(click image to enlarge)
Having become unhappy by the turn of the century with the decline of rural life in England, H H La Thangue spent long periods at a winter studio in the village of Bormes (now Bormes-les-Mimosas), near Hyères, in Provence. From there, he explored and painted in the immediate area and further afield, including regions in Italy and Spain.
Following the First World War, La Thangue made a visit to the Balearic Islands, and specifically Mallorca, as is evidenced by the painting, A Spanish Mill, which was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1921 (and sold in a London auction in 2012). Though larger in scale than the present undated work, A Spanish Mill is certainly related to it, as both depict windmills in Búger, an ancient inland settlement in the north of the island, set among cereal fields and off the artistic beaten track. Many of the mills, including the one shown here, continue to line the Carrer des Molins.
Moonrise in Spain was bought by Moses Nightingale, a corn merchant from Crawley, in Sussex. A patron of the arts, he founded the Hazeldene Orchestra in 1881 and formed a large art collection. La Thangue was his favourite artist, and he lent 31 of his works to the artist’s memorial exhibition at Brighton Art Gallery in 1930.