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John Selby-Bigge (1892-1973)


Bigge studied at the Slade before serving in the army during the First World War. Afterwards he painted mainly in his spare time. He became friendly with Edward Wadsworth whose maritime still life paintings were a major influence on Bigge's work. In 1933 Bigge joined Wadsworth as a member of Unit One, a group founded by Paul Nash to champion modern art in Britain.

Although Bigge exhibited in the 1936 International Surrealist Exhibition in London he was never a member of the group and did not see himself as a Surrealist. However, Bigge's work does show the influence of Surrealist ideas. In this painting a strange object inspired by ships and machinery floats by a quayside. The broken horizon adds to the gently disquieting atmosphere.

Mediumoil on board
Dimensions683mm x 760mm
Acquisition NumberSOTAG : 2005/28
Credit LinePurchased in 2005 with the assistance of the National Art Collections Fund