Village artists' colonies were extremely popular across Europe towards the close of the nineteenth century. They were not rustic retreats for dreamers, but highly-motivated, international forums for experiment and debate, at the cutting edge of artistic change. This study asserts that once the idealogical decision was made to go to the countryside then practical considerations sustained these rural communities. The artists and their hosts were as varied as the topographies they inhabited, but coasts proved the most valuable option. The traditional stoic fisherfolk witnessed the suddeen growth in the leisure industry, all of which helped to inspire generations of painters. This synopsis places the movement in context, using an holistic approach and bringing together a wide range of influences, such as innovations in technology, transport, hoteliers, art dealers, print-publishing and the modern art market.