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The Screen, Le Folgoët, Brittany

George Samuel Elgood (1851-1943)




14 x 11 ¾ inches

Charles Holme (ed), The Royal Institute of Painters in
Water-Colours, The Studio, Special Number
, Spring 1906, Plate XVII, as 'Le Folgoet'

Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours, 1889, as 'Church of Le Folgoet, Brittany' ;
'The Long Nineteenth Century: Treasures and Pleasures', Chris Beetles Gallery, March-April 2014, No 118;
'Chris Beetles Summer Show', 2021, No 46

George Samuel Elgood made visits to France from 1882, and initially focussed on architectural subjects. These visits included some summer months spent in Brittany, at the same time as Paul Gauguin and his followers – and possibly at the same time that Alfred Waterhouse was painting Pont Aven – though it is not known whether their paths crossed. The works that resulted include Calvary, Brittany as well as the present watercolour, which shows the interior of the church of Le Folgoët, situated in the far west of Brittany.

The Basilique Notre-Dame du Folgoët is an example of Breton Decorated Gothic of the period 1350-1410, ‘while Perpendicular was establishing itself in England, and while in France proper but little was being built’ (Camille Enlart, ‘Origine Anglaise du Style Flamboyant’,
The Architectural Review, April 1907, page 209). Elgood’s watercolour focusses on the particularly fine rood screen of Kersanton stone that separates the nave from the chancel, and contains two small altars, either side of the portal.

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