JOHN NASH RA 1893 -1977
At the start of the 20th century London was home to a great many talented artists. John Nash met and was encouraged by such figures as Bevan, Gilman, Sickert and Ginner, who all approved of his work. John, and his brother Paul, were becoming successful soon after the First World War, in which they both served, and to some extent they altered the idea of English landscape painting.
John painted with a natural simplicity of style. He uncovered the geometry of curved fields and angular woodlands bathed in the soft light of an English summer. They are carefully organised paintings which combine precise drawing with firm design.
Peter Coker RA and Friends exhibits several of Nash’s drawings, which show the strong sense of design underlying all his work. Nash was also a diligent gardener and plantsman; his beautiful botanical studies displayed in the exhibition depict his expertise in this field (32,34,35).
Nash met Peter Coker in the early 1960s, when they were both teaching at the The Colchester School of Art. John was by then a Royal Academician and a major figure in the art world. He lived near Peter’s new home in Mistley and soon became an important friend and influence. He introduced Peter to the forests of Suffolk and accompanied him on painting trips to Yorkshire and to Scotland. Peter much enjoyed travelling with Nash. They were at critical stages of their careers and their work complemented each other. As a local journalist said ‘ Peter Coker specialises in cold black skies and rain lashing down on desolate hillsides, so when a storm broke he sailed off excitedly, leaving Nash, who preferred brighter scenes, moping indoors. Later the sun broke through, Coker returned to the house with his tail between his legs, and Nash ventured into the open air full of the joys of spring’.