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Joshua Cristall was a founder member of the Society of Painters in Watercolour, but was unusual in being primarily a figure painter. His exhibits at the Society in its early years were large elaborate compositions on a pastoral or arcadian theme with monumental figures. In later years he also produced watercolours featuring figures observed from the life - Hastings fishermen and Scottish peasant girls, for example. Pure landscape sketches by Cristall are rare. This one (inscribed 'J.C.') was formerly attributed to John Constable. Paul Oppé provided the correct attribution. Cristall may have learned to use washes with such confidence and freedom during the tour he made in Wales in 1803 with Cornelius Varley (no.84).

September 2004