Evelyn Dunbar (1906-1960):
Colour study for sub-gallery spandrels at Brockley County School for Boys [HMO 551]
Framed (ref: 6685)
Pencil and oil on paper. 15.2 x 22.2 in. (38.7 x 56.5 cm)
Provenance: Roger Folley; Alasdair Dunbar; Hammer Mill Oast Collection
Exhibited: Evelyn Dunbar - The Lost Works, Pallant House Gallery, October 2015 - February 2016, cat 21.
Literature: Evelyn Dunbar - The Lost Works, eds Sacha Llewellyn & Paul Liss, July 2015, cat. 21, page 58;
Evelyn Dunbar: A Life in Painting, Christopher Campbell-Howes, October 2015, pages 150-152.
The adjoining sub-gallery spandrels illustrate the fables The Fir Tree and the Bramble (after Aesop, left) and The Elm Tree and the Vine (from Ovid, Metamorphoses, right). While The Fir Tree and the Bramble is not greatly edifying, The Elm Tree and the Vine is an early example of Dunbar’s fondness for literary allusion, together with a certain autobiographical element: in Ovid’s telling of the legend, the Vine (i.e. Dunbar) actively seeks the support of the Elm (i.e. Mahoney). (Classical Mediterranean vineyards often had elm supports.) In this light, this spandrel is a declaration of love.
We are grateful to Christopher Campbell-Howes for assistance.