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Steer made many visits to Walberswick in Suffolk, where he had friends. He completed a number of paintings of the beach there that are among the most authentically Impressionist works produced in Britain. They are all fluidly painted and concentrate upon effects of atmosphere and light but, unlike Monet, Steer was just as interested in the figures as their setting. When paintings like this were exhibited for the first time in Britain the 1880s and 1890s they were seen as being uncompromisingly avant-garde. One critic in 1892 even described such works at the New English Art Club exhibition as 'evil'.

September 2004