My Favourite Painting: Graham Lloyd-Brunt

The designer Graham Lloyd-Brunt picks a calming and peaceful image.

Graham Lloyd-Brunt on ‘The Evening Light’ by Charles Oppenheimer

‘Charles Oppenheimer painted the garden behind the house he rented from Edward Hornel — who lived next door at Broughton House in the artists’ colony of Kirkcudbright in south-west Scotland — several times.

‘I feel a kinship with the painting; like me, Oppenheimer was born and brought up in Lancashire and through family ties I now spend a great deal of time in Scotland. The artist has captured both the formality and intimacy one finds in successful gardens with impact where people feel comfortable and wish to spend time.

‘The garden’s structure and symmetrical layout appeal to my design aesthetic and the soft colours painted in late evening light make the painting restful and satisfying to consider regularly.’

Graham Lloyd-Brunt is the founder of Lloyd Brunt Outdoor Design.

Charlotte Mullins on Charles Oppenheimer and ‘The Evening Light’

In 1908, a chance encounter with the artist E. A. Taylor led Charles Oppenheimer to leave England and settle in Kirkcudbright, a small coastal town in the Scottish Lowlands that had been home to a buoyant artists’ community since the 1880s. Oppenheimer rented a house there for more than two decades from another Scottish artist, E. A. Hornel, before buying Woodlea and remaining in Kirkcudbright until his death in 1961.

This painting shows the waterlily pond outside his rented house at 14, High Street. The lemony evening light catches in the narrow panes and, in turn, is reflected in the water below. Although Oppenheimer paints with an easy looseness, there’s still a great amount of detail packed into the scene, from the variety of flowers in the beds to the textured stone walls and waterlily pond that dominates the foreground. The artist was known for his ability to capture light on water and he exhibited annually with the Royal Scottish Academy.

Oppenheimer liked to return to certain views many times, revealing the onset of different seasons and capturing the changing light of the day. He painted this house often, always including the tranquil water- lily pond and bench beyond. The waterlily motif and seasonal nature of his series could be seen to nod to Claude Monet and Paris, but he didn’t push his brushwork as far as the Impressionists. In Kirkcudbright, he found his own centre, surrounded by artists such as Scottish colourist S. J. Peploe and authors including crime writer Dorothy L. Sayers, who depicted it in Five Red Herrings.

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