Moody, John

(1906 – 1993)

Margaret Sewell, 1927


SKU: 9419

Egg Tempera on board 

Height: 20.9cm
Width: 15.2cm

1 in stock


The Artist’s Estate

Literature: Llewellyn, Sacha, and Paul Liss. Portrait of an Artist. Liss Llewellyn, 2021, p.120.

Margaret Ley, a talented miniaturist, and William Sewell, a talented artist and book illustrator, first met when students at Herkomer’s Art School. In this poignant portrait of 1927, John Moody expresses the grief felt by Margaret on the tenth anniversary of her husband William’s death – he died in 1917, aged 41, at the battle of Arras.  Still in mourning, she holds in her hand a species of the Cardamine plant, known for its healing properties for heart ailments.  

Born in 1906 Moody had been too young to participate in the war, but suffered its consequences. His poignant woodcut, War, produced in 1928,  sums up his sense of the futility of war and and antagonism towards the ‘old order’ which had condemned so many to a needless death. 

As such he was expressing the mood of his generation. 

We are grateful to Richard Thompson for assistance.

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Moody, John

1906 – 1993

After training at the Royal Academy Schools and working from a studio offered to him by Eric Ravilious (1903 – 1942) and Edward Bawden (1903 – 1989), by the 1930’s, Moody was exhibiting at a variety of London venues and teaching at Wimbledon School of Art; he also became a founder member of the New Kingston Group of painters.  Fascinated by the Theatre he was later well known as an opera producer, commissioning stage sets from John Piper and Robert Medley. 


John Moody
Portrait of Phillada Sewell, mid 1920’s
John Moody
Brunswick Square
John Moody
Portrait of Anita Kowalska
John Moody
Margaret Sewell, 1927
John Moody
Houlgate, Normandy, 1926