"It took her a while to discover modernism; her youthful pictures, filled with nature, peace and golden light, are in thrall to French painting – the Barbizon and Impressionists Schools – and could have been created decades earlier. But then, suddenly, in 1915, amidst the bucolic imaginings, something happens: she paints a family on a beach [Untitled [Family on the Beach] [BC130]]. The picture is now lost, and only one photograph of it exists, but it’s startlingly different to her earlier work. Two women – formed of smudges and tones – in coats and wide-brimmed hats sit on the sand, facing away from the sea. In front of them are two small children, also in hats. Atmosphere supplants detail; the figures are relaxed, unposed, in the midst of talking, playing; their faces are less distinct than their clothes. The still sea is a pale, silvery blue; the same colour as the limpid sky. One of the women’s yellow coat hums like a sun in the centre of the composition. It appears to have been painted quickly, to capture a mood, a particular gesture, the quality of light. Paint has been employed to create a snapshot. The young equestrienne was becoming modern."
[Family on the Beach]
Beach scene. Two seated female figures in hats and coats facing away from the sea. Two smaller seated figures also wearing hats.
Medium and materials
watercolour on paper
LL F Scales 1915
Sold by auction at Mossgreen-Webb's (now Webb's), Auckland, New Zealand, A2 Art, 24.05.2008, Lot 442
Purchased by Remuera Gallery, Auckland, New Zealand, 2008
Sold by Remuera Gallery, Auckland, New Zealand, between 2008-2016
This is the only image recorded of this work, its location is unknown.
‘Becoming Modern: The paintings of Flora Scales’ by Jennifer Higgie, written for florascales.com, 2022
Photo courtesy Mossgreen-Webb's (now Webb's), Auckland, New Zealand, 2008