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Conder was a student in Paris in the 1890s, and remained an Anglo-French painter, spending time equally in London and Paris. He liked to paint the coast of the English Channel, as if en route for Calais or Dieppe. In this view of the Front at Brighton the tall man at the right is said to be the painter Sickert, who also worked in both London and Paris, and who was one of those who brought Impressionism to Britain. In some of his work Conder nostalgically revived French eighteenth-century amorous subjects, and often painted watercolours on silk fans. The schoolgirl here who flies a kite, isolated in summer clothes when everyone else wears coats, is similarly a reminder of the fragility of youth.

August 2004