Last summer’s Modern British exhibition was a significant challenge with the various
lock downs restricting access to the gallery. Like all galleries we did what we could online with presentations and videos and virtual reality shows but we know deep down that our friends and collectors prefer the real thing and it is good news that the gallery is now open again. We have made a number of significant acquisitions since the beginning of 2020, and few of you will have been able to see them until now.
The gallery is open Monday to Friday, if possible do let us know if you would like to visit,
but not essential if you are passing. We are always happy to advise on collections, provide appraisals and general advice. We are not all in the gallery every day so please bear that in mind.
Oblique I, 1978
Oil on canvas
76 x 76 cm.
The New Art Centre, London, no:106/25
For paintings such as Oblique I, inspiration came from surprising and unexpected sources. Clough’s ‘source photos’ and sketchbooks indicate that a patch of worn paint or tarmac might generate a compositional idea or even an entire painting. Thickly painted, thermoplastic road markings on a familiar walk, could easily find themselves rearranged and transferred to one of her paintings. Similarly, a row of twisted, steel rebars sticking out of a reinforced concrete wall could catch her eye. The random positioning of the hook profiles here set up a rhythmic idea which contrasts with the more angular, geometric patterning.
A curious feature of Clough’s technique was not only the manner in which she applied pigment, but also the way in which she removed it from surface of her canvasses; this was part of a never-ending quest to create interesting surface textures. Paint would be scraped and gouged off the surface while it was still wet, or even after it had dried and abrasive scourers would be used to scrub away a patch of pigment to achieved a more varied and pictorially interesting effect.
Dancer in a Landscape, 1943
Pencil, charcoal and conté crayon and gouache on paper
45.9 x 58.65 cm.
Christopher Hull Gallery
Private collection, UK 1992
Private Collection, UK
Ian Collins, John Craxton, Lund Humphries, Farnham, 2011, p.49, illustrated pl.43
Dancer in a Landscape belongs to a series of images, painted or drawn by Craxton in the early 1940s, depicting solitary figures. He later described them as projections of himself, ‘derived from Blake and Palmer. They were my means of escape and a sort of self protection. A shepherd is a lone figure, and so is a poet.’ ₁
Poet in a Landscape and Dreamer in Landscape (now in the Tate collection) are dense pen and ink drawings, reproduced in Horizon in March 1942. In each, a seated figure appears oblivious of the encroaching vegetation, gnarled trunks and roots. Craxton’s lithographs for The Poet’s Eye (1944) likewise depict tin-helmeted figures, seated, lost in reverie amid moonlit landscapes, or half-concealed within trees.
By contrast, Dancer in a Landscape is lighter in mood. In the summer of 1943 Craxton travelled with Peter Watson and Graham Sutherland to St David’s Head in Pembrokeshire, where he sketched alongside Sutherland. As he recalled,
There were cloudless days and the land was reduced to basic elements of rocks, fig trees, gorse, the nearness of sea on all sides, a brilliant clear light. Everything was stripped away – all the verbiage, that is – to the essential sources of existence. ₂
This simplification is apparent in the clarity and lightness of Dancer in a Landscape. There is a joyous sense of movement in the depiction of the river, tussocks of grass, and soft shading of the figure, as well as the delicately feathered tree and spidery clouds. Throughout the composition, Craxton seems to delight in the possibilities of mark-making, lightening with chalk and adding touches of green and sepia
₁ John Craxton, in ‘John Craxton: Paintings and Drawings 1941–1966’, exhibition catalogue (Whitechapel Art Gallery, 1967), p. 6.
₂ Craxton, ibid.
November 58, 1958
Oil and gouache on paper
70 x 45 cm.
