Lucy Kemp-Welch - "In honour of Captain Elidyr Herbert V.C."

Lucy Kemp-Welch is one of our finest equine artists and her work much sought after by both collectors and horse lovers. She was refused permission to travel to the battle fields of WW1 but such was her determination she found other ways to become a self imposed unofficial war artist.

One of her most moving tributes to the brave men that fell in action was to honour the deeds of Captain Elidyr Herbert Victoria Cross who fell in action on 12th November 1917. He was described by one of his men as ‘one of the most popular officers in the brigade’, who was ‘sincerely mourned’. Captain Herbert was buried in Gaza City military cemetery. His headstone bears Latin inscriptions meaning ‘The inn of a pilgrim travelling to Jerusalem’ and ‘Eternal rest grant unto him oh Lord’.

His death was widely mourned in Monmouthshire and in 1923 tenants from the Herbert Estates presented his parents, Lord and Lady Treowen with a painting by Lucy Kemp-Welch showing Captain Herbert with the Turkish machine gun. His family gave over part of the Llanover estate for a ‘garden settlement’, Tre Elidyr, in memory of their son and the 17 other men connected with the estate who lost their lives in the Great War.

So Tre Elidyr was built in 1925 with Llanover Primary School at its heart.

Captain Herbert was the son of Sir Ivor Herbert, who had recently been elevated to the Peerage as Lord Treowen. Until joining the House of Lords he had been Liberal MP for South Monmouthshire and, as Lord Lieutenant of Monmouthshire, had been responsible for recruiting throughout the county at the start of the war. He later became director of recruiting for the whole of Wales.

Elidyr was born in 1881. He went to King’s College, Cambridge, graduating in 1902. After qualifying as a solicitor he returned to Monmouthshire, living with his parents at Llanarth Court. He served as a Justice of the Peace and became a County Councillor.

In 1913 he joined the Royal Gloucestershire Hussars (RGH), part of the Territorial Force. When war broke out in 1914, as a 2nd Lieutenant, he summoned the Monmouthshire Squadron of the RGH to Llanover for mobilisation.

In April 1915 the RGH were sent to Egypt and subsequently to Gallipoli, landing at Suvla Bay, where he served as machine gun officer. They remained in Gallipoli until the campaign was abandoned in November and suffered heavy losses. After a brief spell in Egypt, where Lieutenant Herbert was promoted to Captain, he was sent with the RGH to the Sinai Desert and thence into Palestine.

As the British forces advanced through Palestine towards Jerusalem, they met fierce resistance from Turkish troops

Third Battle of Gaza which was part of the Sinai and Palestine campaign. Here the Egyptian Expeditionary Force (EEF) pursued the Turks and their allies through Southern Palestine and eventually captured Jerusalem a month later.

By November 1917, Elidyr Herbert saw action at about nine miles north-east of Gaza where he would show great bravery but which was to prove fateful for him.

The Charge at Huj (8 November 1917), saw the forces of the EEF made up of British and Australian forces, face the Ottoman Turkish Empire’s Yildirim Army Group.

The charge was carried out by units of the 5th Mounted Brigade, against a German, Austrian and Turkish artillery and infantry. The attack was successful and the British captured the position, seventy prisoners, eleven pieces of artillery and four machine guns. But the British suffered heavy casualties. Of the 170 men taking part, twenty-six were killed and forty wounded. They also had 100 horses killed. One can not help wondering if the fact that it was a mounted brigade and that so many horses we lost would have influenced Lucy Kemp-Welch to take on this commission .

One of the few officers to escape uninjured was Lieutenant Mercer of the Worcestershire Yeomanry. He described the charge:

“Machine guns and rifles opened up on us the moment we topped the rise behind which we had formed up. I remember thinking that the sound of crackling bullets was just like hailstorm on an iron-roofed building, so you may guess what the fusillade was....A whole heap of men and horses went down twenty or thirty yards from the muzzles of the guns. The squadron broke into a few scattered horsemen at the guns and seemed to melt away completely. For a time I, at any rate, had the impression that I was the only man left alive. I was amazed to discover we were the victors”.

