The novel is set in the fictional British Caribbean Colony of Samolo, which he first created for his play Pacific 1860 and used again for the South Sea Bubble. Pomp and Circumstance is written in his characteristically witty and comic style that made his plays and musicals so popular, and was well received by critics.
As a painter Coward was self-taught, although he unabashedly proclaimed "compared with the pretentious muck in some London galleries ... my amateur efforts appear brilliant." His earliest works were in watercolor; however, following the advice (or possibly insistence) of his friend Winston Churchill, Coward switched to oil painting in the 1930’s. Unfortunately Coward was allergic to the oil-paint and therefore had to work with his hands in plastic gloves, or, sometimes, bags. Later in life he returned to watercolors and experimented with gouache, as seen in this work, while still producing some oil paintings. The vast majority of his paintings after 1948 depict the life and landscape of Jamaica in bright colors. He depicted promenade scenes like the one in this work throughout his painting career and in a variety of settings.
Coward gave away most of his paintings as gifts to friends and colleagues. The present watercolor remained in the archives of William Heinemann Ltd. until being sold in the 1980s with other original dust-jacket art from the firm.
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