At Hale, Lancashire

WAG 1115


Hale is a village approximately seven miles from Liverpool on the northern bank of the Mersey. The artist could easily have travelled there and back within a day in order to paint on the spot. The cottage is identifiable with one still standing at the Liverpool end of the village. The critic John Ruskin (1819-1900) disapproved of Davis's works, considering them, like some of Ford Madox Brown's (1821-89) landscapes, not grand enough in conception or choice of subject. The suggested parallel with Madox Brown is just, although Davis never equalled his skills as a painter, for it is precisely the 'matter of fact' unheroic quality of these little works that is their peculiar strength, and merits their consideration alongside Madox Brown's Finchley and Hendon landscapes of the 1850s.