Mary Mitford watercolour of Dovedale
October 9, 2015 2 Comments
Buxton Museum and Art Gallery is thrilled to announce its latest eighteenth-century acquisition. The Museum was successful in securing funding from the Museum Association’s Beecroft Bequest, to acquire a watercolour of Dovedale painted by Mary Mitford.
This watercolour is important as it is a rare and early example of a woman artist painting in Dovedale. Little is known about the life of Mary Mitford, she was born around 1742 and appears to have been working up until around 1774. We don’t know when Mitford visited Derbyshire but we do possess another watercolour by her, showing the old baths at Matlock Bath.
Mitford’s brothers, Colonel William Mitford and Lord Redesdale were both students of William Gilpin and Mary’s watercolours follow the Gilpin tradition. Kim Sloan in ‘A Noble Art’ (2000) has suggested that she was a pupil of William Marlow. This is interesting as Marlow painted the bath complex in Matlock Bath too, a painting that we bought as part of the Enlightenment! project in 2011.
Mitford ‘s work is poorly represented in museum collections. The British Museum has a watercolour attributed to her showing a scene in Switzerland, which is very similar in style to the Dovedale watercolour.