Seaford, Sussex

Oil Painting
1844 (painted)
Seaford, Sussex thumbnail 1
Not currently on display at the V&A

Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

William Collins's painting shows three children sitting on an exposed chalk plateau at Seaford Head in Sussex, high above the beach below. A layer of darker, sandy soil can also be seen on the clifftops at either side of them. One of the children is making a toy boat, or perhaps modifying a traditional basket known as a Sussex trug. Another wooden trug lies on the chalky ground beside him, along with raw materials, a knife and some wood shavings.

Down on the beach, a man seems to be loading lumps of loose chalk onto a horse and cart, while others are digging the sand or handling fishing nets. Seaford's Martello Tower is visible on the right of the picture, and the harbour wall at Newhaven is visible further west along the coast. Beyond Newhaven, the white cliffs lead towards a darker Brighton in the far distance.

When Collins painted the view in 1844, Seaford was a small seaside town with a large, sandy beach. However, the expansion of Newhaven harbour in the following years had a significant impact on the coastline nearby. Much of Seaford's sand disappeared as a result, only to be replaced by shingle instead. The cliffs at Seaford Head were also subject to constant erosion and sudden collapse, as the crumbling ground to the right of the children suggests.

A related drawing by Collins, entitled "The Young Boat Builders", is also in the V&A collection (FA.10). This shows the two boys in a similar pose, but without the girl or the Sussex trug.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Oil on canvas
Brief Description
Oil painting entitled 'Seaford, Sussex' by William Collins. Great Britain, 1844.
Physical Description
Oil on canvas depicting three children, one mending a basket, seated on a chalky plateau above a large bay with a view out to sea at Sussex.
Dimensions
  • Estimate height: 69.9cm
  • Estimate width: 92.7cm
Styles
Marks and Inscriptions
'W Collins 1844' (Signed and dated by the artist, lower left)
Credit line
Given by John Sheepshanks, 1857
Object history
Given by John Sheepshanks, 1857
Subjects depicted
Place Depicted
Summary
William Collins's painting shows three children sitting on an exposed chalk plateau at Seaford Head in Sussex, high above the beach below. A layer of darker, sandy soil can also be seen on the clifftops at either side of them. One of the children is making a toy boat, or perhaps modifying a traditional basket known as a Sussex trug. Another wooden trug lies on the chalky ground beside him, along with raw materials, a knife and some wood shavings.



Down on the beach, a man seems to be loading lumps of loose chalk onto a horse and cart, while others are digging the sand or handling fishing nets. Seaford's Martello Tower is visible on the right of the picture, and the harbour wall at Newhaven is visible further west along the coast. Beyond Newhaven, the white cliffs lead towards a darker Brighton in the far distance.



When Collins painted the view in 1844, Seaford was a small seaside town with a large, sandy beach. However, the expansion of Newhaven harbour in the following years had a significant impact on the coastline nearby. Much of Seaford's sand disappeared as a result, only to be replaced by shingle instead. The cliffs at Seaford Head were also subject to constant erosion and sudden collapse, as the crumbling ground to the right of the children suggests.



A related drawing by Collins, entitled "The Young Boat Builders", is also in the V&A collection (FA.10). This shows the two boys in a similar pose, but without the girl or the Sussex trug.
Bibliographic Reference
Parkinson, R., Victoria and Albert Museum, Catalogue of British Oil Paintings 1820-1860, London: HMSO, 1990, p. 38
Collection
Accession Number
FA.31[O]

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record createdApril 30, 2007
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