Mary C. Durst of Chatham, Kent
This attractive collection of landscape watercolours are by the hand of Mary C. Durst, wife of John Durst MA, Vicar of Bredhurst, Chatham, Kent, whose brother, William, was Canon of Winchester. The paintings are the result of Mary's travels in the UK and abroad to France, Germany and Switzerland in the 1880s. Through her brother-in-law, Canon of Winchester and former Vicar of Alverstoke, Mary had connections in the Isle of Wight and at Winchester.
She also paints views in Norfolk, Sussex and on the Continent—recording buildings and views no longer extant or since changed. Her foreign travels capture Le Havre prior to the devastation of the 20th century, a spectacular Fête de Saint-Cloud in Paris, and a fascinating view from Villa des Falaises in Normandy, a location which had recently been painted by Impressionist Alfred Stevens.
Whilst some of her locations are typical of a 19th-century tourist, her choice of subjects and observed views often have an element of idiosyncrasy, influenced by her interest in history and also her ecclesiastical connections. Mary's nephew was the later artist Alan Durst ARA (1883–1970), sculptor, woodcarver, and member of the London Group of artists.