LOUTHERBOURG, Philip Jacques de
(b. 1740, Strasbourg, d. 1812, London)

Coalbrookdale by Night

Oil on canvas, 68 x 107 cm
Science Museum, London

In the eighteenth century interest grew in wild, untamed nature, the Scottish high moors or the mountain chains of the Alps - or dramatic scenery that had witnessed horrors and disasters. The French artist Claude-Joseph Vernet painted storms at sea and shipwrecks in this spirit. Philip Jacques de Loutherbourg proceeded from these themes until finally, in England where he settled in 1771, he began to transpose such sensational effects to depictions of industrial landscapes. Here he began to lend the new industrial plants a grandiosely sinister effect, he both demonised and romanticised them.

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