The Cotman Collection | 23

Cotmania. Vol. XII. 1937

Archive: SDK Sydney Decimus Kitson Archive
Reference Number: SDK/1/2/1/12
Page: 10 verso & 11 recto

  • Description

    Country Life Down the Ages. Mayfair exhibition to assist the National Trust.

    Durrant's press cuttings. East Anglian Daily Times. Article regarding an exhibition with loans of Cotman works by several lenders, including Kitson, Colman and Sedgwick.

    Date: 3 June 1937

  • Transcription

    {Press cutting}

    S. Kitson
    St. Andrew's House, 32 to 34 Holborn Viaduct,
    and 3 St. Andrew Street, Holborn Circus, E.C.1.
    Telephone: CENTRAL 3149 (TWO LINES)

    Cutting from the
    East Anglian Daily Times
    Dated June 3 1937
    Address of Journal Ipswich



    British country life through the centuries is the theme of a loan exhibition of pictures, needlework and all kinds of objects used in the mansions and farmhouses of the past, which was opened on Tuesday at No. 39. Grosvenor Square, London, a Mayfair house lent for the occasion by the Duke of Westminster. The exhibition is under the auspices of "Country Life" and is held in aid of the National Trust.
    In the large drawing-room on the first floor some of the principal art treasures have been grouped with brilliant effect. The central place on one wall is occupied by Gainsborough’s picture of "The Mushroom Girl," and near it are two more works by the same artist—his open-air portrait of Robert Andrews and his wife, painted in Suffolk in Gainsborough's early days, the fine gentleman with a sporting gun under his arm, and the lady in sky-blue satin and incredibly pointed shoes, seated at the edge of a harvest field. The other picture, "Returning to the Farm," is now owned by Lord Faringdon.
    In the same room are a portrait of children playing cricket, by Zoffany; a partridge shooting picture, by George Stubbs; the Booth family playing billiards, by Mortimer; a racing subject by Ben Marshall; and another sporting subject, lent by Lord Ullswater, in which a landscape by George Barrett, has had figures and dogs added by two other painters.
    In the music-room, which adjoins, are I. S. Cotman's painting of fishing-boats off Yarmouth, lent by Mr. Russell Colman, who is a member of the committee of the exhibition, and John Crome's portrait of Mrs. Gurney wearing a huge straw Quaker bonnet and a shawl.
    The King has lent oil pictures and water-colours, and there is an exceptionally well chosen selection of works by famous artists depicting country life and pursuits.
    The M.C.C have lent a two hundred years old cricket bat, and from Lord Saye and Sele comes a white beaver hat which seems to have been the original of the expression "the hat-trick" as applied to taking three wickets with three consecutive balls. "This hat," says the carefully written inscription inside it, " was presented by His Excellency the Earl of Carlisle, K.G., at the Phoenix Lodge on behalf of the Zingari to the Honble. Cecil Fiennes for having bowled out three opponents in succession. 1859."
    A tooth extractor used by a village blacksmith; a pair of Suffolk police truncheons, more than 100 years old; a pepper sprinkler, said to have been used by a highwayman to disable his victims; and a bird decoy with bits of mirror set into it, pegged into the ground, and spun by a string, are among innumerable other examples of survivals from earlier times.
    Racing figures in many of the pictures. There is a John Wooton landscape, showing the watering-place at Newmarket a couple of centuries ago, lent by the Duke of Portland, and the Earl of Malmesbury has contributed a Newmarket Heath picture of about the same date, showing the Duke of Grafton of that time, and "Flying Childers," one of the most famous of English thoroughbreds.
    Another sporting hero who is recalled is the royal trainer, Tregonwell Frampton, known as "the father of the turf," who held the office of "keeper of the running horses" in the reigns of King William III., Queen Anne, and the first and second Georges, and who died in 1727 at the age of 86. Wootton's portrait suggests he was a shrewd and formidable old man who was interested in coursing and cock-fighting as well as in racing.
    Commander Roger Coke has lent a view of Holkam Hall, in oil, by Cotman, and among the water-colours are a pastoral subject by Cotman, lent by Mr. Sydney Kitson, and pencil and wash drawings by him of Walsingham Priory and Kirby Cane, both lent by Mrs. Walter Sedgwick. Sir Robert and Lady Witt contribute two drawings by Gainsborough, one of which, a landscape with horses and figures, was in the Gainsborough exhibition at Ipswich in 1927 and in Sir Philip Sassoon’s exhibition last year; and their four Constable drawings include studies of a farmhouse at East Bergholt and Feering Vicarage.
    An eighteenth-century petit-point panel worked by the five wives of Thomas Foley, sometime M P. for Hereford, depicts the garden at Stoke Edith with its statuary, fountains and balustrades, and the family are entertained by a man playing a fiddle while a pet monkey is pulling a flower to pieces.
    Upstairs are the modern pictures, which include Mr. Alfred Munnings’ landscape, "From my Bedroom Window," and "Sketching," both lent by the artist, and Mr. George Charlton’s composition of Long Melford fair.
    In the old-fashioned basement kitchen of the house is a great array of domestic odds- and-ends, and of the hand implements of the farm. It includes a big iron hook used for pulling down thatch from burning houses, an iron fork for packing the faggots in the oven in the days of home-made bread, a sheep dipper, and various patterns of shepherds’ crooks, sickles and flails, one of them from Helmingham.
    The Rural Industries Bureau, of which Sir Basil Mayhew is a trustee, has staged an interesting collection of items which shows the survival into modern times of the sound traditional handicrafts of the countryside, and among examples of the work of present- day craftsmen are a hayrake, by Messrs. A and M. Last, of Lawshall; a six-tined eel gore, by Messrs. W. Honeywood and Sons, of Manningtree; and first-rate ironwork by Mr. H. T. Pamplin. of Writtle, Mr. F. Clubb, of Sudbury, and Mr. W. Kemp, of Lexden.

    Mrs. Gurney, a portrait, in Quaker bonnet and shawl, by John Crome, the celebrated Norwich painter, reproduced by permission of Prof. A. E. Richardson- A.R.A., the owner.

    Thomas Gainsborough's portrait of Robert Andrews and his wife, painted near Sudbury, the great artist’s native town, when he was a young man, is one of the masterpieces in the Country Life exhibition which opened in London on Tuesday. Our illustration is reproduced by permission of Mr. G. W. Andrews, the owner.

*Country Life Down the Ages. Mayfair exhibition to assist the National Trust*.