Sir John Lavery to Cara Delevingne

‘The Tennis Party’ [1885] by Sir John Lavery, Oil on canvas, 76.2 cm x 183 cm.

Let’s first enjoy additional expert detail about the painting shown above in the following video by the Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums:

https://vimeo.com/123716025

As explained in the video Lavery’s friends, the Scottish painters Arthur Melville, Edward Arthur Walton and James Guthrie feature in this painting of  ‘The Tennis Party’ (see photo above).

I love tennis.

When I first received a wooden tennis racket as a boy my brother and I would play tennis in my Grandad George’s well-kept garden in Malvern.  Towards the end of the garden was two apple trees we’d climb.

We played makeshift tennis on a rather modest sized rolled lawn adjacent of two wooden tool sheds.  Bees buzzed busily next door for Grandad’s Beekeeper neighbour, harvesting their sweet-solid honey.

Professionally labelled jars given to us every summer.

To practice tennis I would quite often hit balls against the side of our family house on my own prior to and into my mid-teens.  Thankfully, being so young I didn’t serve the ball at the wall too hard.  We know that serves of 137mph are possible on tennis courts these days.

During a very closely contested three sets friendly match, a 27 year old professional full-time tennis coach credited me with the fastest serve he had ever received.  I was 25 years old at the time.

Two sets to one in his favour were quite okay for someone who had never been professionally coached.

Sport is in my blood.  It’s part of my DNA.

‘The Tennis Party’ therefore invokes strong emotional memories for me.  Holidaying in Bude, Devon early 2000’s my ex-girlfriend asked me to play nice and actually rally with her.  Only love could have possibly made me avoid those all too inviting lines and send the ball happily back to her.

It was the most beautiful English day.  Clear blue sky, onward humid heat.

Relationships.  Again, we see a British Impressionist of this era depicting a thoroughly modern view of gender equality within a mixed doubles tennis game.  The gate is open and inviting us to come along and play this wonderful game too.

Young and old.  Social status is irrelevant.

Playful vs Relaxed.  Spectator or eager participant.  A Field of Dreams.

‘Violet Keppel, Mrs Denys Robert Trefusis’ [1919] by Sir John Lavery, Oil on canvas board, 33 cm x 25 cm.

‘Violet Keppel, Mrs Denys Robert Trefusis’ was a must.  Upon viewing this artwork I had to include this in my blog.

It’s precisely the sort of painting I’m looking for.  For instance ‘The Tennis Party’ has unique compositional angles.  What makes the painting ‘Violet Keppel, Mrs Denys Robert Trefusis’ so artistically commendable is her proud, inquiring pose.

The state of her undress is risqué for the time.  Quite in keeping with Violet Keppel as a liberal woman of the early 20th Century.  1920’s extravagance, flair and impassioned art-deco high-society.  I think the 1920’s and 1960’s share artistic freedom to the height of luxury, fashion and mild decadence.

Whereas the 1960’s spread the pursuit of Hieronymus pleasures to the masses, the 1920’s seemed all too intrinsically linked to monetary power and status.  By the 1930’s the masses wanted some of the action.

Moonshine and parties followed.  Mob rule.  Disorder.  Chaos.  Great photography too.  If you love photography and movie art please look up the documentary film of Weegee (born Usher Fellig) entitled:

‘ “I Am Rebel” – Weegee The Famous ‘  [Series 01/Ep02 – 2016, IMDb]

You may even see echoes of Danny DeVito in L.A. Confidential [1997] – if you’re of the appropriate age.

Through this we see the 1920’s morph like clay to become the 1930/1950’s.  Just like Doris Delevingne becomes ‘The Viscountess Castlerosse, Palm Springs [1938]’ by Sir John Lavery.

Yes, Cara Delevingne is her grand-niece.  How cool is that!  Interesting too that Cara is especially creative.  As previously stated in my blog, David Hockney really is a serious art student and a master art working genius.

Value ‘The Viscountess Castlerosse, Palm Springs [1938]’ as a piece of art history entwined.

Living Art, Girls On Film.

The paint application of ‘Violet Keppel, Mrs Denys Robert Trefusis’ is urgent, exquisite and untamed.  Perhaps Violet is portraying herself in a new way for the world to respect her?

“I Am As I Find” a saying by Matt The Unfathomable Artist.

Respect is not necessarily what we do as people.  It’s the inner motivation and intent of what we are.

‘Boating On The Thames’ [1890] by Sir John Lavery,

Anyone wishing to master water painting should check this preposterously life-like painting by Sir John Lavery called ‘Boating On The Thames [1890]’.

We believe the foreground lady is laid-back relaxing in the boat.  We believe the ripples of bluish-green water by wind and movement.  I also thoroughly enjoy those two swans making a quiet appearance.  The sense of reflected light upon the water is carefully considered and astonishingly accurate.

Sir John Lavery shows skilful draughtspersonship.  Detail you can take hold of.  If the nearest boat was at the waters edge we could likely reach out and make it swirl around.  Purely for our amusement.  Maybe they’d fall in?  Oh how that would make us laugh.

What really is man’s work?

‘Mariana, ‘Is this the End? To be Left Alone, To Live Forgotten and Die Forlorn.’ [1880] by Sir John Lavery, Oil on board, 30 cm x 23.5 cm.

Another painting by Sir John Lavery that was a must to include in my blog..

‘Mariana, ‘Is this the End? To be Left Alone, To Live Forgotten and Die Forlorn.’ [1880] is stylistic and colour rich like those glossy hair adverts.  Mariana is voluptuously attractive yet despondent with loss.  Everything about her screams ‘help and comfort, please apply’.

Her most outer garment beckons us to cuddle her to a modicum of happiness once again.  The tone of her buttoned tunic is solemn, guarded, prim and proper.  Background detail is uncheery and perfectly balanced.

Using hues that replicate foreground detail is an excellent way to balance a painting’s composition.  Here Sir John Lavery uses this method cleverly.  The background does not compete for our attention.

Rather this accentuates our selective viewing order of eyes, the portrait expression/feeling, her facial shape, hair and lighting detail contrasts, clothing choice and her bodily structure/positioning.

I love this painting for in this very artwork it is absolutely clear why Lavery was later commissioned to represent Irish banknotes and coins.  This he achieved through his outstanding artwork of Lady Lavery for some 49 years!

Stylistic artworks require great story telling ability.  Throughout his works Sir John Lavery establishes himself amongst Irish folklore, art history and popular culture as a collectors dream.  Lavery portraits are triumphant and his architectural scenes definitive.

Some of my personal favourites by Sir John Lavery – ‘Under The Cherry Tree’, ‘Viscount Morley Addressing the House of Lords’, ‘Loch Katrine’, ‘Edne May in the Belle of New York’ and ‘A Lady In Brown’.

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