This painting shows a house, river and bridge in a surrounding English landscape. From the clear blue sky, yellowing grass on the river bank and luscious green trees nearby, one could assume that the artist has captured a brilliant sunny day towards the end of summer.
Whilst by the 20th century the definition of landscapes in art had expanded to include urban and industrial landscapes, this scene is clearly traditional in its subject matter and composition. A romanticism is presented through the inclusion of the quaint bridge, the rolling hills in the distance and the gentle curve of the river. This is an artwork that undoubtedly intended to glorify nature in the English countryside.
Ernest Alfred Sallis Benney
Ernest Alfred Sallis Benney (1894 – 1966), was a Bradford born painter and designer. He studied at his local art school and later at the Royal College of Art. As well as regularly exhibiting his own work in London, at the Royal Academy, and in the provinces, throughout his career, Benney became an established teacher, later becoming Principal of Cheltenham School of Art, Norwich School of Art, Hull School of Art and Brighton School of Art.
As Principal of Brighton School of Art, Benney introduced new departments in theatre and cinema arts and under his guidance the School built up an international reputation for excellence and innovation. The Sallis Benney Theatre at the University of Brighton is named as a tribute to the artist’s dedication and innovation.
Today, examples of Benny’s work can be found in the collection of Brighton Museum & Art Gallery, Cheltenham Art Gallery, the Towner Art Gallery and Worthing Art Gallery. His son, Gerald Benney, and grandson Simon Benney, are both became respected and successful silversmiths and designers.