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Allotment Gardens

Sir George Clausen (1852-1944)


Signed with initials

Charcoal on tinted paper

5 ¼ x 7 ¾ inches

'A Century of British Art: 1900-1945', Chris Beetles Gallery, 21 June-17 July 2021, No 2

The present drawing by George Clausen is a study for his oil on canvas, Allotment Gardens (private collection). It is one of at least six studies for the painting, five others being in the collections of the Royal Academy of Arts. Clausen produced the drawings and painting while living at Widdington, in Essex, and based them on the view from his cottage. The finished composition depicts tied labourers digging potatoes on their own plot of land at the end of a full day’s work. When exhibited at the Royal Academy of Arts in 1899, as No 115, it suggested to a number of critics the strong influence of the French Realist, Jean-François Millet, and especially one of his most famous paintings, The Angelus (1857-59, Musée d’Orsay), which the artist had originally titled ‘Prayer for the Potato Crop’. Nevertheless, others commented on its own particular naturalism and immediacy, a writer for The Graphic calling the male figure ‘a very true type of English rustic character’, and one for The Magazine of Art stating, in 1900, that the whole ‘breathes the very life of the fields’.

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