The House by the Canal by Algernon Newton, oil on canvas, 1945

img_8976No rain today (at last!) so I went to Preston, called into the Harris Gallery and spent a little time in front of this painting. I’m not sure why I like it – it’s very ordinary and (apart from the smoking factory chimney – I’m too young and too southern for that) has a feeling of familiarity. And yet the brightness of the white house also has something uncanny about it. Moreover I can’t decide if Newton couldn’t paint smoke or if there is a magical patch of blue in the sky.

The loneliness of the house reminds me of Great Uncle Ralph’s empty home, isolated amongst light industrial units and garages. When I peered in through the corrugated fence, I noticed that his rhubarb was still growing strong.

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