Still Life: Tulips in a Blue Jug

James Bolivar Manson (1879 - 1945)

Oil on canvas


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  • About the work
    This still-life evokes an early 20th-century English bourgeois interior. At its centre is  a bouquet of yellow tulips placed in a blue vase on a patterned tablecloth. Next to it is an orange, small bird and Staffordshire figurine, with a pottery jug and plate behind, and a detail of a hanging wall ornament. This painting is one of a very few examples of still-lifes produced by James Bolivar Manson before he focused solely on flower studies from the 1920s. The richness of Manson’s handling of paint and the depth of colour are uncharacteristic of his early works. These qualities, together with the somewhat staged arrangement of objects in a shallow space, suggest that he was artistically influenced by the still-lifes of his fellow contemporary Charles Ginner (1878–1952).
  • About the artist
    Painter and later Director of the Tate Gallery, James Bolivar Manson was born in London. While working as a bank clerk, he studied part-time at Heatherley’s School of Art in 1896 and later at Lambeth School of Art. He then attended the Académie Julian in Paris under J. P. Laurens. In 1909 he met Lucien Pissarro who introduced him to the Fitzroy Street Group. In 1911 he became a founder-member and secretary of the Camden Town Group and in 1914, a founder-member of the London Group. From 1915 he exhibited with the New English Art Club, joining in 1927. In 1920 Manson formed the Monarro Group with Lucien Pissarro. His first solo exhibition was held at the Leicester Galleries in 1923. From 1917 to 1930 he was Assistant Keeper at the Tate Gallery, becoming Director from 1930 to 1938. There he established the Tate’s collection of Impressionist and Modern paintings. In 1937 he was embroiled in a libel action by the artist Maurice Utrillo (1883–1955) which led to his resignation. A memorial exhibition of his work was held at the Wildenstein Gallery, London in 1946.
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  • Details
    Still Life: Tulips in a Blue Jug
    Oil on canvas
    height: 40.80 cm, width: 51.50 cm
    Purchased from Christie's, 11 June 1982
    bcr: J B Manson / 1912 [?]
    Collection of Sir Augustus Daniel; collection of John Lumley; sold through Christie's, London, 11 June 1982 (Lot 28)
    GAC number