Oil on Canvas, 1882
The Cranbrook Colony was a group of artists who settled in Cranbrook, Kent from 1854 onwards and were inspired by seventeenth century Dutch and Flemish painters.
The group started with the painter Frederick Daniel Hardy who liked the countryside around Cranbrook and settled there in 1854. He was joined there after three years by his mentor, Thomas Webster, their studio being an old house in the High Street, of which Hardy occupied the basement.
Other artists who soon joined them were Frederick Hardy's brother George Hardy, John Callcott Horsley, and George Bernard O'Neill (who married Horsley’s cousin Emma Callcott), with George Henry Boughton and Augustus Mulready frequently visiting.
Their works were mainly romanticized views of the countryside and sentimental images of bucolic simplicity which proved extremely saleable to the industrialists of the Midlands.
"The Cranbrook style was enormously popular, and had many imitators," including William Henry Knight; its artists continued a tradition "of small old-masterish pictures until the end of the century."
[The Jewel Basket - O'Neill]
[John Calcott Horsley. [Christmas Card]. "A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to You." 82 x 130 mm. [London: J. C. Horsley. 1843]]