Nash was inspired by poetry throughout his life. This painting, completed a year before Nash’s death from a heart attack, relates to William Blake’s poem Ah! Sun- flower
. It draws on Nash’s fascination with the cycles of nature, in particular the equinox and phases of the moon. The influence of surrealism can clearly be felt in the painting’s strange otherworldliness.
Eclipse of the Sunflower
71.1 x 91.4 cm
Oil paint on canvas
Date of work
Original: Oil paint on canvas, 71.1 x 91.4 cm British Council| London| UK © Tate
Paul Nash was fascinated with Britain’s ancient past and spent time in southern England exploring the downs and coastal areas. Equally inspired by the equinox and the phases of the moon, he used all these influences in his work, interpreting his environment according to a unique, personal mythology, evolving throughout his career.