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Tuesday 27 February 2018

Richard Parkes Bonington’s lithograph, “Brackline”, 1826

Richard Parkes Bonington (1802–1828)

“Brackline”, 1826, after a drawing (1824) by François Alexandre Pernot (1793–1865), published by Charles Gosselin (1792–1859) in “Vues pittoresques de l'Ecosse, d'après nature” (1826–28) showing views of  Scotland with accompanying text written by Amédée Pichot (1795–1877), printed by François le Villain (fl.1824–1835).

Lithograph in black ink on wove paper lined with a support sheet.
Size: (sheet) 24.5 x 34.8 cm; (image borderline) 17.1 x 24 cm
Lettered on plate below the image borderline: (left) “Lith. par Bonington, d'après les dessins de F.A.Pernot.”; (centre) “BRACKLINE”; (right) “Imp. Lith. de Villain."

There are at least two states of this print. The British Museum has a second state copy signified by non-italicised publication details (see BM no. 1861,0810.175) and the Yale Centre for British Art has a copy with italicised publication details (see the same as this impression. Accordingly, this impression and the one from Yale are either from the first state or after the second state.

Curtis 1939 36. (Atherton Curtis 1939, “Catalogue de l'oevre lithographié et gravé de RPB”, Paris)
See also Ernest Aglaüs Bouvenne 1873, “Catalogue de l'oeuvre gravé et lithographié de R.P. Bonington”, Paris, Jules Claye, p. 28 (this publication [in French] may be downloaded through
The British Museum offers the following description of this print:
“A small waterfall gushes down between two rocks and runs towards the left of the image under a low hanging branch. 1826 Lithograph”

Condition: well-inked and well-printed impression in excellent condition (i.e. there are no tears, holes, folds, abrasions, stains or foxing, but there are very light handling marks at the lower edge). The lithograph is laid onto a support sheet of conservator’s fine archival/millennium quality washi paper. There is an ink collector's stamp and monogram that is visible through the tissue-thin support sheet (verso).

I am selling this small but graphically strong lithograph executed by one of great luminaries of 19th century watercolour—indeed so marvellous was he that even Delacroix when writing to Théophile Thoré in 1861 described Bonington’s artwork as “a type of diamond which flatters and ravishes the eye”—for AU$128 (currently US$99.70/EUR81.56/GBP71.74 at the time of this listing). Postage for this print is extra and will be the actual/true cost of shipping.

If you are interested in purchasing this beautifully preserved lithograph exemplifying the romantic spirit, please contact me ( and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

This print has been sold

When I was researching this print I found only one description of it which mentions the heron lightly scratched into the shadows at the lower left of the composition. This is a shame as I like the sketchy way the bird is treated. For me, the freely drawn lines suggest a peripheral impression of the bird, or rather an intuitive recognition of the bird lying slightly outside of the focus of the rest of the scene. I mention this tiny feature in the composition as it shows Bonington’s ability to merge the pictorial reality of what he observed and wished to portray with the reality that the image is just a graphic illusion.

Regarding Bonington’s creative play in making this lithograph, I should point out that that the artist, François Alexandre Pernot—whose drawing that this print is purportedly based upon—did not especially like Bonington’s prints. In fact, Bouvenne (1873) asserts (in translation) that “Mr. Pernot had little taste for Bonington lithographs and complained that in his first plans the artist allowed himself to go too much to the taste of the picturesque” (p. 7).

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