A Rushy Shore, plate XXXV from "Life and Landscape on the Norfolk Broads"

This photograph is horizontally oriented and portrays a marshy shoreline. The foreground is filled with rushes. The horizon line, in the upper portion of the work, depicts homes, a windmill in the distance, and patches of water. Bare trees also dot this outdoor scene.
Peter Emerson
Initially trained as a physician, Emerson purchased his first camera in 1881 while a student at Cambridge University; in 1886 he abandoned medicine for photography. "Life and Landscape on the Norfolk Broads" was a photographic album that Emerson co-authored with the English painter Thomas F. Goodall (1856–1944). This work shows the artist’s deep connection with the broads (or marshes) of the Suffolk landscape near Norfolk, a subject matter found in nearly all his works. He often portrayed these watery lowlands with a very high horizon line. Here, the sharp, staccato accents of the reeds in the water of the foreground diminish the viewer’s sense of spatial recession, an effect that is further enhanced by the nearly abstract patterning of the reeds in contrast to the simple rounded masses of the huts and houses.
Museum purchase made possible by the W. Hawkins Ferry Fund
Saturday, May 21, 2022