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George Heriot

View of Chaudière River

Artist

George Heriot
Haddington, Scotland, 1759 – London 1839

Title

View of Chaudière River

Date

1799

Materials

Watercolour over traces of graphite

Dimensions

26.9 x 37 cm

Credits

Gift of the Succession J.A. DeSève, inv. Dr.1980.45

Collection

Graphic Arts

In Heriot’s work, the North American continent, suggested by the vast stretches of forest in the distance, is depicted as poetry rather than chaos. With its evocation of the picturesque, the watercolour in the Museum’s collection contains all the archetypes of British culture at the time, tracing over wild nature in order to erase it, altering a raging, almost unnavigable river into a gentle body of water that would charm any sensitive lover of landscape painting. Working at the end of the eighteenth century, Heriot sincerely believed that his perception was universal and that the certainties of modern, cultivated society enabled him to understand and yet distance himself from disordered nature that mixes up everything. For Heriot, as well as for Lock and Hind, the North American landscape became a stage for adventure. It is sufficiently different from daily life for armchair travellers wishing to confront the imaginative world of their reading to indulge in the exciting experiences promised by the endless vistas.

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