Burdocks, Brambles and Furze, by William Widgery (1822-1893). 1868. Oil on canvas. Collection: Royal Albert Memorial Museum & Art Gallery, Exeter. Accession no. H 91.4 x W 71.9 cm. Accession no. K245, bequeathed by Kent and Jane Kingdon, 1892 45.8 x W 30.7 cm. 141/1978x.

George Pycroft finds that Widgery "portrays rural scenes and wild landscapes boldly, and with very little finish" (155), but this little vignette of moorland foliage shows that he could apply himself to very close detail, quite in the Pre-Raphaelite manner, when the inspiration took him. Spiky thorns, twigs with dead leaves, one or to last flowers,and a golden sunset in the distance, complete this apparently artless grouping. Furze continues to bloom even in winter, and its yellow flower tips can be seen in the upper right of the painting. It has some special significance: "It grows abun- dantly on all our wastes: and it is recorded of Linneus that, when he visited England in 1736, he was so much delighted with the golden blossom of the furze, which he then saw for the first time on a common near London, that he fell on his knees, enraptured at the sight" (103). It is variously seen as a symbol of humility, hope and encouragement.

Image download and text by Jacqueline Banerjee. The image is available on Art UK under the terms of a Creative Commons zero licence (CC0).


Burdocks, Brambles and Furze. Art UK. Web. 20 April 2024.

The Language of Flowers, with Illustrative Poetry. London: Saunders & Otley, 1841. Internet Archive, from a copy in the Chicago Botanic Garden, Lenhardt Library.Web. 20 April 2024.

Pycroft, George. Art in Devonshire: with the biographies of artists born in that county. Exeter: Henry S. Eland, 1883. Internet Archive, from a copy in the Getty Research Institute. Web. 20 April 2024.

Created 20 April 2024