The action is claimed to be one of the last British cavalry charges and was pictured in a watercolour painting by the British artist by Elizabeth Southerden Thompson.

After a Turkish counter attack had been repelled Captain Herbert, noticing that the Turks were regrouping and preparing to attack again, rushed forward ahead of his men to grab an abandoned Turkish machine gun and turn it on the enemy. It is this act of bravery that Kemp-Welch captures in her finished oil painting . We currently have the preliminary charcoal drawing for this oil and it if for sale here in Hertfordshire with Blondes Fine Art.

Charcoal drawing for oil painting available for sale . Please ask for details.

Charcoal drawing for oil painting available for sale . Please ask for details.

In the war diary of the Warwickshire Yeomanry, Elidyr Herbert is mentioned, as “a captain of the Gloucester Hussars [who] had arrived on the scene [where the Warwickshires were pinned down] and used one of the four captured machine-guns to cause havoc amongst the Turkish infantry”.

Robert Colquhoun - Art at Tilty Mill, Essex.

Robert Colquhoun was part of the Bohemian group of artists, many of whom where gay, living in the Fitzrovia area of central  London during and immediately after the war. He and his partner Robert MacBryde, were friends with Minton, Bacon, Vaughan, Sutherland, Adler, Wirth-Miller and many more who frequented the pubs and drinking clubs of Soho at that time. There are many recorded tales about the drinking antics of "The Two Roberts" who Colquhoun and MacBryde became known, so it is all the more amazing that they were employed as surrogate parents for 4 children living in Tilty Mill in Essex during the early 50's.

Colquhoun's friendship group in London included many writers such and Dylan Thomas , George Barker and his lover Elizabeth Smart and it was the later who decided that it would be a good idea to have " The Two Roberts" take care of her children . In 1947 she began living at Tilty Mill which is located near Great Dunmow and her role as features editor on House & Garden magazine was taking her away from home so after employing a number of house keepers came to an agreement with the Roberts that they would become Surrogate parents.

This unlikely role seems to have worked well for all and the children had great fun with the Roberts only being admonished a couple of times for their drunken exploits and all settled into a domestic routine. Both of the Roberts were poor at this point in time and Colquhoun produced few paintings at this time preferring to work on monotypes and offset drawings as both were less demanding in terms of materials , cost and time. The subject matter for this body of work was taken directly from the rural surroundings and many have a farming theme depicting horses and particular pigs as the farm was in close proximity to a pig farm and to a gypsy camp.

In 1953 Colquhoun produced a most impressive painting for the Contemporary Art Society exhibition titled  Figures in their setting. It was to be the biggest and most accomplished work that Robert Colquhoun was to produce and measured 185 x 143 cm  titled Figures in a Farmyard and is set in the courtyard at Tilty Mill.


As can been seen from the image above the painting depicts three subjects , a young girl with a long plait ; a seated man holding a stick and a grotesque pig depicted in a more formalised way. The pig is stialised in an expressive Cubist way which emphasises the aggressive sinister hostility. It is not only the influences of Picasso and Cubism that can be seen here but also those of the German Expressionist Max Beckmann and Francis Bacon.

The collection of Robert Colquhoun's work available here at Blondes Fine Art , in Hertfordshire are all from the same period and two of the monoprints we have most notably provide an insight as to where the origins of the pig, in this large exhibition oil comes from . Two of the work from 1952 shown below are  clearly similar to the final image in the 1954 oil.

In 1954 some 38 works were exhibited at the Redfern gallery which was the only major show of Colquhouns work during the Tilty Mill period. A few works were also included in the 1958 retrospective at the Whitecapel Gallery which suggests that many of the ones in the earlier exhibition did sell. However, in recent times there have been a appearance of a few more works from local Essex farmers and shopkeepers placing them up for sale which seems to indicate that they may well have been produced by Colquhoun as a form of currency to pay for food and alcohol when living in Tilty Mill.

