Research by Marjorie Gregson
Acc No 153
Artist James Elliot
Artist dates 1850 - ?
Medium Oil on card
Size 8.75 x 10.75 in (21.6 X 27.4 cm)
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.
(There was a Devon painter called James Elliott. He was born in 1833 and 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. He 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. His birthplace was given as Scotland in 1850. 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.
On 3 May 1890 an article in The Western Mail, Cardiff, entitled 'Welsh Exhibitors at the Royal Academy', 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
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 the artist skilfully creates in this harmonious composition is one of warmth and tranquillity.