The Wallace Collection

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Sunset in the Pays de Caux
  • Richard Parkes Bonington (1802 - 1828)
  • Sunset in the Pays de Caux
  • France
  • 1828
  • Painting
  • Watercolour and bodycolour with gum varnish on paper
  • Image size: 19.8 x 26.3 cm
  • Signature: 'R P.B. 1828'
  • P708
  • Not on display
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • This is one of Bonington’s last watercolours, painted shortly before his death one month short of his twenty-sixth birthday. It is a sombre work, seemingly elegiac in mood, but its predominantly yellow tone and direct engagement with the setting sun are in fact more the outcome of his admiration for Turner than an awareness of his own coming death. Such features can be found in his earlier works, and they can also be found in oils and watercolours by Turner. The Pays de Caux, the area north of the lower reaches of the Seine in Normandy, had been frequently visited by Bonington during his sketching trips. British travellers thought it extremely backward in the early years of the nineteenth century, but in the 1820s it became fashionable with the aristocracy because of the duchesse de Berri's patronage of the sea baths established in Dieppe in 1822. At the opposite extreme socially were the shrimpers shown in Bonington's watercolour who were engaged in a perilous occupation which was barely viable economically.