Christopher Wood

Study for ‘Church at Tréboul’


Not on display

Christopher Wood 1901–1930
Graphite on paper
Support: 305 × 380 mm
Purchased 1968

Catalogue entry

Christopher Wood (1900-30)

T01085 Study for 'Church at Tréboul' c.1930

Pencil on paper 305 x 380 (12 x 14 7/8)
Inscribed in pencil: in field, left 'olive brown'; on chancel 'grey | cream'; on apse 'cream'; above landscape, right 'houses | almost invisible'; on foreground wall 'beige | darker than front of [?church/?choir]'
Inscribed in another hand on label on back of original mount 'Christopher Wood 15 gns'
Purchased from George Milman (Gytha Trust) 1968

William Edmiston by 1938, when lent to New Burlington Galleries
Redfern Gallery; Piccadilly Gallery, from whom bt by George Milman July 1960
Christopher Wood: Exhibition of Complete Works, New Burlington Galleries, March-April 1938 (483)
Christopher Wood, Kettle's Yard, Cambridge, July-Aug. 1974 (47)
Christopher Wood: The Last Years 1928-1930, Newlyn Art Gallery, Penzance, Oct.-Nov. 1989, Graves Art Gallery, Sheffield, Dec. 1989 - Jan. 1990, Glynn Vivian Art Gallery, Swansea, Jan.-March 1990, Kettle's Yard, Cambridge, March-April 1990 (79)
Christopher Wood: A Painter between Two Cornwalls, Tate Gallery St Ives, Nov. 1996 - April. 1997, Musée des beaux arts, Quimper, May - Aug. 1997 (33, repr. p.54, as Tréboul Church dated 1930)
Newton 1938, p.86 no.829, as Tréboul Church dated 1930
M[atthew] R[owe], 'Tréboul Church', Christopher Wood: A Painter between Two Cornwalls, exh. cat. Tate Gallery St Ives, Musée des beaux arts, Quimper, 1996 p.54 repr.

Study for 'Church at Tréboul' was drawn in soft pencil on a light weight semi-gloss paper. Perforations along the top edge indicate that it was removed from a commercial sketchbook. These qualities are consistent with those of Wood's smaller sketchbook (158 x 118 mm), in use in 1929-30 and stamped 'R.J. Lucien Lefebvre-Foinet, 19 rue Vavin & 2 rue Brea, Paris' (TGA 723.3). The drawing was made with a characteristically emphatic and swift line to secure the major details. Shading was used in combination with smudging with the fingers (facilitated by the sheen of the paper), especially in the area of the tower.
The accompanying annotations confirm that the drawing was made in preparation for a painting, and the paper even shows various isolated splashes of oil paint. The resulting composition was Church at Tréboul (q.v.), a painting datable to 1930 and which suggests that the drawing also dates from Wood's stay in Brittany that summer. From the handling and annotation of the drawing, it is likely that Study for 'Church at Tréboul' was completed before the motif. Most of the annotations are about colour, but that above the houses notes the obscuring effect of the undergrowth which was to be carried over into the painting. Both images show the church of Saint-Joseph as seen from the east and behind the choir. For Study for 'Church at Tréboul' Wood concentrated upon its fabric, taking an uphill position in the presbytery garden and on a level with the eaves of the apse. He recorded the details of the quoins around the windows and the buttresses, as well as the form of the tower and the lower stage of the spire. The apse is small enough for the end wall of the choir (inscribed 'grey cream') to be visible to either side; in the painting the portion of this wall to the left is almost excluded. The drawing also allows the church to dominate the landscape with the windmill on the hill to the left; these details are contrasted with the open sky and the long blank panel of the foreground wall.

Matthew Gale
April 1996

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