Hot air balloon used by 19th century artist

A painting completed by an Oxford born artist is due to be sold at auction on Friday 22nd January, by Charterhouse in Sherborne.

The painting is an aerial view of Oxford, completed whilst in a hot air balloon to ensure total accuracy. William Henry Brewer was born in Oxford in 1836, painting mostly architectural interiors and churches. His work was often exhibited in The Royal Academy between 1858 and 1897. The painting is currently owned by a family from Oxford, who previously had strong academic links to the city. However, the family is now ready to sell the painting so that someone else can benefit from its beauty.

According to the valuer, George Holtby, the painting was completed in 1893, and is a view of Oxford as pictured from Magdalen Bridge. So that Brewer could obtain an accurate view of the city, he used a hot air balloon to provide the perfect perspective for his work, although this is an unusual method. The valuer believes that the view would be obtained today by using a drone, complete with camera. The estimate for the painting is between £500 to £1,000.

Hot air balloons are popular, although they’re generally used for pleasure flights rather than tools to assist an artist. However, the views obtained are once in a lifetime opportunities for many, and often booked for loved ones as a special treat. Although the painting of an aerial view of Oxford won’t be the only painting at auction on the day, it is likely to be the only one painted from the perspective of a hot air balloon.

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