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  • J. C. Morris (British, fl. 1851-63) Painting "Shepherd w/ Flock" c. 1857
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J. C. Morris (British, fl. 1851-63) Painting "Shepherd w/ Flock" c. 1857

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Signed lower left J.C. Morris 1857, in oil on canvas
Item # 611BGC21Q 

A large and incredibly vibrant work by James Charles Morris, the scene captures a shepherd sitting in the long grasses reading a book while his flock relaxes and grazes under the watchful eye of his dog.  The sky is a brilliant bright blue and the figures are beautifully painted with crisp detailing and a rich palette.  The scene is particularly striking for it’s size, measuring 53 5/8” in total width in the very appropriate polychromed and gilded frame.  It offers an up close and intimate window into a relaxed occupation, a certain envious nostalgia offered the viewer as the shepherd enjoys a most pleasant spring afternoon.

James Charles Morris was a painter of genre scenes most active during the years of 1851 through 1863, exhibiting extensively at the Royal Academy from 1851 through 62.  A large body of his work focused on the work of the shepherd, capturing images of his flock, sheep dogs, shepherds at work and large landscapes of rugged countrysides.  He worked primarily in Greenwich and Deptford.  He is very well listed and has a strong sales record, even in his smaller and more typical scenes.  The present example is noteworthy for it’s size, brilliant detailing of every aspect of the scene and remarkable state of preservation.

Listings & Reference:

  • Dictionary of British Art, vol. IV, Victorian Painters: The Text, Christopher Wood, 1995, p. 365
  • Popular 19th Century Painting, Hook & Poltimore, 1986, p. 240
  • E. Benezit Dictionary of Artists, Vol. IX, Gründ, 2006, p. 1356
  • The Dictionary of Victorian Painters, Christopher Wood, 1978, p. 330

Measurements:  36 1/2” H x 53 5/8” W x 3 1/2” D (frame); 30” H x 47 3/4” W (canvas)

Condition Report:
Relined.  Contemporary frame with minor dings/loss.  Surface in outstanding condition with only the lightest craquelure.  Professionally conserved in the last decade, surface clean and in gorgeous presentation-ready condition: one speck of touch up evident under UV, the rest of the surface apparently free of restoration but difficult to read with the fresh varnish.