This late 19th-century oil painting by British artist William Graham Buxton (1858-1926) depicts a charming coastal view in Essex, England. It was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1890.
In the shade of a bright early sun, a fisherman loads a hand cart with the morning’s catch. A woman, perhaps his wife, stands in the doorway of an ivy-clad Victorian house. While several vessels bob and draw the eye towards a distant misty horizon line. This is the Essex coast, a place of work for locals and a destination for visiting Londoners.
In the late 19th century, hordes of eager tourists flocked to the east in search of fresh air and relaxation. Often dressed to the nines, with the gentleman suited, they lazed upon beaches with umbrellas shielding the light. Sand was quite a luxury with many beaches consisting of shingle.
Here, we see Buxton’s celebration of the English coast. He too travelled from the smog-filled environs of Camden Town to relax. Catching a train and bedding down at a local guesthouse. At first light, he’s headed out, easel in hand, to capture the dawn. Choosing a composition with its focus on laundry drying by a fisherman’s house. To the right, a glimpse of blue via a silhouetted figure.
He loved it here and it’s no wonder the painting hung proudly at the RA in the same room as works by John Singer Sargent, Benjamin Williams Leader, John Lavery, Edwin Long, Henry Scott Tuke and Hubert von Herkomer.
Signed/dated in the lower right and held within a gilt frame. Previously at Christie’s.
Medium: Oil on canvas
Overall size: 43” x 31” / 109cm x 79cm
Year of creation: 1890
Labels & Inscriptions: Title label on reverse.
Condition: Artwork presents well. Fine craquelure in areas but the paint is stable. Canvas relined. Frame with some light wear.
William Graham Buxton
William Graham Buxton exhibited at the Royal Society of British Artists, the Royal Institute of Oil Painters and the Royal Academy. He’s represented at the Hastings Museum and Art Gallery.
Learn more about William Graham Buxton in our directory.