Signed and dated lower right
The Waddington Galleries, London
Private Collection, UK (purchased from the above by an long term employee of the gallery)
Offer Waterman & Co, London
Private Collection, UK
The Waddington Galleries, London
Offer Waterman & Co, London
‘My main interest, in my painting, has always been in colour, space and light…and space in colour is the subject of my painting today to the exclusion of everything else’
Patrick Heron 1958
In 1956 Heron returned to Cornwall after spending over a decade in London and inspired by the gardens surrounding his new home Eagles Nest, he began his ‘stripe paintings’ and his first ‘garden paintings.’ The development from his figurative work was in part a response to the work of American Abstract Expressionists whose work he saw as bringing ‘a new kind of energy and inventiveness’, but also from the continual influence of the great French colourists Bonnard and Matisse. From 1958 he began to paint fields of colour containing soft edged squares and discs. In 1963 the critic Norbert Lynton wrote the defining phrase about Heron’s latest paintings, ‘it is not possible even to distinguish significantly between the forms and the colour fields they inhabit’.
Figure with Mirror and Easel, 1962
Oil on canvas
182.88 x 137.16 cm.
The development of Kinley’s work, by the early 1960s, was evident in two solo exhibitions at Paul Rosenberg & Co., East Seventy-ninth Street, New York. Reviewing the first, Stuart Preston had reservations about Kinley’s highly abstracted figure, landscape and still-life subjects, ‘knifed on to the canvas’. ₁ A second review, in 1962, detected ‘a far sterner and more streamlined approach’:
A strong sense of geometrical planning, dispensing with any realistic superficialities, underlies these powerfully impersonal conceptions, where faces are all but erased and human personality dependent for realization on pose and gesture. ²
This was the year in which Figure with Mirror and Easel (1962) was painted, one of several to address this theme. The figure is treated monumentally, quasi-sculpturally – endowed with weight, yet no more than a silhouette. In a composition approaching life-size, Kinley deftly juxtaposes slabs and bands of colour to create an image riddled with uncertainty. The mirror, reflecting the figure, reflects also an unseen space.
₁ Stuart Preston, ‘Art: Gallery Variety’, The New York Times (14 January 1961), p. 47.
² Stuart Preston, ‘The Week’s International Scope’, The New York Times (11 November 1962), p. 161.
Bronze with brown patina
157 x 54 x 40 cm.
Signed, dated twice & inscribed 'Unikat' verso
Private Collection, Switzerland
Five slightly varying versions recorded, this unique work was the first one. (other versions are within the collections at the Tate, London, Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh and Jesus College, Cambridge.
This work is recorded in the archives compiled by the late Professor Robin Spencer.
The myth of Daedalus and Icarus is a gift to sculptors: dramatic, tragic and containing vivid imagery. Daedalus was a maze-maker and master craftsman; Icarus his feckless son, who flew too close to the sun with wings his father made from feathers and wax. Their story was retold superbly by Paolozzi’s contemporary, Michael Ayrton, who translated its figures, also, to sculpture.
Paolozzi made his first versions of Daedalus and Icarus in 1949: reliefs and abstract constructions, consisting of tables, through which pegs, cross-bars and funnel shapes were inserted at right angles. He returned to Icarus in 1957, creating two large bronzes, each with pitiful stumps for wings. Daedalus (1990) is an emphatically figurative response, however, broached in the robust, mechanical vein of Paolozzi’s later work. Using a variation on the collage process, which had long fascinated him, Paolozzi would construct a form then fragment it – by slicing vertically and horizontally into geometrical parts – before reassembling. The method generated multiple options for reconstruction, which Paolozzi would capitalise upon by casting different permutations as he worked, thus creating series of ‘unique’ works on a theme. With Daedalus, there are five different versions, some mounted on wheeled trolleys.
In this, the first of the series, Daedalus holds two sections of a rod at shoulder height, and stands with each foot on a separate base, one in front of the other. According to legend, Daedalus’ statues were so lifelike they had to be tethered, lest they wandered free – a characteristic supposedly derived from their posture, feet staggered, as if ‘walking’. Paolozzi’s figure echoes this stance through its unevenly distributed weight. Rich in association, Daedalus has been suggested also as a self-portrait: Paolozzi, sculptor and master craftsman. ₁
₁ Judith Collins, Eduardo Paolozzi (Farnham: Lund Humphries, 2014), p. 285.
