Storm over Wide Country
Topic: Subject or sitter

Can this view be identified from the churches? It is likely to be in Fenland or south-east Yorkshire where there are many panoramic landscapes under Philips Koninck-like skies.

Martin Hopkinson, Entry reviewed by Art UK

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Malcolm Fowles,

The central tower appears unlike any church, more a wigwam! Interpreted as a stack of some tall crop it may be a help.
I immediately think of willows and hence the Somerset Levels, from different parts of which one may see the Polden Hills, Mendips or Quantocks in the blue distance.

We know from the notes in regard to this work that it can date from no later than 1914. I have searched a long list of David Muirhead's exhibited works but cannot find an exact match, although there are several pictures where 'storm' appears in the title. As Betty says the central tower must be a windmill, which feature regularly in Muirhead's paintings. I think that the location is likely to be in Lincolnshire, Cambridgeshire, or East Anglia. Muirhead liked the 'big skies' in those counties. Someone will surely identify the view.

Andy Mabbett,

As ever, a higher-resolution scan would make a successful identiifcation more likely.

Malcolm Fowles,

I'll give you the windmill :-) but it is more sketchy in the Art UK version. The links suggest three versions of this work. I wonder which came first and who titled them.

Jacinto Regalado,

Malcolm, I didn't mean it was the same picture, but a picture of the same view or location. And yes, there are at least three variants.

In another discussion, regarding a painting by Arnesby Brown, the location of a watch tower has been identified as being Salthouse on the north Norfolk coast. It may be worth our investigating whether or not the David Muirhead painting under current review, which features a windmill and a tower (a church tower?), depicts the view towards that stretch of Norfolk coast. As always contributions from residents familiar with the area would be especially useful.

Marcie Doran,

I have assembled the David Muirhead works suggested by Jacinto (two images were taken from different sources) into composites. I think the windmill at the centre of ‘Storm over Wide Country’ is Cobbin’s Mill, Little Downham Road, Ely, with the cathedral in Littleport on the left and the cathedral in Ely on the small hill on the right. Can anyone think of a way to confirm this?

The first composite shows:
1. ‘Storm over Wide Country’
2. From the MutualArt website, ‘Figures in an expansive landscape, a windmill beyond’.
3. From the Invaluable website (Sworders, February 21, 2012), ‘A Norfolk Landscape’.

The second composite shows:
1. ‘Storm over Wide Country’
2. From Invaluable website (Bonham’s, June 15, 2010), ‘Ely’, 1919.
3. From the ‘Mills Archive’ website, a photo of Cobbin’s Mill from 1930, reversed. Unfortunately, the photo is taken from one side of the windmill.

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