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This painting could be described as an exercise in an Indian ‘picturesque’. The Picturesque was an aesthetic ideal which stressed the visual pleasures of variety and decay.

Overgrown, partly ruined structures were a familiar feature of British landscape painting. Despite their costumes, the figures to the right were also familiar. Paintings of the British countryside would regularly incorporate such figures, suggesting that the landscape was a place of rest and solace rather than work or poverty. Here their costumes also subtly evoke antique togas, suggesting a further link with the classical landscapes of the seventeenth-century artist Claude Lorrain.

September 2004