Royal favourite Seago is back in fashion
A major retrospective is planned for autumn. Andrew Johnson reports
Sunday 20 July 2008
He was England's precursor to Jack Vettriano: self-taught, wildly popular in his day and with more than one royal seal of approval. But like Scots-born Vettriano, Edward Seago has been overlooked by the critics.
Now, more than 30 years after his death, the work of the Norfolk artist, a favourite of the Queen Mother, George VI and the Duke of Edinburgh, is to be reappraised with a major retrospective planned for September. It will coincide with a TV documentary series presented by Selina Scott.
Seago, a post-impressionist, was famous for landscapes as diverse as Norfolk's beaches and the Antarctic. When his paintings went on sale, queues formed outside his Bond Street dealer and buyers were rationed to one work each.
The Queen Mother bought so many that eventually the artist, who died in 1974, gave her two a year – on her birthday and at Christmas. Prince Philip invited him on a tour of the Antarctic in 1956, and his subsequent paintings, considered to be among his best, hang at Balmoral.
Four Antarctic paintings have been loaned by the Duke to the private gallery mounting the exhibition. Others have come from the Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery and from private collectors.
"He was the son of a coal merchant and lived all his life in Norfolk and was self-taught," said Jeremy Taylor who is organising the retrospective at the Colnaghi gallery in west London. "In terms of commissions, he was the most successful artist of his day. He became a war artist in Italy during the Second World War and spent two years with General Alexander. George VI asked for a portrait, and that made him very fashionable."
Peter Nahum, an expert in British art, said that Seago had been ignored by the critics because he hadn't embraced the avant-garde.
"Seago's brush strokes and versatility with light are excellent," he said.
"His Antarctic works are quite beautiful; it is very difficult to catch the light down there. To catch the eye of the critics, however, you have to lift yourself out of the traditional."
TVJamie's Sugar Rush reveal's campaigning chef's new foe
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 What marriage would look like if we actually followed the Bible
- 2 If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don't change Europe's attitude to refugees, what will?
- 3 'Heartbreaking' Syria orphan photo wasn't taken in Syria and not of orphan
- 4 Bob Geldof offers to take four refugee families into his home 'immediately' as he condemns humanitarian crisis as a ‘f**king disgrace'
- 5 Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
Three million books were judged by their covers - this is what happened
Anne Hathaway is already being stung by Hollywood ageism, aged 32
No Escape, film review: Thriller generates plenty of excitement but soon collapses
The Lobster trailer: Colin Farrell has 45 days to find a lover or he'll be turned into an animal
Spanish town saved by botched restoration of century-old Christian 'Ecce Homo' fresco of Jesus
Britain to take more refugees as Cameron bows to pressure after more than 250,000 back our campaign
Senior British politicians tell David Cameron: When dead children are being washed up on beaches – it's time to act
Jeremy Corbyn calls Osama bin Laden's killing a 'tragedy' - but was it taken out of context?
If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don't change Europe's attitude to refugees, what will?
Make your voice heard: Sign The Independent's petition to welcome refugees
If you're not already angry about the refugee crisis, here's a history lesson to remind you why you really should be