Private Collection

Evelyn Dunbar (1906 - 1960)

Sacking Potatoes, 1948

SKU: 6691
Oil on canvas
12 1/4 x 18 in. (31.8 x 45.7 cm)

Size:
Height – 31.8cm
Width – 45.7cm

DESCRIPTION

Provenance:
Private collection courtesy England & Co Gallery, London
Presentation:
framed
Exhibited: Evelyn Dunbar – The Lost Works, Pallant House Gallery, October 2015 – February 2016, cat 34.

Literature: Evelyn Dunbar – The Lost Works, Sacha Llewellyn & Paul Liss, July 2015, cat. 34, page 78-79.


Sacking Potatoes is probably Dunbar’s design for the cover, including the spine and fold-in flaps, of The Potato: A Survey of its History and of Factors Influencing its Yield, Nutritive Value and Storage, a book by Roger Folley’s friend Glynn Burton. It was never used.

The kiss of the sun for pardon
The song of the birds for mirth,
One is nearer God’s heart in the garden
Than anywhere else on earth.
Dorothy Gurney (1858-1932)
Evelyn Dunbar clearly shared Dorothy Gurney’s vision and sentiments regarding
gardens. In one of Dunbar’s many letters to Mahoney she described how her little patch
is beginning to form itself (with our help) into a lovely place, I think, and with all the
new things, will be a perfect heaven of varied greys and greens and aromatic odours.’
(September 1933). Painting and gardening were twin passions to her and in pursuit of
both she exercised a strong degree of control laying out her garden with the same care
and precision she exercised when laying out her palette.
Although born in Reading her formative years from the age of six, when the family
moved to Rochester, were spent in Kent, the Garden of England’ as it is often described.
Gardens, hop-fields, orchards, the rich abundance of the Kentish landscape, is at the
core of her work. While others might be moved by the Highland landscape of Scotland
or the rugged beauty of the Alps, her heart remained firmly in the Garden of England’.
Her identification with the homely man-made landscape of this corner of England was
as much spiritual as visual and needed to be assisted by the hard graft of hedging,
trenching, mulching, carting and pruning as well as celebrated in paint. One of her
earliest exhibited paintings was entitled Gardening, (present whereabouts unknown)
shown at the Goupil Gallery in 1931 and singled out by the critic of The Scotsman who
described it as a most sensitive study of the Slade School type, of figures in a garden
delicately drawn and thoroughly ‚Äúfelt‚Äù.’ (The Scotsman, 11 June 1931) Such a description
could equally be applied to the study of The Dunbar Family in the Garden at the Cedars
(CAT 2 and 3), the Brockley sketch for The Woodcutter and the Bees (CAT 25) or even
the slightly later Land Workers at Strood (CAT 31) in the present exhibition. Her vision
was always that of a comfortable rural middle-class domesticity as far removed from
the peasant life that had inspired rural painters of the previous generation such as
George Clausen (1852-1944) and Edward Stott (1859-1918) as from the urban scenes
of Herkomer (1849-1914) or Mulready (1844-1904). Unlike her wartime paintings of the
Women’s Land Army the men and women ‚Äì frequently members of her own family ‚Äì who
inhabit these landscapes and work these gardens are at home and comfortable with
their surroundings.
Her acuity of observation is equally apparent in her landscape as in her figure subjects,
trees are individual not generic, their deformations lovingly recorded: the apple trees
growing in the orchard in the study of her mother gardening (CAT 27) are just as much
portraits as Sleeping Beauty (CAT 12) the ten minute sketch of her father. In contrast
to the immediacy of these oil sketches her large panoramic study of the landscape
at Hilly Fields (CAT 23) spread over three sheets of paper has the awesome grasp
of form that one associates more readily with eighteenth-century landscapists such
as Francis Towne (1739/40-1816) and the Italian Giovanni Battista Lusieri (1754-1821)
whose panoramas were so prized by the Grand Tourists. She had a countrywoman’s
eye for the nuances of landscape, of recession, cloud formations and weather which
informs her slightest studies and gives authority to her major works, most particularly
A Land Girl and the Bail Bull (FIG 19).”
Peyton Skipwith.
Disclaimer:
Liss Llewellyn are continually seeking to improve the quality of the information on their website. We actively undertake to post new and more accurate information on our stable of artists. We openly acknowledge the use of information from other sites including Wikipedia, artbiogs.co.uk and Tate.org and other public domains. We are grateful for the use of this information and we openly invite any comments on how to improve the accuracy of what we have posted.

