Friday 22 September 2017

Undue Influence: Sir Gerald Kelly

My mother had been an art student when girls at the Slade wore long belted smocks and had waved and curled hair. I know this - about the hair, that is - because there is a portrait of her by Sir Gerald Kelly in our dining-room. He seemed to have caught her essence, although she was very young at the time: she is seated in three-quarter profile, with her hands in her lap, the hair caught with particular precision. She has that absent-minded dreaming look that women had in those days, and which must have been de rigueur for girls of a certain class.
Anita Brookner, Undue Influence, ch. 2

I don't know whether Brookner ever met Sir Gerald Kelly, who died in 1972, a celebrated portrait painter. He painted the Royal Family, T. S. Eliot, Marie Stopes, among others. The following, from 1921, is part of the celebrated 'Jane' series of portraits of his wife:

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