Liss Llewellyn Fine Art - Percy Shakespeare: Portrait of the artist Arthur Kemp playing the cello, 1935

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Percy Shakespeare:
Portrait of the artist Arthur Kemp playing the cello, 1935

Mounted (ref: 1068)
Signed and dated, 22/6/1935
Pencil with highlights in chalk, 22 x 15 in. (56 x 39 cm.)

Tags: Percy Shakespeare music portraits



Provenance: Jeremy Raynham-Kemp.  Studio reference no. 290

Kemp and Shakespeare were exact contemporaries.

Kemp was a gifted cellist (he had played with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra before committming himself to painting) and music provided one of the key ingredients of his art.  He and his wife, Irene Crowther, were one half of the KERA Quartet, a widely known string quartet. Irene played with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and the London Symphony.


Shakespeare trained at Dudley Art School and later studied and then taught at Birmingham School of Art, where he became acquainted with his  Arthur Kemp. His carefully organised, flatly painted compositions in oils, in which great attention was paid to the outline silhouette of each individual figure, were exhibited at the RA between 1934 and his death in an air raid. He also exhibited at the Paris Salon and the RBSA. In spite of his early demise his oeuvre has undeniable charm - his essentially suburban, and peculiarly English, compositions are drenched with colour and light and despite sometimes appearing to verge on caricature are usually carried off with great panache. Selected Literature Robin Shaw, Percy Shakespeare: Dudley's Painter of the Thirties, published by Robin Shaw (ISBN 0953912604), 2000.


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