Charles Conder
Spring by the Sea c.1905

Artwork details

Charles Conder 1868–1909
Spring by the Sea
Date c.1905
Medium Oil paint on canvas
Dimensions Support: 506 x 918 mm
frame: 747 x 1155 x 50 mm
Acquisition Bequeathed by Hans Velten 1931
Not on display

Display caption

Conder was trained in Australia and Paris, before returning to his native London. He liked to paint the South Coast, sometimes making views of a real place, and at other times, as in this painting, inventing an imaginary reminiscence of a place. The background and atmosphere look like Swanage in Dorset, where Conder often stayed. The figures and the flowering cherry trees in the foreground are a fantasy, and an evocation of 'Spring'. In sprawling half naked, brandishing a mirror and wearing imaginary cloaks, these girls recall the eighteenth-century fantasies of Watteau. They also correspond to the melancholy mood of the novels of Marcel Proust, one of which is centred on a 'little band' of young girls on holiday by the sea.

September 2004

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