Evelyn Dunbar (1906-1960):
Colour sketch for the Hilly Fields mural frieze at Brockley County School for Boys, including incidental sketches [HMO 430]
Framed (ref: 6684)
Squared, inscribed recto ‘Learning & leisure/Labour & leisure’, referring to later addition of two schoolboys above the frieze. Pencil, pen & ink and oil on paper. 10¼ x 23 in. (26 x 58.5 cm)
Provenance: Roger Folley; Alasdair Dunbar; Hammer Mill Oast Collection
Exhibited: Evelyn Dunbar - The Lost Works, Pallant House Gallery, October 2015 - February 2016, cat 19. Literature: Evelyn Dunbar - The Lost Works, eds Sacha Llewellyn & Paul Liss, July 2015, cat. 19, page 52; Evelyn Dunbar: A Life in Painting, Christopher Campbell-Howes, October 2016, pages 93-168. The chosen theme for the hall panels was Aesop’s Fables, which gave scope for narrative themes in landscape settings. Having completed The Country Girl and the Pail of Milk, one of the five large arched panels, Dunbar turned her attention to the enclosed balcony and the possibility of painting a frieze along its 12 metre length. After several experiments in proportion she produced a panorama of Hilly Fields, the area surrounding the school, composing a visual encyclopedia of 1930s suburbia with the foreground featuring the mostly innocent activities of Brockley schoolboys on their way home from school. Dunbar’s initial water-colour sketchwork was made from the top of a nearby water-tower, in which she was wedged between the water tank and a tiny dormer window; interviewed by The Kent Messenger in 1935 she remembered that in this cramped space in the summer heat of 1933 the water in her paint jar ‘nearly boiled’.
We are grateful to Christopher Campbell-Howes for assistance.