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Edward Seago's boyhood was spent in Norfolk where he began painting from an early age. Due to illness from a heart condition, Seago did not receive a formal education and his spare time between study, or during periods of convalescensce, was spent making studies of the skies and drawing from the landscape around him. Although largely self-taught, from the age of thirteen, Seago did receive instruction from Bertram Priestman, R.A. (1868-1951), whose influence can be seen in Seago's style.
As a young man Seago developed a fascination and love of the circus, drawn by its glamour and theatrical romance. This led him to join Bevin's Travelling Circus at the age of eighteen. Determined to lead a normal life he became a keen horseman, painted scenery and acted, thus he was able to move away from his family and to taste independence in new, exciting and adventurous environs. He became skilled at drawing horses and he came to the attention of the best known horse-painter of the time, Alfred Munnings, who took the young artist under his wing.
In the 1930s Seago met with Henry Mond, 2nd Lord Melchett who would become his most important patron. Melchett extended an open invitation to Seago to stay at his country estate, Woodfalls, where Seago encountered many great names of the day, such as Augustus John (see lots 116-119, 200, 202-5), Winston Churchill and the writers H.G. Wells and George Bernard Shaw.
After the war broke out Seago became a camouflage officer until he was invalided out of the army in 1944. On his return he settled by the Norfolk broads where he had his own boat, equipped with a studio, which he sailed on painting excursions in the Netherlands, France, Spain and Portugal. His passion for foreign travel remained with him throughout his life and he travelled all over the globe, including an extensive world tour with the Duke of Edinburgh 1956-7.
Seago's work met with huge public acclaim, and famously resulted in queues forming long before the doors opened for his exhibitions at Colnaghi's between 1945-1967 and purchases were limited to one per customer. He became a close friend of three generations of the Royal Family, advising both Prince Philip and Prince Charles in their painting techniques.
London, Richard Green, Edward Seago 1910-1974, February 1999, no. 50.