Paul Nash

Landscape at Iden


Paul Nash 1889–1946
Oil paint on canvas
Support: 698 × 908 mm
frame: 850 × 1055 × 92 mm
Purchased 1939

Display caption

This mysterious picture shows the view from Nash’s studio in Sussex. The dramatic perspective and strange juxtaposition of rustic objects creates a sense of the uncanny. It has been read as a statement of mourning. While the young fruit trees may suggest the defencelessness of youth, the altar-like pile of logs may be a symbol of fallen humanity; the fallen tree as a symbol for the dead was common in the art and literature of the war, not least in Nash’s own paintings.For many, an idea of the timeless and enduring English landscape seemed to displace the violent destruction of the war.

Gallery label, July 2007

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Catalogue entry


Inscr. ‘Paul Nash’ b.l.
Canvas, 27 1/2×35 3/4 (70×90·5).
Purchased from the artist through Arthur Tooth & Sons (Knapping Fund) 1939.
Exh: Leicester Galleries, November 1928 (63); International Exhibition, Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh, 1931 (261); Leicester Galleries, November 1932 (49; not numbered in catalogue but cf. Eates, 1948, p.52); Venice Biennale, 1938 (British Pavilion, 15); Leeds, April–June, 1943 (13); Tate Gallery, March–May 1948 (24); Canada, 1949–50 (7).
Lit: Eates, 1948, p.77, repr. pl.53; Bertram, 1955, p.163.
Repr: Architectural Review, CII, 1947, p.78; Carlos Peacock, Painters and Writers, 1949, pl.96 (in colour).

The photograph in the Nash Collection, V. & A. Library, is dated 1928. The painting shows a formalized view from the artist's garden, Oxenbridge Cottage, Iden, Sussex, and is one of a number of works painted at this time in which the geometric shapes of such motifs as the screen and logs are stressed. The snake, seen on the fence at the left, is an important symbol in Nash's work.

On the back there is an unfinished upright landscape dominated by a central tree, dateable c. 1927.

Published in:
Mary Chamot, Dennis Farr and Martin Butlin, The Modern British Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture, London 1964, II


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