Twenty-Nine

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Tea in the Garden

1902 by Walter F. Osborne
National Gallery

Tea in the Garden is an observation. There is no protagonist in the painting; the figures are unaware of us, absorbed in their own ritual. We are looking in, detached, as if imagining a scene in a book, and this feeling is encouraged with the lack of personal detail Osborne gives us. This life is a blur, everything hazy in dappled summer light, the faces and figures of the children barely visible. Colours blend into each other, the tonal palette having the effect of a black and white photograph; tone is similar throughout with the highlights providing the contrast. Light is beautifully shown in beams, breaking through the canopy of foliage and landing diagonally across the composition. The painting is like a memory conjured in a moment; blurred and atmospheric, figures without faces and a hazy afternoon.

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