John Nash – the landscape of love and solace || Andy Friend

Paul Nash, the older of the two brothers, is the name most people remember. John, however, was perhaps the more influential, despite having had no formal art training. Impressively versatile, he worked in oil and watercolour as well as drawing and produced many wood engravings. Andy Friend also argues that he was one of the finest botanical draughtsmen of his age. He was held in high regard by his contemporaries, including Walter Sickert, Mark Gertler and Dora Carrington. In turn, he influenced Eric Ravilious and Edward Bawden.

This is a thorough biography that is enhanced by its generous number of illustrations which, despite being hampered by the use of book rather than glossy paper, manage to leap off the page – someone has gone to a lot of trouble with the production in this respect.

To put an artist in context, especially one who was so pivotal to their age, requires a wider view and such we find here. In particular, Andy examines Nash’s relationship, both personal and professional, with his wife Christine Kühlenthal. An important figure in her own right, her voice is revealed through her letters and journals, seen here for the first time.

This is a substantial and thorough book with much original research that tells the story not just of its subject, but also much of the development of art in the Twentieth Century.

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