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a word on art

Winter's Mantle

Snow holds such happy memories for so many of us. Be it the excitement and novelty of it when we are children, the fun it heralded, the days off school, the snowball fights, sledging, an adventure on skis, or simply the beauty that a snowfall brings. Our landscape transformed into an enchanting, silent and flawless wonderland in just a few short hours.

With snow having such an enduring effect on us, it is of little surprise that my favourite paintings often depict snow. I trust you will permit me to share one of these with you.

Probably my all time favourite painting is by Joseph Farquaharson. Entitled ‘The Silence of the Snow - Bucket Mill, on the Feugh, Finzean’, it has a calm, haunting enchantment which captivates me. It is one of those paintings which I am completely drawn into. It has twice escaped me at auction!

Farquaharson was a master of the snowy sunset landscapes of his native Scotland, often with sheep and shepherds set against the orange glow of the setting sun. They are cold and yet warm, and bleak and yet comforting, all at the same time.

There are many paintings we have in our collection in which the artist has tackled the infinitely difficult subject of snow. With snow, we instinctively think of white, but to capture snow correctly, there are a multitude of colours which the artist has to consider to accurately depict the right effect.

Take Alexandre Jacob’s ‘Soleil d’hiver, Gelee Blanche’ painting - if you look closely, there are pinks and blues and greys and purples, all masterfully combined to give us this mystic calm scene. Jacob was an absolute master when it came to painting snow and it is fascinating to compare his different works in this collection and how he can, through the expert use of colour, create such different effects and atmospheres.

Edward Cucuel’s stunning ‘Winter’s mantle’ painting has greens, yellows, pinks, blues, turquoise and many other colours and yet the snow is alive with light and warmth but the landscape is so frozen. You can feel the contrast between the light and the shadows and the associated warmth and cold.

One more painting from our collection which I really enjoy is Miguel Angel Moraleda’s beautiful painting of ‘Stags in the snow.’ These majestic animals are elegantly set on the edge of a forest with the winter sun reflecting off their glistening fur and catching the clumps of snow that hang off the branches.


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