Karen Taylor Fine Art

Agent, Advisor and Dealer in British Art

John White Abbott (British, 1763–1851)

Fordland, Devon

John Abbot White


Inscribed l.l.: Fordland/June 5/1841, pen and grey ink and wash over traces of pencil

26.5 x 21.5 cm.; 10 3/8 x 8 ½ inches

Abbott was one of the best amateur watercolorists of the late eighteenth century. An Exeter surgeon and apothecary, he lived in the city until 1825. He exhibited paintings at the Royal Academy from 1793 and received contemporary acclaim for the style of his work. The artist John Downman said that ‘he prefers his drawings before his paintings, as they are done with more spirit’ (J. Farington, Diary 26 June 1804; vol. VI, p. 2362).

In 1825 the artist inherited the Devon estate of Fordland from his uncle James White a barrister and non-conformist. He delighted in drawing the woodland on his estate, developing the style he learnt from Francis Towne, his drawing master, with sophisticated handling of light and shade in the depiction of trees in monochrome. 

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