This still life is a meticulous study by the artist of a selection of plants and flowers that could be found in any English hedgerow or roadside verge. Here Newcombe has depicted wild grasses, flowering nettles and dandelions in various states in their life cycle; pre-bud, full flower and having lost all of the fluffy seeds. The detail in this work is fine and reminiscent of the accuracy that was executed in 17th century Dutch artworks. Note the two small caterpillars that populate the scene with one in the bottom left of the canvas and one climbing up a central dandelion stem.
Newcombe (b.1943) was born in Blisworth, Northamptonshire. He studied illustration and etching at Northampton School of Art, where he won a travelling scholarship. His work first came to public attention in 1968 with a set of twelve large drawings illustrating ‘The Shepherds Calendar’ by John Clare, which were featured on BBC television.
In 1970 he was awarded a major art grant from the Elizabeth T. Greenshield Foundation in Canada. At this time he began exhibiting widely in London including at the Royal Academy, the Royal Society of British Artists, and the Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolour. In 1979 he designed a set of flower stamps for the Post Office.
The subject matter of Peter Newcombe’s paintings is gathered almost entirely from the area of Northamptonshire in which he lives. His paintings are intense studies of landscape and flora in all seasons, and he has a particular interest in old buildings and wild flowers.