Peter Lanyon

Corsham Model


Not on display

Peter Lanyon 1918–1964
Graphite, crayon and gouache on paper
Support: 559 × 762 mm
Purchased 1975

Catalogue entry


Inscribed ‘Lanyon 53’ b.l. and ‘Lanyon, Corsham Model, 53’ on verso Gouache, pencil and crayon on paper, 22×30 (55.8×76.2)
Purchased from the New Art Centre (Grant-in-Aid) 1975
Coll: Mrs Sheila Lanyon; New Art Centre, 1975
Exh: Peter Lanyon, New Art Centre, January–February 1975

As the title indicates this study of a nude was made at the Bath Academy, Corsham, where Lanyon taught between 1950–1957.

Lanyon became interested in the relationship of the human figure to landscape during the early 1950's, developing this theme in such oils as ‘Europa’ 1954, ‘Judy’ 1954 and ‘Beach Girl’ 1961. T01947, which took as its starting point a model in an interior, is evidently an early experiment along these lines.

Although, as Andrew Causey has suggested (letter to the compiler of 16 May 1975) this development in Lanyon's art may have been accelerated by a three-month visit to Italy early in 1953, other colleagues at Corsham, notably William Scott and Kenneth Armitage were interested in the woman-landscape theme at this time, as were Pollock and de Kooning in America.

William Scott's explanation (in a letter to the compiler of 17 July 1975) seems convincing: ‘Lanyon was convinced that a school of art, especially one in the country, should, amongst other subjects, include landscape as an important subject’ (he, Lanyon, disagreed with the traditional view that landscape artists develop only after leaving art school). 'At Bath Academy he initiated the teaching of landscape in a very personal and what seemed to be eccentric manner. He personally did not like the local landscape and whilst encouraging his students to paint (it) became absorbed in the figure...Lanyon was a landscape painter who turned to nudes. I was a figure painter who turned to landscape... but this was a mode of the ‘40’s and ‘50's.’

According to Sheila Lanyon (letter to the compiler of 12 May 1975), Lanyon made as least 12 drawings and a rather larger number of gouaches on the theme of the nude. One of these drawings, ‘Nude, Corsham’ 1953, (private collection), a freely worked but recognisable study from the model, is closely related to ‘Corsham Model’.

Published in:
The Tate Gallery 1974-6: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions, London 1978

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