Pleasure Gardens, Battersea Park

Frederick George Masters

Watercolour on paper

5 September 1951
  • About the work
    Country: UK
    City: London
    Place: Government Art Collection
    Painting in watercolour was the perfect medium for artist Frederick George Masters to rapidly capture dappled flecks of light and colour and watery reflections in his scene of the Festival Pleasure Gardens in Battersea Park. Inscribed with the date he visited (5 September 1951), it shows an area around the water gardens. Amid the crowds to the left is part of a theatre, and along the pool are a throng of people including a person in red and black on stilts and a giant penguin figure.

    The Pleasure Gardens were a special attraction of the Festival of Britain, the major post-war exhibition that expressed Britain’s renewed sense of optimism by showcasing British design and manufacturing. The Festival on the South Bank in London attracted over 8 million visitors from 4 May to 30 September 1951. The Pleasure Gardens were designed to provide more light-hearted activities, including funfair rides, musical and theatrical performances and a miniature railway. Most of the buildings and pavilions in the Gardens were designed by leading British artist John Piper.

    This painting was gifted to the Government Art Collection by Sir David Eccles, the first Viscount Eccles (1904–1999) in November 1954 while he was Minister of Education. As Minister of Works, Eccles had overseen the arrangements of Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation in 1953. He later went on to serve as Minister of Education (1954–57; 1959–62) and President of the Board of Trade (1957–59), returning as Paymaster-General with responsibility for the Arts in 1970.
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  • Details
    Pleasure Gardens, Battersea Park
    5 September 1951
    Watercolour on paper
    height: 40.20 cm, width: 57.80 cm
    Presented by Sir David Eccles, November 1954
    bl: "PLEASURE GARDENS." ; br: FRED MASTERS. 59/51. verso, tl: "Pleasure Gardens." / Battersea Park. / 5/9/51. CR: F.G.Masters / Room 216. Extn 277. / A.... Hse. / Private Address:- / 108 SARSFELD ROAD, / BALHAM. / LONDON S.W.12.
    GAC number