|Biography from Bonhams Knightsbridge:|
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Abraham Louis Rodolphe Ducros was one of the most productive watercolourists working in Rome
in the closing decades of the eighteenth century. Swiss by birth, he
arrived in Rome in 1776 and soon gained a reputation for his landscape
views in watercolour and oil. He attracted the patronage of foreign
tourists, traveling extensively around Italy and, in collaboration with
the printmaker Giovanni Volpato, reproduced a number of his works in
the form of hand-colored outline etchings.
He was also commissioned by
Pope Pius VI to accompany him on a trip to the Pontine Marshes in 1783. Of
Ducros's British patrons, the most significant was probably Sir Richard
Colt Hoare who commissioned no less than eleven views from him as well
as some of the colored etchings.
Ducros is known to have painted more
than one version of his most popular subjects; he painted on a large
scale, often pasting several sheets of paper together on to linen and
using gum Arabic to add accents, as varnish would be used on an oil
painting. His success in rendering the effects of light as it filters
through the leaves, and of rising spray as the Aniene thunders over the
falls were not lost on Colt Hoare who found Tivoli to be even more
beautiful than he had expected. The subject, with its dramatic,
awe-inspiring scene of untamed nature - presided over by the classical
Temple of the Sybil, was one of the most picturesque compositions that
he was to acquire from Ducros.
In 1787 Colt Hoare wrote to his
half-brother Hugh, 'Du Cros an artist... whom I think I mentioned to you
last year has done four drawings for me which (if they arrive safe in
England) will be the admiration of the whole town & put all our
English artists...to the blush'.
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