Bone, Stephen

(1904 – 1958)

The artist's studio, circa 1938

£6,500.00

SKU: 4825

Oil on panel

Size:
Height: 27.9cm
Width: 35.6cm

1 in stock

DESCRIPTION

Provenance:
The Artist’s Studio

Literature: Llewellyn, Sacha, and Paul Liss. Portrait of an Artist. Liss Llewellyn, 2021, p.56.

This probably shows Stephen Bone’s studio at 43 Havestock Hill, to where he moved in 1938.

Bone’s
panels were painted in just a few hours of intense concentration and
testify to his painterly skill and sure sense of colour. They show his
family and friends and also his knowledge and love of landscapes and
townscapes in the l930s and 40s so much of which has now changed or
disappeared. From Ireland to Sweden and from Scotland to Spain he
carried his wooden paintbox fitted out with paints, brushes and a rack
of 3 or 4 primed panels. His equipment also included a three legged
folding wooden stool with a leather seat, a broad brimmed felt hat and,
in winter; fingerless woollen mittens.

In the 20s and 30s his
small oil panels were appreciated and, at first, sold well enough to 
encourage galleries to mount more one man shows. His View of Santiago
shown at the Ryman’s Galleries in |1927 reminded the Oxford University
reviewer of “an early Corot in the freshness and I delicacy of its
treatment”. At the Lefevre Gallery in 1932 the Morning Post critic wrote
appreciatively ; of his advances in observation and craftsmanship and
of his “developing sense of colour and the minor notes of grey, green
and the palest gold”. The Manchester Guardian said that “Mr Bone is a
singularly modest artist. On looking at his landscapes one always feels
that he experienced some rather rare and delicate emotion which he is
offering a little diffidently to the spectator”.

The prices of
the smaller pictures were seven guineas in the twenties, rising to
fourteen guineas at the end of the thirties and twenty one guineas in
his show at the Leicester Galleries at the end of 1946, where Stephen
sold 22 panels. Then the market changed, modern art was more widely
accepted and cheap colour images became available as colour
transparencies. Stephen continued to paint but few of his pictures sold,
he had to turn to broadcasting and journalism to earn a living.

Stephen
Bone was never part of a movement or school of painting. In his graphic
works (bookplates, bookcovers and illustrations,) he was sometimes
tempted by the style revolutions of the 1930’s but his paintings were a
straightforward realistic view of the world supported by a keen sense of
colour, technical skill and a knowledgeable observation of light,
clouds, waves, buildings, geology and vegetation. He had a special
interest in the weather about which he later wrote about in the Collins
Britain in Pictures series. The paintings need to be considered
carefully to grasp how much they are of their time.

Bone was a
very tall man, in the early days he strode, up to 40 miles a day, to
reach his paintable locations or struggled with his kit to reach such
viewpoints as the top of Southwark Cathedral’s spiral stair; later he
was driven by his energetic and successful wife the mural painter Mary
Adshead and during the second world war he learned to ride an enormous
Raleigh bicycle. Later still he travelled by rail, sea and air in the
congenial company of intelligent and admiring friends who provided an
escape from the depressions he suffered as his paintings, in the post
war era, increasingly failed to sell.

Panel paintings by Stephen Bone can be seen in Tate, National Portrait Gallery, The Maritime Museum and The Imperial War Museum.

We are grateful to Sylvester Bone for the above catalogue notes

 

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THE ARTIST

Bone, Stephen

1904 – 1958

Stephen Bone (13 November 1904 – 15 September 1958), was an English artist, writer, broadcaster and noted war artist. Bone achieved early success in book illustration using woodcuts before he turned to painting and art criticism.

Born in Chiswick, London and was the son of Sir Muirhead Bone and of Gertrude Helana Dodd, a writer. After leaving Bedales School he travelled widely in Europe with his father before enrolling at the Slade School of Fine Art in 1922. He became disillusioned with the Slade and left in 1924 to begin illustrating books, with woodcuts, for his mother and other writers. In 1925 Bone was awarded the Gold Medal for Wood Engraving at the International Exhibition in Paris. In 1926 he was the subject of a joint exhibition at the Goupil Gallery, alongside Rodney Joseph Burn, and in 1928 he painted a mural for the underground station at Piccadilly Circus.

In 1929 he married the artist Mary Adshead and they were to have two sons and a daughter. The couple travelled extensively across Britain and Europe which allowed Bone to paint outdoors in all weathers and develop a style of bright landscape painting that proved popular and sold well at a number of gallery exhibitions.

At the outbreak of the Second World War, Stephen Bone enlisted as an officier in the Civil Defence Camouflage Establishment based in Leamington Spa. In June 1943 Bone was appointed by the War Artists’ Advisory Committee to be a full-time salaried artist to the Ministry of Information specialising in Admiralty subjects. The post had originally being held by Stephens father, Muirhead Bone, but following the death of Gavin Bone, Stephens brother, Muirhead decided not to continue with the commission. Stephen produced a large quantity of works showing naval craft and coastal installations around Great Britain. He recorded the 1944 Normandy landings, painted scenes in Caen and Courseulles after the invasion and went on to record the assault on Walcheren Island in the Netherlands. Towards the end of 1944 he travelled to Norway and painted the wreck of the Tirpitz.

After the War, Bone found his style of painting somewhat out of fashion and, although he continued to paint, he found it difficult to get his work exhibited. He became an art critic for the Manchester Guardian, wrote humorous pieces for the Glasgow Herald and did television and radio work for the BBC. With his wife, he wrote and illustrated children’s books. He died of cancer on 15 September 1958 at St Bartholomew’s Hospital, London.

MORE PICTURES BY ARTIST

Stephen Bone
Study for Gas Workers
£1,100.00
Stephen Bone
Design for Piccadilly Circus underground station, 1929
£15,000.00
Stephen Bone
The artist’s studio, circa 1938
£6,500.00