The collection for sale here at Blondes Fine Art , located just 20 miles away from Tilty Mill are from the private collection of Sir Colin Anderson  and are all in unframed excellent condition. Please do enquire for further details .


Walter Hoyle, John Aldridge , Great Bardfield and Cow Parsley.

Walter Hoyle Gouache painting for sale

Walter Hoyle was a prominent member of the artist community of Great Bardfield , Essex and whilst he is perhaps most well known for his printing and teaching there is no doubt that his original work is of the highest quality, quite rare and much sought after. He studied at the RCA where he first met Edward Bawden and they clearly had a great deal of respect and admiration for each other and their respective work. Bawden invited Walter Hoyle to help him with a mural for the Festival of Britain and in 1951 they went on a painting holiday together in Sicily. The watercolours and gouache's that Hoyle produced on this trip are particularly good and some are held in the Fry Gallery collection in Saffron Walden and another fine example was in the Cambridge County Council art collection until sold in May 2017 at Cheffins auctions, where it realised £2,400 with commissions. So these rare works are not only hard to find but command a reasonable market value.

Clearly Bawden influenced Walter Hoyle but so did John Aldridge, who was the most traditional style painter of the village artists, painting landscapes which had a similarity to those of Stanley Spencer. He was often to be seen with his portable easel around the village and in his garden. Indeed the wonderful landscape that we have here at Blondes Fine Art depicting 'The Moors' at Great Bardfield, was one of his best known and iconic work which featured in a centre spread of the July edition of Modern Artist in 1955. (see below - top left.)

John Aldridge artist painting for sale

John Aldridge's garden was much admired by many of the residents as he was a keen and knowledgeable horticulturist who was described by his friend , the poet John Betjeman  as 'the gardeners artist'. Aldridge had some wonderful plant specimens which included the Giant Hogweed and it was this bi-annual along with its smaller cousin of the same family - Cow Parsley - that became somewhat emblematic of the Bardfield artists and appear in many images and gardens. 

Walter Hoyle was particularly fond of these plants and at certain times of the year they covered the roadside verges in the Essex villages. He depicts them in many of his work and the image at the top of this page is a great example that has only recently come to light,  it has Cow Parsley in the foreground of this lovely gouache depicting an Essex Barn. Signed lower right it would be a great addition to any collection. Please do contact us for more information should you be interested in acquiring the work.

The three other images of Cow Parsley that spring to mind when talking about Walter Hoyle are the ones shown below and the first depicts a pen and ink called 'The road to Finchingfield' which is held by the Fry Gallery . The second is a photograph of Walter Hoyle and his wife Denise which depicts him sketching a vase of dried flowers with the foremost plant being Cow Parsley.  Finally , there is the distinctive blue cover for the catalogue produced by Hoyle for the 1957/58 national tour of the Great Bardfield Artists exhibition and yes, you guessed it, the image is a reproduction of the pen and ink ' The road to Finchingfield'. 

So this little plant, often considered a weed, held a special place in the hearts of the Bardfield artists , especially Walter Hoyle, and it can be spotted in many other works. It has a wonderful texture, creamy colour and an architectural structure that lends itself to the design work and muralists of the Modern British period. So this Spring, when you are out in the countryside, stop for a moment and consider its beauty and if it suddenly appears in your garden give it a chance and let it flourish like John Aldridge and Walter Hoyle did back in the 1950's.

Please do contact us if you are thinking of buying or indeed selling work by the Great Bardfield Artists , particularly Walter Hoyle , John Aldridge and Sheila Robinson.

Enjoy Spring 2018 - it is just round the corner!


Harry Becker - Hertfordshire, Horses & Hardship

It was the period that Harry Becker spent at the Bushey School of Art in Hertfordshire, under the guidance of painter Hubert von Herkomer, that seems to have reinforced Becker's interest in social realism, the downtrodden farmer labouring underclasses and his ability as an equine artist.

