caption

Paul Nash, Pond in the Fields

Photo courtesy of Caroline True (All rights reserved)

Details

Country House
Mells Manor
Title(s)
Pond in the Fields
Date
1927
Medium and support
Oil on canvas
Dimensions
Overall height: 65 cm, Overall width: 90 cm
Artist
Paul Nash (1889-1946)
Catalogue Number
MM84

Description

The Surrealist artist, Paul Nash, is known best for his landscapes and his role as an official war artist in the First World War. Nash grew up in Buckinghamshire where he developed a love of the landscape. He entered the Slade School of Art but was poor at figure drawing and concentrated on landscape painting. After the war he continued to focus on landscape painting, originally in a formalised, decorative style but, throughout the 1930s, in an increasingly abstract and surreal manner.

Nash found much inspiration in landscapes with elements of ancient history, such as burial mounds, Iron Age hill forts such as Wittenham Clumps in Oxfordshire and the standing stones at Avebury in Wiltshire. In his paintings he often placed everyday objects into a landscape to give them a new identity and symbolism. Lady Frances Horner (1854–1940) was a friend and patron of several of Nash’s circle of friends including Eric Gill and David Jones. In 1927 Nash made illustrations for a volume of poems by Siegfried Sassoon, a close friend of the Horner family.1 This painting was commissioned the same year by Lady Horner and features a group of trees clustered round a dark pond by a wood. The precise location is unknown although, according to Lady Helen Asquith, the previous owner of the picture, it was ‘somewhere in Wiltshire’.2

by Devon Cox

Bibliography

Margot Eates, Paul Nash: Paintings, Drawings and Illustrations, London : Lund Humphries, 1948, cat. no. 49


Poet & Painter: Being the Correspondence between Gordon Bottomley and Paul Nash, 1910–1946, ed. Claude Colleer Abbott and Anthony Bertram, London : Oxford University Press, 1955, p. 201, n. 1


Andrew Causey, Paul Nash, Oxford : Clarendon Press, 1985, pl. 159, p. 121, cat. no. 544, p. 396


Footnotes

  1. Siegfried Sassoon, Nativity, No. 7 of the ‘Ariel’ Poems, London: Faber & Gwyer, 1927, designs and frontispiece by Paul Nash.

    1
  2. Raymond Asquith, Earl of Oxford and Asquith, private communication, 17 July 2020.

    2

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