The international reputation of Birmingham artist David Cox (1783-1859) is about to receive a boost with the opening of a major exhibition of his work at the Yale Center for British Art, New Haven.
The exhibition, Sun Wind and Rain: the Art of David Cox, is the first substantial show devoted to the artist since the bicentenary exhibition at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery in 1983, and anticipates next year’s 150th anniversary of his death.
It is accompanied by the most substantial book on Cox ever produced, published next month by Yale University Press in association with the Yale Center for British Art and Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery. Its author, Scott Wilcox, curator of prints and drawings at Yale, wrote his doctoral thesis on Cox in 1984.
Born in Heath Mill Lane, Digbeth, Cox gained early experience as a theatrical scene painter in Birmingham before moving to London. He also lived in Hereford for a time before finally returning to Birmingham and settling in Harborne.
A major figure in a golden age of British watercolour and landscape painting, he has always been highly prized by enthusiasts for the genre but has tended to be taken for granted by the wider art historical establishment – a state of affairs which the exhibition and book seek to redress.
The most substantial public collection of Cox’s work is still to be found in his native city, and many watercolours and a handful of his oil paintings are being lent to the exhibition at Yale, which will also be shown at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery from the end of January.
* Sun Wind and Rain: the Art of David Cox is at the Yale Center for British Art, Connecticut, from tomorrow until January 4, and at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery from January 31 until May 3. The book of the same title is published by Yale University Press on November 15, price £40.