Wednesday 17 April 2024

Rowland Suddaby

 This image from the golden age of motoring – an age when oil companies commissioned quality artwork (and quality books, in the form of the wonderful Shell Guides, edited by Johns Betjeman and Piper) – caught my eye today. It shows Folly House in Darley Abbey, a place I've visited a few times: it's a village in the Derwent valley that is now part of the city of Derby and has some fine buildings dating from its 18th-century industrial heyday. Of the medieval abbey little remains, and Folly House I don't recognise at all –maybe I missed it? Adjoining Darley Abbey is the magnificent Darley Park, one of the country's finest public parks (IMHO). 
  Anyway, I like the picture, which looks rather like a cross between Eric Ravilious and recent David Hockney. The artist's name was new to me – Rowland Suddaby. He is, it seems, a pretty minor figure, with a decidedly meagre Wikipedia entry and not a lot more information online, though his pictures are dotted about the country here and there. His dates are 1912 to 1972, he studied at Sheffield Art College, moved to London, where he had some small success, then settled in Suffolk. He was a founder of the Colchester Art Society, whose exhibitors included Edward Bawden, John Nash and Cedric Morris. Suddaby worked largely in landscape, painting in a distinctive brushy style and favouring bare trees (rather crudely drawn) and grey skies. Along the way, though, he developed another speciality – arrangements of flowers placed in a window against a view. These, I think, work very well. Here are two I particularly like: first, a Window at 5 Portland Place (overlooking the BBC, All Souls and the then Langham Hotel) – 

And this one, with a more rural (and vernal) view, is titled Flowers in a Window

And here, for good measure is a bright Still Life with Flowers

No comments:

Post a Comment