Edward Burra (1905-1976)
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more PROPERTY FROM THE CLAIRE AND GARRICK STEPHENSON COLLECTION
Edward Burra (1905-1976)

A Quarry near Buxton

Edward Burra (1905-1976)
A Quarry near Buxton
stamped 'E.J. Burra.' (lower right)
watercolour and gouache
31 x 52 ½ in. (78.7 x 133.4 cm.)
Executed in 1970.
with Lefevre Gallery, London, where purchased by the present owners, January 1995.
Exhibition catalogue, Recent Works by Edward Burra, London, Lefevre Gallery, 1971, n.p., no. 13, illustrated.
A. Causey, Edward Burra: Complete Catalogue, Oxford, 1985, n.p., no. 362, illustrated.
London, Lefevre Gallery, Recent Works by Edward Burra, April - May 1971, no. 13.
London, Arts Council of Great Britain, British Painting '74, September - November 1974, no. 28.
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Lot Essay

By the 1970s Burra was in poor health, and the holidays he took with his sister Anne were very important to him. These holidays took him across the UK, and from a car window he admired and absorbed the empty landscape, fixing it in his mind to be used later in his pictures. His friend Billy Chapell would sometimes join them, and he remembered Burra saying ''Let's stop here', suddenly to Anne, and he'd look and look and look and not say anything'.

About Burra's later work Andrew Causey comments, 'Burra increasingly preferred large-scale, empty places. When cultivation and the human imprint showed at all, it was often as a pattern of ploughing or arrangement of dry-stone walls whose geometry gave a certain effect of anonymity. He avoided scenes marked by the kinds of variety or complexity that might bring them within the eighteenth-century definition of the picturesque, but his interest in grandeur of scale and apparent limitlessness has much in common with contemporary concepts of the sublime. Burra had the sublime landscapist's ability to show nature as overwhelming and awe inspiring, ... Burra's isolation of houses and farmsteads as tiny white spots on a hillside or flat plain defined in effect the cultivated, civilized world as a series of enclaves in the midst of boundless nature. Even if the lonely farmhouse can be seen as a metaphor for the condition of the individual in an unfriendly world, it does not imply that Burra necessarily sympathized with the Romantics' sense of nature as a divine manifestation, and landscape therefore as a bridge between man and cosmos. Burra clung to reality, painful though it was, rather than engage in building cosmologies he did not believe in, and landscape remained for him ... a place of last resort for the disenchanted' (op. cit., p. 78).

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