British ( fl.1848 - 1872 )
|Image size||14.4 inches x 29.5 inches ( 36.5cm x 75cm )|
|Frame size||20 inches x 35.4 inches ( 51cm x 90cm )|
Available for sale from Big Sky Fine Art; this original oil painting by Hesketh Bell, dating from around 1850.
The painting is presented and supplied in a mid 20th century ornate frame (which is shown in these photographs). The painted surfaces and canvas have benefitted from some restoration, cleaning and conservation, which took place in 2012 on our instructions. The canvas was lined during this restoration process.
Hesketh Bell was an accomplished maritime and landscape artist. He was based in London, living in Loughborough Park, and later in Camberwell. Two of his paintings were exhibited at the British Institution in 1849.
This original oil on canvas has a palette of subtle natural shades, peaceful and calm. It gives us a glimpse of the famous Stonehenge, the best known Neolithic monument in Europe, as it appeared over a hundred and fifty years ago. The monument to the summer solstice, erected around 2500 BC appears in the distance, whilst Salisbury Plain, the chalk plateau in Wiltshire, central England, is depicted as vast and sparse. In the foreground of the painting is slightly higher land, with some grass and gorse, through which there is a worn path. Along the path a drover is walking with a couple of cattle and three sheep. We can tell that he has walked a long way, as the path behind him trails into the far distance. Between the drover and Stonehenge, we catch a glimpse of other travellers on the path. We think how privileged these people must have been to be able to walk right up to those ancient stones, to touch them and connect with their distant history. They probably took this wonderful landmark completely for granted, little knowing that by the twenty-first century this would be a UNESCO World Heritage Site, close to a major road, commercialised and protected from its many thousands of annual visitors.