Honfleur, Entrance to the Harbour
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Following his work with the Navy during the First World War (painting “dazzle camouflage” onto Naval boats, famously depicted in his work ‘Dazzle-Ships in Drydock at Liverpool’) Wadsworth abandoned the geometric, Vorticist style of his youth, and began to paint seascapes in more realistic detail and with greater frequency. In this work the artist appears to be trialling working in an almost Pointillist style, applying the paint in small dabs and creating depth of colour by placing dots of different colours in close proximity to each other. These methods were perhaps most famously perfected by Seurat. Wadsworth’s naval past explains his personal attachment to water and sailing and the almost reverent mood of this peaceful harbour scene. The two red flags in the right-hand corner blow in the breeze, as do the sails of three ships sailing out from the harbour to sea. The pale colour scheme suggests that this is late afternoon turning to evening. There are no figures in the work, and the walkways are quiet. All is calm and bathed in a warm, yellow light. A curve formed by the water passing through two areas of land in the right of the piece draw our eyes up towards the departing ships. Wadsworth has painted this from an eye-height perspective, and as a viewer we can imagine ourselves stood in his place at the harbour, watching the ships go by.