Wednesday, 14 January 2015

A Capel Curig footnote

Further to my post of 2011, I have discovered that another pair of artists found refuge in Capel Curig. Did they use the Oliver studio, I wonder?

Encouraged by Cedric Morris, [Lucien] Freud painted and drew as the urge took him, without undue concern for academic accomplishment. Work proceeded piecemeal. For example, a picture of a box of apples, begun at Morris's farm, where the art school reconvened following the fire, was completed with the insertion of a mountain, his backdrop during a two-month spell of work in the autumn of 1939 near Capel Curig in north Wales undertaken with a fellow student, David Kentish. The poet and novelist Stephen Spender joined them for the last weeks there and contributed literary inserts to what he and Freud called the 'Freud-Schuster Book' (Schuster being Spender's mother's maiden name): an improvisatory album of Freudian skits and observations ranging from mock missionary types and big game hunters to grinning Welsh ponies and a shapely oil lamp. Two months later came Freud's professional debut when a self-portrait drawing from the Welsh sketchbook was published in Horizon, the literary magazine founded by Spender and Cyril Connolly with financial backing from Peter Watson.

[Thanks to the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography]

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