTTISH ARTIST IN WALES
Mr. James Elliot, a well-known Manchester landscape artist, died suddenly at Bettws-y-Coed, North Wales, late on Tuesday night. A few weeks ago the deceased contracted a cold while attending his father's funeral at Annan, and from that he never recovered. The deceased was the eldest son of the late Mr. Robert Elliot, factor on Mr. Salkeld's estate at Warmanbie. He was a frequent exhibitor in the art exhibitions in Manchester, where he mostly resided, going to Wales for the summer and autumn. He also occasionally exhibited his work in the Royal Academy. He was in the prime of life and gave promise of a successful career in art work. He is survived by a widow with no family
The picture is aptly titled. The light green tones of the lowlands in the foreground lead the eyes across the peaceful landscape. Rolling hills in the middle ground are backed by the highlands, which are lit by light from the sky.
The foreground is painted in a range of stronger colours and textures whilst the background has less detail so as not to disturb the overall balance. The colours used enhance the effect of landscape receding into the distance.
Two bonneted figures stand on the path looking at the grazing sheep and it is the blue garment worn by one which draws the attention.
The mood created by the artist in this harmonious composition is one of warmth and tranquility.