An Old Church
Topic: Subject or sitter

Is this a church in South Yorkshire, East Anglia or South Dorset, where the artist often painted?

Its style might suggest that it dates from the 1920s.

Martin Hopkinson, Entry reviewed by Art UK

Completed, Outcome

This discussion is now closed. The church has been identified as St Nicholas, Salthouse, in Norfolk.

Thank you to everyone who contributed to the discussion. To anyone viewing this discussion for the first time, please see below for all the comments that led to this conclusion.


The collection comments:

‘The architecture suggests that the subject is an English one, and Muirhead is known to have painted extensively in Yorkshire, East Anglia, Cambridgeshire, Norfolk, and other locations.

The Collection has nothing by way of labels or inscriptions on the work itself, nor in the archives, to give any further clues.

The painting was included as part of Muirhead's Memorial display at the RSA Annual Exhibition in 1931 and was subsequently gifted to the collection by the artist's sisters. It may have been included as a recent work, or possibly because the subject was a particularly pertinent one for the artist. The work was subsequently lent to the Royal Academy Winter Exhibition in 1935.’

Jacinto Regalado,

The handling is quite similar to 1925 paintings of Chepstow Castle on Art UK, so it is probably from the 1920s, as already noted.

Gay Sturt,

Christchurch Priory? Genuine old building. Possibly seen from River Avon (wet ) side. A regular attender some years ago so working on instinct. A fine example of a Dorset larger church.

Quick work colleagues - I think Dave has nailed it in super quick time. We'd be happy to go with St Nicholas Salthouse as the location depicted.

Very many thanks all.

In terms of the dating of the work, as Martin Hopkinson suggests it is most likely from the 1920s. This type of subject was exhibited by David Muirhead in the 1920s. Examples are 'The Church at Blythburgh, Suffolk' (at the Glasgow Institute #85 in 1920) and 'Distant View of Ely' (at the Royal Scottish Academy' #533 in 1925). There seems little else to add following the brilliant contribution by Dave Evans and acceptance by the collection of the location as identified by him. It is wonderful how little Salthouse has changed over all these years.

Good morning.

Grant thank you for your further helpful notes regarding the likely dating of the work, and Kenneth for correcting, and providing further details regarding the work's subsequent exhibition history.

these details will be added to our records, with due thanks, and again many thanks to all involved and not least to Dave Evans for resolving the identity of the location.

We are happy to consider our initial request for assistance to have been most excellently answered.

We do not propose changing the title of the work as this is the title by which it entered the collection and has been exhibited thus far. Unless anyone ever happens upon a reference to an exhibited work by Muirhead giving St Nicholas' Salthouse as its title.

We would be happy to draw a line under this discussion and consider it closed.

Thanks again to all involved.

FYI RSA: the Art UK form that is emerging by practice, taking yours as example: 'The Old Church (St Nicholas, Salthouse, Norfolk)' -though subject to confirmation when closing. The rationale is maximum subject search-term utility on this site, but of course how you record it is your call.

Thank you to all, especially to the RSA for responding on the thread, which allows us to update our record and conclude promptly. I look forward to receiving the formal recommendation to update Art UK.

One final thought if I may. The artist showed extensively with the New English Art Club. A examination of his exhibits there shows that he exhibited views of Norfolk and Suffolk between 1907 and 1928. In the summer show of 1910 his exhibit #192 was titled 'Salthouse Heath, Norfolk'. Perhaps this points to a date of say 1909 to 1910 for the present work of the church at Salthouse?

The church has been identified as St Nicholas in Salthouse in Norfolk. Salthouse is a village sited on the salt marshes close to the north Norfolk coast, not far from Holt. The artist, David Muirhead, painted regularly in Norfolk in the years between 1907 and 1928 and he exhibited a view of Salthouse at the New English Art Club in 1910. The collection accepts the research which has led to this conclusion and henceforth the work will be known on Art UK as 'An Old Church (St Nicholas, Salthouse, Norfolk)'. It is recommended that the discussion now be closed. Our appreciation goes to everyone who contributed to this discussion and especially to Dave Evans who pinpointed the exact location of the church.