No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 15% will be added to the buyer's premium which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis.
Edward Seago (1910-1974)
One of England's greatest traditional landscape painters, and a pioneer of the British Impressionist movement, Edward Seago's style was succinctly described by the art critic Horace Shipp as 'traditional, yet new'. His aesthetic was the natural progression of ideas introduced by Gainsborough and developed by Constable, and as with these illustrious predecessors, he chose the landscapes with which he most keenly identified as his subjects. His love of East Anglia allies Seago with the Norwich School and artists such as Cotman, an association that he was keen to sustain as a young man. With his apparent spontaneity of style breathing new life into a time-honoured genre, Seago found many admirers amongst the picture buying public.
A sickly childhood spent recovering from a heart complaint afforded the young Seago ample time to develop his skills as a painter. Although largely self taught, he had no qualms (much to his mother's horror) about approaching local artists for advice. One such was an early mentor, Bertram Priestman, R.A. His parents were opposed to his artistic persuits, and this attitude proved a spur in adulthood to personal and professional recognition.
A gypsy encampment near his Norfolk home excited the young artist who sketched animals and performers with a bright, vibrant palette. These early images present a striking contrast to his later work in terms of colour and form. He was later enthralled by the creativity and freedom that circus-life offered and travelled with several different companies, painting and writing. This period inspired a love of horses and lot 317 illustrates his early interest in their anatomy. The composition owes a debt to Munnings, and the two artists became friends. Perhaps unbeknown to either of them they at different times owned the same studio. Owing to Seago's appreciation of horses, many commissions for sporting pictures followed.
In 1929, he held his first one-man show at the Arlington Gallery, London. On the crest of this critical acclaim, he made his first submission to the Royal Academy the following year. 1930 saw his introduction to London society, with poets, dancers and royalty becoming devoted admirers. He forged a life-long friendship with the Royal Family, painting a portrait of King George VI, and travelling to Antarctica with Prince Phillip. Queen Mary gave him a book of sketches of Windsor, and this may have inspired him to paint the castle (lot 333). He also spent time at Sandringham. During the Second World War, Seago worked as a camouflage officer, successfully concealing his heart condition until he was discovered and invalided out of the army in 1944. Field Marshall Alexander, an amateur artist himself, persuaded Seago to join him in Italy as his personal war artist to cover the campaign. The ensuing pictures were exhibited at P & D Colnaghi, where he was to hold a show annually until 1967. Often prospective buyers queued for hours prior to opening. Seago's early pictures were sometimes signed with initials (see lot 316) but the gallery advised against this to avoid confusion in the future. He was later to enjoy an equally abiding relationship with Marlborough Fine Art, which culminated in a memorial exhibition in 1974. The gallery inscribed his pictures with titles on the reverse following his death, making their provenance easily recognisable.
After the war, Seago began to travel again, often with his trusted assistant Peter Seymour, and friends. He bought a boat, Capricorn, and transformed it into a floating studio. Now he could paint his beloved marshes and waterways capturing the changing effects of water and light from vantage points other than the shore (see lots 322 and 330). Throughout the 1950s and 60s he visited Portugal, Italy and Holland, the latter holding appeal as it boasted the same flat broads and cloudy skies he loved so much. Early in his career he had painted glamorous Parisian dancers and clowns, but now his interest lay in the quotidian, as he chose to depict everyday scenes of the Champs d'Elysée (lots 327 and 329) and the Tuilleries Gardens (lot 328). Seago's skill in representation through suggestion comes to the fore in these images, as he evokes figures and chairs through mere daubs of his brush. The movement and elegance inherent in these pictures was no accident but was achieved through an assiduous comprehension of atmosphere and form. This aptitude is reiterated in lot 325 where the horse's feet evaporate before they touch the ground, and yet are nonetheless accurate and tangible. He visited Ponza in Italy in 1957-8 (lot 332), then Hong Kong and Morocco before falling in love with Sardinia. It was there that he stayed until shortly before his death. Lot 331 was surely painted from the studio that he acquired in 1968, which enjoyed panoramic views of the Costa Smerelda.
Not merely a succesful painter, but also a writer, ringmaster, officer and explorer, Seago led a full life, reflected in the subjects he chose. However, it is his pictures of Norfolk that have become synonymous with his name, and it was to views of his native county that he returned time and time again. His output was prodigious, and if a sign of talent, as was said of Turner, then he surely left his mark. The timeless accessibility in his work led to international admiration, then as now. On his death in 1974, in accordance with his wishes, a third of studio pictures were destroyed, and his ashes were scattered on the Norfolk broads. In the words of H.R.H, the Prince of Wales: 'Ted Seago's gifts will long be remembered, valued and loved. His work was in the best tradition of that particularly English school of landscape artists with which few others can compare'.