Not on display
Bevan painted Haze over the Valley while he was staying at Applehayes, a farm near Clayhidon in the Blackdown Hills in Devon, close to the border with Somerset.1 Here he was the guest of Harold Bertram Harrison (1855–1924), a landowner, amateur artist and writer. Born at Waterhouse, a country house at Monkton Combe near Bath, Harrison spent his working life until the age of forty-one with his brother on the family ranch, La Isleta, in Argentina. When he returned to England, however, Harrison pursued his interests in art, and in 1896 enrolled at the Slade. Studying there until 1898 his fellow students included Spencer Gore, who started the same year, Harold Gilman and Gwen and Augustus John. Harrison acquired the Applehayes estate in 1909 and by buying the adjacent land of Barn Farm, Little Garlandhayes and Lears Farm he considerably extended his holding to around 300 acres. He built a series of seven trout ponds, fed by a tributary of the River Culm, and rode to hounds as well as farming the estate. Applehayes itself was a traditional Devon longhouse, which dated back to around 1550, but Harrison added a special studio wing for his artist guests, that included two bachelor bedrooms. Harrison’s drawing teacher at the Slade had been Henry Tonks (1862–1937), and he evidently maintained their friendship for, when he moved to Applehayes, he sought his advice as to whom among the younger generation of artists he might entertain there.2
Gore was the first of the future Camden Town Group artists to visit, in 1909, and it seems evident that they were already on friendly terms (he started the same year at the Slade as Harrison). Their friendship evidently flourished after this first visit, and when the Gores’ first child Elizabeth was born in 1912 they chose Harrison to be her godfather. When Harrison died in 1924 he bequeathed the contents of his apartment at 1 Stanhope Gardens in South Kensington to Gore’s widow Mollie, and left £1,000 to his godchild. Gore returned to Applehayes in 1910, and again in 1913, this time joining Bevan and Charles Ginner. Bevan himself stayed with Harrison for the first time in 1912, in the company of Ginner (fig.1), and brought his wife Stanislawa de Karlowska, who accompanied him there in 1913 and on his last visit in 1915. Gilman appears never to have visited Applehayes. Other much younger painters Harrison entertained included Mark Gertler (1891–1939), William Roberts (1895–1980) and Stanley Spencer (1891–1959). ‘In the summer of 1911’, Roberts wrote,
Subject and style
The county borders have been redrawn; at the time of Bevan’s visit, Applehayes was in Somerset.
Information about Applehayes and Harrison is from Clayhidon Local History Group and Artists at Applehayes: Camden Town Painters at a West Country Farm 1909–1924, exhibition catalogue, Herbert Art Gallery, Coventry 1986.
William Roberts, ‘A Sketch of His Early Life’, in Five Posthumous Essays and Other Writings, Valencia 1982, p.79. Roberts refers to his host incorrectly as ‘Frederick’ Harrison.
Quoted in Richard Carline, Stanley Spencer at War, London 1978, p.26.
Reproduced in R.A. Bevan, Robert Bevan 1865–1925: A Memoir by his Son, London 1965, pl.52.
Reproduced in Twentieth-Century British Art, Christie’s, London, 8 June 2001 (41).
Reproduced in Jonathan Benington, ‘Robert Bevan, Dunn’s Cottage and Applehayes’, Leeds Art Calendar, no.94, 1984, p.16.
Reproduced in Spencer Frederick Gore 1878–1914, exhibition catalogue, Anthony d’Offay Gallery, London 1983 (24).
See Sam Smiles (ed.), Going Modern and Being British: Art, Architecture and Design in Devon c.1910–1960, Exeter 1998.
R.A. Bevan, letter to the Tate Gallery, 11 January 1960.
Bevan 1965, p.21.