Sir Sidney Nolan
Peter Grimes’s Apprentice 1977

Artwork details

Sir Sidney Nolan 1917–1992
Peter Grimes’s Apprentice
Date 1977
Medium Oil paint and polyvinyl acetate paint on hardboard
Dimensions Support: 914 x 1219 mm
frame: 1007 x 1308 x 33 mm
Acquisition Presented by Lord McAlpine of West Green 1983
Not on display

Display caption

This picture was painted for the 30th Aldeburgh Festival where it was included in an exhibition subtitled 'An artist's response to the music of Benjamin Britten'. Nolan was a friend of Britten and this work was inspired by the composer's opera 'Peter Grimes'. This is based on an 1810 poem by George Crabbe which is set in Aldeburgh. Grimes, a villainous fisherman, kills his apprentices through ill-treatment and eventually is forbidden to keep apprentices. Subsequently he is driven insane by guilt and dies. This painting depicts Grimes's second apprentice who died after falling from a cliff into the sea. He is shown here floating among the fishes, still wearing his fisherman's anchor-embroidered jersey.

August 2004

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