Harry Becker trained at some of the best establishments in Paris and Antwerp where he was first exposed to painting scenes of manual farm labour on Dutch farms and to the techniques of 'belle peinture'  and 'plein air' by Carolus-Duran. But it was back in Hertfordshire that these skills were further developed ready to be honed out in the fields. Hertfordshire introduced Becker to two significant women painters , the first was Lucy Kemp-Welch who is one of our favourites here at Blondes Fine Art and is considered to be one of our finest equine artists. The other was Georgina Waddington who was also a talented artist and fell in love with Harry Becker, marrying in 1902 at the age of 35 years. So clearly Hertfordshire had a significant role in the life of Becker.

His love of animals became a growing part of his artistic portfolio as he painted the working dray horses and bus horses in West London near his home. He lived close by  the stables for the bus horses and produced a series of paintings in body colour on paper of a particular pair of horses, a grey and bay being groomed and cared for in the stable. These are illustrated on pages 62 -65 of the book 'Becker' by David Thompson and we are particularly proud to have the one shown below in our personal collection of work by Harry Becker together with the huge (40 x 48") lithograph depicting 'The Binder Team'. Also shown below.

Becker is without question a fine artist whose ability to depict working horses is in line with those skills of Luck Kemp-Welch,  but where his experiences differ are in his personal knowledge of hardship. Becker turned his back on London and the capitals art scene in favour of his native East Anglia. During the first world war times were hard , particularly for those working the land in Suffolk. Women , while the men were away, took to the land from about 1915 and Becker was there working in the fields with them depicting their contribution. Becker was commissioned to produce posters shown on the London underground that encouraged travel to the countryside and to work on the land. It is also slightly ironic that his suspicious sketching at the edge of fields resulted in him being arrested on more than one occasion only to be released when they realised that he was not a German spy.

Becker lived in poverty together with the farm workers and was very much accepted as one of their own. His depiction of rural Suffolk in the period from 1912 - 1928 is a unique record of the landscape, animals and farming folk who endured great hardship to just scrape a livelihood and his status as an outstanding artist continues to grow. We are great fans of his work and currently have a number of outstanding oils and watercolours available for sale so do please contact us to arrange to view or just to chat Becker!

Mark Ponting - Blondes Fine Art

Arthur Legge - Finchingfield's Hidden Treasure

We are delighted to have been featured in this months - January 2018 - edition of Essex Life , who have focused on our collection of work by Arthur Legge.

We currently have a large collection of his work for sale and Essex Life have featured his links to his home town of Finchingfield in Essex.

Pick up a copy today or just click HERE to visit the Arthur Legge collection 


Theodoros Stamos work for sale

Theodoros Stamos - the early years.

Theodoros Stamos was always interested in the effects achieved directly with colour, texture and abstract composition. He first experimented with Surrealism and the biomorphic forms that so interested Gottlieb, Baziotes and Rothko; then with just as much exuberance he went on in the fifties to immerse himself in Abstract Expressionism - and all of this was done at an age when most artists are still just leaving collage.

Theodoros Stamos was New Yorker , born and bred. He was born of Greek parents on East Eighteen Street in 1922 and lived in the city for most of his life. His parents had no artistic background and it was a photograph of a work by Jacob Epstein - one of his monsters- Stamos recalls copying onto a portable child's blackboard that is his first recollection of any artistic tendency at the age of about 8 years. Six years later at the age of 14 years he won a scholarship to attend the American Artists School where he was encouraged by Joe Soloman, who was part of a group known as "The Ten" which included Rothko, Gottlieb and Louis Schanker. Soloman also introduced him to the work of Arthur Dove and there is little doubt that his work from the 1930's influenced Stamos's work of the early 1940's. In addition he saw, and was influenced by the work of Paul Klee and Milton Avery.

