The Cattewater, Plymouth Sound
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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 waterscape, Wadsworth has painted a typically English scene: the light is cold, the sky is a pale grey, and hills and cliffs can be seen in the distance of the work typical of the South English coast in Plymouth. The influence of Wadsworth’s earlier Vorticist style can be seen in the geometric way in which he stylises certain elements of the work. The steps from the harbour are finished in bold, straight lines with the shadows* of S-shaped walls done in bold red vertical stripes. The cliffs in the distance and the sails of the harbour boats have marked curves and contrasting straight lines; this is most pronounced in the front-most hill, painted in brown, which has an exaggerated curve and sheer drop.