Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Van Someren The Artist

A little while ago I posted a rather lovely pencil drawing of a boy which I found on the cover of a book catalogue from Elysian Fields Booksellers. The last post is HERE.

Since then, Don Mader, scholar and Uranian expert and the current owner of the picture has been in touch with more information. The image is, apparently, unsigned and so the only attribution is the one from Elysian Fields and this is made a little more problematic by the fact that the only Van Someren recorded as an artist would appear to be:

Major Edmund Lawrence Van Someren b1875
Portrait, figure and landscape painter born in India, He studied at the Royal Academy Schools where he gained two silver medals and a Landseer scholarship. He exhibited from 1897 to 1938 at the NEA, RA, ROI 62 times, RSA and the New Gallery.

Which of course means that if he were the artist of the picture then Elysian Fields got the first name wrong. This would not be surprising I have to say. There is a self-published book available about an E. L. Van Someren which neither Don nor I have actually laid hands on but which might have a lot more information, however, the blurb doesn't make it sound like a page turned for sure:

Van Someren: E.L. Van Someren, Artist and Soldier, 1875-1963, by Eric Charlesworth (1997, self-published)

This book is all account of a Suffolk artist. After a successful training at Dresden and The Royal Academy Schools, van Someren took a studio in Chelsea where lie was much in demand for painting portraits of prominent people of the day, He serveded in the Boer War and World War I where he continued to paint, often in hazardous conditions. Moving to Suffolk in 1927 he continued sketching in oils and watercolour, painting the Suffolk countryside with great sensitivity. Whilst curate of St. Mary"s, Woodbridge the author was introduced to the artist in 1954 by Elsie Redstone, the Seckford librarian and also by Elizabeth Gardener-Smith, niece of the artist. He often visited the artist at his home and studio at Melton House and enjoyed a chat over a quiet pipe of his home grown tobacco. 30 pages.

Whatever the solidity of the attribution, as Don says, it is a "stunning piece of work".

(The 'not quite so stunning piece of work' above is a rather drab looking watercolour by Van Someren recently sold on Ebay and shamelessly copied to post here for lack of other illustrations. More Suffilk watercolours by Van Someren HERE)

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