Fashionable beach scenes and townscapes of Paris and London typified Gunn's early career, in which he commonly adopted a high horizon line and a pronounced foreground, as evident in St Ives. However, in 1926 his career took a change of direction when Gunn decided to devote himself to portraiture, establishing a highly successful and prolific career painting for the Establishment, such as H.R.H. Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip. Yet in execution, these portraits maintain the avant-garde background that informed his early career.
From 1926 Gunn began to sign his pictures ‘H. James Gunn’ (rather than ‘H. J. Gunn’) which dates the present work to this period. It is therefore a rare break from his portraiture, and reveals the continual appeal of the landscape to him. It is these landscapes, executed with such style and delicacy, that now form some of the most desirable works of his oeuvre.
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