Signed H. Moxon Cook Art Gallery collection pre-1974
Herbert Moxon Cook was a highly respected English painter who is remembered for his coastal and landscape painting. He was born in Manchester in 1844 and lived in London for several years before moving to Prestatyn, North Wales, hungry for the wild landscapes of the Atlantic shoreline, the islands and the highlands. He travelled around the west coasts of Scotland and Ireland where he painted Slievemore on Achill, when the familiar landmark was shrouded in mist (private collection), and showed his work with the WCSI regularly between 1886 and 1906. Like the great English watercolourist, J.M.W. Turner, Moxon Cook also painted in Switzerland, Austria and Italy, exulting in the challenges of the Alps and the climatic conditions. At home in the United Kingdom he exhibited regularly from 1866 onwards with the R. A, the RSA, the Glasgow Institute, the Royal Society of Artists, Birmingham and at Liverpool’s Walker Art Gallery.This painting is almost certainly the painting entitled On the Moors, Isle of Arran, Scotland, which Herbert Moxon Cook showed at the Dublin Sketching Club in 1887. With the invention of tubes for paint in the nineteenth century, artists abandoned their studios and enthusiastically worked outdoors, discovering unimaginable delights in the scenery of moors and bogs in all kinds of weather conditions. Increased access to remote places by rail also helped to feed that pleasure. Moxon Cook’s painting On the Moors in Arran, deserves to be better known for its fine observance of the late evening light and the nuances of colour in the moorland vegetation. The painting epitomises everything that the Victorians loved about the landscape, - a sense of solitude, suggested here by the two tiny figures who otherwise have the place to themselves, the sea in the distance, the undisturbed moorland, and a hint of nostalgia about the last moments of the dying sun. His ability to draw out every nuance of colour from watercolour would have appealed to his audiences too, since colour photography was, as yet, undiscovered.