Bonhams to Sell a Vision of 19th Century Chester

A remarkable painting depicting the historic town of Chester is set to make up to £55,000 when it goes under the hammer in the Bonhams Victorian Paintings sale on 2 April 2008, New Bond Street, London.

echester.jpgPainted by the celebrated British artist John Glover (British, 1767-1849), the oil on canvas picture portrays the Chester skyline at the dawn of the 19th Century.

The painting serves as a spectacular reminder of the city as it once stood. Industry in Chester at the time thrived – there is evidence of shipbuilding in the picture and the Shot Tower can be seen, which was used to make lead shot. Whilst many of the buildings, such as the Old Dee Bridge still stand today, others have not survived. The tower of St John’s Church, which can clearly be seen in the painting, collapsed in 1881 and the Dee Mills were demolished in 1910. Skinner’s Yard, an industrial area on the riverbank, is also shown, with shallow draft boats, known as Mersey flats, moored alongside. This area was demolished in 1830 to make way for The Grovesnor Bridge, designed by Thomas Harrison. The panorama also encompasses views of Chester Castle and the Church of St Mary-on-the-Hill, both of which remain focal points in Chester today.

Born in Leicestershire, John Glover was known in his early years as a watercolourist and he was one of the founders of the Old Watercolour Society. He achieved significant fame as a painter of romantic landscapes of Britain and he frequently exhibited at the Royal Academy. At an exhibition at the Royal Society of British Artists in 1830 Glover showed a picture entitled “Chester at Sunrise” which may well be the same painting as the one to be sold at Bonhams.

Having built up a formidable reputation in Britain and keen to discover new landscapes to paint, Glover emigrated to Tasmania in 1831, aged 64. He was the only major European artist to migrate to Australia before the gold rushes of 1850s and his portrayals of the Australian landscape ensured his lasting fame.