Martyr's Hill, from Newlands Corner, Albury, near Guildford
Oil on canvas; signed and dated 1858
26.5 x 40 inches
Royal Society of British Artists, 1858 (no. 320)
Brighton Gazette, 7 October 1858
Cole presented cosy landscapes of the Home Counties in the Grand Manner. This majestic vista is of the Surrey Hills near Guildford, looking southwest from Newlands Corner, past Martyr’s Hill about a mile away, to the hills of Hindhead and Blackdown in the distance. Martyr’s Hill is the site of St Martha’s Church (also known as St Martha-on-the-Hill) prominently visible on the top, and accessible only on foot. A 12th-century church existed there before falling into ruin by the 18th century, that may originally have been built for pilgrims between Canterbury and Winchester Cathedrals. It was rebuilt in 1848–50, not long before this picture was painted. The painting was well reviewed: ‘... a very clever landscape, evidently direct from nature, conveying the impression of great space, with indications of multitudes of objects, which all keep their place’ (Brighton Gazette, 7 October 1858).