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Robertson Reid was one of several Scottish artists who lived in the south of England during the 1870s, and who revived an almost documentary manner of painting rural life. He painted this scene at Ashington in Sussex. Reid delighted in details of folk life and showing the varied social strata that made up the rural community. Here he shows the villagers as a social unit, either playing or watching the cricket match. In fact the match itself is secondary to the interaction of a carefully staged group of characters in the foreground, which includes local gentry, milkmaids and shepherds.

September 2004