Albert Rutherston

The Pump, Nash End

1931

Medium
Oil paint on canvas
Dimensions
Support: 406 x 508 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Purchased 1941
Reference
N05258

Catalogue entry

Entry

Albert Rutherston worked little in oils between 1912 and 1938 and The Pump, Nash End, is a rare example. Around 1910 he had abandoned the naturalistic ‘New English Art Club’ style of his early career and developed the highly stylised and imaginative manner for which he is best known. From 1912 his artistic output consisted of designs for the theatre and ballet for a brief two-year period, and then predominantly watercolours on silk, book illustrations, watercolour and gouache landscapes, and life drawings. He did not resume oil painting again with any regularity until 1938 when he was introduced by the artist Barnett Freedman to a young art student, Patricia Koring, who was to be his model for a number of late portraits.1 In the intervening years, the very few oil paintings produced by Rutherston were almost all Gloucestershire landscapes, painted in the area surrounding his cottage at Bisley, near Stroud.
As a young man living in London, Rutherston was a committed urbanite, thriving on the social whirl of exhibitions, theatre and dining out with friends. His friend, the poet and writer Humbert Wolfe, described him as a ‘dazzling metropolitan figure’, 2 extremely sociable and well connected, who ‘did not frequent the great world of London, he was the great world of London’.3 In his middle years, however, he seems to have craved a quieter pace of life and towards the end of 1925, he and his wife, Marjory, purchased Nash End Cottage, just outside the small village of Bisley, near Stroud in Gloucestershire. Rutherston wrote to his friend, the novelist Mary Dowdall, in December 1925 that although he intended to keep on his property in Lincoln’s Inn for the present, a move to the country was imminent:
And we intend to spend 6 months there, migrating about 1st March. It’s still in the workers’ hands as we had improvements left to do at once making a spare room of an attic, building a larder etc etc. It’s a dear small place with a lovely studio – typical Cotswold – about 1650. Grey stone & slate tiled roof. Remote & peaceful & beautiful but near enough to the village not to be too lonely.4

Nicola Moorby
November 2003

Notes

1
Max Rutherston, Albert Rutherston, London 1988, p.14.
2
Humbert Wolfe, The Upward Anguish, London 1938, p.104.
3
Ibid., p.105.
4
Albert Rutherston, letter to Mary Dowdall, 23 December 1925, Tate Archive TGA 7314/34.
5
M. Rutherston 1988, p.13.
6
Albert Rutherston, letter to Mary Dowdall, 25 July 1908, Tate Archive TGA 7314/6.
7
Albert Rutherston, exhibition catalogue, Sally Hunter Fine Art, London (96).
8
Robert Speaight, William Rothenstein, London 1962, p.254.
9
William Rothenstein, letter to Albert Rutherston, 31 December 1912, quoted in Mary M. Lago and Karl Beckson (eds.), Max and Will: Max Beerbohm and William Rothenstein, their Friendship and Letters, 1893 to 1945, London 1975, p.71.
10
Sotheby’s Olympia, London, 26 February 2003, lot 93, reproduced.
11
William Rothenstein, letter to D.S. MacColl, September 1934, quoted in Speaight 1962, p.380.
12
Reproduced in M. Rutherston 1988, pl.5.
13
‘Painters at Oxford’, Times, 17 February 1941, p.2.
14
Paintings and Drawings by Albert Rutherston, exhibition catalogue, Leicester Galleries, London 1934 (88).
15
Albert Rutherston, exhibition catalogue, Leicester Galleries, London 1953 (15, 25 and 32).
16
Eightieth Exhibition of the New English Art Club, New Burlington Galleries, London 1929 (45).
17
Hubert Wellington, letter to Dennis Farr, 25 January 1962, Tate Catalogue file.
18
Fifth Exhibition of Works by Members of the London Group, Goupil Gallery, London, June 1916 (19, as ‘The Big Barn’).
19
Reproduced in The Painters of Camden Town 1905–1920, exhibition catalogue, Christie’s, London 1988 (172).
20
Mary Greensted, The Arts and Crafts Movement in the Cotswolds, Stroud 1993, pp.22–4.
21
Reproduced ibid., pl.V.
22
M. Rutherston 1988, p.14.
23
Albert Rutherston, letter to John Rothenstein, 6 January 1941, Tate Archive TGA 8726/4/11.
24
Albert Rutherston, letter to John Rothenstein, 24 January 1941, Tate Archive TGA 8726/4/11.

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