David Bomberg

Tregor and Tregoff, Cornwall


Not on display

David Bomberg 1890–1957
Oil paint on canvas
Support: 870 × 1073 mm
frame: 1041 × 1242 × 90 mm
Presented by Mrs Rosemary Peto 1967

Display caption

In 1947 Bomberg spent six weeks camping near Zennor in west Cornwall. The landscape there is wild and unspoilt, with the moors and ancient field patterns dropping down to steep sea cliffs. This view of a stormy sky hanging over two moorland peaks is characteristic of the area, as is the orange and ochre colouring of the dead gorse and heather.

Bomberg’s use of fluid paint combined with a strong sense of structure is typical of his work and evokes a feeling of the unforgiving granite beneath the vegetation.

Gallery label, July 2004

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Catalogue entry

David Bomberg 1890–1957

T00910 Tregor and Tregoff, Cornwall 1947

Inscr. ‘Bomberg 47’ b.r.
Canvas, 34¼ x 42¼ (87 x 107.3).
Presented by Mrs. Rosemary Peto 1967.
Coll. Purchased by Mrs. Peto from the artist’s widow through Marlborough Fine Art 1964.
Exh. Borough Group, Archer Gallery, June 1948 (1) as ‘Tredega and Tredog’; London Group, November 1951 (197); Arts Council, September–October 1958, and provincial tour May–November (41); Herbert Art Gallery and Museum, Coventry, September 1960 (76) as ‘Tregor and Tregof’; Hope Hall, Liverpool, 1961 ; Marl borough Fine Art Ltd., March 1964 (46, repr.), as Tregor and Tregof, Trendrine, Cornwall’; Arts Council, Tate Gallery, March–April 1967, and provincial tour (83).
Lit. William Lipke, David Bomberg, 1967, pp. 91–2.

In August 1947 the artist and his family visited Cornwall during a six-week painting expedition. The artist’s widow wrote (25 May 1967): ‘[“Tregor and Tregoff, Cornwall”] was painted from the lower slopes of Trendrine, where after travelling all through the South Western Counties, with a silk Govt. Parachute adapted as a tent, Diana 12 years, my granddaughter 4 years, and a Scottie dog, exploring the character as we went along (us not motorists), we finally settled. All equipment, tents and painting materials had been sent to Cornwall, and with the help of Leslie and Dinora Marr (motorists) awaiting our arrival, we moved onto Trendrine which was just right for the Artist-Just Right. Both “Trendrine” (Arts Council Coll.) and “Tregor and Tregof” were created here, but there was always a bit of difficulty about the title. First the two hills were called Tredega and Tredog and later we remembered they really should have been “Tregor and Tregof” ... we got the name locally.’ Other paintings done on this expedition include Trendrine in Sun, Cornwall’, ‘Evening, Cornwall’, and ‘Sea, Sunshine and Rain’.

Precisely what Bomberg intended the title ‘Tregor and Tregoff’ should signify is not clear. Mr. Patrick Heron, a resident of the immediate locality in which this work was painted, and to whom the local information in this entry is due, states that neither name is known in the area in any connection. The fact that Bomberg altered the painting’s first title further suggests that it may not be entirely accurate.

Both Mrs. Bomberg’s letter (quoted above) and the clear presence of two hills in the painting suggest that he had in mind the names of hills. Mrs. Bomberg’s letter indicates that Bomberg painted this work at Trendrine. The general lie of the ground suggests that Bomberg had his back to the sea, the slope away down to the left perhaps being the beginning of a small valley leading to the cove called Trevail, in which case he would have been only about a hundred yards from Trevail Farm. If this interpretation is accepted, the farm appearing at top left would be Trevega (which could well have been transmuted into the ‘Tredega’ of the first title), and one of the hills shown would be Trevalgan. The names of the other hills visible from this point (which are Buttermilk and Rosewall) are verbally very dissimilar. It is therefore possible that what Bomberg intended was the title ‘Trevega and Trevalgan’, but in the absence of more definite evidence the title under which he last exhibited it will be retained. Trendrine Farm and Trendrine Hill are both immediately to the right of this view, and are both just outside the field of vision.

Published in The Tate Gallery Report 1966–1967, London 1967.

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