JOHN NASH

(11 April 1893 – 23 September 1977)

John Nash was a British painter of landscapes and still-lives, and a wood engraver and illustrator, particularly of botanic works. He was the younger brother of the artist Paul Nash. Nash married Carrington’s friend Dorothy Christine Kühlenthal in May 1918. She was the daughter of a German chemist who had settled in Gerrards Cross, Buckinghamshire, and had studied at the Slade. Their only child, William, was born in 1930; he was killed in a car accident in 1935, aged 4. From 1918 to 1921, Nash lived at Gerrard’s Cross, with summer expeditions to the Chiltern Hills and Gloucestershire. In 1919 he became a member of the New English Art Club, and in 1921 he became the first art critic for The London Mercury. He moved to Meadle, near Princes Risborough, also in Buckinghamshire, in 1921, which remained his permanent home until 1944. He frequently visited the valley of the River Stour in Essex and Suffolk, where he bought a summer cottage. After the First World War, Nash’s efforts went mainly into painting landscapes. Eric Newton, the art historian said of him ‘If I wanted a foreigner to understand the mood of a typical English landscape, I would show him Nash’s best watercolours.” Emotions, however, concerning the war continued to linger for many years; and this was depicted in his landscape painting. This is particularly evident in The Moat, Grange Farm, Kimble, oil on canvas, exhibited in 1922. In this brooding landscape the trees and their tendril-like branches envelope the entire picture plane.The dark subtle colours and evening light give the painting a claustrophobic atmosphere. This painting, completed a few years after the war, is characterised by a sense of bleak desolation that suggests the profound introspection that for many followed the devastation of the war. Although he had a great love of nature Nash often used natural subjects to convey powerful and sensitive thoughts concerning the human condition. He was close friends with the writer Ronald Blythe, who dedicated his best-selling book Akenfield to the artist, and who shared his love of the unmanaged forest where fallen trees were left to create their own chaos. In 1923 Nash became a member of the Modern English Water-colour Society. In 1923 he worked in Dorset and in 1924 in Bath and Bristol. From 1924 to 1929 he taught at The Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art (Oxford). In 1927, he wrote and illustrated a book on Poisonous Plants. From 1934 to 1940 he taught at the Royal College of Art in London, working on wood engravings and lithographs. In 1939 he visited the Gower Peninsula, near Swansea – the first of many visits to Gower and other parts of Wales.

Nash was also an accomplished printmaker. He was a founder member of the Society of Wood Engravers in 1920. He produced woodcuts and wood engravings first as illustrations to literary periodicals, and then increasingly as illustrations for books produced by the private presses; these include Jonathan Swift’s Directions to Servants (Golden Cockerel Press, 1925) and Edmund Spenser’s The Shepheard’s Calendar (Cresset Press, 1930). His interest in botanical subjects is shown by his illustrations to Gathorne-Hardy’s Wild Flowers in Britain (Batsford 1938).

John Nash - Bebb Fine Art - Signed Prints and Originals

JOHN NASH RECENT ACQUISITIONS


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