Incredibly, Stamos held his first one man show when he was jut 20 years of age. In 1943 at the Wakefield Gallery run at the time by Betty Parsons, and when she moved on to become director of the Mortimer Brandt Gallery contemporary section she put on another show for Stamos in 1945. So, she was clearly a fan of his work and it is of little surprise that when she set up her own gallery in 1947 Theodoros Stamos was one of the first exhibitions. It is perhaps interesting to note that Barnett Newman was also one of the string of artists attached to the new gallery as was Hedda Sterne, Hofmann, Still and many others. Many of the artists employed similar styles and imagery which originated from nature and particularly the sea and it was a leading critic of the time , Lawrence Alloway, who gave these painters a collective name of Biomorphic Painters.

It was for the first show of Stamos that Barnett Newman wrote the following by way of introducing his work to the New York art world.

"The work of Theodoros Stamos, subtle and sensuous as it is, reveals an attitude toward nature that is closer to true communion. His ideographs capture the moment of totemic affinity with the rock and the mushroom, the crayfish and the might say that instead of going to the rock he comes out of it...........
Stamos is able therefore, to catch not only the glow of an object in all its splendour but its inner life and all its dramatic implications of terror and mystery . In doing so he makes clear the important difference between the sense of nature and the act of worship."

After his 1947 exhibition he travelled to Europe and visited France , Italy and Greece. We, here at Blondes Fine Art in Hertfordshire , England, have two pieces by Stamos from this period that are currently offered for sale. Both are in excellent condition and come from a private European collection  originally purchased from Turske Fine Art in Zurich. Both work are clearly signed and one tiled and dated. The two other pieces available are a little later, one from 1949 a Y Band series work , where he utilises abstract Y-like bands to create a powerful composition using transparent and iridescent metallic paints. This painting is almost calligraphic in quality and similar to a number of works produced by Stamos during this period of the late 1940's. Finally,  we have a lovely work on board which is influenced by his interest in the oriental although undated it is from the early 1950's and similar stylistically to a number of his Teahouse series of works.

Please do contact us for more information about the available works.


Artist Eduardo Paolozzi and his Essex roots!

Eduardo Paolozzi is quite rightly considered to be one of Scotland's greatest artists as he was born and bred there, to Italian parents who ran an ice cream shop. However , after studies at Edinburgh Collage of Art he moved to the Slade school of art where he met two key people who changed the course of the art world for ever. It was his friendship with William Turnbull and particularly Nigel Henderson that led to the formation of the Independent Group who shared a modernist vision and embraced mass culture.
Paolozzi studied around the globe but when he came to settle down where did he choose? Yes, Essex of course.
In 1954 he moved there with his wife Freda and travelled to London to teach and work. They lived in a row of cottages at Landermere Quay which is a tiny smugglers haven on the coast of Essex near the village of Thorpe-le-Soken in the Essex marshes. The Hendersons bought the smugglers pub the Kings Head and the cottages called Gull cottages and the rest is history as between them Henderson and Paolozzi formed Hammer Prints and ran the venture from the pub . Sounds like a great plan to me......... See image of the building today.
So there we have it another bit of easily overlooked art history which makes Eduardo Paolozzi one of Essex's greatest artists!
Another interesting art fact is that living in the same cottages at the same time was Basil Spence later to be knighted as he was the architect who built Coventry Cathedral and the etched windows were designed and made by John Hutton another great artist who lived- Yes, you guessed it- in the same line of cottages. Small world isn't it!

Former Smugglers pub Kings Head the  HQ for Hammer Prints

It always seems strange to me that the most modern art of the popular culture was actually rooted in the remote Essex countryside but that was just out of necessity as the property prices made the area affordable and is the reason why such greats as John Armstrong, Bawden, The Two Roberts and countless other great artists settled in Essex particularly in the post war period.
So forget your preconceived ideas of Essex and embrace its wonderful Art heritage as it gave us Eduardo Paolozzi ! 

We here at Blondes Fine Art, located on the borders of Essex and Hertfordshire, currently have a number of works by Eduardo Paolozzi for sale and have just acquired a lovely collection of plaster maquette's from the studio of the Artist. Keep an eye on the website as they will be added soon.

