Catalogue entry

Leslie Hurry 1909-1978

T04155 A Land Unvisited 1940

Watercolour and Indian ink on paper 450 x 583 (17 3/4 x 23)
Inscribed ‘Leslie Hurry 1940' b.l.
Purchased from John Hurry Armstrong the artist's nephew (Grant-in-Aid) 1986
Prov: Bequeathed by the artist to John Hurry Armstrong
Exh: Leslie Hurry, Redfern Gallery, Nov.-Dec. 1941 (27); Leslie Hurry, The Minories, Colchester, Oct.-Nov. 1987 (16)
Lit: Cyril W. Beaumont, Leslie Hurry, 1947, pp.6-7; David Mellor, ‘Leslie Hurry, Towards the Nuclear Future', A Paradise Lost, The Neo-Romantic Imagination in Britain 1935-55, exh. cat., Barbican Art Gallery, 1987, p.80.

This watercolour drawing and the ‘The Courtesan' (T04156), were both drawn on paper which the artist had already used for a watercolour which he had rejected and soaked away in water, and then ironed out flat. Many other drawings by him of this time were on re-used paper, which gave a rough texture which he liked.

The title was intended, according to the artist's nephew John Hurry Armstrong, to suggest that this fantastic scene did exist, although no one had been there. The graphic style of this drawing was first used by Hurry in a series of narrative drawings with his own text, titled ‘The Nine Journeys' (1939-40, private collection. Another similar series, entitled ‘The Journey' and also in a private collection, is probably slightly later). Similar graphic flourishes were given more easily recognisable human features by Hurry in some elaborate drawings such as ‘Thought Threading a Dream', 1941 (repr. Jack Lindsay, Paintings & Drawings by Leslie Hurry, 1950, pl.4): in this the designs appear to come out of a head, as if representing its thoughts.

Published in:
The Tate Gallery 1984-86: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions Including Supplement to Catalogue of Acquisitions 1982-84, Tate Gallery, London 1988, p.185