Blue Beads at Tate Britain

J. D. Fergusson, Blue Beads, Paris 1910 (oil on board)


J. D. Fergusson (1874–1961) was a Scottish landscape and figure painter and sculptor. Initially he entered Edinburgh University to study medicine but then decided to take up art. He was greatly influenced by the French painter, Manet, though this does not explain why he married a dancer, Margaret Morris: or maybe it does.

What fascinates me about this painting is the manner in which the artist has transformed the portrait of the woman into a landscape, with different sections of the figure being divided as though into different fields with different crops. Simultaneously, it has the effect of transforming the landscape into a female figure, thereby underlining the intimate relationship we all share with the land, the land that feeds us and which will welcome us back at the end of our lives.

Ashes to ashes, clay to clay: we are starlight and we are mineral earth, and we are the consciousness of creation. All of this Fergusson has rendered with the simplicity and the breathtaking beauty of his palette and brush strokes.

So much more could be said about the detail of this painting but sometimes less is more!

No photo can do justice to this marvellous work of art, so don’t delay. Hurry along to TATE BRITAIN in Pimlico at the earliest opportunity to see it for yourself! And yes, don’t ask, I’d love to have this masterpiece on my wall!