Monday, September 17, 2012

Dora Carrington, Frank Prewett and Vintage Swimming!

Back in July I posted a pencil sketch I had found in a book about the Bloomsbury artsit, Dora Carrington. It was a pencil sketch of her brother Noel and I admitted at the time that, really, the only reason for his appearing on Front Free Endpaper was that he was, in his portrait at least, particularly pretty. So I don't feel so bad now posting a couple of delightful, if very different, images that I found in a second book about Dora a couple of days ago (The Art of Dora Carrington by Jane Hill. The Herbert Press, London: 1995). The image above is called The "Roman Bath", Tidmarsh Mill and is a delightful ink and wash drawing on paper done in 1919. But by far the most arresting image in the book for me is this portrait below of Frank Prewett, an oil on canvas from 1920. Prewett was a young Canadian war poet who was introduced to Carrington and her friends at Garsington Manor by Siegfried Sassoon who nick-named him 'Toronto'. The book says that "[Mark] Gertler wrote that 'he mooches about like a faded Hamlet', but Carrington was stirred by him, 'looking strangely lovely on a great sienna horse' and painted him in his jerkin". Sassoon elsewhere give us a description of this chap which today we might have to view not just as depressive but perhaps displaying elements of bi-polar disorder. The portrait though is an astonishingly beautiful image and whilst I am no expert on Dora Carrington, what I have seen of her portrait work in particular suggest a real facility for allowing the vulnerability unique to each subject to simmer just below the surface of their image. Here, I'm sure, there is a shadow of sadness falling across that far-away poet's gaze.


eArnie Painter said...

I like you, Callum!

Nigel said...

"Allowing the vulnerability unique to each subject to simmer just below the surface" - I love these words and this immage!

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