Rowland Suddaby

I bought at the recent Bonham’s sale in Knightsbridge a picture by Suddaby which complements one I already have. Because neither is like what one might call a “normal” Suddaby, nobody ever guesses the artist’s name.

Both are oils of flowers in a vase on a window ledge, with the window open behind the vase. This set-up enables the artist to explore a complex spatial combination involving elements of the room in which the vase is placed, the flowers in the vase and the nature of the vase itself, the curtains or other trappings of the window, and the scene through the window. In one case (right), the curtains are patterned as is the wallpaper and the scene through the window, beyond the flowers in the vase, is of more flowers. When the late John Craxton saw this picture in my kitchen, he was taken with the complexity of what the artist had sought to achieve. Even he failed to guess that it was by Suddaby.

Rowland Suddaby still life Rowland Suddaby still life
  Copyright: Suddaby estate

The latest purchase (left) focusses on a group of objects around the vase on the ledge or table pushed up to the window.

Both pictures seem to represent Suddaby experimenting and enjoying himself. His characteristic landscapes, instantly recognisable in the saleroom from their palette and style, are quite common. Nice enough but usually not adventurous.