richard green Ken Howard

Edward Seago

  • Edward Seago - Half Tide, Pin Mill
    Edward Seago Half Tide, Pin Mill Signed; titled on the reverse
    Oil on board
    20 x 30 in
    50.8 x 76.2 cm
    Full details
  • Edward Seago - October afternoon on the Thurne
    Edward Seago October afternoon on the Thurne Signed; titled on the reverse
    Oil on board
    16 x 24 in
    40.6 x 61 cm
    Full details

    BP 34

     

    EDWARD SEAGO

     Norwich 1910 - 1974 London

     

    October afternoon on the Thurne

     

    Signed lower left: Edward Seago; inscribed with the title OCTOBER AFTERNOON/ON THE THURNE

    on the reverse

    Oil on board: 16 x 24 in / 40.6 x 61 cm

     

    Provenance:

    P&D Colnaghi & Co. Ltd, London

     

     

    Born in Norwich on 31 March 1910, Edward Seago, the son of Brian and Mabel, and the younger brother of John, was inextricably linked to the counties of East Anglia by virtue of his life and ancestry. His father Brian, was the Norfolk area manager for a Norwich based coal merchant, his mother Mabel, a governess to the elder daughters of Mr Nicholas Bacon of Raveningham Hall, Norfolk.

     

    Seago resided in East Anglia for the first 21 years of his life, returning periodically for the 15 years thereafter, between 1930 and 1945, and finally in 1945 after the Second World War, settling in Ludham where he purchased the 17th century residence known as the ‘Dutch House’. The close ties Seago established and maintained with East Anglia throughout his life played a fundamental role in shaping and influencing his art.

     

    Throughout his life, Seago was consistently plagued by the effects of a rare and mystifying condition of the heart, paroxysmal tachycardia, with which he was first diagnosed as a young boy of eight. Ironically, it was during the extended periods of ‘forced leisure’ when the boy was rendered house bound that he was able to realize his great passion and potential for painting. Seago later reflected upon these periods as being ‘spells of sheer delight’ as he was able to practice his precociously sensitive observation of nature and the countryside. Left to his own devices, he learned how to extract from his environment much of the subject matter for his art.

     

    As his poor health prevented a regular art school training, Seago was largely self taught.  He was privileged however in that throughout his life several artists took a personal interest in his work and development, their encouragement and advice proving invaluable to Seago, who inevitably incorporated their suggestions into his art. Sir Alfred Munnings, with whom Seago was invariably compared throughout his career was one, as was Bertram Priestman the East Anglian landscape painter with whom Seago regularly corresponded for most of his life. Priestman encouraged Seago to paint quickly a skill he developed into a virtuoso talent, but above all, to hold nature as the ideal, receiving inspiration from its beauty rather than copy it directly.

     

    John Masefield, Poet Laureate was another with whom the artist maintained lifelong contact, and together they collaborated on several publications including the commercially successful The Country Scene of 1937 and Tribute to Ballet of 1938, Seago providing the illustrations, Masefield the poems. It was Masefield also who encouraged Seago to broaden his interests in all aspects of English country life as he felt the artist had an extraordinary feeling for landscape.

     

    Seago’s style took inspiration from other influences also, including 17th century Dutch landscape painting, the East Anglian landscapes bearing many similarities to Dutch topography. He was inspired by other English painters, particularly John Constable, John Crome, and Richard Parkes Bonnington, by 19th century Norwich school painters, and by 20th century painters including Arnesby Brown, Wilson Steer and Richard Sickert. Elements of the paintings by French Impressionist Eugene Boudin influenced his mature style as did the work of American artist James McNeill Whistler.

     

    Seago’s prodigious activities in the years prior to 1945 were fueled by the eclecticism of his interests. During the 1930’s, he lived an unconventional, somewhat bohemian existence, living, traveling and working amongst circus folk, gypsies and ballet dancers whilst simultaneously mixing in aristocratic circles and accepting their generous patronage. Henry Mond, 2nd Lord Melchett, art connoisseur, patron and friend commissioned Seago to paint several portraits whilst living at Woodfall’s, the Melchett family home. It was with Melchett the artist first traveled in 1933 to Venice and was exposed to the art of the great Italian Masters, igniting Seago’s artistic passions and immense attachment to this extraordinary city which he later captured in many of his most successful oil painting and watercolours. During this time also Seago drew an income from the many portrait and equestrian paintings he undertook in the UK and abroad.

     

    His friendship with Princess Mary, Countess of Harewood, proved another important association and following the Second World War, developed into a close association with the Royal Family, particularly Queen Mary, Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, Prince Phillip, the Duke of Edinburgh, and Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales who admired and collected his paintings, and received many as gifts from the artist. Seago had also previously made the acquaintance of George VI during the war years on his expedition as unofficial war artist with Lieutenant-General Harold Alexander on the Italian campaign, years vital in formulating the parameters of his later style.

     

    After the Second World War, with a new stability in both his private and professional lives, a coherent direction to Seago’s painting emerged as he channeled most of his creative talents into landscape painting. He developed numerous motifs synonymous with East Anglia, the broads, mudflats, barges, oaktrees, cattle, climatic and meteorological effects. A great traditionalist, he was interested in the natural and human history of East Anglia, its villages and farms, their owners. Seago’s paintings often denote an appreciation of the harmonious co-existence of man and nature, the vast and atmospheric landscapes glorifying the marvels of earth and sky, whilst man made constructions, windmills, churches and marshland farmhouses mark the existence of a human presence. Acutely aware of the impending redundancy and dereliction facing many of these edifices due to technological advance, these paintings were a tribute to their enduring charm and Seago’s own yearnings for the return to a simpler way of life.

     

    His language of motifs was further developed during the 1950’s and 60’s on his numerous travels abroad at first aboard his ketch Endeavour, then his yacht Capricorn,  to Northern France and Holland, and later by air to more remote destinations, which he called ‘far off painting grounds’. In 1956, an invitation from His Royal Highness Prince Philip the Duke of Edinburgh took him on board the Royal Yacht Britannia on its world tour across the Antarctic, the south Atlantic and West Africa, to record the landscapes of these unfamiliar places. At each destination Seago found inspiration in their ‘otherness’ in the strange and unusual light, the atmospheric effects and new environments, the sheer blue cliffs of the Antarctic glaciers, the stark monumental peaks of South Georgia, the majestic Gothic splendour of the Doges’ Palace in Venice, the tropically coloured crowds of the Gambia. Consequently, Seago adapted his artistic techniques to develop a new visual language to express this in his painting, continually modifying his palette, balancing light and dark and reconciling a multiplicity of shapes.

     

    However it was to his beloved East Anglia he continually returned ‘Perhaps one has to be born and bred there for it to really get into ones blood. But it has a powerful hold on me, and whenever I go, I feel a longing to return there’ p 95

    Throughout his life Seago remained susceptible to nature’s manifold manifestations. He was intensely interested in the transformation of the landscape by the ‘in-between’ stages, sunrise, early morning, late afternoon, evening and dusk, by the rain, mist, fog, and snow, and by the seasons. He was fascinated with the sky, studying the ephemeral changes of its moods and movements, and the extremes of light created by the multi faceted cloud formations. Seago painted the Broads with an endless range of atmospheric effects, and an eclecticism of subject matter he found in this world of water and sky.

