Honfleur signed 'Edward Seago' (lower right) oil on board 50.8 x 76.2 cm. (20 x 30 in.)
PROVENANCE: With Marlborough Gallery, London where acquired by the family of the present owner
Seago made eight major painting trips to France between 1951 and 1967, often to explore the coastal region and northern waterways. For these trips Seago had his beloved yacht, The Capricorn, fitted with extra racking for canvases and boards, stocked the companionway drawers with spare tubes of paint, distilled turpentine and rolls of cotton wool alongside provisions to last up to three months at a time. He would make his way along the coast and wind up the Seine towards Paris, mooring en route to paint scenes in and around Dieppe, Rouen, Duclair, to name but a few, and notably here the estuary town of Honfleur.
In his memoirs Seago speaks of his first trip to Honfleur as 'a moment whose recollection he would always treasure and one for which he was profoundly grateful', so much so that 'his heart missed a beat with excitement' (Edward Seago, With Capricorn to Paris, Collins, London, 1956, p.128). Perhaps this instantaneous infatuation with the town stems in some part from his admiration for the Honfleurais artist Eugène Boudin, a pioneer of the en plein air method that Seago adopted so heartily. The resultant paintings from this happy time can be viewed as formative within the artist's output, James W. Reid notes of the works from this period that 'as he (Seago) developed new techniques, embarked upon new subject matter and explored new uses of colour, a greater confidence appeared in his work ... He seemed to explode in a burst of creative energy. The body of work that he produced was as notable for its high quality as for the artist's formalisation of an already mature style into one that would henceforth make his paintings and watercolours immediately recognisable' (James W. Reid, Edward Seago, The Landscape Art, Sotheby's Publications, London, 1991, p.180)