Sunday, 13 May 2012

Allen Seaby's 'Burghfield Bridge'


Speaking of Reading, what should now come our way on British e bay but an early work by one of Frank Morley Fletcher's students. For all its faults, will make a fascinating addition to any serious collection of work by Seaby. It is Seaby as we have never quite seen him before. The lack of gradations of colour on the bridge and the banks are very much like his very early print of mallards. It is just as awkward as that one and he is very much Morley Fletcher's student here, especially in the large expanse of water, the delicately drawn trees and the flat areas of colour.

I must say it is exciting to see Seaby respond to Fletcher's work after looking at Ethel Kirkpatrick's The full moon on the last post: get his use of purple. It is exactly like Fletcher's on the woman's dress. Seaby was more ambitious here but Kirkpatrick was more successful. She was the more experienced and better-trained artist at this point; Seaby had had to fit in training with earning a living at first so it's not surprising if these early works don't quite come off. I would think that this was a student piece - I am being vague about dates and etc, I know, but you must all wait for the full story.

To fill you in on this rather enthralling find, Burghfield Bridge crosses the Kennet just south of Reading and will be near the area that William Giles also worked in when he produced his first colour woodcut September Moon which shows Shinfield Woods. It couldn't be better!

As it happens, I have now heard from Tara Heinemann, the seller. It was quite late when I posted this and I didn't realise who the seller was when I wrote this. So my comments are quite unprejudiced. But this I will add: it is good to see a dealer operating a true auction system by starting at 99p. So many don't. The link to Tara's lot is:

Good luck to all concerned.


  1. Nice to learn about this unknown print, very accurate observer Seaby was. And great to learn about the color purple in those prints. I like the horse and carriage too although there's only a head of a horse and no carriage. Very clever he was too. The buildings seem to be the pub "the Cunning Man" But I'm not confident about perspective or placement. Gerrie

  2. Yes, the pub is not quite right. It looks as if he has added things. I think he decided the bridge wasn't interesting enough on its own.

  3. yes, i find the print quite lovely as well. you have a knack for fingering the rare.!

  4. And I think this rarity may be California-bound.