Object of the Month: January 2021

1 January 2021

Object of the Month:

Burford Close (1931), Randolph Schwabe (1885-1948)


As we make our way into the new year, it’s difficult not to notice that things are very different to our usual norm. However, some things just don’t change, like the crisp, cold January weather, as depicted in our Object of the Month. ‘Burford Close’ is a watercolour painting by Randolph Schwabe, whose work is currently on display in our exhibition, ‘A Nest of Gentle Artists’. As the current restrictions mean that you can’t see this panting in person, we’re bringing it to you at home!
A professor at the Slade School of Fine Art at University College London from 1930 until his death in 1948, Schwabe served as an official war artist during the First and Second World Wars, often capturing scenes of destruction and chaos, including the ruins of Coventry Cathedral and Chelsea Pensioner’s Hospital. Schwabe was also greatly attracted to drawing buildings and byways; at the time of his painting Burford Close in January 1931 it was about to be demolished. By using cool tones Schwabe depicts a cold January day, giving his viewers a feeling of a chill, and depicts an air of tranquillity during the interwar period that contrasts with his war commissions.
The hushed and chilly streets in this painting are a familiar sight for many today. Here at Burgh House, we look forward to a time when it’s safe to venture out into the streets of Hampstead again; even more, we can’t wait to welcome you back to our museum and continue to share our collection with you!

Image: Randolph Schwabe (1885-1948), Burford Close, watercolour on paper, 1931