Completed British 20th C, except portraits 19 Who can help us date this painting by Philip Connard?

Topic: Execution date

Is this perhaps the 'Bathers' exhibited as no 10 at the Goupil Gallery in 1907?

Martin Hopkinson, Entry reviewed by Art UK

Completed, Outcome

This discussion is now closed. The painting was exhibited as 'Château Gaillard' at the Royal Academy in 1927 and illustrated in The Sketch in the November of that year. The scene is from the River Seine at Les Andelys with Château Gaillard above.

Thank you to everyone who contributed to the discussion. To anyone viewing this discussion for the first time, please see below for all the comments that led to this conclusion.


I think it unlikely that this work was painted c. 1907, and more likely that it dates from c. 1923.

Landscapes such as those painted around 1907 – eg those at Montreuil-sur-Mer – have a much more plein-air feeling. A Talk on the Ramparts (National Museum of Wales) is a good example of Connard’s style at that time, while others of the period have gone through Christies relatively recently.

The key work for dating the present work is his A River in France (Private Collection) shown at the Royal Academy in 1924 (no. 22). This painting, (112 x 142.5), large for Connard, and a more conceptual studio work is painted in what might be described as a decorative ‘Gobelin’ style, and its ingredients – bathing figures under trees in the left foreground, and river landscape with a backdrop of ruined castle on a hilltop, are remarkably similar to those in the Bradford picture. The river in the RA picture is likely to be the Seine and the castle, a stylised rendering of Chateau Gaillard. Other works of the period, on ArtUK are Spring on Wimbledon Common (Atkinson Art Gallery), Apollo and Daphne (Royal Academy) and Summer (Tate -yet to be added to the site). All three are within the 1922-5 period.

I have not seen the Bradford Bathers in the real – hence the use of ‘unlikely’ above. However we know that Philip Wilson Steer was one of his mentors and it is possible that the reversion to a faux-eighteenth century pastoral manner was prompted by memories of Steer’s decorations for Cyril Butler’s house at Shrivenham. Whatever the reason, these paintings mark a complete change from his war works.

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I think this painting is also a 'riff' on the Seine waterfront at Les Andelys, looking upstream with the Chateau Gaillard above.

The two white buildings on the riverbank are part of the frontage that includes the Chaine d'Or - a picturesque and excellent 'restaurant with rooms' though the modern town - albeit birthplace of Gaspar Dughet/ Poussin- that runs inland behind has (literally) been in the wars.

The chateau:

The Chaine d'Or (from upstream):

Sorry, my family confusion Nicholas Pouusin was b. at Les Andelys, Gaspar in Rome: should have checked (and the Chaine'd'Or 'vaut le detour', at least from a happy memory of long ago.)

Kieran Owens,

Could this be Philip Connard's 1923 RA submission (No. 120), entitled "Pastoral", and described as in the Truth newspaper, of Wednesday 9th May 1923, as "a landscape with bathers" and in the Coventry Evening Telegraph, of Saturday 5th May 1923, thus:

"Another interesting painter hailing from the New English Arts Club is Mr. Philip Connard. His "Pastoral" indicates that he thinks in terms of tapestry; the scene is one that a less voluptuous Fragomald (sic, probably intended to be Fragonard), or a more modern Watteau might have conceived for reproduction in this medium. A clever and courageous touch in this picture is the circular pattern made by ripples in the foreground water."

This work was illustrated on The Studio (page 309; Vol. 85; 1923) but alas I have no access to a library copy to confirm that it is the same picture. Perhaps any contributors with a personal copy could check. It is also possibly appears in the 1923 volume of 'The Royal Academy Illustrated'. In its description of the 1923 exhibition, the RA website says of the work that "The other major subject pictures, Philip Connard’s 'Pastoral' and Shannon’s 'The Willow Pond', both depict an all-female society, which could only underline the absence of positive images of men.

Many thanks for the suggestion Kieran – but I did check out Pastoral in RA Illustrated 1923 p. 71 and its an upright picture. I also looked at Summer (Tate) in RA Illus 1922, p.46 which does not appear to represent the same site. There is another possibility – New English Art Club winter exh, no 183, The Bathing Place – this is listed as having been lent by Sir Alfred Rice-Oxley CBE, a doctor and mayor of Kensington. Since the Bradford picture was purchased from the artist in 1930 – this too can be discounted.

Alex Buck,

It also shares compositional elements with Connard's wall decorations at Windsor, c. 1927-29 - with a foreground of trees looking across the river and up to the Castle. (Sorry only rather a poor image.)

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Email from Gearóid Mac a' Ghobhainn, Collections Curator, Bradford Museums and Galleries, 16/02/21
'I agree with Pieter van der Merwe’s suggestion that the scene is from the River Seine at Les Andelys with Chateau Gaillard above. Very nice detective work!'

Kind of you to say so but simply a case of having been there on a couple of occasions: easy striking distance to both Rouen and Monet's garden at Giverny....

Well done Andrea. Once we hear back from the collection, we can close this account. Like Pieter, I too have tramped around Les Andelys, and the site is obvious enough. For those interested, there are paintings of it by Alfred East on the ArtUK site which confirm its profile, and provide a nice contrast between pre- and post-Great War imagery. Being of course, the chateau of Richard the Lionheart, it was there to be reclaimed as a potent symbol in the age of empire.

Bradford Museums and Galleries,

Thank you all for your great detective work and the information you have all gathered about this painting. I have updated our records to record all your findings.