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In the early 1920s Wadsworth developed a new kind of painting that suited the widespread mood of restlessness and need for escape after the first world war (1914-18).

Hiking home from a holiday in Newlyn in 1920 he decided to paint a series of harbour scenes similar to Turner’s engravings of The Harbours of England. In the following year an inheritance enabled him to travel abroad; Seaport was painted from sketches made in France, probably at La Rochelle. Using tempera, a technique requiring swift and accurate handling, Wadsworth combines realistic detail with a dream-like atmosphere redolent of the past.

April 2005