A man and a child accompanied by dog walk along a country road. A woman and another child, perhaps part of the same party, are further ahead on the road. To the left of the scene is a small cottage. In the distance is the spire of a church. With its dramatic contrasts of light and dark and relatively low horizon line, this landscape by James Stark shows the influence of Netherlandish painting on his work. Stark is best-known for river scenes and rural landscapes, like this example, and also for painted coastal scenes.
James Stark was born in Norwich and became a pupil of local artist John Crome from 1811. He exhibited with the Norwich Society and entered the Royal Academy Schools, London, in 1817. A painful condition, possibly kidney stones, hindered his work and forced him to return to Norwich in 1821. However, it did not prevent him marrying Elizabeth Dinmore of King's Lynn in the same year, with whom he had three children. In 1827, the first part of his four part volume of 36 engravings was published, entitled ‘Scenery of the Rivers of Norfolk’. Stark returned to London in 1830, after twelve years in Norwich. He died from a disease of the kidneys and bladder at the age of 64 in Camden, London, and returned to Norwich posthumously to be buried.
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