Art: Profligate Genius

For sheer output, no English painter of the 18th century came close to the eccentric genius. George Morland. In a brief lifetime he finished about 4,000 canvases, most of them seascapes, sentimental family groupings and bucolic country scenes.

Unfortunately for Morland's career and subsequent reputation, few contemporaries could match his prodigious consumption of alcohol.* But through the years, Morland's work has kept a kind of dogged popularity. Last week a show at London's Tate Gallery, commemorating the painter's death in 1804, showed one reason why. No English painter has left a more powerful or popular picture of rural Old England. A man...

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