     

    Commercially, the most important developments for the artist occurred in the post war years where he began important relationships in 1945 with P.&D.Colnaghi Galleries, London and in 1950 with the Laing Galleries, Toronto. Both galleries held regular successful exhibitions, as did the Kennedy Galleries in New York which held five important exhibitions between 1952 and 1961, and Everard Read in Johannesburg where his work was exhibited from 1968. The artist developed a strong and dedicated following throughout his career; the popularity of his paintings was the stuff of legend. Well dressed, eager purchasers would queue from 6.30am along Old Bond Street in anticipation of having the first pick of the 50 or so hitherto unseen paintings on offer. The lunacy gained momentum and numbered catalogues were then issued in order of ones arrival at the gallery. His paintings were also exhibited at the Royal Academy, other British exhibiting societies and the Paris Salon. He was elected RBA in 1946, ARWS in 1957 and RWS in 1959.

     

    Seago was the epitome of artist as existentialist, refusing to conform to conventional social mores. His attitudes to life were also reflected in his art, choosing to ignore the dictates of contemporary critical wisdom about what was innovative, and avant-garde in art, preferring instead to follow his own convictions and paint only what was important to him. Painting was his raison d’etre. This all came to an end however whilst on a painting trip to Sardinia, when Edward Seago succumbed to the effects of a brain tumour. After months of illness, he died in London on 19 January 1974.

     

     

     

  • Edward Seago - Cottages by the Orwell, Pin Mill
    Edward Seago Cottages by the Orwell, Pin Mill Signed; titled on the reverse
    Oil on board
    20 x 30 in
    50.8 x 76.2 cm
    Full details
  • Edward Seago - Yachts on the River Ant
    Edward Seago Yachts on the River Ant Signed
    Oil on board
    15 3/4 x 24 in
    40 x 61 cm
    Full details

    BM 49

     

    EDWARD SEAGO

    Norwich 1910 - 1974 London

     

    Yachts on the River Ant

     

    Signed

    Oil on board: 16 x 24 in / 40.6 x 61 cm

    Framed Size 23 x 31 x 2 in / 58.4 x 78.7 x 5.1 cm

     

    Provenance:

    Private collection, UK

    Richard Green, London 1990

    Private collection, UK

     

    Born in Norwich on 31 March 1910, Edward Seago, the son of Brian and Mabel, and the younger brother of John, was inextricably linked to the counties of East Anglia by virtue of his life and ancestry. His father Brian, was the Norfolk area manager for a Norwich based coal merchant, his mother Mabel, a governess to the elder daughters of Sir Nicholas Bacon of Raveningham Hall, Norfolk.

     

    Seago resided in East Anglia for the first 21 years of his life, returning periodically for the 15 years thereafter, between 1930 and 1945, and finally in 1945 after the Second World War, settling in Ludham where he purchased the 17th century residence known as the ‘Dutch House’. The close ties Seago established and maintained with East Anglia throughout his life played a fundamental role in shaping and influencing his art.

     

    Throughout his life, Seago was consistently plagued by the effects of a rare and mystifying condition of the heart, paroxysmal tachycardia, with which he was first diagnosed as a young boy of eight. Ironically, it was during the extended periods of ‘forced leisure’ when the boy was rendered house bound that he was able to realize his great passion and potential for painting. Seago later reflected upon these periods as being ‘spells of sheer delight’ as he was able to practice his precociously sensitive observation of nature and the countryside. Left to his own devices, he learned how to extract from his environment much of the subject matter for his art.

     

    As his poor health prevented a regular art school training, Seago was largely self taught.  He was privileged however in that throughout his life several artists took a personal interest in his work and development, their encouragement and advice proving invaluable to Seago, who inevitably incorporated their suggestions into his art. Sir Alfred Munnings, with whom Seago was invariably compared throughout his career was one, as was Bertram Priestman the East Anglian landscape painter with whom Seago regularly corresponded for most of his life. Priestman encouraged Seago to paint quickly a skill he developed into a virtuoso talent, but above all, to hold nature as the ideal, receiving inspiration from its beauty rather than copy it directly.

     

    John Masefield, Poet Laureate was another with whom the artist maintained lifelong contact, and together they collaborated on several publications including the commercially successful The Country Scene of 1937 and Tribute to Ballet of 1938, Seago providing the illustrations, Masefield the poems. It was Masefield also who encouraged Seago to broaden his interests in all aspects of English country life as he felt the artist had an extraordinary feeling for landscape.

     

    Seago’s style took inspiration from other influences also, including 17th century Dutch landscape painting, the East Anglian landscapes bearing many similarities to Dutch topography. He was inspired by other English painters, particularly John Constable, John Crome, and Richard Parkes Bonnington, by 19th century Norwich school painters, and by 20th century painters including Arnesby Brown, Wilson Steer and Richard Sickert. Elements of the paintings by French Impressionist Eugene Boudin influenced his mature style as did the work of American artist James McNeill Whistler.

     

    Seago’s prodigious activities in the years prior to 1945 were fueled by the eclecticism of his interests. During the 1930’s, he lived an unconventional, somewhat bohemian existence, living, traveling and working amongst circus folk, gypsies and ballet dancers whilst simultaneously mixing in aristocratic circles and accepting their generous patronage. Henry Mond, 2nd Lord Melchett, art connoisseur, patron and friend commissioned Seago to paint several portraits whilst living at Woodfall’s, the Melchett family home. It was with Melchett the artist first traveled in 1933 to Venice and was exposed to the art of the great Italian Masters, igniting Seago’s artistic passions and immense attachment to this extraordinary city which he later captured in many of his most successful oil painting and watercolours. During this time also Seago drew an income from the many portrait and equestrian paintings he undertook in the UK and abroad.

     

    His friendship with Princess Mary, Countess of Harewood, proved another important association and following the Second World War, developed into a close association with the Royal Family, particularly Queen Mary, Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, Prince Phillip, the Duke of Edinburgh, and Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales who admired and collected his paintings, and received many as gifts from the artist. Seago had also previously made the acquaintance of George VI during the war years on his expedition as unofficial war artist with Lieutenant-General Harold Alexander on the Italian campaign, years vital in formulating the parameters of his later style.

     

    After the Second World War, with a new stability in both his private and professional lives, a coherent direction to Seago’s painting emerged as he channeled most of his creative talents into landscape painting. He developed numerous motifs synonymous with East Anglia, the broads, mudflats, barges, oaktrees, cattle, climatic and meteorological effects. A great traditionalist, he was interested in the natural and human history of East Anglia, its villages and farms, their owners. Seago’s paintings often denote an appreciation of the harmonious co-existence of man and nature, the vast and atmospheric landscapes glorifying the marvels of earth and sky, whilst man made constructions, windmills, churches and marshland farmhouses mark the existence of a human presence. Acutely aware of the impending redundancy and dereliction facing many of these edifices due to technological advance, these paintings were a tribute to their enduring charm and Seago’s own yearnings for the return to a simpler way of life.

     

    His language of motifs was further developed during the 1950’s and 60’s on his numerous travels abroad at first aboard his ketch Endeavour, then his yacht Capricorn,  to Northern France and Holland, and later by air to more remote destinations, which he called ‘far off painting grounds’. In 1956, an invitation from His Royal Highness Prince Philip the Duke of Edinburgh took him on board the Royal Yacht Britannia on its world tour across the Antarctic, the south Atlantic and West Africa, to record the landscapes of these unfamiliar places. At each destination Seago found inspiration in their ‘otherness’ in the strange and unusual light, the atmospheric effects and new environments, the sheer blue cliffs of the Antarctic glaciers, the stark monumental peaks of South Georgia, the majestic Gothic splendour of the Doges’ Palace in Venice, the tropically coloured crowds of the Gambia. Consequently, Seago adapted his artistic techniques to develop a new visual language to express this in his painting, continually modifying his palette, balancing light and dark and reconciling a multiplicity of shapes.

