My Favourite Painting: Robert Sandelson

'In the foreground of the new version (currently at the Saatchi Gallery), our late father’s hat can be glimpsed above a deck chair–as it turned out, he was watching his last game of cricket.'

Robert Sandelson chooses The Cricket Game:

‘Cricket in this country is a beautiful game; although photographs capture best the intensity of a particular moment, it takes a painting to reveal its bucolic glory.

‘This one evokes the soft, early evening light and the fullness of high summer; we feel the perfection of cricket in the landscape. Decades after it was painted, my brother commissioned the artist to paint another cricket scene, this time at Worsley.

‘In the foreground of the new version (currently at the Saatchi Gallery), our late father’s hat can be glimpsed above a deck chair–as it turned out, he was watching his last game of cricket.’

Robert Sandelson is director of the British Art Fair.

John McEwen on The Cricket Game:

David Inshaw grew up ‘surrounded by Nature and wonder’ near Shoreham in Kent, made famous by Samuel Palmer, ‘the first artist I was aware of’. After Beckenham School of Art came the Royal Academy Schools. He first did Pop pictures, his mature style in the English Romantic landscape tradition fostered when teaching art in Bristol.

There, he discovered Thomas Hardy, ‘a key influence because he used landscape as a metaphor for human emotions’. With the painter Alfred Stockham, Mr Inshaw would drive to Dorset, ending at Little Bredy as the sun set over the landscape and cricket pitch. He moved to Devizes, where he still lives in the Wessex country that remains his inspiration.

By 1972, he had co-founded the Broadheath Brotherhood, expanded in 1975 to eight artists, including Sir Peter Blake, and re-named the Brother-hood of Ruralists (‘ruralist’ defined as ‘someone from the city who moves to the country’). They held in common a love of Palmer, Hardy, Wessex, Elgar, cricket and the pre-Raphaelites.

‘It’s a landscape with a cricket match going on in it,’ Mr Inshaw says of this picture, which shows the Little Bredy ground. Passionate about cricket, he joined a team there, ‘so I eventually played in my own painting’. He even found his great-grandmother had come from the village.

Critic Tom Lubbock wrote: ‘There’s always been a bit of neo-Surreal haunted-ness in David Inshaw’s work, with its hard, long shadows falling across flat grass.’

‘David Inshaw: Looking Back, Looking Forward’ is at the British Art Fair, the Saatchi Gallery, London SW3 (October 3–6)


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