The Harbour, Hastings, 1947 Watercolour on paper, Pallant House Gallery, Chichester (on long-term loan from a private collection) © Estate of the Artist c/o Lefevre Fine Art Ltd., London
Although best known for his bustling scenes of urban life, Edward Burra also produced striking watercolours of the British landscape that show a sensitivity to his surroundings. During the 1930s and 1940s he painted the fields of the Sussex countryside near his home in Rye in works such as ‘Cabbages, Springfield, Rye’ (c.1937), ‘Landscape near Rye’ (c.1943-45) and the South coast in paintings such as ‘The Harbour, Hastings’ (1947).
In the last decade of his life Burra travelled around the British Isles with his sister Anne to places such as Yorkshire, Dartmoor, Scotland, and Northern Ireland. Significantly, Burra was not afraid of showing man’s impact on the landscape, recording the electricity pylons and motorways that scarred the landscape in paintings such as ‘An English Country Scene No.2’ (1970) and ‘Picking a Quarrel’ (1968-9). The enormous scale of these late landscape watercolours gives them an epic quality that is remarkable given his frail physical state at the end of his life.