John Skinner Prout (1805 - 1876)
John Skinner Prout was born in Plymouth, Devon and was the nephew of the
distinguished topographical artist Samuel Prout. He was largely self-trained as
an artist and followed his uncle’s styles and subject matter spending his early
career making topographical views of ancient monuments and published The
Castles and Abbeys of Monmouthshire in 1838. He visited the Wye Valley and
sketched the antiquities of Chester and was elected a member of the new Society of Painters in Water Colour but then decided in 1840 to emigrate to Sydney, Australia with his wife and seven children.
Prout’s wife Maria was an accomplished harpist and gave concerts at the Royal
Victoria Theatre and Prout bought a lithographic plant where he reproduced his
drawings. He sketched many views of Sydney and his drawings were first published as Sydney Illustrated in 1842. He toured Tasmania giving lectures and making sketches and Tasmania Illustrated was first published in 1844.
In 1848 Prout returned to live in London where he lectured and exhibited his
dioramic views of life in Australia. He continued with his drawings and
lithographs of ancient monuments and spent most of his working life in Bristol
and he produced Picturesque Antiquities of Bristol in 1849.
Prout regularly toured the south of England and Europe reproducing his works
on to glass lantern slides and showing them as moving panoramas. It is during
one of these tours in 1855 that this drawing is thought to have been completed
as there are other works of similar subject and style attributed to him at this
time (Harbour Scene, Rouen and Market Day, Rouen) although many of his later works were signed ‘Skinner Prout.’
picture coming soon