Mark & Mel

John Thompson - Northern Artist - For Sale

I really have neglected the blog and this lazy Sunday with an extra hour gained by the clock change seems like the best day to start to make amends. We can always find reasons and excuses such as working in Germany and Portugal recently in my case, but actually I have missed the time to "chat art". So after much deliberation I have decided to go back to my childhood roots for the first of what I hope can be more regular blogs in the run up to Christmas. To start us off this one is about the Northern artist John Thompson.

John Thompson was born in Oldham and is essentially self-taught save for a few years studies of life drawing classes , John Thompson painted groups of figures, cloth capped and anonymous, that loom, loiter and cannot stop reminding you of Lowry. He is quite rightly compared to other, better known northern artists such as Theodore Major, Harold Riley and the man himself, L. S. Lowry. This recognition took time to develop, but in the last 7 years of his life John enjoyed enormous success.

I am myself a Lancashire lad having been born in Morecambe  before slowly migrating south with my fathers job, so it is not a real surprise that I have an affinity with Northern art and John Thompson is one of the best. It was a few years ago in the mid 1990's and on a wet afternoon that we were wandering around a mill in Uppermill which had lots of small areas filled with crafts, antiques and artists and came across John Thompson in a room filled with his paintings.  John Thompson was beginning to find some  recognition at this time for his very individual work particularly of his “groups of working men”. We left  about 3 hours later having talked about  painting, the art world and John’s life. We nearly purchased one of his group series and this is still a regret that we did not. I do remember that he even said that he would be happy split the cost into multiple payments on  postdated cheques as he said he still liked the idea of receiving a wage from his job. Wish I had agreed!

John Thompson painting for sale

 John Thompson's  work is now widely collected both at home and abroad. He has had successful one man shows in Manchester and Dublin and in 2002 three of his paintings were purchased by the House of Lords in London and are now hanging in the Committee Rooms.

A book on his life and work – “Do you like ’em then” was published in March 2006 and he has been the subject of features on Channel 4 and Granada TV.

This recognition, particularly for his group portraits of working men, has taken time to develop, but is thoroughly deserved. The image available now at Blondes Fine Art is in great condition and a sure fire investment for the future, so do contact us for further details .

John Knapp-Fisher - Watercolour makes over £11,000 at auction today ! Should we all be buying his work?

John Knapp-Fisher is a great artist who spent time painting in both Suffolk and then in rural Pembrokeshire . He is a favourite of ours here at Blondes Fine Art and I am often asked by clients and friends my views on buying his particular work as an investment.

This morning I have watched a watercolour sell for over £11,000 at Brightwells auction room and wonder how much further have his prices to go. With an auctioneers estimate of 500-1000 clearly the seller and the auction house will be very happy.

John Knapp-Fisher watercolour £11,000 at auction

John Knapp-Fisher watercolour £11,000 at auction

So why do people keep paying higher amounts and see his work as being inflation proof? Before I start to answer this question I should say that my immediate response to these quires is preempted by my view on art in general . That it is an emotional purchase and the fact that owing art that resonates with you personally, is far more important than its value or potential investment. But for one moment let us look at the work of John Knapp-Fisher.

Last month I was asked this very question by a client who was considering a purchase. He is from Wales and was looking at Knapp-Fisher's work as he has links to Pembroke. He has children and wanted to buy something that was relevant to them all but would increase in value. He asked me to set out my views which I did.

Knapp-Fisher has a strong following and there are a number of privte collctors of his work, particularly in Wales and the value of his work has continued to rise over the last 5 years or so. John sadly died in 2015 and since then the prices of his work at auction , particularly Rogers & Jones in Cardiff, have taken another leap upwards. In fact last year an oil sold for £20,000 including premiums so there are some very wealthy welsh collectors determined to get their hands on his work and happy to pay whatever is needed. So there is a market for his work and although John painted a large number of work there is a greater demand than there is supply. So simple economics come into force and the price has been driven upwards.

Clearly, there are other factors such as condition, the medium in which painted and subject that have an impact on price but in general terms the prices continue to increase. So will this continue ? Who knows , it was not long ago that you could buy an early Porsche for about £10,000 and they are now in the region of £500,000 so who knows where or when any market will stop!

