Wednesday, 11 February 2015

WILLIAM INGALTON (1794 - 1866)





Australian author Stephen Scheding has contacted us again about his research into this picture, which

he believes might have been painted by Eton artist William Ingalton:


I am writing a book about a mystery painting which was found many years ago having been dumped on a Sydney street during a council "throw out" campaign. The painting is about two by three feet, on an oak panel and bears a fake David Wilkie signature. The theory I have developed is that it is identifiable with a painting titled The New Road to Matrimony; or the New Marriage Act which was exhibited at the British Institution in 1823 by the Eton artist William Ingalton.

Below I have provided biographical notes on Ingalton, together with a catalogue raisonné of his works

If anyone has any additional information at all about this artist, or would like to correct any information below, I would be most pleased to be contacted. My email address is:


Although Ingalton’s reputation has faded almost into obscurity he was considered to be an important artist in Eton and Windsor in the 1820s.  Virtually the only reference to him in books on British art is in A Chronological History of the Old English Landscape Painters by Colonel Maurice Harold Grant, published 70 years ago in the 1930s.  The Colonel summarised the situation this way:

WILLIAM INGALTON (1794 - 1866) 

Little enough is known of him…   From… 1816 until 1826 [his work] consisted of mingled landscapes and rural and domestic genre, chiefly of the middle size.  But this exact decade of production is all we hear of Ingalton as an artist.  About I825… ill health turned Ingalton from painter to architect, a curious reason indeed for conversion from a less arduous profession to one more exacting.  Ingalton at any rate ceased to paint, but remained by the Thames, merely changing residence from one bank to the other, from Eton across to Clewer.  He had already foregathered much with the painter-hermit of the vale, Edmund Bristow, even to the extent, we believe (though facts are scarce), of receiving instruction from that most skilful and unapproachable of artists… 




Upon the art of Ingalton there scarcely exists a painter of merit less known than he.  His name and works alike appear to have retired into oblivion as complete as if an aeon, instead of half a century, had elapsed since his decease.  Nor will his revival prove in any way startling… 

In Ingalton we have merely one of the those quiet and simple painters of the scenery of the Thames who are apt to be considered numerous until investigation discloses how few there have really been of any distinction.  And to Ingalton distinction is certainly to be accorded, even if it be only that of complete soberness and tranquillity.  One of his little placid views about Windsor would wait long for notice on the walls of an exhibition.  Not one in ten of visitors would even perceive it; but the examination of the tenth would be close and appreciative, since he would surely be a man after Ingalton's own heart or he would not have stopped to look at all… 

His was rather the harvest of a quiet eye, dwelling on the calm of that homely vale which is England to nearly all Englishmen, the vale of the Thames.  And he especially loved it when the windless days of late Autumn invest it with that brown immobility which seems to be scented with decaying water-plants and leaves smouldering in the bonfires of unseen gardens… Beyond this restricted range Ingalton was at a loss…

But find him at his best… and we begin to regret at once his early retirement from the art… A little more of such work and Ingalton would have to bulk larger in our pages; but such canvases… are very infrequent from his hand, and if they be his masterpieces are yet insufficient [in number] to make a Master… 



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