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© The Artist's Estate

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Ascent 1944

Not on display

This painting shows the influence of the artist’s wartime work as a coastguard in Cornwall. The floating shape on the right resembles a radar screen while the white point in the centre suggests a star used as a navigational aid. Tunnard has created a marbling effect by pressing paper onto the wet paint and peeling it off, a technique known as decalcomania. The resulting textured effect suggests the sea. In contrast, stencils have also been used to achieve the more precise outlines of the arches. The painting subverts our understanding of the picture space through the use of arches and planes set at disorientating angles.

Glossary Open


Surrealist technique for generating images by applying paint to one surface which is then pressed against another surface to transfer the design. A variation is popular with young school children, who apply paint to paper which is then folded.

Picture Space

The illusionary space created within a two dimensional work of art.


A plane is a flat surface within a drawing, painting or sculpture.

Decalcomania, Picture Space, Plane


  • Acc. No. GMA 3520
  • Medium Oil over gesso on board
  • Size 53.40 x 43.20 cm (framed: 72.20 x 61.80 x 8.00 cm)
  • Credit Bequeathed by Miss Elizabeth Watt 1989