So what is my advice? Very simply to buy what you like and what makes you feel good. Art is much more that the price tag. If you like it and can afford it buy it.

But actually I do rate the work of John Knapp-Fisher and do think it will continue to be collected by an ever increasing group of knowledgeable individuals and good work will continue to command higher prices. Look at todays auction price for that watercolour which when bought direct from John in his gallery at the turn of the century can not have been more than a few hundred pounds. Perhaps the next work of a similar quality will possibly exceed the price made today who knows I will have to dust of my crystal ball and see what the future holds!

The client who asked my views did buy a watercolour from us and must be very happy to see that the market is as bouyant as it is for the work of John Knapp-Fisher and that he paid only 10% of the price of the work sold today.

Perhaps the way forward is to buy from a gallery as they seem to offer better value than the auction rooms for the work of John Knapp -Fisher. Just a thought and of course I would say this.

Happy investing!

Harry Becker - Wanted

Harry Becker is an artist who is of particular interest to us here at Blondes Fine Art.

Did your father or grandfather know Harry Becker ?
Are you related to the brothers that played in Beckers home and allowed by Georgina to choose paintings after his death?
Did you move to remote Scotland and now looking to sell your collection?

If you have inherited work by Harry Becker, other Bushey School of Art artists,  or have been told that an unsigned work is by this artist and are a little unsure, then please do contact us and we will help where ever possible.

He was a fine artist and we are genuinely enthusiastic about acquiring new work for the gallery. We will pay the best price we possibly can and have a very up to date feel of the current market in his original work. We - Melanie and I - work from our private "stable yard gallery" in Hertfordshire close to the Henry Moore House & Garden , where Melanie also works. We offer a friendly , professional and  honest service that you can trust. 

Harry Becker originals are Wanted right now so contact us and we will help you realise the best price.

Mark Ponting
Blondes Fine Art

mobile number 07519639386




Merlyn Evans - 1960's abstract paintings

Merlyn Evans wrote in the introduction to his exhibition at the Marlborough Gallery in March 1968 .....

' By temperament and preference, I have been from the early age of seventeen an abstract painter'

He was precociously gifted as a student at the Glasgow School of Art and then Royal College of Art in London and exhibited at the Royal Scottish Academy on 1930 and 31. He was influenced by Surrealism in the 1930's and also Mondrian . Evans temperament combined passion and philosophical speculation and argument, and he was well read in psychology, philosophy, politics and the history and techniques of art. He was also profoundly affected by Modernist literature and poetry, a lover of music and player of jazz piano and trumpet. He married the concert pianist Marjorie Few in 1950 I think it is interesting that his abstract work seems to have started in the late 1950's with a series of work entitled The Orchestra. These derived from studies made from the box at the Festival Hall and were an attempt to depict the ensemble of the orchestra as a crowd.

The theme of crowd and its complex form and process continued to fascinate Merlyn Evans and drove him to produce the vast Waterloo Station Series in 1963.

His final work consisted of four tall sections of nine feet by four but what we have here at Blondes Fine Art in Hertfordshire are two of the studies that he painted at the station over a period of years. These recorded, what he termed 'direct from nature'. The final work was too big to be hung in the gallery rooms of Tunnard and Roberts  where Evans exhibited in October 1963, and was displayed instead in the studio, a disused church in Fleet Road, Hampstead, which was also large enough to house his huge presses. ( see image below of Evans in front of the huge panels )

Merlyn Evans had after returning from the war, learnt etching and aquatint and became a master intaglio printmaker and he is still considered to be one of the Modern British 'greats' in this particular field.

