If Grimshaw had chosen an alternative career to that of an artist, it would have been as an architect. He delighted in painting houses of all periods, invariably half hidden behind a wall and a belt of trees. His own house, Knostrop Hall, was a particularly fine stone-built Jacobean house in the environs of Leeds. This served as a prototype for many of the houses he depicted, but he took inspiration from his neighbors too. The house in this picture is an archetypal mid Georgian building of the 1740s. A closed door onto the street tantalizes the viewer, curious to cross the threshold. These semi-rural street scenes were either depicted by moonlight, or in the rich glow of a setting autumnal sun. Grimshaw excelled at painting the gradation of light, either from the sun, the moon, or from a streetlamp. The placement of these light sources, and his fertile imagination in devising houses of all periods give infinite variety to his oeuvre. No two works by him are ever the same.
We are grateful to Alexander Robertson for his help in preparing this catalogue entry.