|Edward Seago, Low Tide, Strand on the Green, oil on board|
Over the following two years a portrait of Seago – Ted, as he was always known by friends – gradually took shape, and I realised that this was no ordinary artist. His education, for a start, was far from conventional, since he was confined to bed for much of his childhood by a chronic heart condition. Yet he was impetuous and determined and, having made up his mind at an early age that he could only be an artist, he asked Bertram Priestman RA for technical help and sought patronage from Lady Evelyn Jones, daughter of the 4th Earl Grey.
|Edward Seago, After the Ploughing Match, oil on canvas, 1936|
As well as producing a remarkable body of paintings and drawings, Seago found inspiration for a lively autobiographical book, ‘Circus Company’, which he wrote with the help of poet laureate John Masefield. The pair went on to collaborate on several titles, including ‘The Country Scene’ – a sumptuous quarto volume filled with Masefield’s poetry and Seago’s evocative paintings – and ‘Tribute to Ballet’, at which point war intervened.
|Edward Seago, Suffolk Village, oil on board|
|Edward Seago, A Sussex Fishing Village, watercolour|
His vision was wide-ranging. Factories and building sites interested him as much as Norfolk beaches; he was inspired equally by sparkling Venetian canals and the dirty skies of a London winter. A great admirer of John Constable’s oil sketches, he painted rapidly, with expressive brushwork that he rarely attempted to conceal, and in later life worked from memory. Having trained his mind to recall the significant details of any scene, he astounded house guests with his ability to paint faraway places in his Norfolk studio. He was, as HRH the Duke of Edinburgh put it, like a conjuror pulling rabbits out of a hat. And, yes, his best work has a touch of magic.
|Edward Seago, The Spritsail Barge, oil on board|
My book on Edward Seago is out now from Lund Humphries.
The estate of Edward Seago is represented by the Portland Gallery.