William Crouch (active 1817-1850)
Though little is known of the life of William Crouch, his surviving works attest a prolific and popular professional life. His idyllic and pleasing watercolours are usually worked on a small scale and it is rare to find them signed. In perfecting the genre of the capriccio, he created beguiling palimpsests from theatrical archaeological elements, bathed in the glow of a treatment of light inspired by Turner and Varley. They would have provided a satisfying dish to serve to the early nineteenth century public eager for the taste of romantic antiquity and the spice of vicarious travel.
William Crouch produced watercolour landscapes that are usually based in Mediterranean and Aegean topography and littered with picturesque Greco-Roman fragments. Between 1830 and 1850, many of these watercolours were engraved for appearances in annuals and periodicals. They included View in the Campagna, which appeared in the annual, Friendship’s Offering for 1841, accompanied by John Ruskin’s poem, ‘The Departed Light’.