Edward Theodore Compton: Landscape Painter, Teacher, and Mountaineer

Edward Theodore Compton, A View From the Val Roseg to La Sella, La Muongia and IL Chapütchin
Edward Theodore Compton, A View From the Val Roseg to La Sella, La Muongia and IL Chapütchin

I came across Edward Theodore Compton’s work the other day. I’m surprised he eluded me until now.

I’ll keep this one brief. Sometimes, it’s better to just sit back and admire. Here are key points about his life:

  • A man of many titles: landscape painter, illustrator, climber, and art teacher to his children.
  • He studied briefly at London’s Royal Academy but was mostly self-taught.
  • Regarding his climbing, he made around 300 major ascents and at least 27 first ascents.[1]
  • His children, Edward Harrison, Dora, and Marion also painted. You can see his son’s work here. I was unable to find much on Dora or Marion.

I’ll walk you through some of my personal favorites of Compton’s work, starting with Ödenwinklkees with the Johannisberg (below). Paintings like this make me want to take up watercolors. A pleasant contrast between intricate detail and sweeping color washes. Small bursts of saturated color. And four people to give a sense of the mountain’s grand scale.

Edward Theodor Compton, Ödenwinklkees with the Johannisberg, 1902
Edward Theodor Compton, Ödenwinklkees with the Johannisberg, 1902

Here’s a similar painting, but in oils (I assume).

Edward Theodor Compton, View of Gmünd in Carinthia
Edward Theodor Compton, View of Gmünd in Carinthia

Grossglockner depicts the highest Austrian mountain of its name. There’s a sense of depth from the gradation in lightness and color temperature (the colors get lighter and cooler in the distance). Distinct areas of rocky landscape are separated by clouds-an interesting contrast between solid and rigid forms.

Edward Theodor Compton, Grossglockner, 1918
Edward Theodor Compton, Grossglockner, 1918

Below is a great demonstration of light and shadow. Notice how each change in a rock’s plane is represented by a change in color.

Edward Theodor Compton, Apere Halde in den Aiguilles, 1912
Edward Theodor Compton, Apere Halde in den Aiguilles, 1912

A View of Mount Sassolungo-perhaps my favorite painting of Compton’s. Rich colors and visible brushwork… beautiful.

Edward Theodor Compton, A View of Mount Sassolungo, 1914
Edward Theodor Compton, A View of Mount Sassolungo, 1914

Another painting of the Grossglockner mountain (below). The linework gives a sense of form and gesture (which can be hard to capture when painting snow). It also gives your eyes something to follow around the painting.

Edward Theodore Compton, The Grossglockner, 1880
Edward Theodore Compton, The Grossglockner, 1880

I’ll finish with several more of Compton’s delicate watercolors.

Edward Theodor Compton, A View of Bregenz and Lake Bodensee
Edward Theodor Compton, A View of Bregenz and Lake Bodensee
Edward Theodore Compton, Tauernmoos, 1914
Edward Theodore Compton, Tauernmoos, 1914
Edward Theodore Compton, Salzburg by Maria Plain
Edward Theodore Compton, Salzburg by Maria Plain
Edward Theodor Compton, From the Dolomites, 1904
Edward Theodor Compton, From the Dolomites, 1904
Edward Theodor Compton, Landscape With Ravine and Ox Cart
Edward Theodor Compton, Landscape With Ravine and Ox Cart

Thanks for Reading!

Thanks for taking the time to read this post. I appreciate it! Feel free to share with friends. Want to learn more about landscape painting? Check out my Landscape Painting Masterclass.

Happy painting!

Signature Draw Paint Academy

Dan Scott

54 comments on “Edward Theodore Compton: Landscape Painter, Teacher, and Mountaineer”

  1. Beautiful Paintings by Edward Compton -So much patience he had picking up the scenes of the mountains & natural surroundings .Its just Beauty captures brilliantly .

    Reply
  2. Thank you Dan. Informative as usual. I think that to my mind these are the best paintings of mountains that I have ever seen. You can see that he loved mountains and it comes through in his paintings.
    I really enjoy your articles.

    Reply
  3. Hi Dan,
    Just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate and enjoy your posts, especially the series on artists, known and not so well known.
    It’s an enriching learning experience and certainly broadens one’s perspectives as a lover of Art and budding artist.

    Thank you , from Melbourne ,Australia

    Wishing you all the best and good health,

    Maritza

    Reply
  4. Hi Dan, thank you for your posts. I love discovering artists that are new to me and the way in which, in a few sentences, you mange to introduce them. I also very much enjoy seeing your own work. Talking of new artists, I wonder if you have ever come across any of these. I did, recently, by chance and one lead to the discovery of the others as they all happen to be Swiss. They are Giovanni Giacometti, Cuno Amiet and Ferdinand Hodler (probably my favourite). I’d like to now what do you think of their work. Thank you, Ivan

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  5. So beautiful. Just wondering how long it took him to do any of the paintings above, days, weeks maybe more?!
    I found myself staring at each painting for quite some time, so much to see, so many features that catch the eye, incredible use of colour. Fabulous.