     

    However it was to his beloved East Anglia he continually returned ‘Perhaps one has to be born and bred there for it to really get into ones blood. But it has a powerful hold on me, and whenever I go, I feel a longing to return there’ p 95

    Throughout his life Seago remained susceptible to nature’s manifold manifestations. He was intensely interested in the transformation of the landscape by the ‘in-between’ stages, sunrise, early morning, late afternoon, evening and dusk, by the rain, mist, fog, and snow, and by the seasons. He was fascinated with the sky, studying the ephemeral changes of its moods and movements, and the extremes of light created by the multi faceted cloud formations. Seago painted the Broads with an endless range of atmospheric effects, and an eclecticism of subject matter he found in this world of water and sky.

     

    Commercially, the most important developments for the artist occurred in the post war years where he began important relationships in 1945 with P.&D.Colnaghi Galleries, London and in 1950 with the Laing Galleries, Toronto. Both galleries held regular successful exhibitions, as did the Kennedy Galleries in New York which held five important exhibitions between 1952 and 1961, and Everard Read in Johannesburg where his work was exhibited from 1968. The artist developed a strong and dedicated following throughout his career; the popularity of his paintings was the stuff of legend. Well dressed, eager purchasers would queue from 6.30am along Old Bond Street in anticipation of having the first pick of the 50 or so hitherto unseen paintings on offer. The lunacy gained momentum and numbered catalogues were then issued in order of ones arrival at the gallery. His paintings were also exhibited at the Royal Academy, other British exhibiting societies and the Paris Salon. He was elected RBA in 1946, ARWS in 1957 and RWS in 1959.

     

    Seago was the epitome of artist as existentialist, refusing to conform to conventional social mores. His attitudes to life were also reflected in his art, choosing to ignore the dictates of contemporary critical wisdom about what was innovative, and avant-garde in art, preferring instead to follow his own convictions and paint only what was important to him. Painting was his raison d’etre. This all came to an end however whilst on a painting trip to Sardinia, when Edward Seago succumbed to the effects of a brain tumour. After months of illness, he died in London on 19 January 1974.

     

     

     

  • Edward Seago - Storm Clouds over the Orwell
    Edward Seago Storm Clouds over the Orwell Signed; titled on the reverse
    Oil on board
    26 x 36 in
    66 x 91.4 cm
    Full details
  • Edward Seago - Behind the dunes
    Edward Seago Behind the dunes Signed
    Oil on board
    26 x 36 in
    66 x 91.4 cm
    Full details

    BK 43

     

    EDWARD SEAGO

     Norwich 1910 - 1974 London

     

    Behind the dunes

     

    Signed lower left

    Oil on board: 26 x 36 in / 66 x 91.4 cm

     

    Provenance:

    Richard Green, London, 1987

    Private collection, UK

  • Edward Seago - Melting snow, Norfolk
    Edward Seago Melting snow, Norfolk Signed; titled on the reverse
    Oil on board
    11 x 16 in
    27.9 x 40.6 cm
    Full details

    SP 5491

     

    EDWARD SEAGO

     Norwich 1910 - 1974 London

     

    Melting snow, Norfolk

     

    Signed; titled on the reverse

    Oil on board: 11 x 16 in / 27.9 x 40.6 cm

     

  • Edward Seago - Norfolk landscape - Summer
    Edward Seago Norfolk landscape - Summer Signed; titled on the reverse
    Oil on board
    12 x 16 in
    30.5 x 40.6 cm
    Full details
  • Edward Seago - Landscape near Upton - Norfolk
    Edward Seago Landscape near Upton - Norfolk Signed; titled on the reverse
    Oil on board
    12 x 16 in
    30.5 x 40.6 cm
    Full details

     

     

     

     

     

     

    BG 121

     

    EDWARD SEAGO

     Norwich 1910 - 1974 London

     

    Landscape near Upton, Norfolk

     

    Signed; titled on the reverse

    Oil on board: 12 x 16 in / 30.5 x 40.6 cm

     

    Provenance:

    Laing Galleries, Toronto

    Private collection, Canada

     

  • Edward Seago - Spritsail barges under sail
    Edward Seago Spritsail barges under sail Signed; titled on the reverse
    Oil on board
    20 x 30 in
    50.8 x 76.2 cm
    Full details

    BM 24

     

    EDWARD SEAGO

     Norwich 1910 - 1974 London

     

    Spritsail barges under sail

     

    Signed; titled on the reverse

    Oil on board: 20 x 30 in / 50.8 x 76.2 cm

     

    Provenance:

    Pieter Wenning Gallery

    Private collection, South Africa

     

    Born in Norwich on 31 March 1910, Edward Seago, the son of Brian and Mabel, and the younger brother of John, was inextricably linked to the counties of East Anglia by virtue of his life and ancestry. His father Brian, was the Norfolk area manager for a Norwich based coal merchant, his mother Mabel, a governess to the elder daughters of Sir Nicholas Bacon of Raveningham Hall, Norfolk.

     

    Seago resided in East Anglia for the first 21 years of his life, returning periodically for the 15 years thereafter, between 1930 and 1945, and finally in 1945 after the Second World War, settling in Ludham where he purchased the 17th century residence known as the ‘Dutch House’. The close ties Seago established and maintained with East Anglia throughout his life played a fundamental role in shaping and influencing his art.

     

    Throughout his life, Seago was consistently plagued by the effects of a rare and mystifying condition of the heart, paroxysmal tachycardia, with which he was first diagnosed as a young boy of eight. Ironically, it was during the extended periods of ‘forced leisure’ when the boy was rendered house bound that he was able to realize his great passion and potential for painting. Seago later reflected upon these periods as being ‘spells of sheer delight’ as he was able to practice his precociously sensitive observation of nature and the countryside. Left to his own devices, he learned how to extract from his environment much of the subject matter for his art.

     

    As his poor health prevented a regular art school training, Seago was largely self taught.  He was privileged however in that throughout his life several artists took a personal interest in his work and development, their encouragement and advice proving invaluable to Seago, who inevitably incorporated their suggestions into his art. Sir Alfred Munnings, with whom Seago was invariably compared throughout his career was one, as was Bertram Priestman the East Anglian landscape painter with whom Seago regularly corresponded for most of his life. Priestman encouraged Seago to paint quickly a skill he developed into a virtuoso talent, but above all, to hold nature as the ideal, receiving inspiration from its beauty rather than copy it directly.

     

    John Masefield, Poet Laureate was another with whom the artist maintained lifelong contact, and together they collaborated on several publications including the commercially successful The Country Scene of 1937 and Tribute to Ballet of 1938, Seago providing the illustrations, Masefield the poems. It was Masefield also who encouraged Seago to broaden his interests in all aspects of English country life as he felt the artist had an extraordinary feeling for landscape.

     

    Seago’s style took inspiration from other influences also, including 17th century Dutch landscape painting, the East Anglian landscapes bearing many similarities to Dutch topography. He was inspired by other English painters, particularly John Constable, John Crome, and Richard Parkes Bonnington, by 19th century Norwich school painters, and by 20th century painters including Arnesby Brown, Wilson Steer and Richard Sickert. Elements of the paintings by French Impressionist Eugene Boudin influenced his mature style as did the work of American artist James McNeill Whistler.

