|The Print Collectors's Quarterly, October 1926|
|Peter Paul Rubens, 'A Path Bordered by Trees' (from the collection of Ricketts and Shannon)|
The path, bordered by trees and bushes, divides two plots of ground enclosed by a fence loosely built of branches of trees. Narrower paths, opening out of it to left and right, admit to an enclosure which the elaborately pruned fruit-tree on the extreme left proves to be an orchard, and to a corresponding space on the right which is left much more vague. A fresh and charming sketch from nature, masterly in perspective and in the suggestion of atmosphere.
The drawing was on show during an exhibition of Flemish and Belgian Art at the Royal Academy in 1927. Before it came to Ricketts and Shannon, it had been owned by the reverend Thomas Kerrich (1748-1828). In their wills, the artists left the Rubens drawing to the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge.
The catalogue of the Ricketts and Shannon collection of the Fitzwilliam Museum, All for Art (1979), written by Joseph Darracott, suggests on the authority of Michael Jaffé, that Rubens may have been inspired for this drawing by Federico Barocci [Il Barroccio] (c. 1526-1612). Rubens owned drawings by Barocci which he had acquired around 1616.
The collection of Ricketts and Shannon contained two Barocci drawings, both figure studies. They owned five drawings and studies by Rubens, all now at the Fitzwilliam Museum. Darracott remarked (in The World of Charles Ricketts, 1980) that their collection contained almost no landscapes, but that the Rubens drawing was a beautiful exception.