Tate Modern, London, UK
Red Garden is among the earliest known prints by Patrick Heron and reflects a critical moment of change in his work. It is thought to have been made at Bath Academy of Art at Corsham Court, Somerset, under the supervision of Henry Cliffe the principal lecturer in lithography. Heron had previously made monotypes and designed scarves for Cresta Silks, but this may have been his first editioned print. It was produced in at least one other colour, yellow having been substituted for the red.
In 1956 Heron began to make what appeared to be non-representational paintings, in defiance of his earlier advocacy of representation. In the same year, he settled in his new home, Eagles Nest, Zennor, above the coast of west Cornwall. The two events converged as the paintings of that year were, despite their abstract appearance, associated with the garden there. In January 1956 the artist made the first of a series of works associated with Eagles Nest's garden - Vertical: January 1956. These are made up of layers of dabs or short strokes of paint, often thin enough for the medium to dribble down the canvas. The deployment of the marks ranges from a relatively rigid structure of vertical strokes to a looser, less evenly dispersed series of short stabs of paint, as in Azalea Garden: May 1956. In some, calligraphic lines of oil paint are drawn across the surface. The present lithograph is closely comparable to this series of paintings in the use of successive layers of short strokes of different colours.