Landscape with Water Mill

Augustus Wall Callcott, 1779 - 1844

Landscape with Water Mill

Augustus Wall Callcott 1779 - 1844


This is a landscape scene viewed from the bank of a river, looking towards a water mill on the far bank, which is lined with trees. Standing to the left on the near shore of the river, which flows across the lower third of the composition, is a fisherman leaning his fishing-rod against his right shoulder and supported in the crook of his arm; he wears a knee-length coat and a wide-brimmed hat; his equipment is piled on the ground to his right. On the river is a group of ducks and a hen accompanying her young. The mill has a complex construction of roofs, few windows and a smoking chimney; the river forks at the mill, and is presumably channelled to pass the wheel and through a sluice; built around the wheel, on the bank of land created by the fork in the river, is a plank construction behind which stands a second figure. A third figure with rolled-up shirt sleeves, to the right of the far bank, is seated at the edge of the water, leaning forward and reaching into it. A dramatic bank of clouds sits on the horizon. A seagull soars in the sky.

Display Label

Gallery text panel Expressing Passions Romanticism in Focus In 1772, Sir Joshua Reynolds told the Royal Academy that perfect works of art 'cannot express the passions'. Harmony, uniformity and restraint were preferred and there was little room for emotional content. This stress on classical qualities characterised the 1700s, echoing the stability and confidence of Georgian society. Artists of the early 1800s redressed the balance, placing human experience above artistic conventions and injecting greater personal vision into their work. This was largely in response to a more turbulent age of revolution, war and political reform. Uncertainty and rebellion were echoed in art through subjects representing disturbance and in an emphasis on individuality and imagination. The term Romanticism defines these developments. Although there was never an organised movement, there are distinctive hallmarks of Romantic art. These include a more direct response to nature and a new stress on colour as a means of expression. As artists became increasingly guided by their intuition, they grew more independent of patrons' demands: artistic freedom and experiment entered a new age.

Object Name

Landscape with Water Mill

Creators Name

Augustus Wall Callcott

Date Created

1803 (circa)


Canvas: 71cm x 91cm
Frame (approximate): 96.5cm x 117cm

accession number


Place of creation





oil paint


© Manchester Art Gallery

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