Graham Sutherland OM



Not on display

Graham Sutherland OM 1903–1980
Etching on paper
Image: 130 × 190 mm
support: 169 × 228 mm
Purchased 1970

Display caption

During the 1920s Sutherland produced a series of prints and drawings directly inspired by the example of Samuel Palmer. The series culminated in this work, whose simplified forms and detailed technique recall Palmer. However, the strange shadows and bizarrely gnarled and twisted tree trunks strike a more personal note. Here Sutherland transforms the Palmeresque evocation of an Arcadian idyll into a more pagan image, replacing traditional Christian symbolism with animistic forces. The sense of brooding drama seen here was developed in Sutherland's landscape paintings of the late 1930s and early 1940s.

Gallery label, August 2004

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Catalogue entry

Graham Sutherland 1903-1980

P07117 Pastoral 1930

Inscribed ‘Pastoral’ b.l., ‘Graham Sutherland’ b.r. and ‘4’ on verso.
Etching, 5 x 7½ (12.5 x 19) on paper 6¿ x 8¿ (17 x 22.5).
Purchased from Thos. Agnew & Sons (Gytha Trust) 1970.
Coll: Mrs A.M. Bernard-Smith.
Exh: From the Pre-Raphaelites to Picasso II, Agnew, June–July 1970 (116).
Lit: Edward Sackville-West, Graham Sutherland,1943, p.7, repr. pl.2; Douglas Cooper, The Work of Graham Sutherland, 1961, p. 69, repr. pl.4b; Felix H. Man, Graham Sutherland: das graphische Werk 1922–1970, 1970, No. 34, repr.

Sutherland began his career and originally made his reputation as an etcher.’ Pastoral’ was made shortly before he more or less abandoned the medium in 1930, because of the collapse of the market for etchings in England, and turned instead to painting. It is also perhaps his first work to show clear indications of his later, more characteristic style, particularly in its use of dramatic shadows, twisting, monster-like forms and dream-like atmosphere.

According to Felix Man there were four states, but the plate was never published; there exist only a small number of trial proofs printed by the artist. P07117, with a detailed treatment of the sky, foreground areas and fence, is of the final state. In 1970 the plate was still in existence.

Published in The Tate Gallery Report 1970–1972, London 1972.


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