JOHN ‘WARWICK’ SMITH (1749-1831)

‘Warwick’ Smith was in Italy from 1776 until 1781, his five-year trip funded by George Greville, 2nd Earl Warwick (1746-1816) who was the nephew of Sir William Hamilton (1730-1803), British Ambassador at Naples. He was there at the same time as William Pars (1742-1782), Thomas Jones (1742-1803), and, most significantly, Francis Towne (1739-1816), with whom he worked closely. Towne and Smith travelled home together late in 1781 – via Bologna, the Lakes, Switzerland (cf. no.8) and along the Rhine.

Smith continued to make small watercolour views of Italy throughout the 1780s and 1790s, and, as a culmination, published his Select Views in Italy (1792-1799). His sensitive response to both Italy’s landscape and monuments made his watercolours hugely popular, not only with those who had been in Italy, but with those who, in time, could not travel to the continent because of the Napoleonic Wars; Turner made copies of Smith’s plates from Select Views in Italy before his first trip to Italy in 1819 (Tate).

Sir John Trevelyan, 5th Baronet (1761-1846) was in Italy in 1781, where it is possible he first came across Smith, or his work. He became one of Smith’s most dedicated patrons and owned at least four of the watercolours below, as well as the major groups of Smith’s Italian watercolours in the BM and V&A. The library at Wallington Hall, Trevelyan’s home, still holds an album of Italian watercolours by Smith.

These works hang in the gallery as a Group.
They will not be for sale until 9.30am on Wednesday 20th June.
Please contact us if you are unfamilar with the buying procedure for Groups.

The watercolours are float mounted in acid-free board and framed behind Museum Glass. Their original wash-line mounts have been removed and are stored in the frame between acid free card.