Bidding on this item has ended.
Colin Middleton BLACK FIELD: BALLYMOTE
Lot 8
Price Realised: €14,500
Estimate: €14,000 - €18,000
Colin Middleton MBE, RHA, RUA, 1910-1983
BACK FIELD: BALLYMOTE
Oil on canvas, 10" x 16" (25.4 x 40.6cm), signed; signed, inscribed and dated 1954 verso.

Provenance: From the estate of an Irish collector

In the summer of 1951 Colin Middleton m... Read more
Lot 8 - BLACK FIELD: BALLYMOTE by Colin Middleton Lot 8 Colin Middleton BLACK FIELD: BALLYMOTE
Estimate: €14,000 - €18,000
Colin Middleton MBE, RHA, RUA, 1910-1983
BACK FIELD: BALLYMOTE
Oil on canvas, 10" x 16" (25.4 x 40.6cm), signed; signed, inscribed and dated 1954 verso.

Provenance: From the estate of an Irish collector

In the summer of 1951 Colin Middleton moved with his family from Strangford to Ballymote House, near Downpatrick. Kathleen Middleton's father wrote in his diary, 'Kate has gone to Ballymote House', which he described as a 'large, square, glass-portico-ed house in the midst of neglected garden and woodland.'[1]

A number of significant paintings inspired by the local landscape were completed while they were living there, including Charlock, Ballymote (Ferens Art Gallery) and September Evening, Ballymote (National Museums Northern Ireland), but it is notable that in Back Field, Ballymote Middleton has returned to a subject based on their time there a couple of years after they left there, perhaps deriving the image from a drawing made while they were living at Ballymote House, or else returning to an earlier canvas that had not been completed (interestingly, Middleton had started work on a major figure painting Hunter's Moon, Ballymote (NMNI) in 1951 but then had only completed it in 1954).

While Middleton's paintings often celebrate the landscape without the presence of figures, there is more suggestion of a narrative in the present work, possibly a recollection of a family walk. The figures are loosely described but they could perhaps be read as their two eldest daughters, Alison and Peggy, and perhaps their son, John, walking between them, as well as Kathleen in the figure to the right, possibly with a baby, their daughter Jane, who would have been around one at this time.

They appear to have only stayed a short time at Ballymote House and there is some mystery about the move there and their subsequent departure. In February 1952, their friend Bruce Barr wrote to Kathleen, 'I'm still racked with curiosity about the abandonment of Ballymote.'[2] Middleton clearly continued to remember this landscape with pleasure, writing during a train journey from Scotland to London in 1954 to see his two-person exhibition with Daniel O'Neill at the Tooth Gallery, 'the entire landscape looks very ordinary after living in Ardglass and Ballymote.'[3]

Dickon Hall, October 2021

[1] Giddens Diary, 29th June 1951

[2] Letter from Bruce Barr to Colin and Kathleen Middleton, 3rd February 1952, Colin Middleton Archive, National Museums Northern Ireland

[3] Undated letter from Colin Middleton to Kathleen Middleton, Colin Middleton Archive, National Museums Northern Ireland
  • Enquire
  • View all lots by this artist
  • How bidding works
  • Please note: Each lot will close numerically. If there is late bidding the time may be extended which could delay subsequent lots.
    PLEASE BID EARLY TO AVOID DISAPPOINTMENT 
     
    In order to allow rival bidders the opportunity to respond to a late bid the following extensions will apply:
    IF A BID IS RECEIVED WITHIN THE FINAL 45 SECONDS OF THE COUNTDOWN THE CLOCK WILL RESET TO 60 SECONDS. 

    At any point you can leave a maximum bid, representing the highest price you are prepared to pay for a particular lot. Bidding only advances when there is competition from a rival bidder. In that case the system bids on your behalf, only up to the maximum if required. All bids are relayed to you be email, along with notification if you have been outbid. 
     
    All maximum bids are confidential and not disclosed. The system will endeavor to purchase the lot for you for the least price. Bids are subject to buyer’s premium of 25% (incl vat), with no additional charges.

    In the event of a tied bid, the preference will be given to the bid submitted first. The second bidder will receive immediate notification of being outbid.

Sign-up to our auction alert

Signup for personalised Irish art recommendations, invitations to viewings and auctions, articles and more.
This website uses cookies. By using the site, you consent to the use of cookies in line with our privacy policy. Find out more OK, I understand