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James Duffield Harding ( London 1798 - London 1863 )
Harding was a talented watercolourist. Born in 1798, he received his first painting lessons from his father and subsequently was trained in watercolour painting by Samuel Prout (1783-1852). Harding made his first trip to Italy in 1824, with Charles Hullmandel (1789-1850), a visit which would have provided the basis for the present work. Harding made numerous trips to the Continent throughout his lifetime. Harding was acclaimed not only for his watercolours, receiving the Society of Arts medal for an original landscape, but also for his mastery of lithography: he received two gold medals from the Academie des Beaux-Arts for his lithographic plates. He was also largely engaged in teaching, counting John Ruskin amongst his pupils. Ruskin wrote of Harding as being ‘after Turner, unquestionably the greatest master of foliage in Europe’ (see John Ruskin, Modern Painters, I, p. 382). Harding also published several books developing his views of art, including The Tourist in Italy (1831), The Tourist in France (1834), The Park and the Forest (1841), The Principles and the Practice of Art (1845), Elementary Art (1846), Scotland Delineated in a Series of Views (1847) and Lessons on Art (1849).