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Oil painting - The Evening Sun: View on Ewhurst Hill, near Guildford
  • The Evening Sun: View on Ewhurst Hill, near Guildford
    Adams, John Clayton, born 1840 - died 1906
  • Enlarge image

The Evening Sun: View on Ewhurst Hill, near Guildford

  • Object:

    Oil painting

  • Date:

    1878 (painted)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Adams, John Clayton, born 1840 - died 1906 (painter (artist))

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Oil on canvas

  • Credit Line:

    Bequeathed by Rev. M. Davison

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage


1878 (painted)


Adams, John Clayton, born 1840 - died 1906 (painter (artist))

Materials and Techniques

Oil on canvas

Marks and inscriptions

'J Clayton Adams 1878'
Signed and dated by the artist


Height: 34.5 in estimate, Width: 49.5 in estimate, Height: 133 cm Frame dimensions, Width: 170 cm Frame dimensions

Object history note

Bequeathed by Rev. M. Davison, 1899

Historical significance: The landscape painter John Clayton Adams (1840-1906) lived in Edmondton and Guildford in Surrey. He exhibited at the Royal Academy and elsewhere over a thirty-year period between 1863 and 1893. His subjects were mostly views in Surrey and the southern counties. Adams lived at Ewhurst Hill near Guildford, the setting for this painting, from 1873 until his death in 1906.

The Evening Sun: View on Ewhurst Hill, near Guildford depicts a idyllic pastoral scene on a summer's evening with a shepherd resting on a sunlit slope in the foreground, his sheep grazing around him. Beyond him, farmers are gathering hay, with a large full haycart being drawn by two horses. A church and a windmill are visible in the middle distance. The landscape, partly wooded, partly pasture, stretches away into the hazy, bluish distance.

Idyllic landscape scenes like this one enjoyed great popularity in the later 19th century. Here, nature is depicted as richly fertile and, importantly, under human control: the land is farmed, sheep are kept, and flour is produced by the miller. The church spire in the distance symbolises divine order. However, this kind of bucolic scene was the result of nostalgia; for many second or third generation town and city-dwellers, rural life had become associated with the past and tradition. The rural idylls which paintings like these create had little to do with the realities of rural life in the 1870s and 1880s, which, due to a series of bad harvests, local taxation and other economic factors during these years, were actually experiencing a severe agricultural depression.

Another reason for the popularity of bucolic scenes was the steady erosion of the landscape at this time. Unprecedented numbers of newly-built houses were spreading out of the towns and cities into suburbs which encroached on the English countryside.

Descriptive line

Oil painting, 'The Evening Sun - View on Ewhurst Hill, near Guildford', John Clayton Adams, 1878


Oil paint; Canvas


Oil painting

Subjects depicted





Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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