Mary Potter

The Window, Chiswick

1929

Artist
Mary Potter 1900–1981
Medium
Oil paint on canvas
Dimensions
Support: 764 x 552 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Purchased with funds provided by the Helena and Kenneth Levy Bequest 1990
Reference
T05834

Not on display

Display caption

Potter was an early member of the Seven and Five Society, a group of artists formed in 1919 whose members included at various times John Piper, Ivon Hitchens and Ben and Winfred Nicholson. Classic Seven and Five work is characterised by clear colours, an interest in light, and a certain freshness and simplicity. Their direct and strong compositions often involved still life, sometimes combined with landscape seen through a window. This is a typical example in which a table-top still life is set against a curtained window looking out onto a view of the river Thames, near Chiswick. The view is from her own sitting-room.

Gallery label, August 2004

Technique and condition

The canvas was originally conceived and begun as a 30 x 24 (762 x 610 mm) painting but the canvas was later transferred to the present stretcher which measures approximately 30 x 21 3/4 (762 x 552 mm). Rather more of the original composition was lost to the right hand tacking edge than to the left at the time of this transfer.

Initial drawing in pencil is visible. The oil paint is brushmarked, much of the paint being applied in the form of short dabbed and hatched strokes. A blade has also been used, both broadly and to model the paint in a more tentative way. At least one area of paint has been scraped back to re-expose the canvas texture in the white priming.

The condition of the painting is generally stable but minor damages along the edges relate to the restretching of the canvas. Two damages to the painting (one also involving canvas damage) would appear to have been made good by the artist. The more central of these is quite badly retouched with blade-applied paint which penetrates through the canvas damage to the reverse. Some unevenness in plane along the bottom edge of the painting suggests a period of neglect during which foreign matter was allowed to collect between stretcher member and canvas. A resin varnish has been brushed over the paint surface.

The frame in which the painting was accessioned was of recent origin. Its appearance was thought unsuitable and it was replaced with one thought to be more appropriate for a painting dating from the earlier part of the century.

Peter Booth
1995

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