Hereford Museum & Art Gallery Celebrates Joseph Murray Ince Bicentenary

By Caroline Lewis | 03 August 2006
painting of a harvest in the country

A Herefordshire Harvest Scene, 1850. Courtesy Hereford Museum & Art Gallery

Hereford Museum and Art Gallery is celebrating the 200th anniversary of the birth of artist Joseph Murray Ince (1806-1859) with an exhibition of the landscape painter’s work.

The exhibition, running until September 3 2006, features around 60 works by the highly talented but relatively obscure artist, who had strong links to the Herefordshire area.

“This exhibition is a fantastic opportunity to see work by a little known artist with enormous talent,” said Catherine Wilson, Museum Collections Officer. “Most of his work is rarely seen on public display.”

Although born in London, Ince moved to Presteigne in Radnorshire (now Powys) as a child. The local landscape inspired him as he grew up, and he sketched and painted numerous picturesque scenes.

painting of a rural scene with sheep and people amid trees and large hills

Scene near Dolgelly on the Barmouth Road, 1841. Courtesy Hereford Museum & Art Gallery

Recognising his prodigious artistic talent, Ince was sent to receive private tuition in Hereford under the famous English watercolour artist David Cox (1783-1859). In 1826, he moved to London, where his landscapes of Wales and Herefordshire were exhibited at the Royal Academy. Ince was only 19 years of age when his work was shown at the prestigious institution, and went on to exhibit regularly at many other galleries, gathering a list of wealthy clients.

He returned to Presteigne in 1830, continuing with his depictions of local beauty spots and large country houses. His landscapes often feature castles and ruins, rural activities such as woodcutting and harvesting, as well as figures and animals. He also painted maritime scenes and views of the colleges in Oxford and Cambridge – he was drawing master at the latter university in the 1830s.

Also on show in the exhibition are works by David Cox and Ince’s friend John Scarlett Davis (1804-1845) of Leominster. In addition, objects and costumes from the museum collection are displayed alongside the pictures, to evoke the era when Ince worked, and his subjects.

Ince’s descendant Nick Benbow, who has carried out extensive research on the artist, assisted in the creation of the exhibition. Works displayed have been loaned from public and private collections including the National Museum of Wales and Eton College.

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