British 19th C, except portraits, East of England and The Midlands: Artists and Subjects 17 Can you identify the 'E. M.' that painted this view of Derby?

Topic: Artist

Can anyone identify the artist of this work, currently known as 'E. M.'? Derby Museums Trust has provided a photograph of the inscription on the back of the painting, attached below. The collection has examined the painting and no other inscription has been found. Any further information would be welcome.

Edward Stone, Entry reviewed by Art UK

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To me the Edward Masters on Invaluable and elsewhere (e.g. several pseudo-Dutch village landscapes in an amateur manner) look stylistically very different indeed to the Derby painting. Are we sure E.M. are the intitials of the artist, and not, for example, an owner? What is the words after E.M.?

It looks like 'E. M. mor -' but if in the same hand as the date and title (and the Ms look comparable) at a slightly smaller or at least tighter scale and as a subsequent addition: 'mor' might be 'morning' for the scene but if not artist initials or a buyer coming for it in the 'mor', its hard to suggest what, though it looks too leafy for an 'Early May morning'. 'Moorgate' is an old and main street in Derby (and name of the railway station), but it would be a very perfunctory abbreviation for it.

Andrew Chamberlain,

It could be 'E.M. mar -' rather than 'E.M. mor -' Compare the cursive letters a and o in the word 'Meadows'

Robert Purdie,

Could the lettering after the initials be a date? Second half looks like ~02

Patty Macsisak,

After rereading that Goodey searched far afield for Derby material, I wonder if "E. M., mor" 1) could be written in Goodey's own hand 2) could refer to the provenance of the painting (e.g., an estate sale) 3) whether Goodey was known to make similar notations on other paintings.

Having looked at this again, I think the inscription verso reads 'E. M. junr'. In the 19th century that was, I believe, the way 'junior' was written. Is there any agreement on that please (or alternative opinion)? If agreed we would then probably be looking for the names of father and son artists, presumably early to mid 19th century, potentially from the East Midlands?

Thank you Tim and Jacinto for your comments. I have now seen the online image of the Isaac Mosley painting, said to be dated 1820, which is of Derwent Street Bridge, Derby. It is apparently an oil on a board measuring about 21 x 30 cm and it was sold at auction some years ago. Unfortunately, without a subscription, I cannot enlarge the image provided. I think we should await any possible further contributions to this discussion in the next week or two and if none perhaps Marion will kindly approach the collection for their comments on the possibility that Isaac Mosley could be 'our' artist. The Derby Museums work and the auctioned painting of Derwent Street Bridge are of a very similar size and both are on a board.

Osmund Bullock,

I'm afraid I can't see that as 'junr', Grant. One might imagine 'jnor', I suppose, but (a) I've never come across that as an abbreviation of junior, and (b) the inscriber seems to relish the chance to write tails that drop down below the line - look the ones on the 'J' & 'y' of July, the '9' of 1829, and 'y' of Derby. I don't, therefore, believe the first letter of the mystery word can be a 'j', and 's' seems scarcely more likely (as well as 'snor' being again an unknown abbreviation to me). Senr/junr are standard, often with the 'r' slightly raised, and sr/jr, snr/jnr and occasionally sen/jun are also found.

I also find it hard to see the first letter as anything other than a cursive capital 'E'. I am as mystified as everyone else by the (?)'mor', and have nothing better to offer.

Tim Williams,

Images attached of the Hartley Auction picture... no imrovement really to the quality of the Arcadia image. The picture was presented twice in 2007, and I would imagine they've archived their records since then.

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Jacinto Regalado,

Tim, I think the picture under discussion is by a somewhat more accomplished painter, albeit not dramatically so. Like Osmund, I also think the first initial is much more likely to be an E than an I.

Tim Williams,

The quality of image titled 'mosely1' doesn't help a favourable comparison admittedly, but the second image shows it to be better painting. The execution of the trees, sky (if you look closely the sky is more dynamic than the photo allows), and positioning of the tower are favourable, the rendering of the water less so, but without a better quality image it's near impossible to tell.

Like you I favour an 'E', but equally I'm not entirely convinced that it is the artist's signature. It's hard to tell, but from the image provided it gives the impression that particular inscription is in pencil whereas the date and title are in dip pen.

Both works are inscribed verso.

By no means conclusive, but the best we've got so far.

Like several other contributors, I think it is by no mean certain that 'E.M.' are in fact the artist's initials, and the following word is still unclear. The hand seems different, and is in a different medium, to the date and title, which could indeed be by the artist. Without other useful images of related works I think we are sadly no further forward.

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