Sandbanks on the Mawddach, Barmouth is the only known landscape painting by the Liverpool artist John Ingle Lee.

Lee was born in Liverpool in 1839 and is recorded as having registered for classes at the Liverpool Academy in 1858. He exhibited at the Royal Academy from 1863 and moved to London in 1865. His surviving works, of which very few exist, show an early commitment to pre-Raphaelite principles and technique.

This painting shows a dramatic view of the Mawddach Estuary in northwest Wales, with the distant mountains veiled by rainclouds and a boy holding a lamb beside its mother in the foreground. Ruskinian principles of truth to nature are evident in the meticulously detailed rocks, plant life and weather conditions.

Lee exhibited the painting at the Liverpool Academy in 1864 and the frame is thought to be original to that exhibition. The number of recorded works made by the artist before his premature death in 1882 is 35, but fewer than a third of those have been traced.

This painting now enters the collection of the National Museum Cardiff as a record of the sublime landscape of this part of Wales, and of the attraction it has exerted for pioneering artists like Lee.


Sold Christie’s, Glasgow 1986 to John D.M. Robertson (d. December 2015); by descent to his children.

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