Harold Gilman

Study for ‘Canal Bridge, Flekkefjord’


Not on display

Harold Gilman 1876–1919
Ink on paper
Support: 230 × 290 mm
Purchased 1955

Catalogue entry


Both of Tate’s drawings by Harold Gilman are detailed studies for paintings (fig.1) squared for transfer to canvas. Gilman invariably based his later oils on drawings, rather than painting directly from nature. Although a gifted and innovative draughtsman, for much of his career Gilman’s drawings were made purely as functional tools rather than as ends in themselves. It was only in his last years that he contributed a small number to exhibitions. In 1919 Charles Ginner explained that Gilman
at first, some eight years ago [1911], always painted direct from nature. He believed firmly in this, a result of his admiration for the Impressionist teaching, but he finally arrived at working from drawings, finding in this method a fuller self-expression. This resulted in his producing a wonderful series, some of which, like his drawing for the picture of ‘Mother and Child’1 ... rival Degas or Van Gogh. They were all done with the sole object of being used for his paintings: curiously enough he did not seem to take much account of them, and he showed them at exhibitions with reluctance and hesitation.2

Robert Upstone
May 2009


1917–18; there are a number of versions of this drawing, see Harold Gilman 1876–1919, exhibition catalogue, Arts Council, London 1981 (92–5).
Charles Ginner, ‘Harold Gilman: An Appreciation’, in Memorial Exhibition of Works by the Late Harold Gilman, exhibition catalogue, Leicester Galleries, London 1919, p.7.

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