Still Garden

Unsworth, Peter
Peter Unsworth’s paintings employ pastel tones to create soft, shadowy figures in landscapes imbued with a dreamlike stillness. The atmosphere is often one of tension or expectation, with figures placed alone in stage like landscapes; Unsworth worked for many years as a set designer for the Royal Ballet Company. Still Garden is part of a series of paintings focusing on the theme of cricket and was first exhibited at the Piccadilly Gallery in London in 1965. It takes its inspiration from T. S. Eliot’s poem ‘Burnt Norton’, the first poem in the Four Quartets, which is explicitly concerned with time as an abstract principle, drawing on the imagery of a manor garden, after which the poem was named. The painting explores Eliot’s notion of time, presenting it as a borderland between waking and dreaming. The action of the isolated figure, set against the lush green background, is unclear. The figure’s frozen pose might suggest that they are swinging a bat or catching a ball, removing a jumper over their head or protecting it from attack.
  • Artwork Details: 76.2 x 76.2cm
  • Edition:
  • Material description: oil on canvas
  • Credit line:
  • Theme: Figurative
  • Medium: Painting
  • Accession number: AC 819



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