John Moody’s formative 1926 painting tour, which took in both sides of the Channel, was undertaken at crucial point in his early career. He was 20 in 1926 and though determined to pursue his passion as an artist he was financially vulnerable. A letter from a family friend in December 1926 cautions him on life as an artist: “I am very interested in seeing that you have taken up lettering and I congratulate you on your success. I think you have done a wise and practical thing in taking up commercial art, but it would be a pity if you did nothing else. At the start I am afraid you can’t live on doing work that will live, but you may live on doing work that will not live.” By 1930 Jack, as a founder member of the New Kingston Group, was exhibiting work around the country and in 1931 was teaching Architecture and Perspective at the Wimbledon School of Art. Facing penury however he enrolled as a singer at the Webber Douglas School of Singing which was to draw him inexorably into theatre life – and eventually into the world of opera, for which he is best remembered. He never lost his love of painting.
The extraordinary series which resulted from his 1926 painting spree were motivated by an interest in light – huge skies, seascapes, white cliffs and rolling sand dunes. Two years later his Knocke series, on the Belgian coast, retain similar characteristics whilst adopting a slightly surreal imagery.
We are grateful to Richard Thompson for the above catalogue note.