FRANZ JOSEPH MANSKIRCH
Oil on paper, laid down, signed
53 x 63 cms
207/8 x 243/4 inches
Overall framed size 64.5 x 74 cms
253/8 x 291/8 ins
There are many variations of the spelling of Manskirch (such as Mannskirsch, Manskersch) and even the owner himself used different versions on his paintings.
Manskirch was the son of Bernard Gottfield Manskirch (1736-1817) a well-known painter in Bonn and Cologne. Born in Ehrenbreitstein on 6th October 1768, he was instructed in painting by his father. At the age of twenty-three, Franz Joseph came to London, possibly with his father and in 1793 he exhibited his first painting, a landscape, at the Royal Academy. The next two exhibits were in 1797 and between 1793 - 1819 Manskirch exhibited 14 works at the Royal Academy and two at the British Institution with titles such as “View of Chepstow on the Wye”, “A Moonlight, with Cattle”, “An Evening Landscape with Mr Clay’s Patent Waggon”, “Inside View of Tintern Abbey”, “The Battle of Waterloo”, “British Hussars skirmishing” and “Marshal Beresford disarming a Polish Lancer in the Battle of Albuera”.
Manskirch’s subjects in his painting varied greatly from battles scenes such as Albuera, Waterloo, where he depicted scenes from the military Napoleonic campaigns of Waterloo and the Peninsula, to bucolic country views done in the Dutch style. He seems to have adapted his style of painting to an English sensibility with great facility and his pictures equalled those of the best of his contemporaries. Grant writes that: “Chepstow has been painted often enough, but never better than in this clear and cheerful version of Manskirch’s, a canvas which Marlow or Dayes would have been pleased to own to, and posed to improve upon.” He goes on to say of his oeuvre: “…displaying the softest tones and cleanest palette. Pale skies, pale-green grass and foliage comprise a pretty and tender scheme to which a certain indefiniteness of draughtsmanship adds a charm…There are few sweeter little decorations than one of Manskirch’s small park or garden pieces, with their truthful old houses and young people of the reign of George III.”
Some time prior to 1798 Manskirch was employed by the publisher Ackermann, among others, as an illustrator and he produced Coloured Views of the Parks and Gardens of London for the former. In 1813, this series was subsequently issued in a fine and costly collectors’ oblong folio.
During his time in London he lived in the Strand and Bond Street and seems to have had a most successful time in the capital but he returned to Germany before the end of the first quarter of the new century. He is recorded as being in Bonn after 1823 and then subsequently at Frankfurt, Berlin and Danzig, the last being where he died. He must have garnered a significant reputation in Europe for he was given a prestigious commission by the Consort of Josephine, Empress of the French, to a set of Rhine views
The Old English Landscape Painters – M H Grant
The Dictionary of British 18th Century Painters - Ellis Waterhouse
Dictionary of British Marine Painters - Arnold Wilson
Dictionary of British Landscape Painters - Maurice Grant
1768 - 1830
Oil on paper, laid down,
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A view of the Cascade in the garden of Sir Francis Dashwood’s West Wycombe Park with a view to the house to the left and the hilltop church of St Lawrence’s at West Wycombe to the right
East Indiamen assembling off the coast with the Earl of Effingham, the Beckford and the Land Overly in the foreground