Thomas Shotter Boys

 

Thomas Shotter Boys was hugely popular throughout the 1800s. He was, as you can imagine, renowned for his ability to capture a city’s  atmosphere with such ease that, even in the wake of the invention of the camera, he was incredibly sought after by royals everywhere to depict their domain. He was one of the advocates for color lithography. Though, he was trained as an engraver, he quickly switched to watercolor painting at the behest of other artists.

I, like many other before me, enjoy this work (not only because of its incredible drafstmanship – DAMNIT why didn’t I pay more attention in Perspective class?!) but because of its inherent ability to become a time capsule. Now that I live in Europe, though I’ve visited this area on numerous occasions, I have become jaded to the old architecture. Sometimes I have to remind myself that these are the same exact buildings that people from this era so many years ago lived in – the USA doesn’t have the architectural history that Europe has. (My parent’s boast that their house was built in the 1950’s, where my apartment building was erected in the 1870’s, and is still in better shape!) It would be quite easy to juxtapose modern people at the bottom of these images instead of the antique transportation and attire, and perhaps add a few more billboards, and voila! You have a modern day equivalent.
His compositions are stunning,  along with the smooth gradients that only watercolor can pull off, and his perspective, both linear and atmospheric, leave me speechless. If only these landscape/cityscape painters could learn to draw a figure as accurately…

Thomas Shotter Boys - A Venetian Scene (Acuarela) (1829) [Colección Privada] Belfry-in-Ghent Port_de_l'Hôtel-de-Ville,_Paris,_by_Thomas_Shotter_Boys Thomas_Shotter_Boys_(British_-_A_View_of_the_Church_of_Our_Lady_of_Hanswijk,_Mechelen_(Malines),_Belgium_-_Google_Art_Project Boys1 Thomas_Shotter_Boys_Old_town_hall_Saint-Omer Laon-Cathedral

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