The oil painting, ‘Lavender’, painted by the Staffordshire-born artist, Herbert Ashwin Budd, (1881-1950) is in the permanent collection of Bradford Museums and Galleries and can usually be found on the gallery at Cliffe Castle Museum and Gallery at Keighley. It was exhibited by the artist in 1936 and purchased by Bradford Council the same year.
It depicts a woman stripping lavender buds. Her relaxed posture and serene expression project a feeling of quiet unhurried contentment. The sense of high summer is conveyed by the outdoor setting, the sunlight falling across the right shoulder of the woman, her clothes and sun hat, and, above all, by the intensity of colour.
The pastel shades of her clothes and hat are intensified by the maroon garment to her left and the purple of her neckerchief: a colour that is echoed in the flowers and bark of the trees in the background, and connects with the title of the painting, and its reminder of the colour of lavender.
The use of bold colour and naturalism of the subject shows the influence of French Impressionist and the Fauvism Movement on the artist’s work. His talent was also recognised in France and in 1927 Budd was awarded an Honourable Mention at the Paris Salon for his paintings.
Herbert Budd was born in Ford Green, Staffordshire and studied art initially at Hanley School of Art in the Potteries and then at the Royal College of Art, in London, where he met his future wife, the artist, Helen Mackenzie. There is a remarkable likeness between the model in ‘Lavender’ and in ‘The Artist’s Model’ (1926), shown below, which depicts Helen Mackenzie, with Budd, the artist, reflected in the mirror behind her.
Budd was based in London and from 1929 to 1949 taught at St Martin’s School of Art. His work was regularly exhibited at the Royal Academy and at the New English Art Club, and he designed posters for London Underground that are now reproduced as decorative posters (see example below):