Catalogue entry

Alastair Morton 1910–1963

T01776 Opus 15 (Light Blue and Yellow) 1938

Inscribed ‘A.J.F.M./No. 15/1938’ on reverse.
Canvas, 27 39 (68.6 99).
Purchased from Anthony d’Offay (Grant-in-Aid) 1973.
Coll: Mrs Cherry Morton, the artist’s widow; Anthony d’Offay.
Exh: British Art and The Modern Movement 1930–40, National Museum of Wales, Cardiff, October–November 1962 (132) as ‘Blue Over White’; Abbot Hall Gallery, Kendal, March–April 1964 and subsequent tour to Tullie House, Carlisle, Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester, and Victoria and Albert Museum (73) as ‘Blue Over White’; Art in Britain Centred Around Axis, Circle, Unit One, Marlborough Fine Art, March–April 1965 (100).

Alastair Morton began painting in 1936 and numbered each work consecutively as he finished it until 1940 when he adopted a three digit numbering system. ‘Opus 15’ has the alternative title ‘Blue Over White’ under which it is listed in the catalogue of the Cardiff exhibition held during the artist’s lifetime (1962), and at the subsequent memorial exhibitions held at Kendal, Carlisle, Manchester and London, although it is not known why he re-named it. He began to compile a book to record his paintings and although unfinished ‘Opus 15’ is listed in it as ‘No. 15.1938 Light blue and yellow’ (letter from Mrs Cherry Morton to the compiler 9 May 1974).

The artist’s widow Mrs Cherry Morton wrote (letter, 19 April 1974) ‘Alastair was rather reticent about his painting and disliked what he called “art jargon”. To him it was a very personal and private intellectual exercise, pursuing ideas of form and colour.’

Published in The Tate Gallery Report 1972–1974, London 1975.