When this work was included in the exhibition ‘Mr. & Mrs. Adrian Stokes: Dutch Life and Landscape Pictures’ at the Fine Art Society in February 1900, Wilfred Meynell’s review in ‘The Art Journal’ described it as ‘Stokes’s most important Dutch landscape’. Meynell went on to comment:
‘‘Moonrise on the Dunes’ [is] a work in which the artist’s science is joined to great sweetness and poetry of feeling in place of the brisk temper and high daylight of the majority of his landscapes. The subtle drawing of the pine-trees, the exquisite peacefulness with which the distant sand-hills are painted - it is a peacefulness of the very execution - and the slight and restrained variety of a large sky, are all so many delicacies, boldly withstood by the strong drawing and colour of the cattle, with their splendid and arbitrary patches.’
Adrian Scott Stokes was born in Southport, Merseyside; the son of a barrister and an inspector of schools. He was a cotton broker before entering the Royal Academy Schools in 1872. In 1876 he moved to France, remaining for ten years and concentrating on landscape painting while studying under Dagnan Bouveret. In 1884 he married Austrian painter Marianne Preindlesberger. When the couple returned to England they took a studio in Kensington, before settling at Carbis Bay and later at St Ives. Stokes travelled widely, visiting Spain, Italy, Holland and Austria. He became President of the St Ives Society of Arts in 1890, a member of the Royal Academy in 1919 and Vice President of the Royal Watercolour Society in 1932. He died in London, aged 80.
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