Claude Rogers 1907-1979
T03848 Cornfields at Somerton
Oil on canvas 1016 x 1266 (40 x 49 7/8)
Inscribed ‘C. Rogers | July 14 - Sept 30 1961. | Somerton: for Dennis Proctor' b.r., ‘45 CANONBURY Sq N1' on l. stretcher, ‘Re-stretch and frame CR' on central stretcher bar and ‘Varnished with one coat | of Winsor & Newton | "Griffin" Picture Varnish | 10th x November x 1963 | C.R.' on label (removed from the stretcher and now seperately preserved)
Presented by Lady Proctor in memory of her husband Sir Dennis Proctor 1984
Prov: Commissioned from the artist by Dennis Proctor c.1960
Exh: Claude Rogers, Paintings & Drawings 1927-1973, Whitechapel Art Gallery, April 1973, City Museum and Art Gallery, Birmingham, May-June 1973, Museum and Art Gallery, Reading, June-July 1973, City Art Gallery, Southampton, August-Sept. 1973, Bradford City Art Gallery, Sept.-Oct. 1973, Mappin Art Gallery, Sheffield, Nov. 1973 (60, repr.)
The country around Somerton in Suffolk was often painted by Claude Rogers, who had stayed near there from soon after the war and owned a house there from 1956. This landscape was commissioned from the artist in about 1960 by Dennis Proctor, who then also lived in the area.
Sir Dennis Proctor (1905-1983) was appointed to the Board of Trustees of the Tate Gallery in 1953, and became Chairman in the same year, retiring in 1959. He had first met Claude Rogers in 1953, when he commissioned from him a portrait of his wife. He chose the artist since he already admired his portrait in the Tate Gallery (N05345) of his wife's friend Mrs Richard Chilver, painted in 1937-8. The portrait for Dennis Proctor was painted over several years at the artist's studio in Taviton Street, WC1. When it was completed he asked Rogers to paint a landscape for him of the same size and character as his ‘Clover Fields near Toppesfield Church', 1947, which was then hanging in the sitting room at Taviton Street 915 x 1220, 36 x 48, private collection, repr. Bruce Laughton, The Euston Road School, 1986, p.302). Toppesfield in Essex is near Somerton, and the trees and fields in both paintings look much the same. The paintings are of similar size and composition, with a continuous foreground to middleground, and an emphasis on the growing crop rather than on people, buildings or incident. The later landscape is painted more loosely, and with a more open perspective.
The Tate Gallery's painting by Elsie Few, Claude Rogers's wife, of ‘Bradfields' (1947, T03285) is also of the same area.
The Tate Gallery 1984-86: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions Including Supplement to Catalogue of Acquisitions 1982-84, Tate Gallery, London 1988, pp.258-9