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Watercolours painted by Edmund Blampied, 1927 - 1939.


This page reproduces 34 watercolours painted by Edmund Blampied between 1927, after he had visited Tunisia, and 1939, soon after he returned from London to live in Jersey.

Before 1927 Blampied had mostly worked as an illustrator of books and magazines, and painted in oils. He stopped illustrating magazines in 1926 to travel with his wife in France and Tunisia and, on his return to London, started to experiment in watercolours, a technique he soon mastered. Blampied painted some of his best watercolours during this period, of which more than 100 titles are recorded, as well as painting in oils plus undertaking illustrations for magazines from 1933 to 1938. Many of the watercolours were sold to buyers from the USA. His paintings after the war were in a different style and are relatively well known because he mostly showed and sold them in Jersey.

The monochrome photographs of the paintings shown below were taken for Blampied by the fine art photographers A.C. Cooper. The photos give an idea of his style of watercolours in the late 1920s and early 1930s. The colour photos are of pictures that have appeared at auction or are in private collections. There are links to pictures in collections in the USA that can be viewed online.

Many of the monochrome photographs are owned by the Blampied family, but Marianne Blampied gave some away to her friends or may have sold some. I bought some at auction. I'd like to thank the Blampied family for allowing me to reproduce them here.

Not all the paintings are pure watercolour as Blampied often added definition using pen and ink or added notes of colour using pastels or added texture using oil paints. He usually drew the outline first in graphite, which may still be seen.

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Yellow chrystanthemums, 1930 (click to enlarge)


Many of the watercolours show his preferred method: to paint the background colours onto damp paper supported on a sheet of glass and allow the paints to diffuse and merge to create subtle tones. When the paint was dry he added the main features of interest on top, also in water colour. This method can be seen best on the background to the paintings of flowers done between 1928 and 1936. His abstract watercolours, mostly done in the late 1920s and early 1930s, which he called 'Colour poems', were also painted onto damp paper which then diffused through the medium. He may also have created folds or ridges on the wet paper to achieve different effects. There is one here and one in the Fine Art Museum of San Francisco, here. Jersey Heritage Trust have three but only one is illustrated and it's too small to see.

Malcolm Salaman reported in his review of Blamped's exhibition at the LeFèvre Galleries in the art magazine Apollo in May 1929 that with a palette limited to six colour but with an infinite range of tones he has painted, with a masterly command of both mediums, pictures, all varied in their artistic motives, which are significantly pictorial. Several paintings shown at this major exhibiton are illustrated here.

I have listed the serial number of the photograph given by A.C. Cooper, recorded on the back of most prints, presumably so that more could be printed from the negatives. Coopers' records were lost during World War II. This number puts the paintings in sequence and helps to date them around major exhibitions. I have found no photographs of paintings shown at the exhibition at the Leicester Galleries in 1935, so perhaps Blampied had stopped this practice because of the drop in prices and cost of photography.

The title of the painting was often not recorded on the back, unless it was written by Blampied himself, so these have been guessed when possible based on the subject and the title in catalogues, such as 'Yellow chrysanthemums'. If the painting can be identified in this way then the details of the exhibition in which it was shown are listed. If the date is estimated or the title guessed, it is shown in square braces.

If you have any more information or a watercolour painted before 1940, I would like to hear from you.




Date: 1927

Title: [Marabout]

Exhibition: Small exhibition at the galleries of Alex Reid & LeFèvre in 1927 after returning from Tunisia, catalogue not found

Number in catalogue: Not known

ACC: 42084

Notes: This is one of several watercolours of Tunisia. There is a preliminary drawing in pen and ink of this scene in the Boston Public Library, here. The title is recorded as 'Marrabout' = 'Marabout', a shrine.

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Date: 1927

Title: [Marabout]

Exhibition: Small exhibition at the galleries of Alex Reid & LeFèvre in 1927 after returning from Tunisia, catalogue not found

Number in catalogue: Not known

ACC: 43285

Notes: This is one of several watercolours of Tunisia, related to the watercolour above.

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Date: 1927

Title: [Ramparts, Monastir]

Exhibition: Small exhibition at the galleries of Alex Reid & LeFèvre in 1927 after returning from Tunisia, catalogue not found

Number in catalogue: Not known

ACC: 43282

Notes: This is one of several watercolours of Monastir in Tunisia. There are preparatory drawings for this scene at the Boston Public Library here and here.

