Patrick Hayman

Birds and Trees


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Patrick Hayman 1915–1988
Linocut on paper
Image: 102 × 151 mm
Presented by Warren MacKenzie 1986

Catalogue entry

Patrick Hayman 1915-1988

P11094 Birds and Trees 1951

Linocut 102 x 151 (4 x 6) on Fabriano paper 152 x 215 (6 x 8 1/2); printed and published by the artist
Inscribed ‘Hayman' below image b.l., ‘Birds & Trees' below image b.r. and ‘2nd of 6 prints' on back of mount at centre
Presented by Warren MacKenzie 1986

Hayman made this print and P11095 in his studio in St. Ives in the autumn of 1951. Both works were exhibited alongside those of other St. Ives artists in a show entitled ‘Prints Under £1' held at Robin Nance's gallery at The Wharf, St. Ives, in December of that year (see also Alix MacKenzie P11096, P11097 and P11098, Warren MacKenzie P02942, P02943 and P02944 and John Wells P77131). The annotation ‘10/-' on the back of the mount may refer to the price of the print in 1951.

In a letter to the Tate Gallery dated 23 November 1987 Hayman described the exhibition as ‘essentially a friendly coming together ... an AMUSING IDEA'. In an article entitled ‘St Ives Artists' New Venture' published in the St Ives Times (30 Nov. 1951, p.4), however, Bernard Leach claimed that a serious purpose lay behind the show. In turning to the medium of cheap, easily reproduced prints, the artists in the exhibition, he said, were seeking to bring their art within the reach of the general public in order to bridge the gulf separating modern art from popular taste. In fact, most of the prints, including this one and P11095, did not sell to the public but circulated amongst the contributors. Warren MacKenzie remembers that he acquired both prints from Hayman through trading them with works of his own during or shortly after the exhibition.

Scenes of landscapes, inhabited by people or animals, were typical of Hayman's work in this period. Hayman had moved to Cornwall in March 1951, attracted not just by the beauty of the coastline (reminiscent of New Zealand where he had lived from 1936-47) but also by his sense of the primitive and magical qualitites of the land. A gouache and ink painting of the same year entitled ‘View of a Garden at Night' (Patrick Hayman: The Visionary and the New Frontier, exh. cat., Norman MacKenzie Art Gallery, University of Regina, Saskatchewan 1985, fig. 1) depicts a scene similar to that of this print of large trees under which sits a female figure. Hayman believed that there was ‘a strong, formal & in a sense underlying, similarity in a structural sense' between the two works. However, though there was indeed a garden with tall dark fir trees in front of the house on the coast in which he and his wife shared a flat at this time, Hayman has stated that neither work was drawn directly from nature, rather, ‘the scene was set permanently in ones mind's eye by our surroundings - both EMOTIONAL + VISUAL'. Nonetheless, the purple colour of this print was ‘probably indicative of the OCEANIC NIGHT SKY in that time & place' (letter to the compiler dated 4 December 1987).

Described in simple straight and curved lines, the abstract quality of the image hints at the ‘other wordly' or magical theme that was central to Hayman's subject matter.

This entry has been approved by the artist.

Published in:
The Tate Gallery 1984-86: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions Including Supplement to Catalogue of Acquisitions 1982-84, Tate Gallery, London 1988, p.376


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