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Evelyn Dunbar
(1906 - 1960)

RCA Sketch Club Summer Camp, 1930

SKU: 11174

Oil on board

Size:
Height – 37.5cm
Width – 43.8cm

DESCRIPTION

In September 1929 Dunbar started her three-year Associate course at the Royal College of Art (RCA), to which she had won a Kent County Council exhibition. One of the features of her first year course was the annual sketching club camp, held under canvas for a few days at the end of the summer term. Students were expected to compile a portfolio of work for exhibition the following December. Relics of this portfolio, mostly in water-colour, are minimal.

RCA Sketch Club Summer Camp, 1930′ has a Z-shape organisation that she made her constructional standby, and which appears in so many of her illustrative paintings: from a base line along the foot of the painting, the narrative and associated kinetic energy starts at the lower left-hand corner and rises diagonally across the canvas towards the top right hand corner, where there may be some wry comment, some hidden irony or even a joke. In this case the diagonal plane contrasts male inactivity – one man reading the paper, the other, beyond the green tent, apparently asleep – with female activity, a girl making a portrait sketch of the girl in the yellow top (who has some resemblance to Dunbar’s RCA friend Margaret Goodwin), another girl combing her hair, and at the upper angle of the Z, another girl unobtrusively making her way through the bushes (we can suppose) to what Dunbar in her Girl Guide days would have known as the ‘wet pit’ or the ‘dry pit’.

We are grateful to Christopher-Campbell Howes, author of Evelyn Dunbar: A Life in Painting, for the above text.

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THE ARTIST

Dunbar, Evelyn

1906 – 1960

Evelyn Dunbar studied at Rochester School of Art, Chelsea School
of Art (1927) and the Royal College of Art (1929’33). She painted
murals from 1933 -36 at Brockley School, a collaboration with her
RCA tutor (and lover) Cyril Mahoney (1903’1968) and in 1937
they wrote and illustrated together Gardeners’ Choice. 

In 1938 she set up the Blue Gallery in Rochester, exhibiting her
own work alongside that of Edward Bawden (1903’1989) and
Barnett Freedman (1901’1958) and others. In 1940 she was
appointed an official war artist, becoming the only woman (amongst
36 men) to be given a full time salaried position by the WAAC. 

She held her only solo exhibition at Withersdane, Wye, Kent
in 1953, although the WAAC included numerous pieces in touring
exhibitions ranging from Aberdeen Art Gallery to MOMA, New York. 

A posthumous exhibition was held in 2006 at St Barbe
Museum and Art Gallery, and in 2015 Liss Llewellyn mounted a
major retrospective of her recently rediscovered studio at Pallant
House Gallery. 

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Evelyn Dunbar (1906 - 1960)
Industry and Sloth, c.1932
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Clara Cowling gardening, circa 1928
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Evelyn Dunbar (1906 - 1960)
Felbridge, circa 1926
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Evelyn Dunbar (1906 - 1960)
RCA Sketch Club Summer Camp, 1930
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Joseph’s Dream, 1938
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The Garden at the Elms
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December for the Country Life 1938 Gardeners Diary
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Design for June for the Country Life 1938 Gardeners Diary
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Evelyn Dunbar (1906 - 1960)
Design for unused title page of Gardener’s Choice, circa 1936
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Study of a figure gardening possibly for Gardener’s Diary
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Joseph in Prison, 1949-50
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Study for July, Gardeners Diary 1938, 1937
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Study II for designs for an embroidered quilt [HMO 689]
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Self-portrait, [HMO 766], 1958
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Pussy Cat, Pussy Cat, Where Have You Been [HMO 333]
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Evelyn Dunbar (1906 - 1960)
Study I for designs for an embroidered quilt [HMO 689]
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Evelyn Dunbar (1906 - 1960)
Three sketchbooks
Evelyn Dunbar (1906 - 1960)
Studies for Mercatora, an allegorical painting (whereabouts unknown) [HMO 173]
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Dorset, 1947-1948
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Evelyn Dunbar (1906 - 1960)
Jacobs Dream, 1960
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Evelyn Dunbar (1906 - 1960)
Men Stooking and Girls Learning to Stook. 1940
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Evelyn Dunbar (1906 - 1960)
Study at Sparsholt Farm Institute for A Land Girl and the Bail Bull, 1944 [HMO 40]
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Evelyn Dunbar (1906 - 1960)
Singling Turnips, 1943
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Evelyn Dunbar (1906 - 1960)
Seven Days
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Evelyn Dunbar (1906 - 1960)
April,1937
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Evelyn Dunbar (1906 - 1960)
The Woodcutter and the Bees, spring 1933 [HMO 309]
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Evelyn Dunbar (1906 - 1960)
Sacking Potatoes, 1948
Evelyn Dunbar (1906 - 1960)
Colour study for sub-gallery spandrels at Brockley County School for Boys [HMO 551]
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Evelyn Dunbar (1906 - 1960)
The Dunbar family in the Garden at The Cedars, Spring (Version 1), c.1928 (HMO 75)
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Evelyn Dunbar (1906 - 1960)
Portrait of the artists mother, Florence, on a bentwood rocking chair, c.1930 [HMO 797]
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Evelyn Dunbar (1906 - 1960)
Go Shell, proposed design for Shell petrol. c.1937 [HMO 751]
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Evelyn Dunbar (1906 - 1960)
Land Workers at Strood, c. 1938 [HMO 762]
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Evelyn Dunbar (1906 - 1960)
The Childrens Shop: mice (recto), birds (verso) [HMO 749]
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Evelyn Dunbar (1906 - 1960)
Sleeping Beauty, 10 minute sketch, c.1928 (HMO 786)
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Evelyn Dunbar (1906 - 1960)
Milking Practice with Artificial Udders, 1940
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Evelyn Dunbar (1906 - 1960)
Autumn and the Poet, 1948-1960
Evelyn Dunbar (1906 - 1960)
Portrait of the artist Margaret Goodwin
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