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DeWint, Antiquities and the Urban Scene

Though DeWint’s reputation is based on landscapes he was a constant and varied painter of buildings and towns. He showed a preference for picturesque antiquities, perhaps because there was a market for them. Often he chose lesser known antiquities, and he would favour unusual views, either close to or, in several instances, concentrating on a shadowed façade. It seems he preferred to show his buildings in a novel way and occasionally he placed one antiquity, usually a lesser esteemed one in front of another, or would mask a structure with some foreground incident.

DeWint lived all his working life in London. However, he only rarely painted the bustle of city or town life, and when he did paint townscapes the activities shown are more leisurely than in paintings by his contemporaries, Turner or Girtin. His interest was rather in the variety of forms, textures and colours.

As with his landscapes DeWint occasionally favoured wide panoramic views of towns. Often the towns and their antiquities were silhouetted behind a rural foreground. His vision was not to create a nostalgic, lost world, but to record, and if this meant painting modern villas or factory chimneys, then they were included.

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Last updated: 18 February 2011

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