John Crome (1769-1821) (Old Crome)

The landscape painter John Crome was the founder of the Norwich School of painters. He was born in Norwich, the son of a weaver, and remained in that town for his whole life, making one trip to Wales, one to Paris, and otherwise contenting himself with a yearly visit to London to see the Academy Exhibition. He was first apprenticed to a coach-painter, but spent his leisure time painting in oils, being largely self-taught. He was influenced somewhat by various Dutch painters whose work he had the opportunity to study, and also was inspired by Richard Wilson in his early work. From 1807-1818 he sent a dozen pictures to the Royal Academy, but otherwise showed his works in Norwich.

Crome's major works were realist landscapes in oil, but he also helped to revive etching in England, producing a series of plates from about 1809-13. His oil paintings numbered about 300, quite impressive given that he spent so much time teaching. Crome had a strong influence on his many pupils, and among his followers may be mentioned James Stark, George Vincent, and his own son, John Berney Crome, who produced scenes of shipping and landscapes in moonlight.

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