    Reply
  6. Hi Dan,
    Thank you for putting up Edward Theodor Compton’s artworks.
    They are beautiful and capture the feel and the environment there.
    He is a great artist, with plenty of patience to paint in so much
    details.
    Best Regards.
    Victor Tan
    Singapore

    Reply
  7. Stunning! I struggle painting cliffs and rocks. I will study his work and see if I can finish a painting I put away as an abject disaster.

    Thank you for your posts! I read every one.

    Reply
  8. I appreciate your posts,I have started painting landscapes again,I used paint portraits,and still life for a long time..

    Reply
  9. Tot ik deze mail van je kreeg kende ik het aquarelwerk niet van Edward Compton. Ooit ben ik begonnen met aquarelleren en zag het werk van Bob Tomanovic van het Grand Canal in Venetië op een groot formaat. Prachtig gedetailleerd. Maar wat ik van Edward Compton zie is werkelijk fantastisch. Licht, diepte, details en een geweldige penseelvoering. Bedankt Dan voor het mailen van deze geweldige kunstschilder en de toelichting(en) die je geeft. Ook de manier waarop je uitleg geeft bij de verschillende schilderijen vind ik goed en begrijpelijk en niet alleen ik maar waar vele anderen veel aan hebben.
    Hatelijke groet, Ton

    Reply
  10. Thanks so much, what a Master Watercolorist! Very high level and needs more recognition in this unrepresented field. I am inspired. I appreciate your research and sharing.

    Reply
  11. I really enjoyed the watercolors and the success he had in creating depth and textures. I have attempting negative watercolor painting and I need to enhance my color saturation and contrast. Loved his work.

    Reply
  12. Its wonderful to see the creative works of other gifted artists; the more I see the more I learn. Thanks again.

    Reply
  13. Thank you Dan for brightening up a very rainy gloomy day! His work is so soft and delicate. Love his color choices….thanks again.

    Reply
  14. Thank you for introducing me to painters I otherwise would never have known about. And, thank you for expanding my knowledge of others of which I am aware. I look forward to receiving your emails because I know I will find something that strikes awe within me. I hope you never tire of this undertaking. So appreciated.

    Reply
  15. Wonderful especially since my family was from Switzerland so scenes with mountains and towns are always a favorite. But the detail in watercolor is fascinatingly beautiful!

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  16. Thank you so much for introducing me to this brilliant artist! I have been painting watercolors over the past two years, which I find very challenging. I haven’t as yet painted landscapes, but these watercolor paintings give me hope and I will attempt this soon!
    I very much appreciate your posts and read every one…keep them in a folder on my laptop!
    Have learned so much from you!

    Reply
  17. Thank you for sharing these. At 1st glance, A View from Mt Rossig looks photorealistic, and almost quickly dismissed it until zooming in and seeing he was just THAT good with shapes, values and colors to make me fill in the suggested details! He clearly mastered the phrase, I think by Monet, that referred to seeing without naming! Wow! All incredible!

    Reply
  18. This is one of my favorites of your artists’ posts. There is so much to study and learn in Mr. Compton’s amazing works. Many thanks for bringing these paintings to light .

    Reply
  19. Dan,
    Thanks for continually expanding my artistic horizons.
    Your vision is above Compton’s mountain tops.
    Cheers!

    Reply
  20. Thank you Dan! What a wonderful artist! I love watercolours, and yes I struggle to see the colour separations, in that where light and dark tones reside, when I paint (I’ve just started recently), but seeing Compton’s work has inspired me immensely. Thank you for giving us of your time and passion for art, so freely. Truly appreciate it.

    Reply
  21. What stunning details in ‘A View of Bregenz and Lake Bodensee’. His eye for detail is amazing, the rocks and mountains are stunningly painted. Sad that we have not heard of such an amazing painter.

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  22. Many thanks for brightening up my morning. A wonderful delicate use of colour tone and visual perspective I especially like the Dolomites 1904.It made me sit up! I felt I was standing right there!
    Brilliant!
    Keith.

    Reply
  23. Interesting that this artist uses White medium instead of the usual practise of ‘leaving out’.
    Something I always did when I used watercolour. Makes me want to do it again. Waterclour has an exciting advantage over all other mediums for it’s immediacy of freshness and delicacy of color.
    Keith

    Reply
  24. wow! what a stunning artist, thanks for this dan, I like painting mountains. this really is something to aim for.

    Reply
  25. Thank you for all the posts you send. As I have time I want to go back and study this one particularly. If you know or can find out, would you please post the size of the oils and watercolors? Thanks.

    Reply
  26. Amazing, beautiful. Never heard of him before but will do a bit of research to learn more about him. Thank you for bringing him to my attention. So glad you share all this history with us.

    Reply

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