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Walker shows the crumbling gate of Halsway Court at Crowcombe in Somerset, where he stayed in 1868-9. Using local people as models, he added figures to give the picture a narrative content. However, Walker deliberately let the narrative remain ambiguous, to encourage viewers to construct their own story.
Walker firmly believed in painting directly from his subject, to create a detailed evocation of nature. In this picture, however, he deviated from his usual practice. It was made in his studio from a smaller study painted in the open air. Walker was unhappy with the original arrangement of the figures, and altered them for this version.

September 2004