In their catalogue entry for the painter's beautiful watercolor, View from Montreux, Scott Wilcox and Christopher Newall relate the facts known about his artistic training and early career:
Inchbold received some instructions in drawing in his native Leeds before going to London to study color lithography with Louis Haghe, and in about 1847 he entered the Royal Academy Schools. He commenced his professional career by exhibiting a group of watercolors at the Society of British Artists in the winter of 1849-50. His early style of watercolor painting was loose and atmospheric; the views that he made of London and the Thames bear an unconscious similarity to Turner's 1819 views of Venice. In 1852 a work of Inchbold's at the Royal Academy was seized upon by William Michael Rossetti as a praiseworthy example of the rising Pre-Raphaelite landscape school. Later in the 1850s Inchbold came under the sway of John Ruskin, who encouraged him to paint Alpine subjects and who commented on his exhibited works in Academy Notes [p. 154]
The painter seems to have conceived painting in watercolor almost as a different art form than painting in oils, since his watercolors are characterized by loose, atmospheric effects while contemporary works in oil have a minutely detailed early Pre-Raphaelite finish. According to Wilcox and Newall, "from 1869 onward Inchbold was dogged by financial problems; he led an increasingly insecure and periphatic existence until about 1877, when he left London to live at Montreux on the Lake of Geneva. Almost all his later works . . . were Swiss views" (155).
Grigson, Geoffrey. Britain Observed: The Landscape through Artists' Eyes. London: Phaidon, 1971.
Ruskin, John. Works. Ed. E. T. Cook and Alexander Wedderburn. 39 vols. London: George Allen, 1903-12.
Staley, Allen. The Pre-Raphaelite Landscape. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1973.
Wilcox, Scott, and Christopher Newall. Victorian Landscape Watercolors. New York: Hudson Hills Press in association with the Yale center for British Art, 1992.
Last modified 28 December 2001