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Beer In Art #46: Christopher Nevinson’s The Hop Fields

Today’s artist is a British Futurist named Christopher Richard Wynne Nevinson. While many of his paintings and illustrations appear to tackle more contemporary themes like urban life and World War I, he did paint some more idyllic landscapes like The Hop Fields.

In fact, his most striking images are almost all the war paintings, showing the unpleasantness of modern warfare. That seems somewhat ironic, as the Futurist movement he is associated with was about making a break with the old and changing the future, more of a political and societal movement rather than one concerned with paintings styles. But I suppose despite World War I being the first modern war, war itself is one of mankind’s oldest instincts revealing its horrors is in keeping with Futurist ideals.

It’s unclear when Nevinson painted The Hop Fields during his career, or where exactly it was done. But it certainly seems right at home during the Arts & Crafts movement that ended around 1910. The hops themselves seem a little thin, but I like that you can see the round buildings in the distance through the vines. You can even buy a print of the The Hop Fields at Bridgeman Art On Demand.

Nevinson’s biography from Wikipedia:

Christopher Richard Wynne Nevinson (13 August 1889 – 7 October 1946) was an English painter. He is often referred to by his initials C. R. W. Nevinson. He was the son of the famous war correspondent and journalist Henry Nevinson and the suffrage campaigner Margaret Nevinson. Educated at Uppingham School, which he hated, Nevinson went on to study at the St John’s Wood School of Art. Inspired by seeing the work of Augustus John, he decided to attend the Slade School of Art, part of University College London. There his contemporaries included Mark Gertler, Stanley Spencer, Paul Nash and Dora Carrington. Gertler was, for a time, his closest friend and influence, but they subsequently fell out when both men fell in love with Carrington.

On leaving the Slade, Nevinson befriended Marinetti, the leader of the Italian Futurists, and the radical English writer and artist Percy Wyndham Lewis. However, Nevinson fell out with Lewis and other ‘rebel’ artists when he attached their names to the Futurist movement. Lewis went on to found the Vorticists, from which Nevinson was excluded (though he is said to have coined the title for the Vorticists’ famous magazine, Blast).

At the outbreak of World War I, Nevinson joined the Friends’ Ambulance Brigade with his father, and was deeply disturbed by his work tending wounded French soldiers. For a brief period he served as a volunteer ambulance driver, before ill health forced his return to England. He used these experiences as the subject matter for a series of powerful paintings which used Futurist techniques to great effect. Subsequently appointed an official war artist, his later paintings lacked the same powerful effect. A large collection of his work can be found in the Imperial War Museum in London.

Shortly after the end of the war, Nevinson traveled to New York, where he painted a number of powerful images of the city. However, his boasting, and exaggerated claims of his war experiences, together with his depressive and temperamental personality, made him many enemies, in both the USA and England. Roger Fry of the Bloomsbury Group was a particularly virulent critic.

Nevinson was credited with holding the first cocktail party in England in 1924 by Alec Waugh

The first cocktail party in England? How cool is that?

There’s also biographies of Nevinson at Modern British Artists and also at

You can also see additional pieces by Nevinson at ArtCyclopedia, Artnet, Bridgeman, at the Tate Collection, and the The World Images Kiosk at UC Berkeley.

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