A Shady Retreat

A Shady Retreat, 1834
Thomas Creswick (1811-1869)
Oil on canvas
BORGM 00582
Image © Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum

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A Shady Retreat

Thomas Creswick was born in Sheffield and studied in Birmingham under the landscape painter Joseph Vincent Barber (1788-1838). British landscapes featuring streams and woodlands, as in this picture, were his favoured subjects.

John Ruskin, the 19th century art critic, described Creswick as ‘one of the very few artists who do draw from nature and try for nature’. By this, he was referring to how Creswick was an honest painter who captured what he saw without altering a composition for the sake of aesthetics.

Creswick came to London in 1828 and his depictions of Britain’s unspoilt countryside became extremely popular among rich city dwellers. He was particularly admired for the cool greens he used in his palette which he combined with silvery effects of aerial perspective. To keep up with demand Creswick was extremely active, producing numerous book illustrations as well as paintings.

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