On the Skirts of the Forest
By John Crome ("Old Crome")

On the Skirts of the Forest
By John Crome ("Old Crome") (1768-1821)
In the Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Although Crome's pictures sold for comparatively small amounts during his life-time, he is now recognised as one of the greatest English landscape painters. He was born in Norwich, and he found his chief inspirations in the scenery of his native country. He began earning his living as errand boy to a physician, but at the age of fifteen was apprenticed to a house, coach and sign painter, and in this humble fashion he placed his foot upon the ladder of fame, by which he was to climb to the topmost heights in the realm of Art. Even at this time he sketched landscape studies, and became successful to the extent that he was able to sell his specimens to a firm of printsellers for twenty shillings apiece. The copying of Dutch and Flemish pictures and Gainsborough's "Cottage Door" helped to form his style, and gradually he became successful enough to marry. In 1803 he founded the Norwich Society "for the purpose of an enquiry into the rise, progress, and present state of Painting, Architecture and Sculpture, with a view to point out the best methods of study, and to attain to greater perfection in these arts." Their first exhibition, held in 1805, marked the formation of the famous Norwich School, the exhibitions of which continued annually until Crome's death, and at intervals until 1833.

He is at his best with tree pictures, and he aimed at dignity and breadth. "If your picture is only a pigsty," he said to his son, "dignify it." And again, he wrote to a pupil, "Your... making parts broad and of a good shape, that they may come in with your composition, forming one grand plan of light and shade, this must always please a good eye, and keep the attention of the spectator and give delight to everyone."

From the book "Famous Paintings" printed in 1913.

Online "Name the Painting"

John Crome
at the Tate Gallery

"Blacksmith's Shop" by Crome
at the Philadelphia Museum of Art

John Crome Etchings

Famous Paintings in this Series

M. Bompard

A Prayer to the Madonna


The Madonna and Child

Sir Edward Coley

King Cophetua and the Beggar Maid

Sir Edward Coley

The Mill

Jean Charles Cazin


John Constable

Boat-Building Near
Flatford Mill

John Crome

On the Skirts of the Forest

Pascal Adolphe Jean

The Blessed Bread

Theophile Emanuel Duverger


C.W. Furse

Diana of the Uplands

W.H. Gore


Peter Graham

A Rainy Day

Jean Baptiste Greuze

The Listening Girl

Sir James Guthrie

A Highland Funeral

Frans Hals

A Man With a Glove
In His Hand

Hans Holbein the Younger

The Ambassadors

Henry Holiday

Dante and Beatrice

Sir Edwin Landseer


Sir Edwin Landseer

A Naughty Child

H.H. La Thangue

Mowing Bracken

Sir Thomas Lawrence

Caroline of Brunswick,
Queen of George IV.

G.D. Leslie

Sun and Moon Flowers

J. Seymour Lucas


Jean Louis Ernest

The Print Collector

Jean Francois Millet

The Angelus

Jean Francois Millet

Going to Work

Sir William Quiller

The Farmer's Daughter

Ralph Peacock



His Own Portrait

Sir Joshua Reynolds

The Infant Samuel

Sir Joshua Reynolds

The Strawberry Girl

George Romney

The Parson's Daughter

W. Dendy Sadler

A Good Story

W. Dendy Sadler


William Small

The Last Match

J.M. Swan

On the Alert,
Lioness and Cubs

J.M.W. Turner

Peace: Burial at Sea of the
Body of Sir David Wilkie

J.M.W. Turner

Rain Steam and Speed
The Great Western Railway


Portrait of a Spanish Lady
"La Femme a L'Eventail"

Frederick Walker

The Vagrants

George Frederick Watts


James McNeill Whistler

My Mother

Anders Zorn

A Fisherman

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Famous Paintings