My favourite painting: Keith Halstead

Keith Halstead of the Royal Countryside Fund chooses a scenic image by Edward Seago.

Keith Halstead on his choice, ‘A Norfolk Village, Aldeby’ by Edward Seago

‘I love the countryside, historic buildings and my memories of a childhood spent in Norfolk—and this painting by Edward Seago embraces all three. I am instantly reminded of those long family walks across the flat lands that meet the vast and atmospheric skies, with their changing weather and cloud formations.

‘The light and shade in the painting reflects the subtleties of the Norfolk landscape, here punctuated by one of the county’s iconic churches, surrounded by cottages with their characteristic red pantiled roofs. To me, this picture will always evoke a sense of place, beauty and belonging.’

Keith Halstead is the executive director of the Royal Countryside Fund

Charlotte Mullins comments on ‘A Norfolk Village, Aldeby’

This painting captures the changeable skies and flat countryside of the county in which Edward Seago was born in 1910. His father was a coal merchant and had aspirations for his son to follow him into business, but a sickly childhood kindled a love of drawing and he would not be dissuaded from becoming an artist. Despite being largely self taught, he became a member of the Royal Society of British Artists and accompanied the Duke of Edinburgh on a world tour in 1956.

Seago also painted seascapes and portraits, but the Norfolk landscapes were some of his most popular works. In this example, green and yellow fields gently rise towards a large village beyond. A church tower is the only vertical that punctuates the low-slung landscape. It’s a blustery day and the wind tugs at the foreground trees. The artist conjures a turbulent sky using confident brushstrokes and small patches of blue allow sunlight to filter through, catching the façades of houses and illuminating the grazing cattle.

The King remembers seeing Seago’s paintings at a show at St James’s Palace when he was a young boy and the future monarch was captivated by the distinctive way in which the artist could convey atmosphere on canvas. His grandmother the Queen Mother was an avid Seago collector and works completed during the Duke of Edinburgh’s world tour now hang at Balmoral. Another selection of Seago’s paintings can be seen at Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery.

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