Paul Nash, ‘Blue House on the Shore’ c.1930–1
Paul Nash
Blue House on the Shore c.1930–1
Tate

There are places, just as there are people and objects and works of art, whose relationship of parts creates a mystery, an enchantment, which cannot be analysed.
–Paul Nash, Outline, 1949

In the 1920s Nash became emotionally attached to significant places which inspired sequences of works. These included Whiteleaf in Berkshire, Dymchurch on the Kent Coast and Iden in Sussex. He responded both to the specific qualities of these landscapes and the feelings and memories that they prompted. Echoes of the Flanders landscape can be found in the recurring paintings of ponds which recall shell-holes, and in his series of stark paintings of the Dymchurch wall in which the geometric forms of the sea wall resemble the zigzag rhythm of the trenches. The Dymchurch works are also resonant of the emotional charge of his war experiences in their exploration of threat and defence as the sea sweeps in against the coastal defences, and ghostly cloaked figures haunt the sea wall. In the late 1920s figures were replaced by symbolic objects and Nash often juxtaposed architectural constructions with the landscape. In his autobiography Outline Nash identified 1928 as the beginning of ‘a new vision and a new style’. He first saw Giorgio de Chirico’s work in London in 1928 and works after this year show de Chirico’s influence, as they suggest mysterious narratives through isolated objects and mysterious buildings and the use of accentuated perspective.