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. 

MORE PICTURES BY ARTIST

Evelyn Dunbar (1906 - 1960)
Industry and Sloth, c.1932
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Evelyn Dunbar (1906 - 1960)
Clara Cowling gardening, circa 1928
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Evelyn Dunbar (1906 - 1960)
Felbridge, circa 1926
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Evelyn Dunbar (1906 - 1960)
Waternymphomania, circa 1928
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Evelyn Dunbar (1906 - 1960)
RCA Sketch Club Summer Camp, 1930
Evelyn Dunbar (1906 - 1960)
A diagrammatic explanation of trenching or double digging
£1,750.00
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Evelyn Dunbar (1906 - 1960)
August, 1937
Evelyn Dunbar (1906 - 1960)
Studies of vignettes for Country Life, 1938
£3,800.00
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Evelyn Dunbar (1906 - 1960)
Joseph’s Dream, 1938
Evelyn Dunbar (1906 - 1960)
The Garden at the Elms
£3,500.00
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Evelyn Dunbar (1906 - 1960)
December for the Country Life 1938 Gardeners Diary
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Evelyn Dunbar (1906 - 1960)
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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Evelyn Dunbar (1906 - 1960)
Study of a figure gardening possibly for Gardener’s Diary
Reserved
Evelyn Dunbar (1906 - 1960)
Woman Selling Watermelon Slices, West Indies
Forthcoming
Evelyn Dunbar (1906 - 1960)
Joseph in Prison, 1949-50
Evelyn Dunbar (1906 - 1960)
Study for July, Gardeners Diary 1938, 1937
£1,850.00
Evelyn Dunbar (1906 - 1960)
Study II for designs for an embroidered quilt [HMO 689]
£2,500.00
Private
Evelyn Dunbar (1906 - 1960)
Self-portrait, [HMO 766], 1958
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Evelyn Dunbar (1906 - 1960)
Pussy Cat, Pussy Cat, Where Have You Been [HMO 333]
Forthcoming
Evelyn Dunbar (1906 - 1960)
Study I for designs for an embroidered quilt [HMO 689]
Forthcoming
Evelyn Dunbar (1906 - 1960)
Three sketchbooks
Private
Evelyn Dunbar (1906 - 1960)
Dorset, 1947-1948
Private
Evelyn Dunbar (1906 - 1960)
Jacobs Dream, 1960
Evelyn Dunbar (1906 - 1960)
Studies for Mercatora, an allegorical painting (whereabouts unknown) [HMO 173]
£2,500.00
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Evelyn Dunbar (1906 - 1960)
Men Stooking and Girls Learning to Stook. 1940
Private
Evelyn Dunbar (1906 - 1960)
Study at Sparsholt Farm Institute for A Land Girl and the Bail Bull, 1944 [HMO 40]
Private
Evelyn Dunbar (1906 - 1960)
Singling Turnips, 1943
Private
Evelyn Dunbar (1906 - 1960)
Seven Days
Private
Evelyn Dunbar (1906 - 1960)
April,1937
Sold
Evelyn Dunbar (1906 - 1960)
The Woodcutter and the Bees, spring 1933 [HMO 309]
Private
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]
£2,350.00
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Evelyn Dunbar (1906 - 1960)
The Dunbar family in the Garden at The Cedars, Spring (Version 1), c.1928 (HMO 75)
Forthcoming
Evelyn Dunbar (1906 - 1960)
Portrait of the artists mother, Florence, on a bentwood rocking chair, c.1930 [HMO 797]
Forthcoming
Evelyn Dunbar (1906 - 1960)
Go Shell, proposed design for Shell petrol. c.1937 [HMO 751]
Forthcoming
Evelyn Dunbar (1906 - 1960)
Land Workers at Strood, c. 1938 [HMO 762]
Forthcoming
Evelyn Dunbar (1906 - 1960)
The Childrens Shop: mice (recto), birds (verso) [HMO 749]
Sold
Evelyn Dunbar (1906 - 1960)
Sleeping Beauty, 10 minute sketch, c.1928 (HMO 786)
Forthcoming
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
£2,950.00