Robert Medley
Summer Eclogue No. 1: Cyclists 1950

Artwork details

Robert Medley 1905–1994
Summer Eclogue No. 1: Cyclists
Date 1950
Medium Oil paint on canvas
Dimensions Unconfirmed: 1295 x 1600 mm
frame: 1370 x 1676 x 62 mm
Acquisition Purchased 1992
Not on display

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As well as a painter, Medley was a theatre designer, designing sets for TS Eliot and WH Auden - who was his lover - in the 1930s. Initially influenced by Bloomsbury and Surrealism, he later became concerned 'with the movement of human figures in space'. This is one of several paintings inspired by weekend parties of cyclists at Gravesend on the Thames. Its treatment of bodies in motion reflects Medley's long association with the theatre, while the word eclogue, an ancient form of pastoral poem, turns the modern scene into a timeless moment. Exhibited at the 1951 Festival of Britain, it adds an important early work to our collection of Medley's paintings.

August 2004

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