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You are hereHarvey-LeeHomeHarvey-LeeWeb ExhibitionsHarvey-LeeNorwich School IntroductionHarvey-LeeJohn Middleton 02

John Middleton
Norwich 1827 – 1856 Norwich

Composition and Road & Trees Composition

The Norwich School of Artists. John Middleton, Norwich 1827 – 1856 Norwich. Gunton Park, Norfolk. Original etching, c.1850-52.

Composition and Road & Trees Composition
Bolingbroke 8 and 9
40 x 61 mm (plate) and 100 x 98 mm (plate); 278 x 379 mm (sheet)
Original etchings, c.1850-52.
The plate of Road & Trees signed with the monogram.
Each on cream chine collé on stout ‘white’ wove, printed together on the same sheet.
Issued in Nine Etchings by John Middleton 1852.
Foxing on the wove sheet.
The sheet annotated in pencil by a previous owner.


Road & Trees was Middleton’s “first attempt at etching”.

Middleton etched a second plate of the same view as the small sketchy Composition but on a larger scale and with the shelter greatly elaborated, and generally more detailed in the coastal depiction.

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Additional Information about the Artist

Born only 6 years before the Norwich Society of Artists was dissolved, Middleton belonged to the third generation of Norwich School painter-etchers and was part of the final flowering of the tradition.

Middleton too attended Norwich Grammar School before becoming a pupil of John Berney Ladbrooke, the son of Robert Ladbrooke who had co-founded the Society of Norwich Artists.

He moved to London in 1847, becoming a pupil and friend of Henry Bright, another artist associated with the Norwich School. After the death of his father Middleton returned to Norwich in 1849 to run the family business (his father had been a plumber, glazier, painter and glass-stainer) but he continued to exhibit in London at the Royal Academy and British Institute until 1855, the year before his early death, aged only twenty-nine, from tuberculosis.

A noted painter in watercolours, Middleton probably took up etching when he was back in Norwich and produced ten plates, mainly of wooded landscapes. Nine of these he published in a book in 1852 but the edition must have been small as impressions are rarely found.

Middleton was another early enthusiast of photography and a member of the Norwich Photographic Society, probably being introduced to the process by his friend Thomas Lound.

The other two prints by Middleton in this exhibition are: