School at the Aitre, St. Maclou, Rouen (1883)

Medium: oil

Size: 60 x 108½ cm

Exhibited: Royal Academy, 1884; St Jude’s, Whitechapel, 1885

This painting remained in Eyre Crowe’s possession until his death, and was auctioned in 1911. It reappeared at auction twice in 2002. In a sale at Christie’s in Amsterdam on 3 September 2002, it had an estimate of 5,000-7,000 euros, but was not sold. The picture is reproduced in the exhibition catalogue.

On 31 March 2007, the painting was auctioned at Ketterer Kunst fine art auction house in Hamburg, Germany, for 3,840 euros.

Athenaeum, 12 April 1884:

Mr. Crowe will contribute to the Academy a picture of a good subject, being ‘The School of l’Aitre de St. Maclou, Rouen’. Sunlight fills the greater part of the ancient quadrangle, and casts purple shadows on the gravel, while it illuminates the arcade and its galleries and carved columns, and glows on the grim scupltured human bones and implements of the cemetery – spades, mattocks, hammers, ropes and the like – which give lugubrious emphasis to the frieze of the quaint façade. Disposed in lines and standing grouped before this arcade are a number of little girls in French costumes of the proper order, the blue, green, purple and grey tints of which are all carefully painted and full in tone. The children are occupied with their books, learning their lessons or furtively at play, while the Dame d’Ernemont, their teacher, instructs one of the elder girls. The faces, attitudes and expressions of the children give a charm to the picture.

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