From a review of ‘Memories of an Architect’ in the Times Lit: Sup: Nov 3 1932
Sometimes in reading Sir Reginald Bloomfield, it is necessary to be on guard against possible leg-pulling. Thus in describing the qualifications of the witnesses before the committee inquiring into the administration of the Chantrey Bequest Fund, he names Sir Charles Holmes and Mr D. S. MacColl, and gravely adds, “both of whom then worked only in water-colour.” Well, John Sell Cotman was primarily a water-colour artist, but most people would be glad of his opinion on any artistic question. There is, indeed, in Sir Reginald Bloomfield’s general attitude a strong family resemblance to that which identifies “Art” with the painting In solid oils. Mr Manson is an oil painter, but we should hardly think that the general progress of the Tate Gallery under his direction would meet with Sir Reginald Bloomfield’s approval.
From The Morning Post Nov: 1 1932
Mr Bernard Squire has bought together, mostly from a West Country source, an admirable collection of early English water colours and drawings in pencil and chalk, in which ancestral motives and methods are here and there pleasantly echoed. Curiously, there is nothing by Turner, but his great colleague, Thomas Girtin (of whom he said, “if Tom had lived I should have starved”, is represented by a stately view of “Durham Cathedral,” signed and inscribed. Nor is Gainsborough in the catalogue, but his idyllic subjects and style are recalled by Luke Havell in a charming “Watering the Herd”.
Bonington’s exquisite art is illustrated by a charming sketch of Paris, showing the Pont Neuf and Pont des Arts, and a neat street scene, while his able follower, T. Shotter Boys, is not far behind the master in the lovely impression of the latter bridge. One finds also good examples of the clear-eyed outlook and statement of Constable, Francis Towne, Thomas Hearne, Samuel Atkins, George Heriot, Paul Sandby Munn (25), Robert Hills (29), Samuel Prout, Henry Edridge, Frederick Nash, David Roberts, A. T. Devis and Tobias Young.
Several excellent De Wints distinguish the show, notably a splendid view of “Old Houses on the High Bridge, Lincoln,” which is a better designed version of the well-known drawing in the Victoria and Albert Museum. Nos. 53, 54, 56 and 60 also are fine pictures by him. By John Sell Cotman is a Cozens-like “Mountain Landscape,” romantically visualised and treated in a broad decisive manner, which acts with freer spirit in “A Street Scene with an Equestrian Statue”.
Marcellus Laroon (1679-1772), who was of foreign descent, is easily recognised in the midst of the mocking-group of a very clever characterised “Musical Party at Somerset House”. A similar subject by Laroon is illustrated in a drawing by him to be seen at the British Museum.’
From the Times Oct: 29 1832
As is usual at this address the autumn exhibition of Early English water-colours and drawings at the Squire Gallery, 1A, Baker Street, is carefully selected, with the emphasis on the earlier men and the inclusion of several artists who are very well known. Very few of the 62 drawings have been shown anywhere before. The earliest artist is Marcellus Laroon (1679- 1772), who is represented by a pen drawing of “A Musical Party at Somerset House,” introducing figures suggested to be those of John, Duke of Montagu, and the Countess of Cardigan, as well as the artist himself, similar to a drawing in the British Museum inscribed by Horace Walpole with the names of some of the persons; and the latest is Thomas Collier, who died in 1891.
Girtin is represented by a noble water-colour of “Durham Cathedral,” signed and inscribed with the title on the back, but the special feature of the exhibition is a collection of nine works by Peter de Wint. These include examples of his earlier and more “sketchy” manner, such as “Riverside Dwellings” and “Haymaking.” Cotman, again, who is represented by four drawings, is seen outside his more familiar style in “Fishing Vessels off a Rocky Coast” and “A Mountain Landscape,” both in grey wash.
There are three Boningtons, a magnificent drawing in chalk, on grey paper, of “Paris” a pencil drawing, touched with colour, of the quadrangle of “Windsor”, and a little “Street Scene”. By Constable there is a beautiful drawing, in soft pencil, of “Boys in a Country Lane”. Something of a rarity is a charming water-colour of “A Cottage Scene,” by Lady Farnborough (1762-1837), who was Girtin’s favourite pupil. “ A Classical Landscape,” by Francis Towne, “Monmouth from the Bridge over the Wye,” by Rowlandson, “Landscape with Figures by a Lake,” by Tobias Young, “The Valley of Tintern,” by David Cox, and “Watering the Herd” - rather like a Gainsborough - by Luke Havell, are other drawings in an exhibition which should appeal to students as well as to collectors.