The strange visual world of Paul Nash is coming to seem very familiar. Ah yes: a bright red fungus levitating over the sea (or is it sinking?); giant metal girders in a summer cornfield; an ethereal snake in the woodshed (and an extra snake in the sky). Tate Liverpool staged a big Nash show in 2003; Dulwich Picture Gallery mounted ‘Paul Nash: The Elements’ in 2010. If there’s a canon of British painting, Nash is in it. The surreal ingredients of his art have become part of the national furniture: clouds as solid as flints, ladders leading nowhere, stone circles thinking about coming to life.
The number of books already devoted to Nash (not least by Andrew Causey himself: he wrote a major monograph in 1980 and the definitive catalogue raisonné) might prompt one to ask what this new book does differently. It does not unveil long-lost pictures; it does not introduce new stashes of