Sir Roger De Grey

Interior: Exterior


Not on display

Sir Roger De Grey 1918–1995
Oil paint on canvas
Support: 1829 × 889 mm
frame: 1850 × 910 × 50 mm
Presented by the Trustees of the Chantrey Bequest 1981

Display caption

This picture is one of a series of eight on the subject of the relationship between outside and inside. All were painted at the artist's studio in Kent during the winter of 1976-77. De Grey likes to paint in the open air in the summer and rework his canvases indoors in his studio in the winter. The artist was here interested in the different qualitites of the landscape seen through the open french window and through the barrier of the glass, with its accidents of smudginess and condensation. De Grey is primarily a landscape painter, but also occupies a major role in the art world as President of the Royal Academy of Arts.

Gallery label, September 2004

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Catalogue entry


Inscribed ‘deG’ bottom right and ‘Interior/Exterior Roger de Grey’ on stretcher Acrylic and oil on canvas, 72 × 35 (182.9 × 88.8)
Presented by the Trustees of the Chantrey Bequest 1981
Prov: Purchased from the artist by the Trustees of the Chantrey Bequest 1977
Exh: RA, May–August 1977 (22); Roger de Grey, Bury St Edmunds Art Gallery, November–December 1979 (1)
Repr: RA Illustrated, 1977, p.29

Roger de Grey has painted a series of eight canvases of this subject. The Tate's is the first in the series; a work of similar size, now in the collection of Janet Marsh, is the second. They were painted in the winter of 1976–7 in his studio near Meopham, Kent, and depict the view to the South. It was the first time he had used this view. His practice is to paint out of doors during the summer and rework his canvases during the autumn, then make further paintings in the studio of the landscape around it. This work was probably begun in November or December 1976 and finished in the early spring of 1977. He has been painting subjects like this for more than fifteen years. De Grey was interested in the different qualities of the landscape seen through the open french window and through the glass itself with its accidents of smudginess and condensation.

He works on a primed linen canvas, and in this case chose a size related to the proportions of the window frame and his wish to make a ‘long-shaped picture’. The main elements of the composition were sketched straight onto the canvas, without any preliminary drawings. He tries to achieve an accurate rendering of the tones of the objects, but is aware that his choice is affected by the range of colours on his palette. The painting is then worked on over a period of several months. ‘It gets drastically revised all the time, because I suppose my painting is concerned with revision, really a series of revisions’. When he works away from the subject the changes that occur whilst the picture is constructed sometimes create ‘a development of forms which to the outside observer seem naturalistic but to me have another dimension’. Although the works made in the studio tend to have a particularly formal character, he points out that it is possible to paint on the site without actually looking at it and make similar modifications, and that this may have happened in this case.

(The quotations are from a recorded conversation with the artist on 21 September 1983).

Published in:
The Tate Gallery 1980-82: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions, London 1984

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