Merlyn Evans

The sequence of panels in the Waterloo Series is also interesting as it suggests a musical process of complication to simplicity, with overlapping transitions from the figurative to the geometric. Panels one and three where described by Evans as 'figurative with a controlled degree of representation. Everything is on the move. ' In panel one the crowd is clearly seen as a collection of individuals, massing at rush hour into spaces between the booths and advertising hoardings. In panel three there is more of a merging into one mass. Panel two gives a cinematic  shot of the stations static properties with the crowd in the foreground while the transition to abstraction is complete in the final panel which shows the station reduced to purely geometric forms. It seems that Evans wanted to articulate the disconcerting vision of the modern city of London with its human masses in contrast to the stark modern architecture.

 The pair of works available here are for panels three and four and come from the personal collection of the great British composer Malcolm Arnold. His work is hard to find and rarely available other than in a few St James, London galleries so please do contact us to arrange a viewing or for more information about these works.






Walter Hoyle - Great Bardfield Artist - Etchings for sale

Walter Hoyle was greatly influenced by his friend Edward Bawden and , together with Sheila Robinson , they are my favourite Bardfield printmakers. Indeed both worked very closely with Bawden on a number of projects both in the UK and abroad. Walter Hoyle worked together with Bawden and Robinson on the mural for the RCA's Lion and Unicorn Pavilion at the 1951 Festival of Britain on the South Bank in London and upon its completion he holidayed with Bawden in Sicily where they both painted daily.

It was shortly after their return from this trip that Walter Hoyle moved to Great Bardfield. In the early 1960s he really concentrated on printmaking. He was teaching at Cambridge School of Art , set up a print studio and launched 'Cambridge Print Edition' to produce limited editions of artists' prints. It was at this point that he produced a series of prints depicting Cambridge Colleges that was published by Editions Alecto. The Cambridge Colleges were 10 Linocuts made in 1965-6 and were sold in a portfolio box set. These were shown in an exhibition 'Zodiac Paintings and Cambridge Prints ' at Savage Gallery , London 1966. 

A short time later Hoyle made a series of prints based on his paintings on the zodiac and were produced by Editions Alectro as the  ' Planet Series' . These seem to have disappeared over the decades and rarely now come to the market for some reason. They were complicated works and he experimented with paper, techniques and inks producing for cutting edge material.

' Bright Star ' 1969

' Bright Star ' 1969

There is no doubt that the years spent in Great Bardfield were an important part of Walter Hoyles life . Moving to Essex and Cambridgeshire allowed him to raise a family and to develop as an artist while mixing with other like minded individuals. Unlike some of the other artists in Bardfield his work developed greatly over the years, creating new images that challenged his previous work. As a result I think his work is more varied than others but perhaps less distinctive and recognisable than other Bardfield artists. Having said this it also makes his work more interesting and individual, as he adapted his practise in response to where ever he was at the time . We here at Blondes Fine Art currently have two lovely Etchings available for purchase.

He married Denise Hoyle who was of French birth and spent the later part of his life living between Hastings and Dieppe until he died in 2000.

John Bratby - Sunflower oil painting - Wanted

John Bratby is one of our most well known artists who was one of the group of famous  'Kitchen sink' artists.

He is particularly known for his large vibrant images of yellow sunflowers from the 1960's /70s and we are currently looking to buy a work in good condition with good provenance. the cash is waiting for the right work so please do contact us if you are looking to sell. 

Bratby’s fame was, in his time, the equivalent of Damien Hirst or Tracey Emin. Everyone knew who John Bratby was. A supercharged realist-cum-expressionist, Bratby piled up the paint in mounds of impasto that threatened to topple off his pictures. Bratby epitomised the mid-Fifties British rebellion against pretension and the class system.

In the Sixties he produced intense, psychedelic portraits of international stars such as Paul McCartney and David Frost, wrote existentialist novels and painted a notorious mural of the crucifixion with his own flabby torso on the cross.In the Seventies he turned to the Right, politically, was elected to the Royal Academy of Arts and then tried, unsuccessfully, to paint the portrait of Idi Amin. He also completed perhaps the worst-ever group painting of the Royal Family purely for publicity .

There had been no one like John Bratby, but after his death only Charles Saatchi remained a champion of his. 

All this said we here at Blondes Fine Art are looking to purchase . Contact us now on 07519639386