Harvest Field, Stoke Ash
circa 1950s, oil on canvas board 16" X 12"
Jean Royle made this landscape painting of a stubble cornfield whilst living at Stoke Ash in Suffolk in the 1950s. This was a familiar view of the Suffolk landscape in the mid 20th century and is a companion picture to “Sheaves of Oats”.
The receding field with its curving lines of stubble, forms a somewhat triangular shape on which the repeated triangular forms of the sheaves are placed. A hedge of green willow skirts the right hand edge of the field. Another hedge frames the top of the painting, disappearing behind the first, as does the field, adding a touch of mystery to the diminishing distances. The sheaves create the impression that each is a small, thatched dwelling, and some stirring movement in the silvery green of the foliage suggests a gentle breeze. The mixtures of warm yellows and earth reds with the natural greens make for a very harmonious painting. This was painted on a summer evening and conveys the feeling of quiet mellowness and tranquillity.
Jean has chosen to almost completely exclude the sky which is only hinted at so the viewer is focused on an enclosed field. This has the effect of making the subject more intimate and the harmony of the compostion transmits a sense of comfort. There is nothing to jarr the eye: the perspective of the stubble lines is satisfying in its accuracy as it leads the eye away. She was pleased with this effect and during the 2 years in which she lived at Stoke Ash achieved three further works of harvest fields.