What do you think when you look at the image above? Most fans of Peter de Wint’s work see exquisite tranquillity and luminosity. That wide sky, the golden corn, the vast expanse of landscape beyond.
Here we have the story of a happy and contented man, living a happy and contented life. Not a typical tale from the artists’ archives, as we usually hear of poverty, penury and unrequited passion. But as we head into a dark, wet Autumn, why not celebrate a bit of harvest happiness?
Peter de Wint had been intended for the medical profession. His father was a doctor, and ran an apothecary in Stone, Staffordshire where de Wint was born. But the budding artist managed to persuade his father that medicine was not his path, and he was apprenticed to artist John Raphael Smith. Even before his training was complete, de Wint was making a modest living from his art, painting landscapes, and this continued throughout his career.
De Wint had a great and loving friendship with artist William Hilton. Later in life he married William’s sister, Harriet, and they lived a life together of immensely pleasurable domesticity. Hilton painted grand historical scenes, but de Wint concentrated on his landscapes – his love of Nature is obvious.
The poet John Clare said: His work breathes the living freshness of the open sky and sunshine. So what better to contemplate today? It may be wet and windy outside, but take a moment to gaze into the calm and gorgeous Autumn landscape of Peter de Wint.