Duncan Grant homage

The entrance hall to the flat is narrow and there is a wall of nasty 1950s-style toughened glass panels separating us from the communal hallway and stairs. All very institutional and also not offering a lot of privacy to be honest! We were undecided what to do about them, but the easiest solution was to block them off. There are three upper and three lower panels, four of them are about a metre square and the two on the corner half that size. We’ve left the top ones as is (they don’t disturb us and they do bring in a little light in the daytime). On the smaller corner (bottom) panel we fitted a mirror. Which left the last two. I wanted something colourful and fun, and being a fan of Charleston Farmhouse (which is only a few miles away) I started looking through my reference book for ideas.

The ‘Bloomsburies’ of Charleston were famous for painting every interior surface – doors, fireplace surrounds, walls, chairs, you name it. I came across a door panel decorated with a tumbling acrobat and was reminded how much I liked it. It was painted by Duncan Grant in the 1930s. So I set out to copy it on a plywood panel. I primed the panels first with a dark undercoat, then set to.

acrobat planning

acrobat 1

copy of Duncan Grant Acrobat painting

copy of Duncan Grant Acrobat painting - 2

At this point I was concerned about the profile (forehead too bulbous) and the hands seemed out of scale. I amended both of these, added some more definition and shading to the skin tones and then added the border…

copy of Duncan Grant Acrobat painting - 3

And for the second panel I decided on a nymph with a lyre, painted by Angelica Garnett. More about this in another post.

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