Francis Danby

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Francis Danby
(1793–1861)

The Procession of Cristna

Watercolor and gouache, heightened with white gouache, with gum arabic, some scratching out, on paper
7 1/2 x 10 1/2 inches (190 x 266 mm)

Purchased on the Sunny Crawford von Bülow Fund

2001.18
Item description: 

In the summer of 1825, Danby traveled through the mountains of Norway and sketched the terrain. Afterward he remarked, "These kind of scenes are better in pictures than reality, and faith I own I was heartily sick of them." Nevertheless the Norwegian landscape haunted him for years, informing a number of later works, including the present drawing. This sublime fantasy has been speculatively named for Cristna, a lost poem by Danby that he referred to as "no more than a romance." Lacking an extant narrative, the interpretation remains mysterious: Nordic rocks loom over an exotic caravan, dwarfing elephants and a faceless throng of travelers.