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For city-dwellers, the rhythms of rural life seemed to be idyllic. Paintings representing life in the country showed people at rest more often than working. Country inns, in particular, seemed to epitomise the relaxed approach to life and work which country people were meant to enjoy. They also served to stress the importance of a sense of community which many felt was being lost in the modern day.

William Turner was a landscape specialist based in Oxford. Compared to the work of John Constable or George Robert Lewis, his paintings seem very old-fashioned.

September 2004