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‘A Surrey Lane’ is a description that would suit many of the scenes of Birket Foster, and the artist used it as the title of at least three works, including the present one.
In 1869, a work by Foster entitled A Surrey Lane was exhibited at the Royal Academy of Arts, as No 829. It was purchased by the famous London art dealer, Ernest Gambart, and was one of the items of his stock that was sold at Christie’s on his retirement in 1871. It was purchased by a Mr Cubitt for 250 guineas.
By 1872, a portrait-format work by Foster entitled A Surrey Lane was published as a chromolithograph by George Rowney & Co, of 52 Rathbone Place and 29 Oxford Street, London, and priced at 12 shillings. The chromolithograph was exhibited as No 3385 in the ‘London International Exhibition of 1873’, in the section shown at the Royal Albert Hall, Kensington.
It is very likely that the work exhibited at the RA in 1869 is that which was reproduced as a chromolithograph, and that it also equates to the present watercolour.
Foster produced two further works entitled A Surrey Lane in 1889 and 1891, and exhibited the second at the Royal Society of Painters in Water-Colours in 1891, as No 215.