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Sussex Landscape/chalk, wood and water

This exhibition does very much what it says on the tin by sticking to landscapes of Sussex in water colours, chalk and woodcuts.

It features artists who came to Sussex to paint – like Turner – and those who made their home in this most attractive of counties – John Constable, Ivon Hitchens, Sir William Nicholson, Vanessa Bell, Duncan Grant, Paul Nash, Graham Sutherland and Eric Ravillious – to name but a few.

Sussex combines the attractions of the sea and coast with the nearby South Downs.

It’s a haven for artists, though not all are represented in this excellent exhibition – there are no Eric Gill’s, Burne Jones’s nor Walter Sickert’s, for example.

Keith Vaughan – the modern British abstractionist – was born in Selsey and makes it, though he is better known for his homo-erotic nudes than Sussex landscapes.

Once again the outstanding Pallant Gallery has pulled it off.

The exhibition is well-curated, not too crowded and the catalogue is both comprehensive and a valuable aide-memoire.

Sussex does not have the intense chauvinism of Cornwall – the nearest it got to it was after a 68% Remain vote threatening to declare independence, nor the bloody mindedness of a Yorkshireman.

There is no Sussex School like Newlyn, St Ives and East Anglia.

Sussex people tend to be tolerant and kind but no especially ‘arty’.

One might also mention amongst its attractions world class opera at Glynedbourne, Group One horse racing at Goodwood, a football team in the top 7 of the Premier and a county side containing 4 world class cricketers – Chet Pujara, Stevie Smith, Jofra Archer and Ollie Robinson; lively Brighton and sedate Eastbourne; Petworth House and Sheffield Park; and award-winning vineyards, but this excellent exhibition confined itself to its landscapes and painting traditions.

This said, it had a diversity beyond the artistic formats of chalk, wood cuts (chiefly those of William Blake) and watercolour.

Lucien Pissarro’s Cottage has more than a touch of Post Impressionist pointillisms, Paul Nash and Graham Sutherland’s offerings were surreal and John Constable’s landscapes reflected his deep admiration of the French landscapist Claude.

I left the Pallant not just uplifted but overjoyed that it is in Sussex where I live.

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About Alice Mansfield

A graduate of the Slade, Alice has painted and written about art all her life. With her children now having now grown up and departed the nest, she recently took up sculpture. More Posts