Plymouth from Mount Edgecombe, English School

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Edward Duncan, RWS (18031882)

Edward Duncan was a painstakingly skilled artist with his preferred media. In addition to his early training as an engraver, he did train in oil as well. Duncan's drawings comprise a wide range of subjects, treated with grace and truthfulness to nature, but even here, his best known works depict coast scenery, with shipping and craft admirably characterised.

Whilst his most sought-after works are his coastal scenes, Duncan also specialised in landscapes of the southern counties, often populated with animals and farms. In the face of the vogue for painting with body-colours, Duncan relied almost entirely on transparent colours. His watercolours are amongst the most technically defined and detailed paintings of the period and are considered to have a breadth and fluidity that bespeak the earlier traditions of British watercolour.

Duncan was a prolific exhibitionist with his paintings, showing more than 40 at the Royal Academy and the Society of British Artists, while including more than 500 watercolors and drawings within the shows of the Old and New Watercolor Societies during his career.

In 1833 he was elected a member of the New Society of Painters in Water-Colours, but he resigned in 1847 and, in 1849 was elected an Associate of the Royal Watercolour Society (then, the Society of Painters in Water-Colours), and a full member in the following year.

Between 1865 and his death in 1882 he spent almost every summer painting in the Gower Peninsula, near Swansea, painting the coastal scenes for which he was so well known.

He died in Hampstead, London, on 11 April 1882.

His works can be seen at most of the major museums and art galleries, including the Victoria and Albert Museum, the National Portrait Gallery and the National Maritime Museum.

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