William Matthison (1853-1926)
New College, Oxford: Front Quad
35 x 52 cm
Signed lower right.
A charming watercolour of New College’s Front Quad complete with members of the college in academic dress, wandering birds, and a gardener mowing the grass.
William of Wykeham, who founded New College in 1379, was an ambitious builder. His vision for the college was of a Chapel, Hall, Library, and rooms for tutors and students to work and live in, all of which would be built around a quadrangle. This was the first time a college had been set in this way, and it became a model for colleges worldwide.
Matthison was born near Birmingham and attended King Edward’s School in the city. He learnt drawing at the Birmingham Central School of Art and then became a pupil of Birmingham artist Edward Watson. He became a professional artist in 1875 and moved to Oxfordshire a few years after; this was where he had the opportunity to produce many of the Oxford views for which he is known today.
In 1902 he moved to Park Town in Oxford and was commissioned by Robert Peel to paint more than seventy views of the University of Oxford, which were subsequently made into postcards. Priced at seven for a shilling, they were only available from E Cross of Pembroke Street (a long-since closed business). Raphael Tuck & Sons also commissioned him to produce postcard scenes of Cambridge.
Matthison’s views of Oxford were later printed in Fifty Watercolour Drawings of Oxford, published in 1912 by Alden & Co.
Condition: generally very good; a few spots to sky.
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