Image permission and credit:
John Samuel Raven was born on August 21 1829. His father, Rev. Thomas Raven, was an amateur artist who painted in watercolour. John Samuel Raven followed his father’s footsteps and devoted himself to art as a profession, specialising in landscape and was most self-educated. Raven was influenced of an older school of artists, looking at the works of John Crome, Constable and Thompson of Duddingston.(1) It was not long before he, like many young artists of his era, fell under the spell of Pre-Raphaelitism and he abandoned sober darks to paint with joyful glazes of pure colour, directly from nature. John Ruskin, in his Notes on … the Royal Academy (2) of 1857, commented on Raven’s faithful study of nature.
The ruins of Dynevor Castle lie in an ancient woodland high on a wooded escarpment above the river Towy near the town of Llandilo. The castle lies not far from Carreg-Cennen Castle, which Raven painted the same year.(3) For another work by Raven of the Towy valley, The Vale of Towy, also dating from 1873, see the archives of The Leicester Galleries website.
(1) Collected works of the late John Samuel Raven, Catalogue, Burlington Fine Arts Club, London, 1878
(2) Notes on some the Principle Pictures Exhibited in the Rooms of the Royal Academy and Society of Painters in Watercolours, Smith Elder & Co, London 1857
(3) John Samuel Raven, The Lesser Light Rules the Night: Cerreg Cennen Castle, exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1873.
Hugh M. Raven, Barfield House
Sotheby's Belgravia, London, 8 March 1977, lot 56; sold to:
Private collection; to 2006