The Golden Age of British Watercolors, 1790-1910

The Golden Age of British Watercolors, 1790–1910 showcases the Chazen’s rich permanent collection of nineteenth-century watercolor painting and is augmented by several important works on loan from the Yale Center for British Art. Watercolor was viewed as a distinctively British art form in the Victorian period, when it reached a pinnacle in its development as artists achieved new, unique, and impressive effects with relatively simple means.

This exhibition demonstrates the range of subject matter chosen by Victorian watercolor artists, including landscape, still life, rustic genre scenes, fairy painting, and classical themes. Watercolor is a portable medium and became useful for practical as well as artistic purposes, including travel souvenirs, commercial illustrations, and even therapy for the convalescent or mentally ill.

Emphasizing the importance of communities and social ties in the development of British watercolor, the exhibition includes paintings linked by common themes, styles, and individuals in order to trace the intricate interconnections in the art world of this period. Each painting is the result of a complex network of relationships, influences, and artistic choices. Tracing the associations among these historical elements, The Golden Age of British Watercolors, 1790-1910 invites viewers to make connections among the artworks.




Director's Foreword

History of Watercolor

Watercolor as a Medium

Networks of Artists

Subject Matter and Themes

Further Reading

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