Paul Nash’s Wittenham Clumps painting is on the poster advertising the Paul Nash exhibition at Dulwich Picture Gallery. It’s also the cover picture for the catalogue.
This star picture, called Landscape of the Vernal Equinox, has been lent by the Queen. This is because the painting was purchased by the Queen Mother who hung it at Clarence House.
It was one of Paul Nash’s last works and was painted in 1943 from far away Boar’s Hill where he used binoculors.
He attempted the view 26 times so it’s interesting to find in the exhibition an early watercolour, dated about 1913, of Wittenham Clumps.
This first picture is painted from the other side when Nash stayed with his uncle at Sinodun House on the road out of Wallingford. This is appropriate for another name for the landmark is the Sinodun Hills.
At the time he wrote about the marvellous countryside with “grey hollowed hills crowned by old trees”.
The show has other early work clearly influenced by William Blake. There are also pictures of Swanage where he spent much time.
Paul Nash: The Elements continues at Dulwich Picture Gallery daily except Mondays; admission £9; until Sunday 9 May.
See page 154.