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English, circa 1859.
Stock No. 6279W
Born in 1841, the daughter of the Reverend John William Henry Marshall, rector of Ovingdean Parish, Suffolk, and alumnus of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, Emily Marshall was as well travelled and accomplished as were most ladies from the middle classes in the 1800s. More so, as with other members of her family, most notably her nephew, John William Henry Marshall-West and his brother Algernon Edward West, she was a gifted artist, painting prolifically in watercolour, scenes that reflected her European travels in Italy, France, Belgium and Holland as well as scenes from her own English surrounding countryside.
She had an eye for detail, painting everything from architecture to boats with an unerring accuracy and her work competently fluctuated in style from artistic, highly detailed and atmospheric simplicity to moody complexity in her portrayal of skies and seascapes. She captured people going about their everyday work and street scenes incorporating significant or ancient buildings and monuments with considerable ease. She also effortlessly reproduced the essence and period of each place and scene and displayed her extreme competence with the use of perspective.
The watercolours in our collection have been preserved from the effect of light and are subsequently probably as strong as when created by the artist, bold and unfaded. Each painting has been mounted and framed.
The reverse of this painting is inscribed Wool Street, Bruges. It was Julius Caesar who was the one of the first to see the advantages of Bruges' coastal position and to build a town there. From the time of the Viking incursions of the 9th century, coins have been found bearing the name ‘Bryggia’, this name possibly stemming from the old Norse meaning ‘landing stage or port’. It may well have the same derivation as Norway’s Bryggen, a World Heritage site set up in the city of Bergen. It was in the 12th and 13th centuries that Bruges made an international name for itself as a trader in wool and cloth with its weavers and spinners considered the best in the world. Possibly the first Stock Exchange in the world, The Bourse, opened in 1309 and thereafter, Bruges became the most sophisticated money market in the Low Countries in the 14th century.With its wealth and success, Bruges grew to have a population of 200,000 in the 16th century and, along with a few other canal based northern cities such as Amsterdam is sometimes referred to as the Venice of the North. One of the principal sights of Bruges is the Market Square that is dominated by the Belfort, a Medieval belfry tower built between 1482 and 1486 and stands 83 metres high and has 366 steps. The building’s origins go right back to 1240 when it formerly housed a treasury and the city’s municipal archives. It was also used as an observation tower for spotting fires and other danger and the bells in the tower each had a distinctive sound and function, be it to impart danger, important announcements or time. The carillon now rings every 15 minutes.