Moorland Tree

1934, oil on board 16" X 12"

Jean Royle made this moorland landscape painting of the Derbyshire moors in March 1934 on a visit to Sheffield. At the time she was living in London and studying art independently  having returned to the UK after a 2 year sojourn in Canada.She did not enjoy her time across the Atlantic and was relieved to return to Europe and its culture.She lived on a meagre allowance provided by  her father, Stanley Royle, who remained in Canada. With limited finances  her ability to buy artists materials was equally limited hence this work is executed on board. Jean Royle was a landscape artist who always lived in the shadow of her father’s ability and achievements. He ensured she had an art training believing she had the potential to become, like him, a talented landscape artist. She fulfilled this but did not receive the recognition for her abilities in her life time.

The whole atmosphere of this painting is romantic and dramatic, with its brilliant sky infusing parts of the moorland scenery with bright golds and russets.  The darker areas are just as colourful as they are crossed by contrasting shadows, and the  silhouetted tree itself is as full of life and movement as the restless sky.   In the foreground she has used “scraffiti” to create the effect of the bleached  moorland grasses. This adds just enough detail to provide the exuberance required to offset the windswept tree. Jean knew the Derbyshire moors intimately; throughout her life she had a passion for walking as well as landscape painting and both were experienced on these moors. She would have known well the locality of this solitary tree.