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Richard Parkes Bonington, On the Seine – Morning

Key facts
Full title On the Seine – Morning
Artist Richard Parkes Bonington
Artist dates 1802 - 1828
Date made about 1825
Medium and support Oil on millboard
Dimensions 30.3 × 35 cm
Acquisition credit Accepted by HM Government in lieu of Inheritance Tax and allocated to the National Gallery, 2019
Inventory number NG6681
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
On the Seine – Morning
Richard Parkes Bonington

Two boats are moored along the right bank of the river Seine as it passes through a peaceful landscape edged with slender trees. Ethereal forms in muted greys and greens are set against a luminous sky, the whole bathed in pearly morning light. The more substantial manner in which the boats are painted makes a marked contrast with the ghostly trees, the whole tied together by reflections on the still water. The figure seated in the boat lends the landscape human scale, his red tunic drawing our eye and anchoring our gaze in this light-filled insubstantial scene.

This painting, which may be an imaginary composition rather than a study made in the open air, is one of several views of the Seine that Bonington made after returning to France from his 1825 trip to London. Such scenes were inspired by Bonington’s observation of the French landscape as well as the work of his British contemporaries, Turner and Constable.

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