William Crotch was one of the most precocious musical infant prodigies of all time. In 1797 he became Professor of Music in Oxford at the age of twenty-two. During his residence in Oxford, which lasted over seventeen years, he became friendly with the drawing master and musician J.B.Malchair (no. 24). Crotch developed a drawing style similar to that of Malchair, and he also adopted the latter's habit of inscribing his drawings with the precise time when they were made. This view, for example, was drawn at 5 p.m. on 30 August 1806. Shortly after moving to London towards the end of 1805, Crotch became acquainted with John Constable, who about this time began to inscribe his own drawings in a similar fashion.
Gallery label, September 2004