An original oil painting on handmade linen rag by Raphael Balme
Framed in four options: Ash (with mount), white wood (with mount), black wood (with mount), aged dark wood (no mount)
Unframed size approx: 78.74 x 57.15cm (31" x 22.5")
Framed size approx (for options Ash, white and black): 92.5 x 71.1 cm (36.4" x 28")
Framed size approx (for aged dark wood option): 87.1 x 65.5cm (34.3" x 25.8")
Date of Artwork: October 2022
Location of Signature: Bottom Right
Read more about our Framing Workshop here
Contemporary British painter Raphael Balme often looks to the past for inspiration for her work, whether it be Gainsborough’s society portraits or Byzantine churches, her work is always imbued with a kaleidoscope of references. With this new collection, the artist has created some of her most impressive and striking work to date, and it’s thrilling to see the trajectory and direction she is taking as her work changes and develops each year.
This time Raphael Balme has focused on 17th century European still life painting with their strange sense of scale and exterior settings (shown below). Flowers, shells, fruits and urns set against dramatic backdrops are the foundations of this genre of painting and many of the same elements have found their way into Raphael’s latest work.
These new large-scale paintings are fundamentally a series of still life scenes set within luscious landscapes and animated with creatures that prowl, lounge and even hop across the paper.
Extraordinary compositions and colour combinations abound. It’s hard to select a favourite, but if we were pushed to it may be the Prowling Cat with Lobster (below):
It’s an extraordinary work that shows the artist’s development into more complex and layered scenes. Sitting firmly within the tradition of landscape painting, it is a brooding, stormy scene in which a cat stares upon a lobster and writhing mackerel, with an artichoke and peeling lemon in the background. As well as referencing 17th century painting, there’s a palpable and exciting lineage with early 20th century artists such as Dora Carrington and Giorgio de Chirico.
(above) Still life with fish (natura morta con pesci), 1925, Giorgio de Chirico.
The paintings are oil on very large sheets of heavy, gessoed Two Rivers cotton and linen rag paper; a conservation quality paper by the Two Rivers mill in Somerset. This special 100% cotton and linen rag paper is produced by the 400 year old mill which is hydro powered, making it very environmentally friendly as well as a beautiful choice to take the vibrancy of Raphael Balme’s palette.