In Front of Nature

USD $35.00



ISBN: 978-1-907804-10-6

120 Pages

240 x 255 mm (10 x 9 ½ in)

90 colour illustrations

In association with The Barber Institute of Fine Arts, University of Birmingham

October 2012


The first monograph in English on Thomas Fearnley (1802–1842), a major romantic landscape artist from Norway.

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In Front of Nature covers the full range of Fearnley’s paintings, from large dramatic canvases to oil sketches produced en plein air during his Europe-wide travels. The latter reveal an innovative artist, deeply committed to naturalism, and ripe for a major re-evaluation. The book also examines the artist’s British links both through his Yorkshire ancestors and as a result of his visit from 1836–8.

Five essays consider Fearnley’s career: Ernst Haverkamp discusses his Norwegian upbringing and early studies; David Jackson examines Fearnley’s contribution to the oil sketching tradition in Italy; Ann Sumner investigates the artist’s English work, including his Lake District sketches; Greg Smith focuses on the image of the artist in the landscape; and Kate Lowry adds a note on his painting technique. The volume illustrates 90 works by Fearnley and his contemporaries (many unpublished). These include major paintings from the Nasjonalmuseet (National Museum), Oslo, and from private collections in Norway, America and Britain.

Author biographies

Ann Sumner is currently Head of Cultural Engagement at the University of Leeds and was formerly director of The Barber Institute of Fine Arts, University of Birmingham.

Greg Smith is an independent art historian and exhibition curator.

Ernst Haverkamp is Senior Curator, Department of Old Masters and Modern Art, National Museum of Art, Architecture
and Design, Oslo.

David Jackson is Professor of Russian and Scandinavian Art Histories, University of Leeds.

Kate Lowry is a freelance paintings conservator.

Table of Contents

  1. Preface and Acknowledgements
  2. Introduction: Thomas Fearnley (1802–1842): A European artist by Greg smith and Ann Sumner
  3. Chapter 1 – Thomas Fearnley: A Nordic background by Ernst Haverkamp
  4. Chapter 2 –  Fearnley, Italy and the oil sketch tradition by David Jackson
  5. Chapter 3 – ‘a man of more genius – in landscape’: Thomas Fearnley in England, 1836–8 by Ann Sumner
  6. Chapter 4 – Thomas Fearnley: A landscape artist in the frame by Greg Smith
  7. Chapter 5 – Thomas Fearnley: A technical examination of his oil paintings by Kate Lowry
  8. Chronology
  9. Select Bibliography
  10. List of Exhibits
  11. Photographic Acknowlegements
  12. Authors’ Biographies
  13. Index