25th Apr, 2023 10:00

Modern and Contemporary Art

Lot 219


John Aldridge RA (1905-1983)

John Aldridge RA (1905-1983)
'Path to the House' - the artist's garden at Place House, Great Bardfield
signed and dated 'John Aldridge 73' l.r., oil on canvas
61 x 71cm

Provenance: Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, 1975, purchased by Mr Peter Lake.

Keen to escape the metropolitan art scene and social whirl of London, John Aldridge moved to the brick-built 16th century Place House in Great Bardfield in 1933, where he lived and worked until his death in 1983. It is said that through the casement windows those passing by would often see canvasses propped against easels and stacked up against the walls.

Rejecting the push of London-based artists such as Ben Nicholson towards complete abstraction, Aldridge instead chose to paint in and around Great Bardfield, capturing the rural landscapes of the Essex and Suffolk border, and his own garden at Place House, in bold colour.

Like Edward Bawden who lived at the nearby Brick House, Aldridge was a keen gardener, and spanning two acres down to the river Pant, the extensive garden at Place House provided him with the scope and opportunity to develop what Tony Venison, the former editor of Country Life, describes as, 'a sophisticated form of cottage gardening within a formal framework'.

This interpretation of the garden is reflected in ‘Path to the House’. A majestic Great Cedar of Lebanon towers on the lawn near the house, while bold clumps of roses and colourful blooms spill over the structured hedges lining the path. The work shares the rich colour palette of greens, blues and browns of many East Anglian paintings.

Like many of his East Anglian peers, including John Nash and Cedric Morris, Aldridge came to view gardening as an essential part of rural life and another art form, describing it as 'a process which combines selection, precision and an understanding of the nature and possibilities of the material in a way which is analogous to that of painting’.

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Sold for £11,000

Condition Report

Framed: 79 x 89.5cm
Light rubbing to the edges but in otherwise good condition. Unexamined under UV light, for a full report please contact the department.



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Auction: Modern and Contemporary Art, 25th Apr, 2023



A selection of lots will be on view 25 March - 13 April (closed 7-10 April) at our London Gallery, 15 Cecil Court, London WC2N 4EZ, as follows:

Mon-Fri, 11am - 5.30pm 

Sat, 1pm - 5pm

Sun - Closed

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Viewing will be held at our Stansted Auction Rooms, Cambridge Road, Stansted Mountfitchet CM24 8GE, as follows: 

Fri 21 April, 10am - 5pm

Sun 23 April, 10am - 1pm 

Mon 24 April, 10am - 5pm 

All lots are, however, extensively illustrated and carry detailed condition reports - see 'Condition report' at the foot of each lot description. 

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