Watercolor with gouache
Support: Thick, moderately textured cream wove paper
Sheet: 19 x 26.8 cm (7 1/2 x 10 9/16 in.)
The A. W. Ellenberger, Sr., Endowment Fund 1978.52
Although William Fraser Garden received critical recognition for his watercolors early in his career, he lived and worked in relative obscurity and was plagued by financial troubles for most of his life.
William Fraser Garden’s work was based on the rendering of minute detail with painstaking brushwork and handling of color. Here, he describes an insignificant corner of the Bedford landscape: a tangled thicket in which dry grasses and saplings commingle. Bare branches stretch across a bright blue sky, creating a pattern as intricate as a spider’s web. This may have been the drawing that Garden exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1885 with the title Early Spring in the Woods. A pale green haze in the grass, the azure sky, and scattered wildflowers suggest the promise of spring.
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