Technique and condition

The painting is on plain-woven, linen canvas which was prepared, probably in the artist's studio, with a coat of animal-glue size, followed by two layers of opaque priming. The first layer is brown, the second layer is tan coloured and like the first it is bound in oil. Both contain varying amounts of lead white, ochres, umbers, glassy particles and fine sand, which was probably added to increase the hardness of the ground and perhaps also give it some texture.

No underdrawing is visible with microscopic or infra-red examination, though the dense paint layers and tan ground may be masking its presence. The first stage of painting was an opaque, off-white underpainting, which was applied to the top part of the picture in preparation for the blue of the sky. It extends also beneath the most distant range of hills, its whiteness helping create the hazy effect of aerial perspective. The technique used thereafter is consistent throughout the painting. The colours, which are mostly opaque, were mixed up on the palette and applied wet-in-wet with no preparatory underpainting. Large areas were blocked in before tonal and figurative details were added on top and in each element of the picture dark tones were put on before light. Glazes are present here and there in the trees but as local patches rather than large passages. The blue pigment in the sky is very good quality ultramarine, which was used also to make the most distant greens. The greens elsewhere have azurite as their principal component, mixed with green earth, ochres, lead tin yellow, black and pale smalt.

The painting is in very fine condition. When acquired by the Tate in 1995, it had been recently cleaned and lined. The original stetcher is not present. There are no significant damages in it.

Rica Jones
October 1997