Jennings Fine Art Exhibition
My first one man exhibition of original drawings will be held in May 2017. That is drawings made for their own sake not for publication in a book. Most of the series have been inspired by Debussy’s settings of Verlaine’s poetry. I especially like the ones about cold parks peopled with Watteau like figures such as the series Fetes Galantes. I have already made several drawings as pictured below. All the works are watercolour and mixed media on paper and will be published in a catalogue. All works will be for sale through Jennings Fine Art. If you would like to be sent a catalogue let me know through this site.
at The Art Workers Guild 6 Queen Square Bloomsbury London WC1N 3AT March 2nd – March 10th 2015
Will include Lithographs and originals from several books including | Motley | Behind The Dusty Glass | The Oxford Nursery Book | Songs & Stories For Bedtime
The Limelight Pictures
The Nightingale Trust
The Limelight Pictures
Private View Weds 27th Feb 6.30 – 8.30 p.m.
South Kensington and Chelsea Mental Health Centre
(next to Chelsea and Westminster Hospital)
1 Nightingale Place
London SW10 9NG
Further details: email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Nightingale Project is a charity run by Dr Nick Rhodes and Stephen Barnham. The aim of the charity is to add pictures and music to otherwise dull official spaces in NHS hospitals.
I have made a series of drawings which will be available as prints and will be exhibited at the Chelsea & Westminster Hospital mental health unit in February. The set of prints are collectively called the limelight pictures. The title refers both to the celebrated Chaplin film as well as the particular lighting used in the old Music Halls and Theatres. The idea for the present exhibition began with a commission from the Nightingale Project. They asked if I would make a set of drawings of silent film stars. The drawings were to be enlarged and then facsimile printed by the Giclee process and would in the first instance hang in the newly refurbished geriatric unit at Northwick Park Hospital in Middlesex.
I chose to draw Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton plus a figure from the Music Hall days in both London and Paris, Little Tich, who was the highest paid performer of his day, a very small man who famously balanced on the toes of a pair of big boots.
I used a deliberately muted and limited palette of tones and murky colours; greys, browns, soft olive greens and dirty creams. I wanted to suggest that these images were faded by time and had perhaps lain in the drawer of some imaginary collector of ephemera for many years and only recently been brought to light.
After the images were hung at Northwick Park Dr Rhodes suggested we might make an exhibition of the prints made from my original pen and watercolour wash drawings. The problem being that there were not enough images to justify a whole exhibition. I would have to draw some more. We discussed a list of names of other stars of the stage and the silver screen and it was then that I realised who the collector I had at first thought to be imaginary might be. Not an imagined figure at all but our late friend, the music critic and author Patrick O’ Connor. Patrick was a great collector of photographs, post cards, ephemera and posters connected with the artists singers and performers he admired so much. After his untimely death his collection was mostly dispersed, Patrick had also been a patron and supporter of the Nightingale Project, often choosing the repertoire for their music recitals and chamber concerts and the like.
One evening, after dinner, Patrick had played us a recording on his wind up gramophone of Little Tich singing. This was just before he finally moved out of his house at Sheen Park in Richmond and it made for a very haunting end to an evening, the combination of the scratchy almost ghostly recorded sound and the idea of its being the last visit to his old house.
Now the exhibition had extra shape and purpose, and I went on to make drawings of Louise Brooks, Jean Louis Barrault, Max Miller, Anna May Wong, Josephine Baker, and Greta Garbo as well as Laurel and Hardy and some newer additions to the images of Charlie Chaplin or ‘Charlot’, surely one of the few stars to be completely recognisable from a back view alone. I chose familiar and iconic poses, mostly based on film stills or old publicity photographs. In the case of Josephine Baker my drawing was based on a stylised image of her in a characteristic dance movement made by the poster artist Paul Colin. I like to think that these few faded drawings prints and scraps might represent the ones that were left over in some so far un-regarded drawer among Patrick’s collections in the hope that they pay both tribute and homage to his much missed spirit and to his perceptive and eclectic discernment.