You can get an idea of the colours of this painting by viewing another watercolour owned by the BPL, of Sousse, Tunisia.

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[Monastir, Tunisia] (Click to enlarge)




Date: 1927

Title: [Ramparts, Monastir]

Exhibition: Small exhibition at the galleries of Alex Reid & LeFèvre in 1927 after returning from Tunisia, catalogue not found

Number in catalogue: Not known

ACC: 43284

Notes: This is one of several watercolours of Monastir in Tunisia. There are preparatory drawings for this watercolour at the Boston Public Library here and here

The Victoria and Albert Museum in London bought one of Blampied's watercolours of Tunisia, called 'Camels at a well', the same scene as the 1928 drypoint [CD: 130; AH:E28.1]. Because the V&A have sold the rights to the watercolour to a picture library they cannot put an image of it on their web site. That's shameful. Compare this with the BPL where you can see all of Blampied's 200+ drawings, all in high resolution.

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[Monastir, Tunisia] (Click to enlarge)





Date: Oct 1927

Title: Unknown

Exhibition: Small exhibition at the galleries of Alex Reid & LeFèvre in 1927 after returning from Tunisia, catalogue not found

Number in catalogue: Not known

ACC: 43278

Notes: The signature is quite prominent, written in thick capitals, almost as if it is carved into the beam, with the date, Oct 1927, beneath.

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Date: [1927/28]

Title: [Barges on the Seine]

Exhibition: Small exhibition at the galleries of Alex Reid & LeFèvre in 1927 after returning from Tunisia, catalogue not found.

Number in catalogue: Not known

ACC: 43286

Notes: This is more of a watercolour sketch, possibly done in situ. The ACC number is close to the pictures from Tunisia shown above, so Blampied may have shown this at a small exhibition in 1927, but I haven't found the catalogue. The watercolour was bought at auction in the USA and is now in a good home.




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Date: [1928]

Title: The Country Doctor

Exhibition: Small exhibition at the galleries of Alex Reid & LeFèvre in 1927 after returning from Tunisia, catalogue not found.

Number in catalogue: Not known

ACC: 43283

Notes: The ACC number is between the two pictures from Tunisia shown above, so Blampied may have shown this at the small exhibition in 1927, which has not been found. The watercolour was bought in the USA. Note that the monochrome photograph indicates that when the painting was mounted it was cropped at the base and left.




Date: Nov 1927

Title: Chez la Veuve L'Arbalestier

Exhibition: Alex Reid & LeFèvre, London, May 1929.

Number in catalogue: 17

ACC: 49349

Notes: This watercolour was reproduced in the art magazine Apollo in May 1929, in an article by Malcolm Salaman.

The design is similar to the 1932 drypoint 'Vin rouge' [AA:167b; AH:E32.6.ii].

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Date: 1927

Title: Three old men

Exhibition: Alex Reid & LeFèvre, London, May 1929.

Number in catalogue:[15]

ACC: 49351

Notes: This picture is described by Malcolm Salaman in the art magazine Apollo in May 1929:

There is wonderful expressiveness in 'Three Old Men,' the deaf one in the centre lifting himself from the bench to catch what the fat old crony in the chair is saying.

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Date: 1928

Title: The Country Road

Exhibition: Alex Reid & LeFèvre, London, May 1929.

Number in catalogue: 19

ACC: 52499

Notes: This watercolour was reproduced in the art magazine Apollo in May 1929, in an article by Malcolm Salaman. He wrote:

'The Country Road' is a beautiful summer picture - a rustic cart and horses are passing a wood on the left, while beyond is open country, but the trees are painted most suggestively against the light of the sky, while mystery lurks in the darkness of the boscage.

'Boscage' is a mass of trees or shrubs.

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Date: 1928

Title: The Water Cart

Exhibition: Alex Reid & LeFèvre, London, May 1929.

Number in catalogue: 2

ACC: none

Notes: This watercolour was reproduced in the art magazine Apollo in May 1929, in an article by Malcolm Salaman. It was owned by Harold Baily and was one of 44 watercolours from his collection shown at an exhibition of Blampied's pictures at the Brooklyn Public Library in 1956. It was sold at auction in the UK in 2018.

