The Valley of the Seine seen from the terrace of the Château de Saint-Germain

James Mackinnon

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William Callow (1812-1908)
The Valley of the Seine seen from the terrace of the Château de Saint-Germain
18 1/2 x 28 5/8 in. • 470 x 727 mm
21 5/8 x 27 1/3 in. • 55 x 69 cm

Exhibition History

Exhibited: ( ?)Salon, Paris, 1834, no. 268,  Vue prise de la terrasse de St. Germain</em

Further Information

William CALLOW, R.W.S.
Greenwich 1812-1908 Great Missenden

The Valley of the Seine seen from the terrace of the Château de Saint-Germain

47 x 72 cm 18 1/2 x 28 5/8 inches

Exhibited: ( ?)Salon, Paris, 1834, no. 268, Vue prise de la terrasse de St. Germain

This is surely the watercolour Callow exhibited at the Paris Salon in 1834, the first time he had participated, together with three marine subjects. His virtuoso display in handling the wide areas of watercolour on this scale would have impressed the French clientele familiar with his precursor Richard Parkes Bonington and his slightly older but near contemporary, Thomas Shotter Boys.

In 1828 Callow had moved to Paris when still only 16 as assistant to the Swiss publisher Ostervald, working on the engravings commissioned from other English artists such as Thales Fielding. He became increasingly close to Thales's brother Newton, a friend of Richard Parkes Bonington (1802-1828) and in 1830 they shared rooms in the rue St.Honoré. Both Boys and Callow moved briefly to Brussels and London during the 1830 revolution. He then returned to work with Boys, for whom he made numerous pencil drawings of Paris as the basis for Boys's own watercolours and subsequent lithographs. Many are containe din an album in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. Following Newton Fielding's return to London in 1833, Callow's apprenticeship ended and he moved in with Boys, sharing a studio until 1834, a period when he developed his own style and independent personality.

Callow then began building up a substantial practice as a drawing master, instructing members of the ruling Orléans family, including the Duc de Nemours and the Princesse Clémentine. In 1836 he undertook a strenuous walking tour in France, which provided him with much material for later watercolours. His work of the l830's and 1840's is remarkable for the sense of light, power of observation and most of all for the brilliant technique with unrivalled crispness that Callow had by now developed.

His subsequent travels were extensive and he showed his work over many years at exhibitions in Paris and London, travelling widely in Europe following his return to live in England, where he died at the great age of 96.