Edward Seago was born in Norwich in 1910. At the age of eight, Seago was diagnosed with a chronic heart condition and much of his childhood was spent confined to bed. Despite his health issues, Seago was determined to become an artist, however his ailments prevented an art school education. Largely self-taught, the young and eager artist sought advice from Sir Alfred Munnings and Bertram Priestman. Under their guidance he quickly developed his skill and technique, painting rapidly with expressive brushwork, a skill he developed into a virtuoso talent.
Throughout his life Seago was inextricably linked to East Anglia; he lived in Norwich and then Ludham virtually all of his life, with a short sojourn travelling with the circus in the 1930s. East Anglia was the source of many of Seago's vivid and expressive landscapes, but its artistic heritage played an equally important role in Seago's artistic vision; the Norwich School of Artists and the light and atmosphere of the paintings of the great East Anglican artist, John Constable, became Seago's main influence and inspiration.
After settling in the Norfolk broads at Ludham in 1945, Seago, ever the eccentric, endeavoured to acquire a boat that would become his floating studio in which he could plan voyages over the English Channel to Holland, Belgium and France, a dream he had been determined to accomplish for many years. His first vessel, The Endeavour, a converted naval sailing boat, was not the most reliable although Seago did manage to sail to Belgium in her in 1948. His second yacht, The Capricorn, awarded Seago many highly successful voyages between 1951 and 1967, allowing the artist to explore the French countryside as he sailed along the Seine from Dieppe to Paris.
Painted from the tow path beside the Orne Canal in Amfreville, a quiet village near the coast of Normandy, The Lock at Amfreville, France perfectly captures the tranquillity that delighted Seago on his many French adventures aboard The Capricorn. These painting trips across the Channel inspired the artist to use livelier brushstrokes, a looser style and a palette of heightened intensity with a greater emphasis on pure colour. The Lock at Amfreville, France is a symphony of green, intensified against the bright blue of the sky. The figures on the sunlit path lead the eye into the picture and towards the lock reflected on the surface of the water in the distance.
The Lock at Amfreville, France is typical of Seago’s mature style, and his skill at capturing atmosphere with impressionistic brushstrokes. The composition is open and uncluttered, utilising the simplicity of composition and colour for individual expression and conveying Seago’s personal emotional response to nature.