Our guide to arts and crafts galleries in London
The painters of the 19th century were enthralled by calm, pastoral scenes. The style of painting typical of this era might show a tranquil outdoor domestic scene. Not usually concerned with bright sunlight and deep shadows, the weather is usually depicted as clement and landscape as decorative with natural foliage in light greens and browns; often with soft blue cloud-patterned skies.
Building facades of pale browns and greys lead the eye through gently winding paths to partial glimpses of diffused horizons. Figures are set in carefully composed groups; the rustic scenes are calm and the pallette is subdued with focal points of warm browns and reds.
These picturesque settings are concerned with everyday life in rural towns. The images describe street processions, weddings, travellers stopping to rest at a coaching inn, spoils from a fishing trip and a glorious portrayal of a tranquil farmstead.
Floral compositions were also highly favoured by 19th century painters. The sumptuous, detailed arrangements of flowers are deftly composed. Rendered using tremendous depth of colour and breath-taking technique, the heavy blooms jump forward of the neutral background. The floral settings are perfect and the compositions flow naturally, creating fascinating images of peaceful abundance.
Included in the repertoire of nineteenth century painters are the exquisite equestrian portraits.
These extremely detailed side views of famous and highly prized horses are as admired today as they were two centuries ago. The artists revelled in the glorious body lines, colouring and musculature of these exquisite animals and brilliantly captured the elegance, energy and individual character of each subject.