Frederick Walker

The Old Gate

exhibited 1869

Medium
Oil paint on canvas
Dimensions
Support: 1346 x 1683 mm
frame: 1685 x 2025 x 124 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Bequeathed by Amy, Lady Tate 1920
Reference
N03514

Display caption

Walker shows the crumbling gate of Halsway Court at Crowcombe in Somerset, where he stayed in 1868-9. Using local people as models, he added figures to give the picture a narrative content. However, Walker deliberately let the narrative remain ambiguous, to encourage viewers to construct their own story.
Walker firmly believed in painting directly from his subject, to create a detailed evocation of nature. In this picture, however, he deviated from his usual practice. It was made in his studio from a smaller study painted in the open air. Walker was unhappy with the original arrangement of the figures, and altered them for this version.

Gallery label, September 2004