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The view shows the area of Briton Ferry at the mouth of the River Neath in South Wales. Ibbetson visited Wales several times and this composition probably originated during his visit to nearby Cardiff Castle in 1789. This painting, however, is a later version of the subject, based on a watercolour of 1795.
In the latter part of the eighteenth century, the comparatively unknown landscape of Wales was popularised through the publication of travel-guides, particularly the Revd. William Gilpin's 'Observations on the River Wye' 1782, which encouraged artists to go in search of 'picturesque' scenery. This charming coastal scene was painted on wood which has helped to conserve its remarkable freshness of atmosphere.

September 2004