Description: BATTERSEA, TWILIGHT
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61 by 51cm., 24 by 20in.
signed; also inscribed with title on an artist's label attached to the original frame
oil on canvas
R.Temple Esq, by 1937
Mrs Connie Bayliss, by whom given to her sister, and thence by bequest to the present owner
C.R.W. Nevinson, Paint and Prejudice, Methuen, London, 1937, illustrated.
The urban townscape was one which Nevinson made his own during the 1920s and 1930s, as much as his paintings of the First World War are almost always the images of that conflict called first to mind. London, New York and Paris all provided the artist with subjects that each engendered their own specific group of works, both in paint and print. Whilst many of those of London take the streets and skyline of the city as their subject, a number have the Thames in their midst, the river that was still then at the heart of the Empire and a potent symbol of commerce and industry in the same way that Nevinson's own New York works use the skyscrapers of Lower Manhattan.
The looming presence of Sir Giles Gilbert Scott's Battersea Power Station appears in a number of works of the period, and here we see the twin towers (the familiar second set were not built until the early 1950s) silhouetted against the blues and pinks of an early evening winter sky. The present view, almost certainly painted from a balcony at Dolphin Square, looks down onto the embankment below where traffic heads past, either home from work or into the city for the evening's entertainment. Through the still leafless trees, Thames barges plough their way up and down the river, some to the wharves where cranes stand ready to receive their cargoes. This appreciation of the peculiar beauty of a winter evening in London was not a new one, and in the palette and elevated viewpoint, one can easily draw comparisons with Monet's views of London, painted half a century earlier.