Death of a Working Hero, 2016
251 x 200 cm.
Signed by the artist
Edition of 6
Accompanied by a numbered certificate
In ‘Hard Man’, the first episode of his television series, All Man (2016), Grayson Perry went to north-east England to talk to former mine workers and cage fighters. He attended the blessing of the banners in Durham Cathedral, as part of the annual Miners’ Gala, when trade-union banners are carried through the streets accompanied by brass bands. Hearing the banners blessed, in the cathedral setting, struck him as ‘a funeral for a certain sort of man’.
Perry’s Death of a Working Hero (2016) draws from this experience, and from the examination of masculinity that structured the television series. Scrolled around the upper part of the tapestry is a text resonating with the well-known passage from Ecclesiastes 3 (‘To every thing there is a season’), reworded as ‘A time to fight, a time to talk, a time to change’. Between the sparring figures of a miner and cage fighter a small boy holds a teddy. Below, in a landscape of pit gear, iron bridges and cobbled streets, a funeral takes place. Those watching are not just the elderly, but children and young women dressed for a night out. With the closures of the pits, some Durham miners committed suicide. Perry spoke to a woman whose young son had taken his life, and recalled him as happy and fun-loving: ‘I feel like he wanted to die in that moment, but he didn’t want to die for ever’.
Addressing the depth and complexity of these feelings, Perry focuses on the veneer of masculinity. Bravado and tattoos are skin-deep: symbols of resilience, deflecting attention from the
vulnerability beneath. Tapping into the cultural history of the union banners,
and transposing their materiality provocatively into the sphere of fine art, Perry argues for change and equality.
Approaching Harvest, 1952
Oil on canvas
30.3 x 41 cm.
Signed and dated 'Reynolds 52' lower right
Redfern Gallery Ltd, London
Captain D. de Pass (purchased from the above 25 February 1953)
Thomas Agnew & Sons, London (no. 29595)
Private Collection, UK
Likely exhibited at: London, Redfern Gallery Ltd, Alan Reynolds, 1953, no.2
Alan Reynolds grew up in Suffolk, with its tradition of Gainsborough and Constable, and was drawn early to the landscape and to botany. Post-war he studied at Woolwich Polytechnic, then gained a scholarship to the Royal College of Art, but stayed only a year. He was already exhibiting at the Redfern, and his paintings – imbued with the spirit of Klee – were garnering acclaim. Such landscapes had as their basis a clear-eyed knowledge. Reynolds drew and painted assiduously from nature: grasses, seeds, dandelion clocks, growing tendrils and leaves. His studies, monochrome or coloured with gouache or watercolour, were annotated with neat ink observations about plant growth, crowded in margins or tentatively crossing the image. When Reynolds married Vona Darby, in 1957, his gift to her was an album filled with drawings, pressed flowers and seed pods. Yet such source material was neither collected nor plundered unthinkingly. Reynolds described his quest for structure as a process whereby a ‘subject or motif must be transformed and become an organic whole’.1 Reynolds’ stated aim can be linked to his passion for music, in particular fugues or contrapuntal textures. It is therefore not surprising that he was attuned also to the rhythm of nature, which follows a parallel cycle of statement, development, recapitulation and cadence. In the mid-1950s Reynolds painted a quartet of paintings based on the seasons, which extended to a satellite series of around ninety drawings, watercolours and preliminary studies in oils, exhibited at the Redfern Gallery in 1950’s. By coincidence, after Reynolds had begun this series the Contemporary Art Society invited some sixty British painters and sculptors to create a work based on ‘The Seasons’. The resulting exhibition was held at the Tate from March to April 1956, running concurrently with Reynolds’ solo exhibition at the Redfern.
The Tate purchased in the same year, Alan Reynold’s Summer: Young September’s Cornfield.