     

    Seago’s prodigious activities in the years prior to 1945 were fueled by the eclecticism of his interests. During the 1930’s, he lived an unconventional, somewhat bohemian existence, living, traveling and working amongst circus folk, gypsies and ballet dancers whilst simultaneously mixing in aristocratic circles and accepting their generous patronage. Henry Mond, 2nd Lord Melchett, art connoisseur, patron and friend commissioned Seago to paint several portraits whilst living at Woodfall’s, the Melchett family home. It was with Melchett the artist first traveled in 1933 to Venice and was exposed to the art of the great Italian Masters, igniting Seago’s artistic passions and immense attachment to this extraordinary city which he later captured in many of his most successful oil painting and watercolours. During this time also Seago drew an income from the many portrait and equestrian paintings he undertook in the UK and abroad.

     

    His friendship with Princess Mary, Countess of Harewood, proved another important association and following the Second World War, developed into a close association with the Royal Family, particularly Queen Mary, Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, Prince Phillip, the Duke of Edinburgh, and Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales who admired and collected his paintings, and received many as gifts from the artist. Seago had also previously made the acquaintance of George VI during the war years on his expedition as unofficial war artist with Lieutenant-General Harold Alexander on the Italian campaign, years vital in formulating the parameters of his later style.

     

    After the Second World War, with a new stability in both his private and professional lives, a coherent direction to Seago’s painting emerged as he channeled most of his creative talents into landscape painting. He developed numerous motifs synonymous with East Anglia, the broads, mudflats, barges, oaktrees, cattle, climatic and meteorological effects. A great traditionalist, he was interested in the natural and human history of East Anglia, its villages and farms, their owners. Seago’s paintings often denote an appreciation of the harmonious co-existence of man and nature, the vast and atmospheric landscapes glorifying the marvels of earth and sky, whilst man made constructions, windmills, churches and marshland farmhouses mark the existence of a human presence. Acutely aware of the impending redundancy and dereliction facing many of these edifices due to technological advance, these paintings were a tribute to their enduring charm and Seago’s own yearnings for the return to a simpler way of life.

     

    His language of motifs was further developed during the 1950’s and 60’s on his numerous travels abroad at first aboard his ketch Endeavour, then his yacht Capricorn,  to Northern France and Holland, and later by air to more remote destinations, which he called ‘far off painting grounds’. In 1956, an invitation from His Royal Highness Prince Philip the Duke of Edinburgh took him on board the Royal Yacht Britannia on its world tour across the Antarctic, the south Atlantic and West Africa, to record the landscapes of these unfamiliar places. At each destination Seago found inspiration in their ‘otherness’ in the strange and unusual light, the atmospheric effects and new environments, the sheer blue cliffs of the Antarctic glaciers, the stark monumental peaks of South Georgia, the majestic Gothic splendour of the Doges’ Palace in Venice, the tropically coloured crowds of the Gambia. Consequently, Seago adapted his artistic techniques to develop a new visual language to express this in his painting, continually modifying his palette, balancing light and dark and reconciling a multiplicity of shapes.

     

    However it was to his beloved East Anglia he continually returned ‘Perhaps one has to be born and bred there for it to really get into ones blood. But it has a powerful hold on me, and whenever I go, I feel a longing to return there’ p 95

    Throughout his life Seago remained susceptible to nature’s manifold manifestations. He was intensely interested in the transformation of the landscape by the ‘in-between’ stages, sunrise, early morning, late afternoon, evening and dusk, by the rain, mist, fog, and snow, and by the seasons. He was fascinated with the sky, studying the ephemeral changes of its moods and movements, and the extremes of light created by the multi faceted cloud formations. Seago painted the Broads with an endless range of atmospheric effects, and an eclecticism of subject matter he found in this world of water and sky.

     

    Commercially, the most important developments for the artist occurred in the post war years where he began important relationships in 1945 with P.&D.Colnaghi Galleries, London and in 1950 with the Laing Galleries, Toronto. Both galleries held regular successful exhibitions, as did the Kennedy Galleries in New York which held five important exhibitions between 1952 and 1961, and Everard Read in Johannesburg where his work was exhibited from 1968. The artist developed a strong and dedicated following throughout his career; the popularity of his paintings was the stuff of legend. Well dressed, eager purchasers would queue from 6.30am along Old Bond Street in anticipation of having the first pick of the 50 or so hitherto unseen paintings on offer. The lunacy gained momentum and numbered catalogues were then issued in order of ones arrival at the gallery. His paintings were also exhibited at the Royal Academy, other British exhibiting societies and the Paris Salon. He was elected RBA in 1946, ARWS in 1957 and RWS in 1959.

     

    Seago was the epitome of artist as existentialist, refusing to conform to conventional social mores. His attitudes to life were also reflected in his art, choosing to ignore the dictates of contemporary critical wisdom about what was innovative, and avant-garde in art, preferring instead to follow his own convictions and paint only what was important to him. Painting was his raison d’etre. This all came to an end however whilst on a painting trip to Sardinia, when Edward Seago succumbed to the effects of a brain tumour. After months of illness, he died in London on 19 January 1974.

     

     

     

  • Edward Seago - Thames Barges on an East Coast river
    Edward Seago Thames Barges on an East Coast river Signed; titled on the reverse
    Oil on board
    26 x 36 in
    66 x 91.4 cm
    Full details

    SP 5352

     

    EDWARD SEAGO

     Norwich 1910 - 1974 London

     

    Thames Barges on a East Coast river

     

    Signed; titled on the reverse

    Oil on board: 26 x 36 in / 66 x 91.4 cm

     

  • Edward Seago - Before the Barge Race - Pin Mill
    Edward Seago Before the Barge Race - Pin Mill Signed; titled on the reverse
    Oil on board
    26 x 36 in
    66 x 91.4 cm
    Full details

    BK 296

     

    EDWARD SEAGO

    1910 - 1974

     

    Before the barge race, Pin Mill

     

    Signed lower left; titled on the reverse

    Oil on board:  26 x 36 in / 61 x 91.5 cm

     

    Provenance

    Stacy Marks, Sussex

    Private collection, UK

    Mandell’s Gallery, Norwich

    Richard Green, London, 2000

    Private collection, North America

     

    Exhibited:

    London, Richard Green, Edward Seago 1910-1974, 2001, no.12, illus. in colour

     

     

    Pin Mill, on the Orwell downstream from Ipswich, was a favourite subject for Seago. He was a member of the Pin Mill Sailing Club and found endless inspiration in the graceful Thames sailing barges, their red-brown sails contrasting with cumulus clouds and the bright blue heavens. Pin Mill was once a busy landing point for cargo, a centre for the repair of Thames barges around which clustered sail makers, a maltings and a brickyard. The Butt and Oyster, still a picturesque hostelry, had a reputation as a smugglers’ inn. Arthur Ransome set his children’s novel We Didn’t Mean to Go to Sea (1937) at Pin Mill, where he moored his yacht Selina King.

     

    Sailing barges, with their shallow draught, could negotiate the narrow creeks of the Thames and other estuaries, were economical, with their two-man crew, and with a fair wind could make over twelve knots. Their heyday was the late nineteenth century, when the barges were hugely in demand transporting bricks to build burgeoning London. A Barge Match on the Thames was inaugurated in 1863 by Henry Dodd, a plough boy who had made a fortune carrying London’s waste to the country on his barges, and who is the inspiration for the Golden Dustman in Dickens’s Our Mutual Friend. Pin Mill began a Barge Match at its annual Regatta in 1962, with the vessels racing from a flying start down the Orwell to Harwich Harbour and out to sea, turning at Wallet to return to Pin Mill. Seago depicts the dreamlike calm before the race, with the handsome vessels suspended between rippling water and the summer sky.

