<< YCBA Home Yale Center for British Art Yale Center for British Art << YCBA Home

YCBA Collections Search

 
Creator:
Paul Nash, 1889–1946, British
Title:

Mineral Objects

Date:
1935
Medium:
Oil on canvas
Dimensions:
Support (PTG): 19 3/4 x 23 3/4 inches (50.2 x 60.3 cm)
Inscription(s)/Marks/Lettering:

Signed, center right: "PN [monogram]"

Credit Line:
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Fund
Copyright Status:
Public Domain
Accession Number:
B1998.21.1
Classification:
Paintings
Collection:
Paintings and Sculpture
Subject Terms:
abstract art | contrast | landscape | shale | still life
Associated Places:
Dorset | England | Kimmeridge | United Kingdom
Access:
On view in the galleries
Link:
https://collections.britishart.yale.edu/catalog/tms:10543
Export:
XML
IIIF Manifest:
JSON

In 1932, Paul Nash wondered "whether it is possible to ‘go modern’ and still ‘be British.’" He wrote, "the battle lines have been drawn up: internationalism versus an indigenous culture; renovation versus conservatism; the industrial versus the pastoral; the functional versus the futile." Nash attempted to reconcile these binaries by developing a distinctively British form of surrealism in which mock monumental objects are set in the landscapes of southern England as if they were prehistoric megaliths. The objects stand out as gigantic, inexplicable presences and yet are deeply rooted in the landscape. Mineral Objects depicts pieces of bituminous shale (so-called coal money) from Kimmeridge, Dorset. The shale was worked to make jewelry and amulets in prehistoric and Roman times. When turned on a lath, the discarded pieces were usually left with a square hole. These objects are, Nash wrote, "dramatic . . . as symbols of their antiquity . . . hallowed remnants of an almost unknown civilization."

Gallery label for installation of YCBA collection, 2020



In the 1930s Nash "went modern" while still "being British" by developing a distinctively British form of surrealism, where mock monumental objects are set in the landscapes of southern England as if they were prehistoric megaliths. The objects stand out as gigantic, inexplicable presences and yet are deeply rooted to the landscape. In this case they are pieces of bituminous shale-- so-called coal money--from Kimmeridge in Dorset. The shale was easily worked on a lathe to make simple jewelry and amulets, and the discarded pieces often have a square hole in the bottom from the lathe. These objects, Nash wrote, "are dramatic . . . as symbols of their antiquity, as hallowed remnants of an almost unknown civilization."

Gallery label for Connections (Yale Center for British Art, 2011-05-26 - 2011-09-11)

A. Bowness, Nash Exhibitions at Both the Redfern Gallery and the Victoria and Albert Museum, Arts Magazine, Vol. 35, May 1961, p. 23, N1 A415 + (A & A)

Andrew Causey, Paul Nash, landscape and the life of objects , Lund Humphries, Farnham ; Burlington, VT, 2013, pp. 108, 109, no. 96, NJ18.N17 C28 2013 (YCBA)

James Johnson, Churchill Painting Up for Sale, Scotsman, March 14, 1997, p. 20, Available on Line in Factiva Data Base

Paul Mellon's Legacy, a passion for British art. [large print labels] , Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT, 2007, v. 1, N5220 M552 +P381 2007, Mellon Shelf (YCBA)


If you have information about this object that may be of assistance please contact us.