Friday, 7 March 2014



Walberswick (date unknown) by William Bowyer, oil on canvas, 71x71 cms, (c) artist, courtesy of Messum's Gallery

This painting is by William Bowyer, Royal Academician,  who with his sons Francis and Jason form a distinguished family of English artists continuing the heritage of British figurative drawing and painting. It's on show in  East Coast Influences, an exhibition at Messum's, Cork Street. For a slide show of 16 paintings by William Bowyer click below:

They include portraits of Trade Unionist and miners' leader Arthur Scargill and the cricketer Viv Richards, as well as interiors, city scapes and powerful paintings of the Thames and Suffolk coast.
Walberswick above all conveys the heat, the tetchiness and the promise of the seaside; two thirds of the picture is saturated with colours bringing to life a sandy/pebbled beach which you can almost feel underfoot.  None of the foreground figures is moving - for the moment there is the shelter of a sun hat, the rug and those canvas wind breaks to enjoy. It contrasts well with, say, Patrick Boswell's Rendezvous, Holkham Beach, also in Messum's exhibition, where over 20 lively holidaymakers meet and greet each other.

Walberswick reminds me of the beginning of Robert Graves' poem, The Beach. William Bowyer has captured the precious moments between fierce action. Soon the picture will change...
Louder than gulls the little children scream
Whom fathers haul into the joyful foam,
But others fearlessly rush in, breast high. 
laughing the salty water from their mouths - 
Heroes of the nursery,

Blythe Estuary from Southwold 1990, oil on board, 50x60cm, (c) artist, courtesy Messum's Gallery
This second image expresses again the essence of William Bowyer's work. 

Let the family have the last say:

'We have all felt that our particular areas of interest have been enriched by our love and intimate knowledge of the subjects in which we have become involved. It is that basic core of understanding that has built natural bridges for our work to progress and create our own individual voices',
William Bowyer, Francis Bowyer and Jason Bowyer
There is a catalogue - East Coast Influences - available from Messum's Gallery

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