James Wood (1889 - 1975)

Washing Line, circa 1930

SKU: 5707
Watercolour and pastel-crayon
15 x 22 in. (38 x 56 cm.)

Height – 38cm
Width – 56cm


Jas Woods daughter; thence by descent.

Provenance: Jas Woods daughter; thence by descent.
Literature: Tate Etc, issue 7, summer 2006, “Every Work of Art is a Child of its Time…”

The medium of this drawing is watercolour, and pastel, the latter used in the form of a pastel crayon much favoured by the artist.

his artistic and literary career Jas Wood sought to define beauty. With
fellow authors C. K Ogden and I. A. Richards he wrote The Foundation of
Aesthetics (1922) and following this Colour Harmony, in which he
explored colour as a language in its own right. He had a deep admiration
for Kandinsky and at this time owned an important early work by the

Wood was featured in Adrian Glew’s article on the influence of Kandinsky on British Art:
most of these artists moved on to different ends – Nevinson would
launch the Futurist manifesto with Marinette several months later – the
most specific, enduring, yet least known influence of Kandinsky on
British artists at that time was on James Wood.  He had absorbed the
lessons on colour theory, particularly those establishing
correspondences between colour and musical tones, when studying at
Percyval-Hart’s art school in Paris in 1909, …. . These views were
mirrored in Wood’s own paintings, where the colour correspondences serve
specific functions and where the image vibrates and resonates beyond
the canvas

An oil painting by Wood is in the collection of the Yale Centre for British Art.

We are grateful to Maisie Hill for assistance

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James Wood
1889 - 1975

Painter, draughtsman, writer and aesthete, born in Southport, Lancashire. From 1908-11 he read history at Cambridge University, then in Paris, after studying etching, pursued painting with Percyval Tudor-Hart before going to Munich. During World War I he was in the army and Royal Flying Corps, later working on battleship camouflage. Among Wood’s writings after World War I were The Foundations of Aesthetics, written with C. K. Ogden and I. A. Richards. He also wrote on colour harmony, a favourite topic, and in 1926 published New World Vistas, an autobiographical work. From the 1930s Wood became increasingly fascinated by Persian Art; he learn Persian and subsequently became art adviser to the Persian government. His own paintings were influenced by Kandinsky, and he showed at Leicester and Zwemmer Galleries in solo exhibitions. After 1955 he rarely exhibited, but painted several portraits of Cambridge Academics. Throughout the war years Wood lived in a remote cottage above Llantony, Monmouthshire. After the war he lived mainly in his Hampstead house, where his studio was situated, though spent some of his time in his wife’s house in rural Gloucestershire with occasional visits to Llantony. Wood was married to a painter, Elisabeth Robertson, who had previously been the wife of the artist and writer Humphrey Slater.

In 1980 Blond Fine Art held a retrospective.


James Wood (1889 - 1975)
Multi coloured dots, version one, on a grey ground, circa 1920
James Wood (1889 - 1975)
Washing Line, circa 1930
James Wood (1889 - 1975)
Self-portrait, c.1918