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Light on the Downs by Fred Yates

Light on the Downs by Frederick Yates

Light on the Downs was formerly in the collection of Coventry College of Education; it was presented to the College through the Beaumanoir Bequest.

Although technically a landscape, the title of the painting refines the subject of this painting to the light that falls across the Downs. The Downs are chalk uplands in southern England, primarily in Sussex, Dorset, Berkshire and Oxfordshire. They are designated Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The soil is poor and generally left to grass, sometimes grazed by sheep. Here the artist has focused, not on the gentle undulations of the hills, but on the feathery grasses that grow there. The light source which is the subject of the painting appears in the sky on the left with a grass stem silhouetted against it. Diagonally opposite to this juxtaposition, a bright grass stem shines out from the dark land beneath it. This painting explores the relationships between light and shade through the play of sunshine across the grassland.