Ernest Procter

The Zodiac

1925

Artist
Ernest Procter 1886–1935
Medium
Oil paint on canvas
Dimensions
Support: 1524 x 1676 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Presented by the Trustees of the Chantrey Bequest 1936
Reference
N04839

Not on display

Display caption

This painting cleverly combines representations of the twelve animal and human symbols of the Zodiac into a dynamic composition. The twelve symbols, beginning at the top left are: Aquarius the water-carrier: Pisces the fish: Aries the ram; Taurus the bull, Gemini the twins; Cancer the crab; Leo the lion; Virgo the virgin holding the balancing scales of Libra; Scorpio the scorpion; Sagittarius the archer; and Capricorn the goat. These symbols were conceived by ancient civilizations and linked to the stellar constellations which are situated in a belt of the heavens traversed annually by the sun, hence the prominent position of the sun in a grouping which Procter set in planetary space.

Gallery label, August 2004

Catalogue entry

N04839 THE ZODIAC 1925

Inscr. ‘Ernest Procter 25’ b.l.
Canvas, 60×66 (152·5×167·5).
Chantrey Purchase from the Leicester Galleries 1936.
Exh: Paintings by Ernest Procter and Dod Procter, Leicester Galleries, December 1925 (39); International Exhibition, Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh, October–December 1927 (243, repr.); Leicester Galleries, January 1930 (25); R.A., 1936 (601).
Repr: Royal Academy Illustrated, 1936, p.14.

According to Mrs Dod Procter, her husband ‘was much taken up with the subject and had written several poems about it’ (letter of 12 October 1958). A woodcut called ‘The Zodiac’ was exhibited in Ernest and Dod Procter, Paintings and Drawings, Manchester, August–September 1929 (16).

Published in:
Mary Chamot, Dennis Farr and Martin Butlin, The Modern British Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture, London 1964, II

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