Oil on canvas
76.5 x 63.5 cm
(30.12" x 25")
Though Grimshaw painted many types of pictures (portraits, 'society' pictures and even the odd fairy painting), it is his landscape work examining different types of light and weather that best exemplified his talents. Grimshaw had a genius for weather, and his use of light allowed him to capture both mood and appearance in his landscapes. He had a unique sense of twilight, of moonlight, of fog and rain - where lesser painters would create mud, his brush left limpid delineations of light and tone.
The cold, grayish-blue of the moonlight illuminates this streetscape. The rutted, damp road reflects this cold light, and the dead trees stand out in dramatic relief. The cart rider is alone, which underscores the unforgiving nature of the season. Everything about this picture says late autumn, chilly air and the onset of winter. However, Grimshaw brings a vital element of life by employing yellowish light to the parlor windows, creating a sense of warmth, of hearth and of refuge. The stone wall, however, which is clearly illuminated by the cold moon, separates our rider from the home - he is alone, with only the cold moonlight for company.
- by James Abbott
First published Friday, August 5, 2011 on the Jade Sphinx