Thomas Cole (1801–1848)
Ruined Castle on a Rock, c. 1818–1820
Watercolor on paper, 7¼ × 10 in.
Thomas Cole National Historic Site, Gift of Richard T. Sharp, TC.2014.6

Scholars believe that this watercolor is one of Cole’s earliest surviving landscapes and that he painted it to show his students what makes a “picturesque” composition. It reflects the simple illustrations Cole would have seen in late eighteenth-century English travel and art instruction books, such as William Gilpin’s Three Essays: On Picturesque Beauty; On Picturesque Travel; and On Sketching Landscape.

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Brooke KrancerRuined Castle on a Rock