Robert Tonge was born in Liverpool, where he studied art at the Mechanics’ Institute. His career was short; ‘had he lived to develop his genius fully, he might have ranked among the foremost painters of the British landscape school,’ lamented H.C. Marillier in 1904. Inspired by his local landscape, Tonge painted the hills and streams of the nearby Wirral in simple, sombre colours.

Tonge was a short-lived Liverpool artist just young enough to have been influenced by the Pre-Raphaelites that showed there in the fifties. He also admired and studied the work of John Linnell, as the vaulted, luminous sky in this painting attests. He was known to be ‘a very quick worker in the open air, both in oil and water-colour, and finished his work on the spot with extreme delicacy.



Pre-Raphaelitism. Exhibition catalogue. London: Maas Gallery, 2013. No. 26.

Last modified 30 June 2022