  • Edward Seago - The Coast Village
    Edward Seago The Coast Village Signed; titled on the reverse
    Oil on board
    26 x 36 in
    66 x 91.4 cm
    Full details

    SP 5264

     

    EDWARD SEAGO

     Norwich 1910 - 1974 London

     

    The coast village

     

    Signed; titled on the reverse

    Oil on board: 26 x 36 in / 66 x 91.4 cm

     

    Provenance

    Marlborough Fine Art, London

    The Hon. David Montague

    Richard Green, London, 1979

    Private collection, USA

     

  • Edward Seago - Fountain of the four rivers, Piazza Navona, Rome
    Edward Seago Fountain of the four rivers, Piazza Navona, Rome Signed
    Watercolour
    10 1/2 x 14 3/4 in
    26.7 x 37.5 cm
    Full details

    BK 251

     

    EDWARD SEAGO

     Norwich 1910 - 1974 London

     

    Fountain of the Four Rivers, Piazza Navona, Rome

     

    Signed lower left

    Watercolour: 10½ x 14¾ in / 26.7 x 37.5 cm

     

    Provenance:

    P & D Colnaghi & Co. Ltd, London

    Private collection, UK

     

     

    Piazza Navona is built on the site of the 1st century AD Stadium of Domitian and retains its elongated oval form. In the seventeenth century it was flooded for summer festivals and naumachia or miniature sea-battles took place there. The main focus of the Piazza is Gianlorenzo Bernini’s Fountain of the Four Rivers (1648-51), built to celebrate the reign of the Pamphilj Pope Innocent X, whose family palace was nearby. This watercolour is an excellent example of Seago’s elegant deployment of crowds, giving a Dolce Vita sophistication to the work.

     

     

    Born in Norwich on 31 March 1910, Edward Seago, the son of Brian and Mabel, and the younger brother of John, was inextricably linked to the counties of East Anglia by virtue of his life and ancestry. His father Brian, was the Norfolk area manager for a Norwich based coal merchant, his mother Mabel, a governess to the elder daughters of Sir Nicholas Bacon of Raveningham Hall, Norfolk.

     

    Seago resided in East Anglia for the first 21 years of his life, returning periodically for the 15 years thereafter, between 1930 and 1945, and finally in 1945 after the Second World War, settling in Ludham where he purchased the 17th century residence known as the ‘Dutch House’. The close ties Seago established and maintained with East Anglia throughout his life played a fundamental role in shaping and influencing his art.

     

    Throughout his life, Seago was consistently plagued by the effects of a rare and mystifying condition of the heart, paroxysmal tachycardia, with which he was first diagnosed as a young boy of eight. Ironically, it was during the extended periods of ‘forced leisure’ when the boy was rendered house bound that he was able to realize his great passion and potential for painting. Seago later reflected upon these periods as being ‘spells of sheer delight’ as he was able to practice his precociously sensitive observation of nature and the countryside. Left to his own devices, he learned how to extract from his environment much of the subject matter for his art.

     

    As his poor health prevented a regular art school training, Seago was largely self taught.  He was privileged however in that throughout his life several artists took a personal interest in his work and development, their encouragement and advice proving invaluable to Seago, who inevitably incorporated their suggestions into his art. Sir Alfred Munnings, with whom Seago was invariably compared throughout his career was one, as was Bertram Priestman the East Anglian landscape painter with whom Seago regularly corresponded for most of his life. Priestman encouraged Seago to paint quickly a skill he developed into a virtuoso talent, but above all, to hold nature as the ideal, receiving inspiration from its beauty rather than copy it directly.

     

    John Masefield, Poet Laureate was another with whom the artist maintained lifelong contact, and together they collaborated on several publications including the commercially successful The Country Scene of 1937 and Tribute to Ballet of 1938, Seago providing the illustrations, Masefield the poems. It was Masefield also who encouraged Seago to broaden his interests in all aspects of English country life as he felt the artist had an extraordinary feeling for landscape.

     

    Seago’s style took inspiration from other influences also, including 17th century Dutch landscape painting, the East Anglian landscapes bearing many similarities to Dutch topography. He was inspired by other English painters, particularly John Constable, John Crome, and Richard Parkes Bonnington, by 19th century Norwich school painters, and by 20th century painters including Arnesby Brown, Wilson Steer and Richard Sickert. Elements of the paintings by French Impressionist Eugene Boudin influenced his mature style as did the work of American artist James McNeill Whistler.

     

    Seago’s prodigious activities in the years prior to 1945 were fueled by the eclecticism of his interests. During the 1930’s, he lived an unconventional, somewhat bohemian existence, living, traveling and working amongst circus folk, gypsies and ballet dancers whilst simultaneously mixing in aristocratic circles and accepting their generous patronage. Henry Mond, 2nd Lord Melchett, art connoisseur, patron and friend commissioned Seago to paint several portraits whilst living at Woodfall’s, the Melchett family home. It was with Melchett the artist first traveled in 1933 to Venice and was exposed to the art of the great Italian Masters, igniting Seago’s artistic passions and immense attachment to this extraordinary city which he later captured in many of his most successful oil painting and watercolours. During this time also Seago drew an income from the many portrait and equestrian paintings he undertook in the UK and abroad.

     

    His friendship with Princess Mary, Countess of Harewood, proved another important association and following the Second World War, developed into a close association with the Royal Family, particularly Queen Mary, Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, Prince Phillip, the Duke of Edinburgh, and Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales who admired and collected his paintings, and received many as gifts from the artist. Seago had also previously made the acquaintance of George VI during the war years on his expedition as unofficial war artist with Lieutenant-General Harold Alexander on the Italian campaign, years vital in formulating the parameters of his later style.

     

    After the Second World War, with a new stability in both his private and professional lives, a coherent direction to Seago’s painting emerged as he channeled most of his creative talents into landscape painting. He developed numerous motifs synonymous with East Anglia, the broads, mudflats, barges, oaktrees, cattle, climatic and meteorological effects. A great traditionalist, he was interested in the natural and human history of East Anglia, its villages and farms, their owners. Seago’s paintings often denote an appreciation of the harmonious co-existence of man and nature, the vast and atmospheric landscapes glorifying the marvels of earth and sky, whilst man made constructions, windmills, churches and marshland farmhouses mark the existence of a human presence. Acutely aware of the impending redundancy and dereliction facing many of these edifices due to technological advance, these paintings were a tribute to their enduring charm and Seago’s own yearnings for the return to a simpler way of life.

     

    His language of motifs was further developed during the 1950’s and 60’s on his numerous travels abroad at first aboard his ketch Endeavour, then his yacht Capricorn,  to Northern France and Holland, and later by air to more remote destinations, which he called ‘far off painting grounds’. In 1956, an invitation from His Royal Highness Prince Philip the Duke of Edinburgh took him on board the Royal Yacht Britannia on its world tour across the Antarctic, the south Atlantic and West Africa, to record the landscapes of these unfamiliar places. At each destination Seago found inspiration in their ‘otherness’ in the strange and unusual light, the atmospheric effects and new environments, the sheer blue cliffs of the Antarctic glaciers, the stark monumental peaks of South Georgia, the majestic Gothic splendour of the Doges’ Palace in Venice, the tropically coloured crowds of the Gambia. Consequently, Seago adapted his artistic techniques to develop a new visual language to express this in his painting, continually modifying his palette, balancing light and dark and reconciling a multiplicity of shapes.

