1899, 700 x 495mm, Watercolour on paper
Isabel Field (née Hodgkins) was the daughter of William Matthew Hodgkins and older sister of Frances Hodgkins. In her childhood, she showed even greater promise than Frances, and her father groomed her accordingly, giving her lessons, taking her on sketching excursions and introducing her the members of his private art club. She began to exhibit in her teens. By the age of twenty, her flower pieces and landscapes had won her a considerable reputation.
Like her father, she regarded the atmospheric watercolours of J. M. W. Turner as the ideal, as Mist Descending demonstrates. Unlike her sister, she accepted an imported artistic fashion without question and continued to paint in the ‘approved manner’ of artists like John Gully and J. B. C. Hoyte. By 1888, she had received enough money from the sales of pictures to go with her father to Melbourne, where they were both represented in the Centennial International Exhibition. After her marriage to W. H. Field in 1893, she moved to Te Whanganui-a-Tara, thereafter only painting intermittently as a hobby.