Monday, 14 December 2015

Monday 14th December - Girl in Red

With only ten more days until Christmas Eve, I think we can say we're on the downward slope in Muffvent.  I have my father visiting today and I have to assemble a costume for my daughter's school play, so let's just get on with it...

Girl in Red William George Gillies
I was struck by the wonderful glowing red in this picture, but when I came to find out more I was slightly surprised that the gentleman who painted Girl in Red also painted this...

The Harbour (1934)
Sir William George Gillies (1898-1973) was a prolific and influential Scottish painter, both exhibiting and teaching from just after the First World War to the 1960s.  He started his career doing portraits, from which Girl in Red probably dates, but he moved to abstract and to landscapes.  If you look on the PCF/BBC site 'Your Paintings' there are almost 300 examples of his work from all periods of his painting.

Emma (1921)

The Girl in Red has no name so it's impossible to find out who she was or what became of her (other than she was sold at auction earlier this year).  I suppose she was either the daughter of someone rich enough to pay or a relative or friend of the artist and his family.  When I was looking through his work I was particularly struck by his portraits of his sister, potter Emma Smith Gillies.  She died prematurely at the age of 36, but her brother featured her pots in his work as a memorial to her.

Bowl by Emma Smith Gillies

Shadowed Interior
It's easy to see how far Gillies travelled between his very traditional, almost Victorian Girl in Red and the still life compositions with Emma's pottery.  The Girl in Red is very much influenced by the previous century, almost like Millais twee children, but his portrait of Emma shows a lighter, brighter twentieth century style.  The nerdy art historian in me now wants to find out more about Emma's ceramics and see if I can match them to her brother's paintings.  After all, everyone needs a hobby...

Today's gift idea is from The Literary Gift Company who make some splendid stuff for people who love reading, writing or sniffing books surreptitiously in public. I really like these bracelets with lines of poetry written on them, and the Christina Rossetti one is my pick for today.  It has lines from 'A birthday', one of the few of Rossetti's poems that is cheerful about love and no-one dies. You can also get Byron, Elizabeth Barrett Browning and the Song of Solomon for your wrist if you so desire.

You can buy the bangle here for the princely sum of £60.

See you tomorrow...

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Many thanks for your comment. I shall post it up shortly! Kx