     

    However it was to his beloved East Anglia he continually returned ‘Perhaps one has to be born and bred there for it to really get into ones blood. But it has a powerful hold on me, and whenever I go, I feel a longing to return there’ p 95

    Throughout his life Seago remained susceptible to nature’s manifold manifestations. He was intensely interested in the transformation of the landscape by the ‘in-between’ stages, sunrise, early morning, late afternoon, evening and dusk, by the rain, mist, fog, and snow, and by the seasons. He was fascinated with the sky, studying the ephemeral changes of its moods and movements, and the extremes of light created by the multi faceted cloud formations. Seago painted the Broads with an endless range of atmospheric effects, and an eclecticism of subject matter he found in this world of water and sky.

     

    Commercially, the most important developments for the artist occurred in the post war years where he began important relationships in 1945 with P.&D.Colnaghi Galleries, London and in 1950 with the Laing Galleries, Toronto. Both galleries held regular successful exhibitions, as did the Kennedy Galleries in New York which held five important exhibitions between 1952 and 1961, and Everard Read in Johannesburg where his work was exhibited from 1968. The artist developed a strong and dedicated following throughout his career; the popularity of his paintings was the stuff of legend. Well dressed, eager purchasers would queue from 6.30am along Old Bond Street in anticipation of having the first pick of the 50 or so hitherto unseen paintings on offer. The lunacy gained momentum and numbered catalogues were then issued in order of ones arrival at the gallery. His paintings were also exhibited at the Royal Academy, other British exhibiting societies and the Paris Salon. He was elected RBA in 1946, ARWS in 1957 and RWS in 1959.

     

    Seago was the epitome of artist as existentialist, refusing to conform to conventional social mores. His attitudes to life were also reflected in his art, choosing to ignore the dictates of contemporary critical wisdom about what was innovative, and avant-garde in art, preferring instead to follow his own convictions and paint only what was important to him. Painting was his raison d’etre. This all came to an end however whilst on a painting trip to Sardinia, when Edward Seago succumbed to the effects of a brain tumour. After months of illness, he died in London on 19 January 1974.

     

  • Edward Seago - The Orwell near Felixstowe
    Edward Seago The Orwell near Felixstowe Signed; titled on the reverse
    Oil on board
    14 x 20 in
    35.6 x 50.8 cm
    Full details

    BG 149

     

    EDWARD SEAGO

     Norwich 1910 - 1974 London

     

    The Orwell near Felixstowe

     

    Signed; titled on the reverse

    Oil on board: 14 x 20 in / 35.6 x 50.8 cm

    Frame size: 20¾ x 26¾ x 1½ in

     

    Provenance:

    Private collection, UK

     

     

    Born in Norwich on 31 March 1910, Edward Seago, the son of Brian and Mabel, and the younger brother of John, was inextricably linked to the counties of East Anglia by virtue of his life and ancestry. His father Brian, was the Norfolk area manager for a Norwich based coal merchant, his mother Mabel, a governess to the elder daughters of Sir Nicholas Bacon of Raveningham Hall, Norfolk.

     

    Seago resided in East Anglia for the first 21 years of his life, returning periodically for the 15 years thereafter, between 1930 and 1945, and finally in 1945 after the Second World War, settling in Ludham where he purchased the 17th century residence known as the ‘Dutch House’. The close ties Seago established and maintained with East Anglia throughout his life played a fundamental role in shaping and influencing his art.

     

    Throughout his life, Seago was consistently plagued by the effects of a rare and mystifying condition of the heart, paroxysmal tachycardia, with which he was first diagnosed as a young boy of eight. Ironically, it was during the extended periods of ‘forced leisure’ when the boy was rendered house bound that he was able to realize his great passion and potential for painting. Seago later reflected upon these periods as being ‘spells of sheer delight’ as he was able to practice his precociously sensitive observation of nature and the countryside. Left to his own devices, he learned how to extract from his environment much of the subject matter for his art.

     

    As his poor health prevented a regular art school training, Seago was largely self taught.  He was privileged however in that throughout his life several artists took a personal interest in his work and development, their encouragement and advice proving invaluable to Seago, who inevitably incorporated their suggestions into his art. Sir Alfred Munnings, with whom Seago was invariably compared throughout his career was one, as was Bertram Priestman the East Anglian landscape painter with whom Seago regularly corresponded for most of his life. Priestman encouraged Seago to paint quickly a skill he developed into a virtuoso talent, but above all, to hold nature as the ideal, receiving inspiration from its beauty rather than copy it directly.

     

    John Masefield, Poet Laureate was another with whom the artist maintained lifelong contact, and together they collaborated on several publications including the commercially successful The Country Scene of 1937 and Tribute to Ballet of 1938, Seago providing the illustrations, Masefield the poems. It was Masefield also who encouraged Seago to broaden his interests in all aspects of English country life as he felt the artist had an extraordinary feeling for landscape.

     

    Seago’s style took inspiration from other influences also, including 17th century Dutch landscape painting, the East Anglian landscapes bearing many similarities to Dutch topography. He was inspired by other English painters, particularly John Constable, John Crome, and Richard Parkes Bonnington, by 19th century Norwich school painters, and by 20th century painters including Arnesby Brown, Wilson Steer and Richard Sickert. Elements of the paintings by French Impressionist Eugene Boudin influenced his mature style as did the work of American artist James McNeill Whistler.

     

    Seago’s prodigious activities in the years prior to 1945 were fueled by the eclecticism of his interests. During the 1930’s, he lived an unconventional, somewhat bohemian existence, living, traveling and working amongst circus folk, gypsies and ballet dancers whilst simultaneously mixing in aristocratic circles and accepting their generous patronage. Henry Mond, 2nd Lord Melchett, art connoisseur, patron and friend commissioned Seago to paint several portraits whilst living at Woodfall’s, the Melchett family home. It was with Melchett the artist first traveled in 1933 to Venice and was exposed to the art of the great Italian Masters, igniting Seago’s artistic passions and immense attachment to this extraordinary city which he later captured in many of his most successful oil painting and watercolours. During this time also Seago drew an income from the many portrait and equestrian paintings he undertook in the UK and abroad.

     

    His friendship with Princess Mary, Countess of Harewood, proved another important association and following the Second World War, developed into a close association with the Royal Family, particularly Queen Mary, Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, Prince Phillip, the Duke of Edinburgh, and Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales who admired and collected his paintings, and received many as gifts from the artist. Seago had also previously made the acquaintance of George VI during the war years on his expedition as unofficial war artist with Lieutenant-General Harold Alexander on the Italian campaign, years vital in formulating the parameters of his later style.

     

    After the Second World War, with a new stability in both his private and professional lives, a coherent direction to Seago’s painting emerged as he channeled most of his creative talents into landscape painting. He developed numerous motifs synonymous with East Anglia, the broads, mudflats, barges, oaktrees, cattle, climatic and meteorological effects. A great traditionalist, he was interested in the natural and human history of East Anglia, its villages and farms, their owners. Seago’s paintings often denote an appreciation of the harmonious co-existence of man and nature, the vast and atmospheric landscapes glorifying the marvels of earth and sky, whilst man made constructions, windmills, churches and marshland farmhouses mark the existence of a human presence. Acutely aware of the impending redundancy and dereliction facing many of these edifices due to technological advance, these paintings were a tribute to their enduring charm and Seago’s own yearnings for the return to a simpler way of life.

