Solomon Delane c.1727-1812
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Solomon Delane c.1727-1812

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A classical landscape with the flight into Egypt


Oil painting on copper 19 x 24 inches, and contained in a very fine Irish Neo-classical carved and gilded frame (overall size 26 x 31 inches)


Solomon Delane (Delany; Delaney) was born in County Tipperary, the son of a Clergyman, Richard and his wife Sarah. He was brought up at Upper Coombe, Dublin, and received his training in the Dublin Schools under West, and where he also attended the Dublin Society’s School of Landscape and Ornament under James Mannin. He won a prize at the Dublin Society in 1750, when he was placed second in the order of merit.

About this time his father (1750) and brother Richard (1752) both died, leaving Delane with a comfortable income from a family portfolio of property in Dublin and elsewhere.

Soon after he travelled on his first Grand Tour to Italy where he arrived in Rome in 1755. Much of the next 15 years were spent by the artist in and around Rome, where he developed a distinctive and highly sophisticated landscape style which owes more to the refinements of the 17th century, and its debt to Claude Lorraine, than it does to the Romantic Topography of his own age. In 1763 he was elected a member of the Society of Artists in London, and in 1766 was sending landscapes for exhibition at the Dublin Society of Artists. In July 1777 he was elected member of the Accademia di Disegno in Florence, and 1779 he went on a painting tour to Germany with the hon. Aubrey and Lady Catherine Beauclerk.

Delane is noted by many correspondents on the Grand Tour during the years to 1780, and he sold pictures to some of the most distinguished of them, including Nathaniel Dance’s client Lord Charles Hope, the Earl of Upper Ossory and Hugh Percy Lord Warworth. In 1780 he was back in London where he exhibited pictures at the Royal Academy 1782-4; his work was held in high esteem as his pictures “ bore a strong similarity to his favourite model Claude Lorraine”. Delane died in 1812 in Dublin, where he had lived for the last two decades of his life.

The present painting shows the cool silvery tonality which is the hallmark of the painter’s style. It is one of two known painters by the artist which are on copper, and may be dated to about 1772 when Delane was sharing accommodation in Rome with heis fellow artist Hugh Primrose Dean. Curiously, Dean also painted a Flight into Egypt on a copper support at about this date (repr. Cruickshank and Knight of Glin Ireland’s Painters page 142) which closely recalls the present painting.