Research by David Walton
Painting descriptions by Sue Cannon
Acc No 224
Artist W H Gleave
Artist dates active 20th century
Inscr signed (L.R.)
Donor Dr Michael Haslett, Poulton-le-Fylde
Date donated 2012
W H Gleave was born in Lancashire and after his retirement took up residence in Poulton-le-Fylde where he became a well-known amateur artist, painting mostly Lakeland scenes. He was in his 90s when he died and his family allowed Dr Michael Haslett to select a few paintings from his studio, of which this was one, in thanks for his GP services. Dr Haslett contacted the Friends of Lytham St Annes Art Collection offering this painting and others when he moved from his home in Poulton-le-Fylde to Lytham.
Online photographs support the suggestion that this watercolour landscape, primarily a variety of blue washes, could be depicting either Buttermere Lake or Crummock Water in the Cumbrian Lake District National Park where we know the artist regularly painted.
It could be an early autumnal scene as there are juxtaposed hints of red to blue mirrored in the foreground close to the front picture plane in the rough land which anchors the image down and in the rocks on the edge of the lake, middle left, which guide the eye towards the distant mountains on which there is a hint of washed yellow sunshine, creating a sense of space beyond the enclosed lake view. The two dark blue hills which balance each side of the composition are reflected in the dark chllly waters.
The two men and the boats next to the wooden jetty point towards the opposite side of the lake, towards the distant mountain, which also has a low dark blue line of trees or shrubbery also guiding the eye to the distant mountain. This circular composition constantly moves the eye around which in turn suggests three-dimensional space. There is a small gap in the foreground into which the lake extends, towards the viewer, which suggests the space behind and beyond the picture plane.
This watercolour enclosed landscape is of a mountain gorge in the Cumbrian Lake District. The colours blue to green in the mountains to contrasting orange shrubbery, particularly in the foreground suggest it is later summer, early autumn. Height within the composition is emphasised by the mountains on each side of the picture plane forming a dynamic triangle in the middle ground highlighted by darker blue tones giving the image weight and form whilst at the same time directing our focus on the distant slightly misty mountain tops.
Our eye is led into the composition by the narrow rocky, flowing stream which travels from the left front picture plane meandering between the hillside towards the centre of the composition which emphasises a dynamic three-dimensional space between the viewer and the distant mountains. Online photographs suggest that this scene could have been painted at Styhead Gill in the Lake District where again the centre of the composition forms the focal point within the dynamic triange from the mid field up to the sky so depicting space and height within the landscape.
This painting was donated by Dr Michael Haslett, who was for many years a GP in Poulton-le-Fylde. Other paintings kindly donated by Dr Haslett:
Sheep Sheltering J D Morris
Seaside Village and Boats J D Morris
Harvest Scene - In the South Downs J D Morris
Dogs and Rabbits - silhouette print unknown artist
Oak Toad - engraving unknown artist/engraver
All Souls College, Oxford Mabel Oliver Rae
Birker Force Waterfall Thomas Allom
Castlerigg Stone Circle James Baker Pyne