Modern British Art by Alan Sorrell: Through the Valley |


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Alan Sorrell:
Through the Valley

Mounted (ref: 509)
Squared in pencil, inscribed with colour notes

gouache, ink and watercolour
14 x 18 3/8 in. (36 x 46.5 cm)

Tags: architecture British School of Rome topography transport Realism

Provenance: The artist's son, Richard Sorrell

​Exhibited: Sir John Soane's Museum, 25 October 2013 - 25 January 2014, Alan Sorrell: A Life Reconstructed.
Sacha Llewellyn & Richard Sorrell (ed), Alan Sorrell; the Life and Works of an English Neo-Romantic Artist, (Bristol: Sansom & Co.) 2013, pp.70-77.

This is a study for a finished oil in the collection of the Postal Museum. It was commissioned in 1939 for Post Oiffice publicity .

The view – possibly a composite one – is clearly rooted in the Pennines, the
Mills with tall chimneys typical of Lancashire and Yorkshire. The Rochdale Canal runs through scenes such as this, as do the Leeds, Liverpool and Huddersfield canals.

The picture might be related to a mural that Sorrell completed for the company ICI in Middlesbrough in the late 1940s. The final work was rejected, because ICI objected to the great pall of smoke pouring out of the chimneys. A comparable drawing from this period, showing the construction of Mulberry Harbour, is in the Tate Collection (NO5731).

We are grateful to Paul Atterbury, Michael Barker and Richard Sorrell for assistance

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