     

    His language of motifs was further developed during the 1950’s and 60’s on his numerous travels abroad at first aboard his ketch Endeavour, then his yacht Capricorn,  to Northern France and Holland, and later by air to more remote destinations, which he called ‘far off painting grounds’. In 1956, an invitation from His Royal Highness Prince Philip the Duke of Edinburgh took him on board the Royal Yacht Britannia on its world tour across the Antarctic, the south Atlantic and West Africa, to record the landscapes of these unfamiliar places. At each destination Seago found inspiration in their ‘otherness’ in the strange and unusual light, the atmospheric effects and new environments, the sheer blue cliffs of the Antarctic glaciers, the stark monumental peaks of South Georgia, the majestic Gothic splendour of the Doges’ Palace in Venice, the tropically coloured crowds of the Gambia. Consequently, Seago adapted his artistic techniques to develop a new visual language to express this in his painting, continually modifying his palette, balancing light and dark and reconciling a multiplicity of shapes.

     

    However it was to his beloved East Anglia he continually returned ‘Perhaps one has to be born and bred there for it to really get into ones blood. But it has a powerful hold on me, and whenever I go, I feel a longing to return there’ p 95

    Throughout his life Seago remained susceptible to nature’s manifold manifestations. He was intensely interested in the transformation of the landscape by the ‘in-between’ stages, sunrise, early morning, late afternoon, evening and dusk, by the rain, mist, fog, and snow, and by the seasons. He was fascinated with the sky, studying the ephemeral changes of its moods and movements, and the extremes of light created by the multi faceted cloud formations. Seago painted the Broads with an endless range of atmospheric effects, and an eclecticism of subject matter he found in this world of water and sky.

     

    Commercially, the most important developments for the artist occurred in the post war years where he began important relationships in 1945 with P.&D.Colnaghi Galleries, London and in 1950 with the Laing Galleries, Toronto. Both galleries held regular successful exhibitions, as did the Kennedy Galleries in New York which held five important exhibitions between 1952 and 1961, and Everard Read in Johannesburg where his work was exhibited from 1968. The artist developed a strong and dedicated following throughout his career; the popularity of his paintings was the stuff of legend. Well dressed, eager purchasers would queue from 6.30am along Old Bond Street in anticipation of having the first pick of the 50 or so hitherto unseen paintings on offer. The lunacy gained momentum and numbered catalogues were then issued in order of ones arrival at the gallery. His paintings were also exhibited at the Royal Academy, other British exhibiting societies and the Paris Salon. He was elected RBA in 1946, ARWS in 1957 and RWS in 1959.

     

    Seago was the epitome of artist as existentialist, refusing to conform to conventional social mores. His attitudes to life were also reflected in his art, choosing to ignore the dictates of contemporary critical wisdom about what was innovative, and avant-garde in art, preferring instead to follow his own convictions and paint only what was important to him. Painting was his raison d’etre. This all came to an end however whilst on a painting trip to Sardinia, when Edward Seago succumbed to the effects of a brain tumour. After months of illness, he died in London on 19 January 1974.

     

     


    EDWARD SEAGO

    Norwich 1910 - 1974 London

     

     

    Born in Norwich on 31st March 1910, Edward Seago, the son of Brian and Mabel, and the younger brother of John, was inextricably linked to the counties of East Anglia by virtue of his life and ancestry. His father Brian was the Norfolk area manager for a Norwich-based coal merchant; his mother Mabel, a governess to the elder daughters of Mr Nicholas Bacon of Raveningham Hall, Norfolk.

     

    Seago resided in East Anglia for the first twenty-one years of his life, returning periodically for the fifteen years thereafter, between 1930 and 1945. In 1945 he settled in Ludham in the Norfolk Broads, where he bought the seventeenth century residence known as the Dutch House. The close ties that Seago maintained with East Anglia throughout his life played a fundamental role in shaping his art.

     

    Throughout his life, Seago was plagued by the effects of a heart condition, paroxysmal tachycardia, with which he was first diagnosed as a boy of eight. Ironically, it was during the extended periods of ‘forced leisure’ when he was rendered house-bound that Seago was able to realize his passion for painting. Seago later reflected upon these periods as being ‘spells of sheer delight’ as he was able to practice his precociously sensitive observation of nature and the countryside. Left to his own devices, he learned how to extract from his environment much of the subject matter for his art.

     

    As his poor health prevented a regular art school training, Seago was largely self-taught. However, throughout his life several artists took a personal interest in his work and development. Sir Alfred Munnings, who lived in Dedham on the Essex-Suffolk border, was one, as was Bertram Priestman, an East Anglian landscape painter with whom Seago corresponded for most of his life. Priestman encouraged Seago to paint quickly, a skill he developed into a virtuoso talent, but above all, to hold Nature as the ideal, receiving inspiration from its beauty rather than to copy it directly.

     

    John Masefield, the Poet Laureate, was another with whom the artist maintained lifelong contact. Together they collaborated on several publications, including the commercially successful The Country Scene of 1937 and Tribute to Ballet of 1938, Seago providing the illustrations, Masefield the poems. It was Masefield also who encouraged Seago to broaden his interests in all aspects of English country life as he felt the artist had an extraordinary feeling for landscape.

     

    Seago’s style took inspiration from other influences also, including seventeenth century Dutch landscape painting, the East Anglian landscape bearing many similarities to Holland. He was inspired by John Constable and Richard Parkes Bonington, by the nineteenth century Norwich School artists such as John Crome, and by twentieth century painters including Arnesby Brown, Wilson Steer and Richard Sickert. Elements of the paintings of Eugène Boudin influenced his mature style, as did the work of James McNeill Whistler.

     

    Seago’s prodigious activities in the years prior to 1945 were fuelled by the eclecticism of his interests. During the 1930s, he lived an unconventional, somewhat bohemian existence, living, travelling and working amongst circus folk, gypsies and ballet dancers whilst simultaneously mixing in aristocratic circles and accepting their generous patronage. Henry Mond, 2nd Lord Melchett, art connoisseur, patron and friend, commissioned Seago to paint several portraits whilst living at Woodfall’s, the Melchett family home. It was with Melchett that the artist first travelled in 1933 to Venice and was exposed to the art of the great Italian masters, igniting Seago’s immense attachment to this extraordinary city, which he later captured in many of his most successful oil painting and watercolours. During this time also Seago drew an income from the many portrait and equestrian paintings he undertook in the UK and abroad.

     

    His friendship with George VI’s sister Princess Mary, Countess of Harewood, proved another important association which, following the Second World War, developed into a close acquaintance with the Royal Family, particularly Queen Mary, Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, Prince Phillip, the Duke of Edinburgh, and Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales, who admired and collected his paintings, and received many as gifts from the artist. Seago had met George VI during the War on expeditions as an unofficial war artist with Lieutenant-General Harold Alexander on the Italian Campaign, years vital in formulating his later style.

     

    After the Second World War, with a new stability in both his private and professional lives, a coherent direction to Seago’s painting emerged as he channelled most of his creative talents into landscape painting. He developed numerous motifs synonymous with East Anglia: the broads, mudflats, barges, oak trees, cattle and huge, cloud-filled skies. A traditionalist, he was interested in the natural and human history of East Anglia, its villages and farms. Seago’s paintings often denote an appreciation of the harmonious co-existence of man and nature, the vast and atmospheric landscapes glorifying the marvels of earth and sky, whilst man-made constructions, windmills, churches and marshland farmhouses, mark a human presence. Acutely aware of the dereliction facing many of these buildings, these paintings were a tribute to their enduring charm and Seago’s own yearning for the return to a simpler way of life.

