Saturday, September 7, 2013

Dazzling Philip De Laszlo

Oil Portrait Sketch By Johanna Spinks
Copyright Johanna Spinks

I was thinking of my favorite Victorian portrait painter Philip De Laszlo this week when I painted this little's boy's portrait sketch...

I think of Mr. De Laszlo a lot when I paint. He and I go way back.

Please go here to see why I am crazy for this crazy talented man's work

The Queen Mom in her prime painted  by Philip De Laszlo

Mary, Countess of Dalkeith, wife of the future 8th Duke of Buccleuch in 1932, painted by De Laszlo. 

De Laszlo took over from John Singer Sargent when he got fed up painting swagger portraits. I think De Laszlo loved painting portraits. He lived for it.  I think Sargent, less so.

Here are some of the 'wonderments' so far of my De Laszlo dalliance.

* His mother had the same first name as me, Johanna.

* His third son Paul, later a lawyer,  went to Rugby School in England (yes, the game was invented there) where my dad used to be bursar of the school and my husband, his brother and HIS father went to school.

* I own De Laszlo's old National Gallery painting reference book, given to him by his niece for Xmas,  and authenticated by his private secretary on De Laszlo's death. It literally fell into my best girlfriend's hands in an old dusty Scottish book store. She knew of my De Laszlo dalliance and hastily bought it for me as a precious gift.

* I got the  invite of a lifetime for morning coffee to view two of De Laszlo's famous portraits in the private quarters of Glamis Castle by the newer day Lady Strathmore. The portraits, close to the lush living room, were of the previous Earl and Countess of Strathmore, a generation or so before. This castle also hosts, I believe,  De Laszlo's dazzling portrait of the young Queen Mother, pictured above, whose main residence Glamis became.  He also painted the present day Queen of England as a young girl who unfortunately described him recently "as an irritating little man" remembering the life sitting as a little girl. He was probably making her sit too long although he had the faciltiy to paint like lightening.

*This trip to Glamis Castle was the highlight of my De Laszlo journey so far. I pinched myself so hard having my private view in the castle of those paintings that I was cerulean blue for days.

* An old biography book I had bought off Ebay, now out of print and based on De Laszlo's memoirs, arrived signed by his son John as gift for someone else thanking them for the edit help of said book. What a surprise that was!

* De Laszlo and I stayed in the same hospital, St. Mary's in Paddington, U.K., me to give birth to my first child, him years earlier to recover from an illness caused by wrongful imprisonment during the First World War.

* The art spirits made it happen for me to visit a painting of his I have always loved in the White Bedroom at Drumlanrig Castle in Scoland of Mary, Countess of Dalkeith, wife of the future 8th Duke of Buccleuch in 1932. See above.

* I was thrilled when the current day Duke of Buccleuch, owner of said Delaszlo Mary painting, unveiled my portrait of Kip Forbes at the Metropolitan Club in 2010.

* Now I am just waiting for an original painting or sketch by Mr. Philip De Laszlo to fall into my arms.

And I KNOW IT IS GOING TO HAPPEN.  A lot of De Laszlo's paintings have gone missing.

Sotheby's is on high alert!

Yard sales across the country are on stand by!

I'll keep you posted. You'll be the first to know.

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