Blampied signed this painting six times: in the grass, bottom right; at the base of the tree; on the shaft of the cart; twice on the barrel; and in the leaves of the tree above the head of the man. He wrote to Harold Baily in February, 1936:

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'The Water Cart' was always a favourite of mine as for the reason I also knew the subject so well. It is perfectly Jersey. I had forgotten the signatures. These were put in if I remember rightly for the reason that the usual bigger signature would have spoilt the design. A little eccentric perhaps.




Date: [1928]

Title: A drink song

Exhibition: Alex Reid & LeFèvre, London, May 1929.

Number in catalogue: 9

Price: £60

ACC: 50785

Notes: This watercolour is named and described by Malcolm Salaman in his article on the exhibition in the magazine Apollo in May 1929. He described it as:

A Goya-like invention, finely designed, a winged horse with a nosebag moving at a stately pace towards the breaking day, and drawing after him a company of drunken revellers.

I wonder where this is now?

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Date: 1928

Title: An old bridge, Paris

Exhibition: Alex Reid & LeFèvre, London, May 1929.

Number in catalogue: 1

ACC: 50788

Notes: This watercolour was reproduced in the art magazine Apollo in May 1929, in an article by Malcolm Salaman.

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Date: 1928

Title: [Country cider]

Exhibition: Alex Reid & LeFèvre, London, May 1929.

Number in catalogue: [14]

ACC: 50791

Notes: The title of this watercolour is guessed from the catalogue of the exhibition held in May 1929 because the Cooper number is close to the number of the painting immediately above.

The design is similar to the first state of the drypoint entitled 'The cider barrel' [AH: E28.8.i]. The woman to the right was changed for the published version.

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Date: Nov 1928

Title: [Stable Gossips]

Exhibition: [Alex Reid & LeFèvre, London, May 1929.]

Number in catalogue: [5]

ACC: none

Notes: Although the title is guessed this watercolour is very similar to a drypoint designed in October 1928 called Morning Gossips [AA:132; AH:E28.3]. As they are the same way round it is likely that the watercolour was based directly on the drypoint.

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Date: [1928]

Title: [Vraicking. A Spring morning, Jersey]

Exhibition: [Alex Reid & LeFèvre, London, May 1929.]

Number in catalogue: [6]

ACC: 52502

Notes: This watercolour could also be A Jersey Shore (cat 7) in the same exhibition.

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Date: 1930

Title: Unknown

Exhibition: Alex Reid & LeFèvre, London, May 1929.

Number in catalogue:

ACC: 61875

Notes: The title of this watercolour could easily be Personnel at lunch, which was shown at an exhibition at the gallery of Alex Reid & LeFèvre in Glasgow in November 1930, but the painting below, ACC 64932, is at the Cleveland Museum of Art and has the same title. As this painting has a lower number in the Cooper sequence, it was probably photographed before the painting below. Maybe he liked the composition but thought it might work better with landscape orientation, so Blampied painted another version of the same theme?

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Date: 1929

Title: Unknown

Exhibition: [Alex Reid & LeFèvre, Glasgow, November 1930]

Number in catalogue: not known

ACC: 61876

Notes: This painting is next in the sequence of Cooper numbers and is dated 1929. There are a few titles that might apply but none that specifically identifies the scene.

The painting looks like an example of watercolour with pen and ink.


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Date: 1929

Title:

Exhibition: not known

Number in catalogue: not known

ACC: 61877

Notes: This painting is next in the sequence of Cooper numbers and is dated 1929. I can find no suitable title unless it's A Riviera Port, but I doubt it: this is more a scene of Britanny. This looks like another example of watercolour with pen and ink.


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Date: 1930

Title: unknown

Exhibition: not known

Number in catalogue: not known

ACC: 61942

Notes: This is perhaps more of a drawing in pen and ink with watercolour.


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Date: 1929

Title: [Le Patron]

Exhibition: Alex Reid & LeFèvre, Glasgow, November 1930; Schwartz Galleries, New York, April-May 1932

Price: £105 in UK.

Number in catalogue: 36 at Schwartz Gallery

ACC: 64933

Notes: This watercolour was shown at the Royal Scottish Society of Painters in Water-Colour in January 1931 before it was sent to the Schwartz Galleries in New York. There it was bought by Harold Baily. Blampied wrote to Baily in early 1932:

I'm particularly pleased that you like 'The patron' as I consider this one of my best.

This painting was sold for $30,000 at auction in 2018 where it was called 'Bar scene' and dated 1924. The error in the date is probably because Blampied didn't close the top of the 4 to make a 9. The scene is the same as 'La goutte' (The drop), an oil painting shown at the exhibition at Alex Reid & LeFèvre in 1929 (cat 11) so Blampied must have liked the composition.




