Charles Conder

Windy Day at Brighton

c.1904–5

Medium
Oil paint on canvas
Dimensions
Support: 635 x 914 mm
frame: 795 x 1046 x 90 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Purchased 1922
Reference
N03645

Display caption

Conder was a student in Paris in the 1890s, and remained an Anglo-French painter, spending time equally in London and Paris. He liked to paint the coast of the English Channel, as if en route for Calais or Dieppe. In this view of the Front at Brighton the tall man at the right is said to be the painter Sickert, who also worked in both London and Paris, and who was one of those who brought Impressionism to Britain. In some of his work Conder nostalgically revived French eighteenth-century amorous subjects, and often painted watercolours on silk fans. The schoolgirl here who flies a kite, isolated in summer clothes when everyone else wears coats, is similarly a reminder of the fragility of youth.

Gallery label, August 2004

Catalogue entry

N03645 WINDY DAY AT BRIGHTON c. 1904–5
 
Not inscribed.
Canvas, 25×36 (63×91·5).
Purchased from the Eldar Gallery (Clarke Fund) 1922.
Coll: J. L. Rayner of the Eldar Gallery.
Exh: (?) Leicester Galleries, December 1905–January 1906 (18), as ‘A November day at Brighton’; Leicester Galleries, January 1913 (57), as ‘Windy day’.
Lit: Gibson, 1914, pp.41, 47, repr. pl.54; J. B. Manson, The Tate Gallery, 1929, p.103; Rothenstein, 1938, p.259.
Repr: Tate Gallery Illustrations, 1928, pl.81.

The date of this picture is not known for certain and several paintings of Brighton appear to exist. Mrs Florence Humphrey, an aunt of the artist's sister-in-law, has noted in a short chronology, now in the Gallery archives, that Conder painted at Brighton in 1904. On the other hand Manson (loc. cit.) has recorded that ‘the characteristic figure of Mr Walter Sickert’ is introduced on the right-hand side of the picture. Sickert did not settle in England again until 1905, although it is quite possible that the portrait was made from memory.

The artist exhibited two Brighton subjects at the Leicester Galleries in December 1905, namely No.18, ‘A November Day at Brighton’, and No.25, ‘A Stormy Day at Brighton’, which is now in the Municipal Gallery, Dublin. No.3645 might be the former, as the cold grey tonalities of the picture suggests that a winter day is depicted.

Published in:
Mary Chamot, Dennis Farr and Martin Butlin, The Modern British Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture, London 1964, I

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