Sir Thomas Monnington:
Clematis, circa 1960
Framed (ref: 188)
Acrylic on board
51 3/16 x 36 1/4 in. (130 x 92 cm)
Provenance: Lady Monnington; John Monnington
Exhibited: Paul Liss, Thomas Monnington, The Fine Art Society 1997, no. 150.
Literature: Paul Liss, Thomas Monnington, The Fine Art Society 1997, p. 57; British Murals and Decorative Painting 1920-1960, Sansom
& Co, 2013, p.321
In a square section modern oak tray frame, stained dark brown.
This work was inspired by a Clematis Montana growing at Leyswood. My interest in abstract is in trying to do something more than imitate, Monnington explained in an interview for the Church Times, (30 December 1966): I think it is possible that, through a more abstract approach, one can get nearer to the underlying nature of reality. A still life entitled Clematis - exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1959 (34) - was possibly the point of departure for this more abstract interpretation. This work is closely related to the ceiling of the Mary Harris Memorial Chapel in its colour and construction. Bristol and Exeter were undoubtedly instrumental in Monningtons pursuit of ‘Geometric’ paintings (a term he preferred to Abstracts). When the Tate purchased Monnington’s Square Design (1967) he spoke of his abstract paintings as “direct descendants from my ceiling painting in the Council House, Bristol, which was my first departure from purely representational painting. Since them I have been increasingly interested in the subdivisions of surface areas contained in equilateral rectangels (squares) and rectangles derived from square roots. These two-dimensional mathematical relationships suggest to me dimensions in depth, and provide a discipline which at the present time I find as necessary and interesting as that imposed previously in representational painting... You can cut out the blurb if you wish, but I was trying for my own edification to put into words what I think I have been trying to do in the last ten years”, (letter of 12th June 1968)