Samuel Prout (1783 - 1852) is best understood through John Ruskin (see Modern Painters). I have always recommended him for study on the following grounds (his significant strengths)


• elaborate yet controlled structure of composition

• fine sense of detail under control within pattern

• the depiction of everyday but picturesque life

• tonality in shadows

• soft materials hanging over hard supports


Much of his work has a certain unchallenging and has superficial quality, but I keep coming back to read the narratives in them. His buildings can be explored as a mental exercise although the study of people and their activities is hardly taxing for the viewer. His ruins are gentle but fascinating, and never in the history of human habitation, has there ever existed a territory so much in need of rendering and the repointing of brickwork.