Swanage, Dorset


Eileen Agar (1899–1991)

The title of this piece comes from the town where Eileen Agar and her partner, Joseph Bard, moved to in the mid-1930s. During her time in Swanage, Agar met and began a relationship with a fellow artist who shared a fascination toward Swanage, Paul Nash.


Taken by Paul Nash in 1935, this photograph titled “Swanage (Steps in a field)” complements Agar’s Swanage, Dorset because it also portrays the artist’s fascination toward the coastal town.

The house was just twinkling in the moon light,
And inside it twinkling with delight,
Is my baby bright.

— Gertrude Stein

These are the first three lines of Stein’s untitled poem known as “[The house was just twinkling in the moon light].” These lines portray the house in which Agar lived and her relationship to Nash.

Gymnopédie No.1 by Erik Satie was chosen to accompany this piece because it captures the serenity portrayed not only by the calm colors of the painting, but also the feeling of Swanage, the coastal town that served as an inspiration for Agar.

Name: Evelyn Howell
Age: 15
Year: 1930

Evelyn Howell is a 15-year old who lives in Swanage, Dorset. She usually spends her time walking by the ocean. This is the only area where she can feel at peace because her father always took her for walk there. In their walks, her father would tell her stories about his childhood. Unfortunately, World War I took her father and Evelyn was devastated. After Evelyn’s father passed away, her brother, Samuel, took over the family’s affairs. He became overprotective of Evelyn because she was depressed for a long time. It took her a few years for her heal, and since then, she goes on walks by the ocean.

During one of her walks by the ocean, Evelyn noticed a young gentleman who was always writing on a notebook. She was always curious about what he was writing. After a few days trying to ignore him, her curiosity won. But it took her a few days for her to build enough courage that him about what he was writing. The young gentleman introduced himself as “Adam” and told her that he was writing poems about Swanage.

Evelyn and Adam were in love with each other. But Evelyn was promised to marry to someone she didn’t know. She never told her brother about Adam because she knew that he would be very upset. It was hard for Evelyn and Adam to not see each other. Eventually, they decided that they should meet every night by a tree by the ocean to enjoy each other’s company while it lasted.