Date: 1929

Title: That man with a fish

Exhibition: Alex Reid & LeFèvre, London, 1929

Number in catalogue: 18

Price: not known

ACC: none

Notes: This painting was sold by Blampied before the exhibition to Lord Forteviot, according to a letter he sent to Harold Baily. This watercolour was reproduced in the art magazine Apollo in May 1929, in an article by Malcolm Salaman. It was sold at auction in London in 1997.

The painting represents the Fisherman's Prayer, of which this is a version:

Lord, suffer me to catch a fish so large that even I, when talking of it afterwards, may have no need to lie.

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Date: 1930

Title: Chez Madame Dupont (taken from title of drypoint of same scene, in reverse)

Exhibition: Not listed in any exhibition.

Number in catalogue: None

ACC: 64931

Notes: The drypoint 'Chez Madame Dupont' [AA:158; AH:E31.7], which is in reverse, was designed in December 1931, so after this watercolour, and was published in 1932. The watercolour was sold at auction in the USA in 2011.




Date: November, 1930

Title: Dumping

Exhibition: Alex Reid & LeFèvre, Glasgow, November 1930

Number in catalogue: No number.

Price: £75

ACC: none

Notes: This painting was chosen by Blampied specifically for Harold Baily and sent to him after the exhibition. Baily showed it an exhibition of watercolours at the Brooklyn Museum in 1931 and then at two exhibitions of his collection of Blampied's pictures at the Brooklyn Library in 1947 and 1956. It was sold by Baily's widow in about 1981 and was sold again in 2020, to a good home.

Like many other watercolours of this period, about 20% of the area of the painting was obscured by the mount to the left and bottom of the picture when it was framed for the exhibition.

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Date: Nov 1930

Title: Anemones

Exhibition: Walter Bull & Sanders, London, June-July 1933.

Number in catalogue: 6

ACC: none

Notes: This watercolour was sold at auction in the USA in 2018.

Blampied exhibited several watercolours of flowers in the early 1930s including a magnificent picture of a vase of Red carnations, which is at Princeton University in the USA.

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Date: 1930

Title: Saturday

Exhibition: Alex Reid & LeFèvre, Glasgow, November 1930, price £85.

Number in catalogue: no numbers

ACC: not known

Notes: This is the only watercolour in the collection of Jersey Heritage Trust from this period other that three abstract 'Colour poems', but they are not illustrated.




Date: 1930

Title: Personnel at lunch

Exhibition: Alex Reid & LeFèvre, Glasgow, November 1930, price £105, and then at Schwartz Galleries, New York, April-May 1932.

Number in catalogue: No number at Alex Reid & LeFèvre; 41 at Schwartz Galleries

ACC: 64932

Notes: This painting was bequeathed in 2016 to the Cleveland Museum of Art and can be seen in their online collection. The lighter strip to the left on the Cleveland painting shows how Blampied reduced the image size when it was mounted, something he seems to have done quite often. Compare it with the image to the left here, where the painting ends at the edge of the table, which shows the original size of the mount, as photographed by Coopers in 1930.

A drawing of a similar scene is in the BPL, here.

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Date: 1930

Title: The wet road

Exhibition: Alex Reid & LeFèvre, Glasgow, November 1930

Price: £95.

Number in catalogue: No number at Alex Reid & LeFèvre.

ACC: none

Notes: This painting was sold at auction in the UK in 1988. The blue on the cart is probably pastel. The church is similar to Trinity Parish Church, Jersey. As a child Blampied lived about 3 km away.

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Date: 1930

Title: Yellow chrysanthemums

Exhibition: T & R Annan, Glasgow, 1931.

Number in catalogue: 20

ACC: none

Notes: This watercolour was sold at auction in 2018.

Another watercolour sold at this exhibition probably entitled Fishingboats, France (cat 48) is in the collection of Princeton University. The picture is interesting because it shows clearly how the painting was reduced in size when it was mounted, something that Blampied must have had control over. The painting also seems to have faded.

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Date: 1934

Title: Going to Work

Exhibition: none

Number in catalogue: none

ACC: none

Notes: This painting may have been sold by Blampied directly to Harold Baily, because it is listed in exhibitions of his pictures by Blampied held at the Brooklyn Public Library in 1947 and 1956. It was sold at auction in 2018 described as mixed media. It seems to be done mainly in watercolour with dabs of oil and pastel.

