Chichester gallery Pallant House will allow public access to an extensive range of Paul Nash's early wood engravings, etchings, photographs, collages and correspondence after buying the collection from the godson of one of the artist’s closest friends.
Clare Neilson, a stockbroker’s daughter who settled in Kent and also enjoyed friendships with figures such as Edward Burra, met the celebrated war artist, landscape painter and surrealist master in 1930, sharing a love of book collecting which saw her find numerous antiquarian books for him.
© Tate London 2013
In one of the letters, Nash expresses limitless gratitude for receiving a William Stukeley book on Avebury, written in 1743, from Neilson. His first letter, from August 1934, addresses his friend as “my dear Clare”, and he was a frequent visitor to the home she shared with her husband in Gloucester, where the nearby abandoned mine workings and stones in the Forest of Dean provided creative inspiration.
© Clare Neilson
Tyger, Tyger, a collage showing a colour engraving of a tiger against a photo of a ruin from the forest, bears the words “Collage for Clare”. And there are more of the artist’s personal inscriptions within his illustrated books, with Genesis, Places, Mister Bosphorous and the Muses and Shakespeare’s A Midsommer Nights Dreame coming under his designs during the 1920s.
Admirers of Nash – widely regarded as one of the most important landscape artists of the period – will also enjoy a series of early wood engravings.
The Art Fund has helped the popular gallery acquire the works from Jeremy Greenwood and Alan Swerdlow, who have cared for them since Nash’s death in 1946.
“The collection is a significant addition to the gallery’s collection of modern British art,” said Simon Martin, the Head of Collections and Exhibitions.
“Not only does it include remarkable wood engravings and collage, but it also provides a fascinating and personal view into friendship and artistic patronage in the 1930s and 1940s.”
Highlights will go on display at the gallery from April 9 – June 30 2013.
© TATE London 2013