Transcending Boundaries: International Modern and Contemporary Art

Live Virtual Auction, 25 October 2023

International Modern and Contemporary Art

Sold for

ZAR 52 763
Lot 14
  • Jane Tully Heath; Militia
  • Jane Tully Heath; Militia
  • Jane Tully Heath; Militia

Lot Estimate
ZAR 50 000 - 70 000
Selling Price
Incl. Buyer's Premium & VAT
ZAR 52 763

About this Item

British 1913-1995

inscribed with the artist's name, dated 1941, the title and medium on the reverse

oil on canvas
65 by 75cm excluding frame; 74,5 by 84,5 by 4,5cm including frame


"Jane's husband, Jack Heath, came from the Black Country of the British Midlands. She described seeing the Militia marching through the mining country, all in the same sized uniform and boots – all too large. The big feet and hands marks them as simple Midlands men, miners and labourers and farm-boys. They whistle as they march, cheering themselves on a cold wet day in their too-big greatcoats and enormous boots.

This painting formed part of Jane's Final show for the Royal College of Art, then located at Ambleside (it was her eighth year of study. She won the Painting Medal). It was exhibited at the "War Artists Exhibition" in London, c.'41–'42, and was labelled "MILITIA' 10 guineas." —Bronwen (Jinny) Heath.

Jane Tully Heath (lot 11 and 14) trained at the Birmingham College of Arts and Crafts and the Royal College of Art, London, as did her husband, Jack (Lots 3, 4, 5 and 6), before immigrating to South Africa in 1946. Owing to their training, particularly in London, both artists forged their styles in the wider circle of the great British Modernists, Sir Stanley Spencer and Paul and John Nash. While her art remained ever-rooted in this British, vanguard tradition, the work she later produced in South Africa was based on careful observation and meticulous design, concerned more with decorative, ‘pictorial poetry’ than theory for theory’s sake.

An influential teacher at the Pietermaritzburg Technical College, and Fine Art lecturer at the Pietermaritzburg campus of the University of Natal from the early 1950s, Heath produced a large body of work in a wide range of media and, while never seeking the spotlight, exhibited successfully around the country. Her plein-air watercolour studies reveal an outrageous comfort in the medium and a seemingly effortless if decisive use of line.


Acquired from the artist by the current owner.

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