John Moody (1906 - 1993)

Ploughing, 1929

SKU: 9595
63 x 170 cm including frame

Height – 63cm
Width – 170cm


The Artist’s Estate; private collection

Ploughing dates from 1929/30 when Moody, aged 24, was beginning to experiment with larger canvases. He undertook numerous sketches around Surbiton and Kingston (then still rural & where his family lived), in particular of tree shapes and lines – which form the background to the painting. The horse and the crow are careful studies in themselves. The ploughman is undoubtedly a self-portrait  and is allegorical. It’s a pastoral scene (reminiscent of the earlier Arts and Crafts movement) representing the connection between man, beast and nature – the young ploughman methodically toiling the soil in preparation for new growth and the promise of a good harvest. Of all his paintings, this was John Moody’s largest and most iconic.

Moody was
trained at the Royal Academy Schools, co-founded the New Kingston Group of painters and taught at
Wimbledon School of Art in the early 1930’s. However he is better remembered as a theatre and opera
producer as well as Director of the Arts Council’s Drama department. He took over Eric Ravilious’s and
Edward Bawden’s studio in the late 1920’s and he worked closely with Robert Medley and John Piper. He
was badly injured during the Blitz which affected his painting ability, which is why his early work is
particularly interesting.

We are grateful to Richard Thompson for assistance.

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John Moody
1906 - 1993

After training at the Royal Academy Schools and working from a studio offered to him by Eric Ravilious (1903 – 1942) and Edward Bawden (1903 – 1989), by the 1930’s, Moody was exhibiting at a variety of London venues and teaching at Wimbledon School of Art; he also became a founder member of the New Kingston Group of painters.  Fascinated by the Theatre he was later well known as an opera producer, commissioning stage sets from John Piper and Robert Medley. 


John Moody (1906 - 1993)
Portrait of Phillada Sewell, mid 1920’s
John Moody (1906 - 1993)
Brunswick Square
John Moody (1906 - 1993)
Portrait of Anita Kowalska
John Moody (1906 - 1993)
Ploughing, 1929
John Moody (1906 - 1993)
Margaret Sewell, 1927
John Moody (1906 - 1993)
Houlgate, Normandy, 1926
John Moody (1906 - 1993)
The Lighthouse, Anvil Point, Swanage, 14 August 1926