     

    Seago’s language of motifs was further developed during the 1950s and 60s on his numerous travels, at first aboard his ketch Endeavour, then his yacht Capricorn, to northern France and Holland, and later by air to more remote destinations, which he called ‘far off painting grounds’. In 1956, an invitation from His Royal Highness Prince Philip the Duke of Edinburgh took Seago on board the Royal Yacht Britannia on its world tour across the Antarctic, the south Atlantic and West Africa, to record the landscapes of these unfamiliar places. At each destination Seago found inspiration in their ‘otherness’, in the strange and unusual light, the atmospheric effects and new environments: the sheer blue cliffs of the Antarctic glaciers, the stark monumental peaks of South Georgia, the colourful crowds of the Gambia. Seago adapted his artistic techniques to develop a new visual language to express this in his painting, continually modifying his palette, balancing light and dark and reconciling a multiplicity of shapes.

     

    However it was to his beloved East Anglia that Seago continually returned. He wrote ‘Perhaps one has to be born and bred there for it to really get into one’s blood. But it has a powerful hold on me, and whenever I go, I feel a longing to return there’. Throughout his life Seago remained susceptible to nature’s manifold manifestations. He was intensely interested in the transformation of the landscape by the ‘in-between’ stages, sunrise, early morning, late afternoon, evening and dusk, by the rain, mist, fog and snow, and by the seasons. He was fascinated by the sky, studying the ephemeral changes of its moods and movements, and the extremes of light created by the multi-faceted cloud formations. Seago painted the Broads with an endless range of atmospheric effects, and an eclecticism of subject matter he found in this world of water and sky.

     

    Commercially, the most important developments for the artist occurred in the Post-War years where he began important relationships in 1945 with P &D Colnaghi Galleries in London and in 1950 with the Laing Galleries, Toronto. Both galleries held regular successful exhibitions, as did the Kennedy Galleries in New York, which held five important exhibitions between 1952 and 1961, and Everard Read in Johannesburg, where his work was exhibited from 1968. The artist developed a strong and dedicated following throughout his career; the popularity of his paintings was the stuff of legend. Eager purchasers would queue from 6.30am along Old Bond Street in anticipation of having the first pick of the fifty or so hitherto unseen paintings on offer at Colnaghi. The demand gained momentum until the gallery was forced to issue numbered catalogues in order of each person’s arrival. Seago’s paintings were also exhibited at the Royal Academy, other British exhibiting societies and the Paris Salon. He was elected RBA in 1946, ARWS in 1957 and RWS in 1959.

     

    Seago was the epitome of artist as existentialist, refusing to conform to conventional social mores. His attitudes to life were also reflected in his art, choosing to ignore the dictates of contemporary critical wisdom about what was innovative and avant-garde in art, preferring instead to follow his own convictions and paint only what was important to him. Painting was his raison d’être. This all came to an end however whilst on a painting trip to Sardinia, when Edward Seago succumbed to the effects of a brain tumour. He died in London on 19th January 1974.

     

     

EDWARD SEAGO
Norwich 1910 - 1974 London

The County of Norfolk is synonymous with the name of Edward Seago. It was here that he was born, spent most of his working life, and drew his principal inspiration. The tradition of the Norwich School artists, such as Cotman and Crome, was upheld by Seago in his many views of East Anglia which went far beyond mere topographical representation. It is these paintings which capture Seago at his best, though in all his work there is a spontaneity which contributed to his popularity throughout the world.


Seago 's childhood, and much of his early life, was plagued by heart complaints. The recurrent illness kept him away from school; the many hours at home spent not in study were filled with sketching from his bedroom window. Seago's parents were against his artistic leanings and tried to convince him that a career in business was a better course to follow. This lack of encouragement probably both increased his desire to fulfil his goal and drove him subconsciously to use the illness as a device to achieve what he wanted. He was largely self-taught though did not shirk from introducing himself to artists from whom he felt he would learn something. Seago sought reassurance and encouragement from all he met in an attempt to set off his childhood discouragements; the popularity he was to gain later went a long way towards this, though Seago always felt bitter about the lack of critical attention his work received.


In the period up to the Second World War Seago was constantly finding new interests to distract him and to follow. He had an ability to make friends easily which helped him to find acceptance in the many differing societies that made up England before the war. At the age of eighteen Seago joined Bevin's Travelling Circus, a connection that was to remain for many years. Like Laura Knight and AlfredMunnings he was attracted by the glamour and theatrical life of the circus; producing numerous works that were to culminate in two books relating his experiences: Circus Company (1933) and Sons of Sawdust (1934). During this period Seago was to meet one of his most influential patrons: Henry Mond, 2nd Lord Melchett. Seago was invited to the Melchett's country estate, Woodfalls, where at numerous parties he met many celebrities, George Bernard Shaw, H. G. Wells, and Augustus John amongst others.


Lord Melchett's patronage brought material security to Seago; he was treated like a member of the family, told to stay at Woodfalls whenever he wanted and encouraged to broaden his painting horizons. The many foreign trips that Seago was taken on drew him away from the circus and sporting pictures that were his principal source of income. A visit to Venice was to introduce Seago to the Ballet, and to a new consuming interest. He travelled to Monte Carlo and New York in 1937 to follow the ballet, striking up a friendship with Anton Dolin which enabled him to paint the world's greatest dancers. This period of work resulted in the publication of Tribute to Ballet (1938), one of several books written with the poet John Masefield, in which his paintings inspired by the Ballet were illustrated. Seago repaid Lord Melchett's kindness by painting two large family portraits in 1935 and 1937. The second portrait depicts Henry Mond, Lord Melchett's son, whom Seago helped to bring up and who was to become a close friend of the artist.


At the outbreak of the war Seago joined the Royal Engineers, being invalided out in 1944. At once Field Marshal Alexander invited him to Italy to record the Italian campaign, where he met many important leaders like Churchill, Macmillan and George VI who were later to act as his patrons. This commission marked an important watershed hi his career; after the war Seago was to concentrate on landscapes, though continuing to paint many portraits. The war paintings were exhibited at Colnaghi's in 1945; their success resulting in an annual show of his work at the Gallery until 1967. These exhibitions have gone down in art world folklore on account of their success; queues formed long before the doors opened, numbered catalogues having to be issued limiting any potential purchases to one, or else chaos ensued. Every exhibition was completely sold out within an hour of opening.


Seago continued to travel frequently abroad. In addition to Portugal, France and Italy during the 1950's he made an extensive world tour with the Duke of Edinburgh in 1956-57, which included Australia, West Africa and Antarctica. Then, in 1962, he travelled to the Far East, Seago changed his landscape technique, eschewing his earliest preference for painting from life, instead taking pencil sketches and colour notes which were worked upon in the studio. Seago said that he made the change because he did not want to be considered jus a topographer. The result was an increasing interest in the overall pattern of various shapes, catching atmosphere rather than exact detail of a particular scene. The paintings produced as a result of Seago's Far East Travels are designs of colourful shapes and patterns, which ideally capture the impression of the scene and demonstrate this change in technique.


Even with the lure of foreign travel, Seago never tired of painting his native East Anglia, adapting the impressionist technique to the English landscape tradition. The influence of Turner, Constable and Boudin are never far from his work. He was elected RBA in 1946, ARWS in 1957 and RWS in 1959. His paintings were exhibited at the Royal Academy, other British exhibiting Societies, and at the Paris Salon. One-man exhibitions were held in many foreign cities including New York, Toronto, Oslo and Brussels.


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