Balcony and Seascape, 1929
gouache, watercolour and pencil
19 x 25 in
48.3 x 63.5 cm
48.3 x 63.5 cm
signed and dated
This was painted from the second storey of his parent's house at 5 Western Esplanade in Portslade, near Brighton; the row of houses are ‘built literally,’ he recalled, ‘on the...
This was painted from the second storey of his parent's house at 5 Western Esplanade in Portslade, near Brighton; the row of houses are ‘built literally,’ he recalled, ‘on the sea margin so that if the weather were at all rough, surf and spray broke on the seaward balconies ... at high tide literally like a ship in the sea ... one felt very much surrounded by water.' constructed in the 1920s as luxury summer houses, recent owners include Adele and Sir Paul McCartney. Between 1927 and 1932 Jones painted a number of views through the veranda windows, with two very closely related images from the same year now in the Tate Collection (N05128) and Kettle's Yard, University of Cambridge (DJ2) and a third from 1930 in the Towner (EASTG 2100). The seascape owes a debt to Turner, whose works he became inspired by on visits to the Tate Gallery with Kenneth Clark, though placement of the balcony as a comparative extreme foreground is very much in line with the compositional devices used by many of his contemporaries in the inter-war years, such as Ben and Winifred Nicholson, his friends from the 7&5 Society. This was painted in a particularly creative period of Jones' life, shortly after his move away from Capel-y-ffin, the artist's commune created by his early mentor Eric Gill, though before his first nervous breakdown of 1932. A sense of the otherworldly that is found in many of Jones' best works, with a lightness of touch and an evocation of atmosphere, without the narrative complexity found in many of his works. Nicolette Gray comments, 'The later Portslade paintings are almost always framed by the same partition in the foreground or at the side, and by the cast-iron supports which terminate at the top in outward moving curves ... These paintings are some of David Jones's most remarkable works. he reckoned that the sea was for him an important influence' (see 'The Paintings of David Jones', Hatfield and London, 1989, pp.31-2).
ProvenanceHeffer Gallery, Cambridge, where purchased by the previous owner's grandmother
London, 2006, from where acquired by the present owner