The Falls of the West Lynn at Lynmouth, North Devon
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From the Collection
Lynmouth and Lynton are adjoining villages in north Devon straddling a gorge where the East and West Lynn rivers meet. This view is taken on the West Lynn just south of the confluence of the rivers.
De Wint’s first visit to Devon appears to have been in the summer of 1841 as the present watercolour was his first exhibited watercolour of the area, in 1842. A sketch of Lynmouth, dated 22nd September 1841, is in an album in the British Museum. He appears to have travelled along the North Somerset coast visiting Dunster and Minehead continuing to Lynmouth across the border in Devon but no further. A view of Dunster Castle is in the collection of the University of Liverpool (see David Scrase, Drawings and Watercolours by Peter de Wint, 1979, no.88) and `At Minehead’ is in the Victoria and Albert Museum (op.cit., no.90). He may subsequently have visited his patron Mr Champernowne of Dartington Hall in South Devon.
His wife Harriet de Wint’s Memoir of Peter de Wint records this visit: `He had been some years previously into Somersetshire, and as far as Lynton in North Devon, with which he was much pleased. Minehead and Dunster he considered very beautiful, and the cottages, &c., highly picturesque’ (quoted in Hammond Smith, Peter de Wint, 1982, p.125).
Stylistically this work is typical of his late atmospheric watercolours with its loose application and extensive use of scratching out. The use of white bodycolour on the herons and the foaming water is a feature of his watercolours dating from the 1840s. Another version of this watercolour, without the pair of herons in the foreground, is in the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery.
From the Watercolour World