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John Crome
Norwich 1768 – 1821 Norwich

Hoveton St Peter

The Norwich School of Artists. John Crome, Norwich 1768 – 1821 Norwich. Hoveton St Peter. Soft-ground counterproof, c1838.

Hoveton St Peter
Theobald 30 only state
162 x 237 mm
Soft-ground counterproof.
With the initials, printing in reverse.
On wove, probably printed in 1838 (the only counterproof of a Crome etching in the British Museum collection is from a hard-ground etching; it is in the final state and therefore related to the Dawson Turner 1838 edition and is annotated in pencil "transfer from fresh impression").
On wove.


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Additional Information about the Artist

Crome was a painter in oils and watercolours and only etched for a short period, during the years 1809 to 1813. Though none of his plates were published in his lifetime, his example inspired several of the Norwich artists to take up etching.

Of quite humble origins he was fortunate to be introduced to Thomas Harvey, a wealthy master weaver and sometime Mayor of Norwich, who was also an amateur artist and an art collector. Through his collection he introduced Crome to the paintings of Gainsborough and Hobbema and personally to the portrait painter Sir William Beechey, who between 1782 and 1787 was based in Norwich. Beechey found Crome to be “an awkward, uninformed country lad, but shrewd in all his remarks on art, though he wanted words to express his meaning”.

With the exception of short visits to London, he exhibited at the Royal Academy between 1806 and 1818, and a visit to the Continent in 1815 after the defeat of Napolean, Crome spent all his life in Norwich.

Crome’s earliest dated etching, from 1809, is a soft-ground and it was probably the example of Gainsborough and of 18th century ‘drawing’ books that first interested Crome in printmaking, after which he looked at the needled hard-ground etchings of the Dutch 17th century painters, particularly the work Ruisdael.

Crome etched over thirty-seven original landscapes (26 hard-ground etchings and 11 soft-ground etchings) between 1809 and 1813. None of them was published in Crome’s lifetime and occasional lifetime proofs are very rare.

The first edition (under the title Norfolk Picturesque Scenery) was not issued until over a decade after Crome’s death, by his widow, in 1834. For her edition the majority of the thirty-one plates included were printed exactly as Crome had left them.

For the second edition (Etchings of Views in Norfolk) issued 1838, which accompanied the Dawson Turner Biographical Memoir, many of the hard-ground plates, at Dawson Turner’s instigation, were re-bitten and titles added to them at the foot. Crome himself had not given titles to any of his etchings. Henry Ninham, member of the Society of Norwich Artists, carried out the retouches to the plates.

The soft-ground plates were all left untouched. None of the plates was further touched after 1838 for the subsequent editions.

The other ten prints by Crome in this exhibition are: