“Those women who made trips overseas to study in Europe (mainly England and France) were exposed to the latest modern developments and found stimulation and support for their own work while there. They experimented with these innovations and their art work and skills developed. This can be seen in the work of Flora Scales (1888-1985) [sic] in her painting Untitled (Seascape) [BC009] where her brushwork is visible and assured and a heightened sense of colour effects/forms are suggested rather than defined.”
Seascape. Midground, port side view of two anchored yachts. Horizon and distant hills faintly rendered. Mast of foreground yacht casts a rippled shadow across the water.
LR pale violet brush point Flora Scales
Donated to The Sarjeant Gallery Te Whare o Rehua Whanganui, New Zealand, by Mrs Robertson, 1980
The Sarjeant Gallery Te Whare o Rehua Whanganui
Donated to The Sarjeant Gallery Te Whare o Rehua Whanganui, New Zealand, by Mrs Robertson, 1980. Correspondence Jennifer Taylor Moore, Curator of Collections, The Sarjeant Gallery Te Whare o Rehua Whanganui, to B. de Lange, 04.03.2019, "The donor probably acquired the painting from a Wanganui Arts Society Annual Exhibition in the 1920s."
In answer to questionnaire sent by B. de Lange, 01.09.1983, completed by Jill Studd, Registrar, The Sarjeant Gallery Te Whare o Rehua Whanganui, on behalf of original owner, Mrs Robertson, wrote, “This painting was donated by Mrs Robertson in 1980. Mrs Robertson is the wife of Dr H. D. Robertson who was honorary curator at the Sarjeant Gallery. He collected many works himself, as well as for the gallery, both locally and overseas. Mrs Robertson can remember the work and that it had been in their possession for some time but I believe that her husband was responsible for the purchase of it and that she was never aware of the details concerning it."
Mrs Robertson commented, “This is a lovely work painted almost entirely in grey, blue and mauve, the only other colours being a touch of white in the clouds and a streak of red brown on the boat. The paint surface is so worked that the raw canvas itself is used as part of the work. Brush strokes visible in the paint are used with the canvas to accentuate surface and sky area. I have written oil as the medium. I now think this incorrect, the surface of the work has a very dry appearance, the only glossy areas are the lines and shadows of the boats, therefore this could be a mixture of gouache highlighted with oil paint.”
Correspondence Celia Thompson, Registrar, The Sarjeant Gallery Te Whare o Rehua Whanganui, to B. de Lange, 25.11.1993, "I am sure the work is in oil and that the gouache attribution has been made because the work has a very flat look."
B. de Lange, September 2021, "Seascape is an exquisite small composition of pearly grey, blue and mauve oils which bring to mind the Art Deco opalescent glass being produced in France in the 1920s by Lalique. Two yachts sit close and parallel at anchor; sea and sky are as one and a single mast rises at a right angle to the slender shallow craft."