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A self-portrait dominates the foreground of this view looking from just east of Beachy Head towards Birling Gap. Camp has often painted pairs of nudes flying over well-known sites, including Venice and Millbank. The pose of each is observed in the studio from several angles. In painting the multitude of other figures here, Camp drew on memories of the Sussex coast. The picture's themes include the ages of man, the experience of near and far, and a sense of insecurity, which the cliff-edge flight evokes, along with an exhilarated joy. Camp admires Rubens's ability, in his oil sketches, to convey a figure's substance through deft and discrete marks of paint.

September 2004