40. Shropshire Landscape
76 x 76cm. Canvas with home-made frame
Though very much part of the landscape which extends to Market Drayton and Shrewsbury, this church, with its surrounding farms, is just inside the neighbouring county of Stafford. Sticklers for accuracy would therefore insist on a change of title, but Ivor at least had the lie of the land on his side in suggesting this title. The church in the right distance is St. Mary's, Mucklestone and this painting can be assumed to have been composed at the same time as his specific study of the church. His raised viewpoint, which was real, not imagined, and his choice of a square canvas, enabled him to include all the necessary elements to compose one of his series of flourishing rural communities. A man taking his dog for a walk observes the cows and geese from the roadside, and a farmer, with his dog, emerges from his complex of buildings. Geese really were kept in the field near the farm and the cows were real, not imagined. Someone with an eye for the picturesque would have seen only the church, or the gentle flow of the land, but here we have a concentration on the working buildings, which are given a bolder presence in the landscape than they actually have. They would hardly be noticed by those seeking a tourist's view. They are made of materials, used for function, not display, which seem almost without colour when compared with the surrounding pasture and trees. The tones Ivor gave them were his own and they transform the plainly functional into dynamic components of the landscape. He made much of the interplay of the geometric forms of these buildings and the way they relate to the organic lines around them. His placing of the geese in relation to them he recognised as crucial for the whole composition to work effectively.