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Purchased directly from the artist in the early 1960s
Private Collection, France
London, Mansard Art Gallery, Mary Fedden, 1965, no.2 as 'Windmills'
It is likely that the landscape depicted in this painting is the Maltese island of Gozo, with which Mary Fedden and Julian Trevelyan fell in love with when they first visited in 1958. They returned to Malta in 1963 and again in 1979. Fedden's sketchbooks from the period show numerous pen and ink studies of the dramatic Gozo landscape, characterised by low flat-topped hills with terraced fields along the slopes.
In this impressive painting from 1963, we can see the influence of Julian Trevelyan. Mary and Julian had begun their personal and artistic relationship in 1949 and would paint alongside each other, often giving advice and certainly influencing each other's style. Windmills, Gozo recalls Trevelyan's industrial landscapes of The Potteries, in which the tall chimneys dominate the scene in the same way that the windmills fill the composition in the present painting. The blue cart in the foreground also relates to Trevelyan's many paintings of ox carts. Verging towards abstraction, with a strong emphasis on rhythm and pattern, Windmills, Gozo displays a keen awareness of contemporaneous movements in art. But despite being drawn towards abstraction during this time, Fedden's art remained defiantly based on visual references in the real world.