Edward Seago 1910-1974

The Wild Beast Show

Oil on canvas, 1932

Largely self-taught, Edward Seago specialised in landscapes of his native East Anglia painted with low skies and brooding weather effects in the style of Constable. He was encouraged by Sir Alfred Munnings, and like Munnings and Laura Knight he had a fascination with the circus. Unlike them, Seago had travelled with Bertram Mills's circus in 1930. The Wild Beast Show was painted during this time. Like the low horizons in his Anglian landscapes, the awning of the circus divides the composition horizontally. In contrast to the airiness of the landscapes, the effect is oppressive, with the animals squeezed into their cages and a meagre slice of sky revealed through a gap in the awning, giving a thin triangle of light below. The circus audience has an Edwardian appearance, reminiscent of the loosely-sketched theatre audiences of Walter Sickert.

Purchased 1934