Thursday, 26 February 2015

"The Horse's Mouth" illustrated

    John Bratby is known for his energetic and crowded "Kitchen sink" paintings.  His work reached a wider popular audience throughout the 1958 film of Joyce Cary's novel, The Horse's Mouth. Alec Guinness played the reprobate London artist, Gulley Jimson, and Bratby provided Jimson's paintings for the film.  They were far more in character and believable than is usual in many films.

David in the Kitchen, with Thistles Hartlepool Museum & Heritage Service © artist's estate

Jean and Still Life in Front of a Window Southampton City Art Gallery © artist's estate

In this next work, Bratby has taken an unusual moving viewpoint, a self-portrait of the artist in his workshop: both looking down from a high angle at the seated figure's hands and looking forward into the room, with two other oddly cropped figures holding paintbrushes, multifarious equipment, and the view out of the window.  The green trousers suggest that all three figures are the artist. His paintings, as well as presenting aspects of everyday life with bold colour and strong line, are also full of intriguing content.  

The Artist Painting a Picture 
Museums of Sheffield © the artist's estate

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