Work of the Week


Whilst the gallery remains closed Browse & Darby will feature a Work of the Week every Monday for you to enjoy. Each Work of the Week is available for sale so please email us if you would like further information.

30 November – 6 December 2020

GWEN JOHN (1876-1939)
Rear View of Nun and Orphan, Seated in Church, circa 1920s
gouache on paper
5 5/8 x 5 7/16 inches
£8,500 + ARR

Gwen John was born in Pembrokeshire and studied at the Slade School of Art from 1894 to 1897. She also attended the Whistler’s School in Paris and remained in that city till 1898. Notable friends of the artist were Rodin, the poet and novelist Rainer Maria Rilke and the French philosopher Jacques Maritain. John exhibited her work with major galleries and at important exhibitions, including the New English Art Club, the Société des Artistes Français and the Salon d’Automne. She is known today as one of Britain’s most important modern female painters, her fame arguably now eclipsing that of her brother, August John, who himself predicted her greater popularity.

Acquired from the Artist’s Estate, estate no. EJ 1215.

Another version of this composition is illustrated in Cecily Langdale, Gwen John, London & New Haven, 1987, illus as pl.356, p.223, no.311

23 – 29 November 2020

Corfe Castle, Dorset
oil on canvas

Robert Amesbury Brooks was a student of the Slade School of Art where he was taught by Euan Uglow, Patrick George and Lawrence Gowing. Brooks paints from life and from observation, most notably the landscape of Dorset. Corfe Castle, seen here in this painting, has been referred to as the artist’s muse; a loyal model in one of the most beautiful places in England, the Purbeck and the Jurassic Coast, a World Heritage Site. The artist is captivated not only by the building’s form but also how it sits within the landscape both literally and historically.

23 – 30 November16 – 22 November 2020

Late Youth, circa 1933
pencil on paper
23 x 18 inches
inscribed ‘Late youth’ (lower centre)
£9,000 + ARR

with Gillian Jason Gallery, London, where purchased by the previous owner’s father, circa 1980, and thence by descent

Stanley Spencer was born in Cookham, Berkshire in 1891. He studied at the Slade School of Art (1908-12) where he was taught by Henry Tonks and where his fellow students included Paul Nash, David Bomberg, and Dora Carrington. In 1912 Roger Fry included Spencer in the Second Post-Impressionist Exhibition and Spencer won a Slade Composition Prize. He also was shown in the first Contemporary Art Society Exhibition in 1913.

His painting was interrupted by World War Two, during which Spencer served in the Royal Army Medical Corps and later the Berkshire Regiment. His experience of war and death (especially the death of his elder brother) haunted him for the rest of his life and briefly stopped him painting.

Upon his return to civilian life Spencer moved back to Cookham, then to his friends, the Slessors. In the year that he spent with them, he painted around twenty pictures, and worked on a series for their private oratory. In 1925 he married Hilda Carline and the couple had two children together. In 1938, however, they were divorced and Spencer married Patricia Preece, Dorothy Hepworth’s partner.

The rest of Spencer’s career took him to chapels and memorials as well as to a commission for the War Artist’s Advisory Committee, during which he painted the Shipbuilding on the Clyde series. Spencer had a flair and liking for large, multi-figure works. In his later years he embarked on depictions of the Resurrection, and was awarded the CBE, as well as the title of Associate, then full Royal Academician. His works take in many themes and subjects, from the sexual to the religious, as well as the lives of working people.

Like many of Spencer’s drawings this has been squared for transfer. Late Youth is an excellent illustration of Spencer’s skilled draughtsmanship and confident use of shading within the fluid composition. On the reverse is also an unfinished sketch of bathers, possibly an experiment in preparation for the first picture he painted for his Church House, entitled Parents Resurrecting (1933), in which his parents emerge from their graves in Cookham churchyard to be welcomed by their descendants. Three young bathers in the foreground carry bathing costumes and towels while contemplating the scene, and in the lower right-hand corner a figure leaning forward with outstretched arm is highly redolent of the foreground figure in the present work.

9 – 15 November 2020

THOMAS LAMB (b.1978)
Trees in Autumn
oil on linen
90 x 110 cm

Thomas Lamb was born in 1978 in Lincolnshire and trained at Wimbledon School of Art. He was awarded the Sainsbury Scholarship for Painting & Sculpture at the British School at Rome (2001-2003) and spent two years living and working in Italy where he was greatly influenced by the masters of the Italian Renaissance. In 2006 he won the Prince of Wales Bursary for the Arts, Athens and has subsequently exhibited in several group shows include Responding to Rome at the Estorick Collection of Modern Art, London.

Lamb’s landscapes draw from the Derbyshire countryside, where he now lives, and Japan, a country to which he feels a strong connection, but it is the space between perception and imagination, between what we see and what we feel and remember of a place, that the artist explores. His method of blending paint and pigment to produce a softening sfumato effect, and his muted palette of pinks, blues and greys, accentuate the dreamlike quality of his work.