Approaching Harvest dates from this important period in Reynolds career, the organic forms a still life within the reduced but richly painted landscape. The rhythms of elements weave around the structure, requiring the viewer’s gaze to nimbly move across the patterned surface.
1.Reynolds, in Alan Reynolds, (London: Redfern Gallery, 1953
Thorn Trees, Spring, 1967
Oil on canvas
54.61 x 45.69 cm.
Signed and dated upper left Also signed with initials, inscribed, dedicated and dated again 'P.A and FRAU ADE/a souvenir/of/11 March 1967/with friendship./G.S. 30.V.67/THORN TREES. SPRING' verso
Mr & Mrs Peter Ade, München
Thence by descent
Private Collection, Germany
PA are the initials of Peter Ade, the Director of Haus der Kunst in München . A gift by the artist in recognition of the assistance Peter Ade gave with a travelling exhibition of Sutherland’s work in 1967. ( Haus der Kunst München, 11. March – 7. May 1967; Gemeentemuseum Den Haag, 2. June – 30. July 1967; Haus am Waldsee Berlin, 11. August – 24. September 1967; Wallraf-Richartz-Museum Köln, 7. October – 20. November, 1967.)
This painting clearly relates in structure to two earlier versions of the same subject from the 1940’s, one now held in the British Council and the second at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery (Buffalo, New York).
In the 1940s Sutherland began a series of paintings based on thorns. Walking in the country, and preoccupied with a commission for a Crucifixion , he began to notice ‘ thorn bushes and the structure of thorns, which pierced the air in all directions, their points establishing limits of aerial space’ . Drawing them, he observed a strange transformation take place: the thorns rearranged themselves into ‘ a paraphrase of the Crucifixion and the Crucified Head – the cruelty’ .1 Kenneth Clark described the resulting trees, heads and crosses as akin to metaphors in poetry, their freely created forms more vivid and personal for using imagery not already ‘ deadened by use’ .2
The context for these works for Sutherland, a Catholic, was deeply meaningful. In the early post-war years he received commissions from the Reverend Walter Hussey for a Crucifixion and Noli me tangere , respectively for St Matthew’ s, Northampton, and Chichester Cathedral. More significant still was the tapestry commissioned by Basil Spence as a focal point for the new Cathedral at Coventry (1962), a monumental sign of hope abutting the ruins of its war-blasted predecessor. At Coventry, Sutherland’ s Christ in Majesty was complemented sensitively by an altar set from Geoffrey Clarke, itself alluding to the bitter piercing of thorns.
Among Sutherland’ s ‘ thorn’ paintings, a cluster of Thorn Crosses evokes altar sets. The trinity of forms in Thorn Trees, Spring (1967) likewise suggests a cross and candlesticks, or perhaps a crucifixion witnessed by mourners: such is the malleability and suggestibility of Sutherland’ s imagery. Especially potent is the painting’ s confluence of death and renewal – sere thorns cloaked in the verdure of a fresh season. The contrast was one Sutherland had originally hoped to exploit in his commission for St Matthew’ s, Northampton, as he explained:
I would have liked to paint the Crucifixion against a blue sky … in benign circumstances: blue skies, green grass, Crucifixion[s] under warmth – and blue skies are, in a sense, more powerfully horrifying.3
1. Graham Sutherland, ‘ Thoughts on Painting’ , The Listener (6 September 1951), p. 378, quoted in ‘ An Exhibition of Painting and Drawings by Graham Sutherland’ (Arts Council and Tate Gallery, 1953), unpaginated.
2. Kenneth Clark, introduction to ‘ An Exhibition of Painting and Drawings by Graham Sutherland’ (Arts Council and Tate Gallery, 1953), unpaginated.
3. Sutherland, ‘ Thoughts on Painting’ , The Listener (6 September 1951), republished in Graham Sutherland, Correspondences: Selected Writings on Art , ed. Julian Andrews (Graham and Kathleen Sutherland Foundation, 1982), p. 73.
Female Figure, 1988, 1988
190.5 x 101.6 x 50.8 cm.
