Banting, John (1902-72) / Southampton City Art Gallery, Hampshire, UK / Bridgeman Images

On Loan

John Banting (1902-1972)

Time for Tea (Foliage Fantasy)

During the late 1920s and early 1930s Banting divided his time between London, Paris and the French Riviera. He was one of the first British artists to engage with Surrealism and its influence can be seen in his work from 1930 onwards. He was to exhibit with the British group until its end in 1951.

Like many Surrealists Banting was active in left wing politics and his contempt for the upper classes is seen in the titles and subjects of his work. Time for Tea may be a subversion of the social custom of afternoon tea. It is dominated by the sinister figure of a black bird surrounded by foliage and flowers shaped like male genitalia. The background has been made by rubbing over a textured surface (in this case leaves) a Surrealist technique known as frottage, pioneered by Max Ernst.

Medium oil on canvas
Date 1934
Dimensions 482mm x 400mm
Acquisition Number SOTAG : 2002/3
Credit Line Purchased in 2002 by the Friends of Southampton Museums and Galleries