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This picture may show a scene in the Lake District or somewhere in Wales, but such identification is perhaps beside the point. More important is the sense of awe and mystery it conjures up. It gains much of its effect from its obscurity – one of the elements of the Sublime.

The ambiguity of subject and loose handling was advanced for the time, when high finish and greater topographical clarity were more usual. It was too advanced even for Turner. He is said to have owned a freely painted work by Crome – perhaps this picture – but little appreciated it. 

August 2004