The Paintings of Ivor John Powell

The vision of a border Welshman

Highland Grove Gardens by Ivor Powell

22. Highland Grove Gardens

cm. Owner's frame

Private Collection

This painting gives us a finely composed presentation of a scene so common in a culture in which gardening for sustenance rather than display was still a feature of daily life. Ivor and his neighbour shared a piece of ground without fencing between their halves. They also shared an enthusiasm for growing vegetables and fruit, so the whole area within its confining boundary hedge, wall and fence was productively cultivated. He took care to include in each garden its shed and greenhouse, and every vegetable or fruit tree was shown, yet he also showed, with the encircling woodland and Mynydd Maen on the left horizon, how these gardens were something of a nature reserve. (Birds were tamed, and even a normally shy and secretive jay became something of a pet). Though he could have seen much of what he painted from a bedroom window, the whole composition required a wider view than he could have had from it, so he excluded anything of the rear brickwork of his house which would have obscured his view. This was, therefore, a carefully contrived painting that was conceived to communicate something of the joys of this fertile and peaceful retreat.

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