John Platt

The Port of St Tropez

1922

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Artist
John Platt 1886–1967
Medium
Graphite and watercolour on paper
Dimensions
Support: 470 x 324 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Purchased 1924
Reference
N03875

Catalogue entry

N03875 THE PORT OF ST TROPEZ 1922

Inscr. ‘St. Tropez Sept 1922 John Platt’ b.l.
Pencil and watercolour, 18 1/2×12 3/4 (47×32·5).
Purchased from the artist (Duveen Drawings Fund) 1924.
Exh: N.E.A.C., December 1923–January 1924 (159).

The artist wrote (22 September 1958) that the drawing was made from his window in the very early hours of the morning. ‘To me the scene was an epitome of the place. The drawing was made as an expression of my interest in the build and rig of the Mediterranean sailing boat with its single tall mast and lateen sail rig, in contrast to the familiar ketch-rigged Brixham and Yarmouth trawlers (vessels about the same size, but evolved for the different weather and tide conditions of the English Channel and North Sea). Instead of mooring alongside, as in Atlantic harbours, this Mediterranean port, being almost tideless, allows of mooring stern on to the quayside, and thus of unloading the cargo, for example, barrels of wine, by a single plank. The scene offered an effective pictorial statement of the essential character of the port of St Tropez.’

The artist subsequently made a colour-woodcut ‘Port of St Tropez’ based on this drawing, a copy of which is in the V. & A. (repr. J. E. Platt, Colour Woodcuts, 1938, p.43, pl.11).

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

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