Signed and numbered from the edition of 6
Edition of 6
Waddington Galleries Ltd, London
Private Collection USA, purchased from the above in 1989
Osborne Samuel, London
Private Collection, Canada (purchased from the above in 2014)
Davidson, Amanda, The Sculpture of William Turnbull , published by Lund Humphries, 2005, p.175, no. 263
Waddington Galleries, Solo exhibition, 1991, cat 9 (illus. p.23)
The idols Turnbull made in the 1980s revisit forms from the 1950s, demonstrating an essential seam within his sculptural thinking. Female Figure (1980) presents a vertical slab, scrolled at the top to suggest a head, gently scored towards the base to imply a robe. Arms become curved pipes, a counter-positioned wedge suggests feet, but the most salient feature is the figure’s breasts, implausibly and voluptuously placed.
The figure clearly suggests fertility: a goddess or idol, resonating with both ancient and more recent history. In rituals – whether pagan or religious – the chalice or jug is often equated with birth, as a parallel to the pregnant figure. One of the most significant transferences within modern sculpture is Germaine Richier’s L’Eau (1953), or Water, in which she incorporated the fragment of a terracotta amphora, found on a beach at Camargue, as the neck of a seated figure. The hooped handles of the vessel, just as the arms of Turnbull’s Female Figure, evoke a symbolic link to water, a source for life.
Slim in profile, despite its towering height and material heft, Female Figure evinces both grace and a sense of joyousness, expressed by its arms – curved, hand on hip, or open to embrace. There is a recapturing, too, of the spirit of Acrobat (1951), made at the beginning of Turnbull’s career, who balances exuberantly and fearlessly, arms outstretched.
Road to the Sea (Foreshore), 1953-1958
Oil on paper on board
26 x 37 cm.
Titled verso in the artist's hand, with exhibition labels
Royal West of England Academy, 1958
Laurence Ogilvie Esq, purchased from above
Private Collection, UK
Massey & Hepworth, Keith Vaughan, The Mature Oils 1946-77, Sansom & Company, Bristol, 2012, p.110, cat no. AH274
Royal West of England Academy, Bristol, Spring Exhibition, 1958, cat.no. 104
Bath Festival Exhibition, Loan Exhibition of Paintings from Private Collections, June, 1963, cat. no.33
Bristol City Art Gallery, 1987-1990
The genesis of Road to the Sea (Foreshore) has been clarified by Gerard Hastings. A painting originally titled Foreshore (1953) was altered and reworked by Vaughan in 1958 – removing an upturned boat in the foreground – prior to inclusion in that year’s Spring Exhibition at the Royal West of England Academy, Bristol.₁ It thus takes its context among Vaughan’s numerous visits to Ireland in the late 1950s, and particularly in relation to his journey around the West Coast, north to Donegal, in September 1957. Vaughan made numerous sketches which he later elaborated in his studio at Belsize Park in London, noting at the time,
I seem to be purposefully trying to make a composition of mutual contradictions. Figures which aren’t figures, landscape space which is something else, shapes which are neither abstract nor figurative.²
In Road to the Sea (Foreshore), Vaughan presents the familiar image of a single figure, facing outwards, amid a setting that Hastings reads as a deserted cove, enclosed by steep rocks and mossy cliffs. The tone is muted, the landscape abstracted in blocks of colour, while the figure crooks its left arm, perhaps to hold an object, or to check the time. There is no sense of which direction this figure has taken, or why it has paused. On this small scale, Vaughan makes every brushstroke tell, through its direction and viscosity. The sky, scoured with implication, lightens indecisively at the horizon.
₁ Gerard Hastings, ‘Keith Vaughan: Myth, Mortality and the Male Figure’, in Keith Vaughan: Myth, Mortality and the Male Figure, exhibition catalogue (London: Osborne Samuel, 2019), p. 12.
² Keith Vaughan, Journal (27 November 1957), from Keith Vaughan, Journal and Drawings 1939–1965 (London: Alan Ross, 1966), p. 146.