Anthony Whishaw RA, Summer Field

Summer Field, 1981-82

Anthony Whishaw RA (b. 1930)

RA Collection: Art

This is one of several semi-abstracted landscapes created by Whishaw in the late 1970s and early 1980s, inspired by his memories of experiencing his local countryside.

As Richard Davey describes, at this time ‘Whishaw turned to more local subjects for inspiration: the English countryside in Kent and the North Downs that he visited on family days out with [his wife] Jean and their daughters Zoe and Phoebe. Pigment-soaked canvases capture the olive and verdant greens of grassy hillsides, the fierce yellow of ripening corn, the warm greys of a winter garden blushed pink with new spring growth, and the rich, ruddy browns and oranges of burnt and burning stubble and ploughed fields’ [Davey, p. 45]. Amid a sea of ripe yellow crops, irregular stripes of brown paint represent fence posts while the block of long black lines perhaps indicates a newly harvested field.

Whishaw first moved from working in oils to acrylic at the end of the 1960s. This decision significantly altered his practice, freeing him from the limitations and drying time of oil paint. This enabled him to experiment and work on multiple canvases at any one time. Summer Field reflects this new-found dynamism, with Whishaw applying swathes of vibrant paint to harness the memory of this sensory pastoral scene.


Richard Davey, Anthony Whishaw, (Royal Academy Publications, 2016)

Object details

Summer Field
Object type
Copyright owner
Acrylic on canvas

1740 mm x 4580 mm x 25 mm

Royal Academy of Arts
Object number
Given by Anthony Whishaw RA May 2019
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