A rather beautiful October sunset from William Dyce. This painting is called ‘A Recollection of October 5th 1858’ because it was painted retrospectively after a family trip to Kent. That word ‘recollection’ adds an element of romanticism to the scene, as if Dyce is conjuring up hazy memories, nostalgic for his holidays. Dyce’s choice of colours is romantic too; the pinky hues of the cliffs and the sand below them, with purple-grey wisps of evening clouds creeping across the sky.
I’m from Portsmouth on the south coast, and for me this painting perfectly captures those autumny afternoons on the beach when the sea seems to become almost silver as it reflects the sky, and the misty cold makes objects seem pale pink, blue and yellow. In this scene the women are wrapped up in shawls, which is definitely the right kind of clothing for the temperature at the moment, and it is strange to think that this time last year we had a small October heat wave and the coasts were filled with swimmers.