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Date: 1935

Title: Seaweed harvesting, Jersey

Exhibition: Leicester Galleries, London.

Number in catalogue: 13

ACC: none

Notes: Ths watercolour was selected by Blampied for Harold Baily. It is inscribed to him at the lower left margin. Baily didn't use this title as it's not on any list of pictures that I have seen, but might have called it 'Gathering seaweed'. The watercolour was illustrated in a book called Water-colour Painting of To-day. It is similar in design to an unpublished drypoint, designed in 1932 called 'Vraic season' [AA:162; AH: 32.9], though in reverse. The watercolour was sold at auction in the USA in 2017 and is now in a good home.




Date: 1935

Title: The Landlord

Exhibition: Leicester Galleries, London.

Number in catalogue: 28

ACC: none

Notes: This watercolour was shown later in an exhibition in April-May 1938 at the Art Institute of Chicago (cat 67). It was bought by the St Louis Art Museum in December 1938 for $225, which was reported in the St. Louis Post Despatch.

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Date: 193?

Title: [Jersey cows]

Exhibition: not shown

Number in catalogue: none

ACC: none

Notes: Harold Baily had a watercolour entitled 'Jersey cows' which was shown at an exhibition of Blampied's work at the Cleveland Museum of Art in 1941, so it must have been bought before the start of World War 2. I don't know if this is the painting that Baily owned, but it's lovely. It is a bit more impressionistic than paintings done earlier in the 1930s, so it could have been done after the war. It is in a private collection in Jersey.

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Date: 1938

Title: Jersey Coast Road

Exhibition: not shown

Number in catalogue:

ACC: none

Notes: Blampied chose this painting for Harold Baily who bought at least one a year directly from him. Blampied wrote to Baily in January 1939:

I had hoped to put the finishing touches on a watercolour for friend Harold begun in Jersey well before Christmas. This I have now done and it has turned out a watercolour that I am so pleased with that I would not allow anyone but H.J.B. to have it. I have signed it together with the date 1938 -- seeing it was almost finished that year. It is a coast road with rocks and rough sea and something entirely different to anything else you have.

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It is worth quoting a letter sent a few weeks later, because it illustrates Blampied's approach to his paintings of Jersey:

To begin with -- the watercolour 'Jersey coast road': time-of-day -- roughly about four o'clock afternoon with a N.W. freshening wind. . . Also no particular part of the Jersey coast is depicted, but it is curiously and I think definitely recognisable as Jersey, a kind of extract of all I know of the Jersey coast.

The painting was shown at the Cleveland Museum of Art in 1941 and at Brooklyn Public Library in 1947 and 1956.




Date: May, 1939

Title: [Controversy]

Exhibition: [Guy Mayer Galleries, New York, USA.]

Number in catalogue: [4]

ACC: none

Notes: I think this painting is called 'Controversy', which Blampied sent straight to Guy Mayer for sale in the USA where it was bought by Harold Baily, to add to his growing collection. Baily showed it exhibitions of Blampied's work from his collection held at the Brooklyn Library in 1947 and 1956. By 1950 Baily had more than 50 watercolours by Blampied. Most of them were sold by his widow in about 1981 and this picture reappeared at auction in the UK in 2018.

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Blampied wrote to Baily about this painting in June 1939 from his rented house on St Aubin's harbour in Jersey:

'Controversy'. This the first watercolour done this year in Baymont. The background is from a sketch done at a farm in the Parish of Trinity some years ago. This very old farm is now unfortunately partly in ruins. This background I thought would be just in sympathy with types portrayed. I have made quite a few drawings as preparation for this composition - and am pleased that you like it. It has never been shown, but at Guy Mayer's. I felt quite pleased with it - that is really all I can say concerning it. If it is understood and appreciated by others - then I am delighted. Why it pleased me was that the picture rang true - because it said all I meant to say in its final result. The attitudes of the types portrayed - their way of sitting - their suggestion of the simple but definite mind on a subject - whatever it may be the "almost something raw" about the atmosphere - the nearness to the "earthy" etc. That was what I wished to convey and I think it does. Shake hands with a peasant's earthy hand after a day's toil will very mildly suggest what I mean. This is a very necessary and useful class of humanity in most countries and hardly ever looked at too closely by visitors and some "great amongst humans" have come from that class.