Ferring Grange

Conder, Charles

An artist described as ‘best known for landscapes, arcadian fantasies and painted fans’ in ‘A Dictionary of Modern and Contemporary Art’, Oxford University Press, but one who was also known an artist who had lived for several years in Montmartre, the artistic quarter of Paris, where he had made the most of its nightlife, and drawn and painted the dancers of the Moulin Rouge.

Charles Conder was born in London in 1868 but at the age of two he was taken to India where his father had been appointed as an executive railway engineer. His mother died in India and after her death he was sent, aged five, back to England to be educated. His father opposed his wish to train as an artist and in 1884 Conder was sent to Australia to work with an uncle who was a surveyor.

After a while, Conder left his uncle’s employment and became apprenticed to a firm of lithographers. He maintained a strong interest in pursuing his wish to become an artist , beginning his studies at the Royal Art Society in Sydney and later moving to Melbourne. where he learned from artist friends how to paint landscapes in the manner of the Impressionists. Degas, Sickert and Toulouse-Lautrec London and Paris 1870-1910, London, Tate Publishing, 2005, p.220) .

In 1890 Conder left Australia for Paris, where he joined a circle of artists  which included Toulouse-Lautrec.  Working in Montmartre, the artistic quarter of Paris, Conder began to frequent its notorious  bars and cafés, taking part in the nightlife and producing  many sketches of dancers at the Moulin Rouge.  In 1897 Conder settled in London where he became well-known for his designs for fans, which he painted in watercolour on silk.  In  England, Conder’s  choice of subject matter was very different, consisting mainly of landscapes and coastal scenes. 

Ferring Grange might perhaps be described as an ‘arcadian fantasy’, in which a group of fashionably-dressed young women, one seated on a swing and others playing croquet , are seen in an idyllic parkland setting. The picture was bought by the LACF in 1934.


Oil on canvas

Other pieces in our collection

The Jungle

Mann, Bezalel

c. 1964, Sculpture: wood, 78.7

The Sower

Millet, Jean-Francois

Lithograph, 19.1 x 16.1

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