In this tranquil English landscape a man herds two cows along a country path. Before him is the River Medway, upon which are two small boats. In the background, the town of Maidstone spans both sides of the river and a wooden bridge connects the two parts.
Artist William Groombridge painted at least two views of the River Medway. In 1781 he exhibited a work titled ‘View of Yalding-lees, with part of Twyford Bridge, in Kent’ at the Royal Academy. It showed a view of the river at a point just south west of this scene.
William Groombridge was born near Tunbridge Wells, Kent. He was probably a pupil of James Lambert the elder. He exhibited landscapes and miniature portraits at the Society of Arts and the Free Society and the Royal Academy, living at addresses in Kent and London. In 1778 he entered a debtor’s prison. In the following year he published a volume of sonnets. In about 1792, Groombridge married amateur watercolourist ‘Catherine’ and he is thought to have spent time in Jamaica before settling in America in about 1794. He became a founder of the ‘Columbianum’ Art Academy and lived in New York and Philadelphia, later settling in Baltimore, Maryland, where Catherine ran a girl’s school. He died at the school at the age of 63.
Sold through Puttick & Simpson, London, 'Sale of the Collections of Miss Johnston and Others', on 15 February 1928 (Lot 121); collection of Frances Clare, Lady Vyvyan (née Perkins; died 1952); by whom sold through Christie's, London, ‘Pictures by Old Masters’ sale, on 23 June 1950 (Lot 12), for £18.18.0; from which sale purchased by ‘James’; with Spink & Son; from whom purchased by the Ministry of Works in March 1955
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